Timeline Of Richmond, North Yorkshire
Neolithic Period (-2000-4000 B.C.)
Flints (shaped stones for hunting and shaping tools) Excavated at Scorton, Richmondshire.
Bronze Age (-2500 - 2000 B.C.)
1992 Bronze Sword found near Catterick Bridge, Richmondshire.
Iron Age (-700 B.C. - 1st Century A.D.)
Remains have been discovered of:
Major earthwork at Malden Castle near Healaugh, Swaledale.
Stanwick earthworks near Aldborough St. John, near Richmond, excavated in 1951-1952 by Sir Mortimer Wheeler. These fortifications were constructed by the Brigantes, The largest tribe in the North of England, in the Iron Age. Their Queen was Cartismadua, who is thought to have made a treaty with the Romans. Roman pottery and artifacts were excavated.
Roman Period (-43 A.D. - 400 A.D.)
In 1937, Robert Pedley of Grinton, Swaledale found roman pottery. Amongst this was Samian Ware, a reddish - coloured, high quality pottery of Roman/Gaul origin.
Caractonium - A roman site, possibly present Catterick. Wood writing slabs found at Hadrian's Wall show details of supply requirements sent to Caractonium.
Fremlington, Swaledale, finds of roman metal work - now in the British Museum.
Roman lead mining at Hurst, Swaledale, recorded.
In 1724, a major Roman hoard was found in Richmond Castle bank, including 620 silver Roman coins and spoons.
In 1956, more Roman coins were found in the above area.
In the 1930's, the Easby Cross was found at Easby near Richmond. A cast of the original cross is in Easby church, the original is in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Invasions of Richmond & Swaledale (-500 A.D. -1000 A.D.)
The Romans gradual withdrawal to other parts of their Empire left England in a state of instability. In Richmond / Swaledale, Anglo-Saxon invaders first, then later the Danes and Norseman landed. The river Swale and hinterland became part of the kingdom of Deira. Later this was joined to The kingdom of Bernicia and formed the large kingdom of Northumbria.
570 A.D. Anglo-Saxon battle against local inhabitants at Cattraeth (generally accepted as present Catterick) resulted in a local defeat.
Christianity later came to the area when monk Paulinus baptised Edwin, King of Northumbria. Hundreds of people were later baptised in the River Swale at a point near Catterick. (known as The Holy River and the Jordan of England)
In 1976, at Gilling West, Richmond, a Viking Sword was found in a local beck with a silver hilt. It is now in Castle Museum, York. An Anglo-Saxon cross was found in Gilling Beck, and a 10th Century Hog-Back Tombstone was found at Gilling West. Both are now in Richmondshire Museum.
Norman Era 1066
In 1066, William I gave extensive lands to his followers, as a reward for their active support. Alan Rufus of Brittany, a kinsman of William, received the honour of Richmond, which spread over Yorkshire and throughout England, even to parts of Dorset.
In 1071 Alan Rufus began building Richmond Castle. It was built of stone from the outset. A defensive site was chosen on a steep hill above the fast flowing River Swale.
In the mid-12th Century, Conan 'The Little' Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany, added The Great Keep, which was finished by Henry II. It has never been besieged, but in 1174 it was used to imprison the Scottish King William The Lion.
Medieval Era (late 13th, 14th & 15th Centuries)
Important growth in wealth led to Richmond becoming a chartered borough. It had 13 craft guilds (which controlled trade.) It had important markets and fairs. Two craft guilds exist to this present day. A market is still held every Saturday. (1441 Henry IV granted a royal charter to hold a Saturday market.)
In 1311, defensive stone walls were built to protect the town from Scottish raids. Two postern gates in the town wall still survive; The Bar postern at the top of Cornforth - Hill and in Friars Wynd the other Postern gate remains.
In the 14th and 15th Centuries, Richmond and Swaledale had a very wet weather resulting in poor harvests. Cattle and Sheep developed disease which led to the population in 1349 being devastated with Bubonic Plague. Lesser epidemics occurred for the next 100 years. A cemetery at Easby Church has a plague stone. This deadly disease wiped out many of the inhabitants and affected the trade and farming industry.
