Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire
~ History ~
1071 ~ Richmond Castle is built in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest by Count Alan Rufus, ‘the Red’, of Penthièvre. As a kinsman of William the Conqueror, Alan has commanded the Breton contingent of the Norman army at the Battle of Hastings. In return for his service, King William grants him land in the north. Richmond Castle is built to defend Norman estates from the dispossessed Anglo-Saxon nobility.
1093 ~ Following Alan's death the castle and its lands pass in turn to two of his younger brothers, Alan Niger and Stephen.
1136 ~ Richmond Castle is held by Stephen's son also called Alan after his uncle. He is proclaimed Earl of Richmond. Alan marries the heiress of the Duke of Brittany, but dies before the dukedom can pass into his hands.
1150's ~ Alan's son Conan, however, successfully asserts his claim to the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany, combining two vast inheritances.
1166 ~ Conan betrothes his daughter, Constance, to King Henry II’s fourth son, Geoffrey, ceding the duchy of Brittany to the King as part of the deal.
1171 ~ On Conan’s death Constance is still only nine, and so King Henry II takes control of Richmond Castle. Repair work is carried out on the castle.
1181 ~ Prince Geoffrey and Constance marry. The castle remains in royal hands.
1215 ~ The north of England revolts against King John, who subdues it in a rapid campaign. Richmond castle is held against the King and for this the entire garrison is imprisoned in the castle.
1250 ~ Building work is undertaken by King Henry III.
1265 ~ Simon de Montfort, who leads a major barons rebellion against King Henry III, orders his supporters to lay siege to Richmond Castle.
1294 ~ Further building work is undertaken by King Henry's son, King Edward I.
1372 ~ The long standing honour of Richmond held by the Dukes of Brittany, is finally brought to an end when the castle and honour are finally surrendered to the Crown.
1538 ~ A survey of the castle reports it to be entirely derelict.
1675 ~ The castle passes to the dukes of Richmond.
1760's ~ Some repairs are carried out on the castle, mainly to the keep
Riverside Road, Richmond
Richmond Castle boasts the best preserved 11th century architecture of scale anywhere in the country.
This mighty castle dominates the town with the keep still in very good condition. It is from the river side that the castle is best viewed and this can be done from the roadside, with care.
Once inside the castle you get a much better view of the scale of the castle and this is best done from the keep where you get a full view of the curtain walls and the river that runs beneath.