Medieval Religious Houses Richmond had three chapels in the Castle, Trinity Chapel in the Marketplace, later, St.Mary The Virgin Parish Church, three Chapels on the outskirts of the town, a College for Chantry Priests, two small Hospitals and an Anchorite's cell, (Maison Dieu Area.)
In 1536/7, Henry VIII broke allegiance with Rome, which eventually resulted in England becoming 'English Catholic' with Henry head of the Church. Following this, Henry caused the dissolution of the Monasteries, The Abbey at Easby and The Friary both had their roofs and alters shattered, as well as the kitchens laid waste. (Hence Easby Abbey ruins and the limited ruins of the Friary remain.)
The late 17th and 18th Centuries marked Richmond's Hey-Day in which new elegant Georgian housing and buildings replaced many of the older medieval buildings. Frenchgate and Newbiggin still have Georgian buildings today.
Culloden Tower was built in 1746 by John Yorke, M.P. for Richmond, to commemorate the Hanovarian victory over the Jacobite Scots at Culloden Moor. Richmond Green during Medieval times was the area used for a Tannery, Corn and Fulling Mills, A Brewery and Nail Makers. During the Georgian period it was the site of the Yorke Mansion and Gardens, which now are the site of the Culloden Tower.
The Kings Head Hotel was built in 1718 for the Bathhurst family, whose wealth came from lead-mining. The town house later became a Hotel in the mid 18th Century.
In 1756, the Town Hall was built as a Georgian assembly room.
In 1768, John Wesley the founder of Methodism preached in the market place. He preached again in 1774 at the east end of Newbiggin and finally in 1786 he preached in Frenchgate.
In 1771, the old Market Cross Replaced by the present obelisk. It was originally built over a large reservoir, which supplied the townsfolk with drinking water.
The Castle Walk was built around the castle walls . This provided level walking - or Promenading, for the wealthy visitors. Scenic views from the castle walk of the river Swale, Fosse waterfall and Billy Bank woods were greatly admired.
In 1787, the re-built Georgian Theatre was opened. Samuel Butler was both actor and Manager of players.
Richmond Grammar School (founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1567) originally stood in the parish churchyard. It was replaced by a much larger building (facing the Richmond Batts.)
In 1788-9, the Green Bridge (so called because it crosses over the river to the Richmond Green) was built. Dates and names of the Mayors of the time are carved on the centre of the bridge. Opposite on the other side is a milestone showing the distances to Askrigg and Lancaster. (This was the start of the Richmond - Lancaster turnpike road.) John Carr the renowned Yorkshire Georgian Architect designed the bridge.
In 1820, the Gas-Light company was founded on a site near the Fosse (waterfall) and the castle mill site.
In 1830, a sub- committee formed to organise first street lighting via Richmond Gas Works; 12-18 oil lamps were positioned in various parts of the town.
In 1844-46, Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Ludwidge Dodgson) author of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, attended Richmond Grammar School when his father was Rector at Croft on Tees church, near Richmond.
In 1849, the Gas-Light company was taken over by the Richmond Corporation. Richmond is credited as being a leader of radical reform and one of the first towns to have public street lighting.
In 1846, the Darlington - Stockton Railway was extended to Richmond, and thus the cost of transporting Swaledale lead to Stockton was cut by one third. The bridge over the Swale and Station road leading up to the market place were built around the same time. The railway and station buildings boosted tourist trade into Richmond, also gave the ordinary townsfolk better facility to travel.
In 1850, Richmond School boasted two famous Georgian Headmasters; Anthony Temple 1724- 1795 and James Tate 1771-1843.
Lord Baden Powell, (founder of the Boy- Scout Movement) Head of the Northern Division of the Territorials, while living in Richmond Barracks in the castle in 1908-1910, planned Catterick Camp, to be situated south of Richmond in the Hipswell area. The Camp's first troops occupied the area in 1915. Commander M.F. Rimmington was the officer in charge.
In 1915, 5000 German prisoners of war were housed at Catterick Camp, where they were employed in constructing the road leading out of Richmond Station.
1929 was the 600th Anniversary of the town's charters. It was celebrated with roasting an Ox in Richmond market place.
Last updated 08/03/2015