After the previous day’s adventures we got out not so bright or early…
In an attempt to avoid the bank holiday crowds heading to the seaside and the moors (Scarborough was due to be the busiest seaside town in England, apparently), we drove inland to the lovely little town of Richmond set halfway between the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks.
The main reason for going to Richmond was, unsurprisingly for us, a castle. The building of Richmond Castle, nestled at the edge of the town centre in a bend of the river Swale, was begun in the 1070’s by Alan Rufus ‘the Red’, after he’d been awarded the lands as a ‘thank you’ for his support in the Battle of Hastings. Most of what can been seen today was constructed in the 1080’s when the castle was rebuilt in stone – in fact Richmond has the most surviving 11th century architecture and stonework of any castle in the UK.
Some of the buildings were added over the next century with the massive keep being built in the 1180’s – it’s seems strange that the keep one was one of the last buildings to be added – normally they’re the first.
In later years it fell into ruin, although it became popular with tourists who left their marks in graffiti. In WWI part of it was converted for use as a prison to hold conscientious objectors.
As it was a lovely sunny day, we sat in the bailey in the shadow of the walls and had our lunch, after which Alli and our daughter, Maddie climbed to the top of the massive keep that dominates the rest of the Castle. In the meantime, sharing my son’s feelings that that was rather too energetic after a big meal, I chilled out in the unseasonably warm weather taking it all in, e.g. I feel asleep.
After they got back and I woke up – we ventured forth to explore the rest of this beautiful Norman castle. There were lots of surviving buildings and rooms to wander around in the bailey.
One aspect of Richmond that we found quite unusual is the little pleasure garden that was built inside the walls at one end.
As we explored we also found a lovely little chapel built into the curtain wall. This had high-backed seats incorporated into the interior walls. It very much reminded us of those in the chapter house (where the unmentionable event happened) of York Minster.
After this Alli took me on a tour of the Keep. It is surprising intact, with several rooms on two floors to explore. The views from the top of the tower were stunning. Richmond itself is a very pretty little market town – it was great to stand and watch the comings and goings on a warm bank holiday. There was a lot of people sitting outside the many cafes and pubs enjoying a cold drink to two (or three).
We were surprised to see so many spires in the town, and have since learned that one was the local church, one was a Methodist church, another was all that remained of a ruined priory and there was even a folly built by a local lord sometime over the last few centuries. Anyway, it was getting late and the day was coming to an end, so after taking in the view we drifted back down the tower to find where we’d left the kids… (alas we found them)
After leaving the castle (stopping only to buy a bottle of mead) we walked around the town square and then stopped at a nice little cafe for a drink – surprisingly for us it was not one that was alcoholic. It was then, with heavy hearts, that we climbed back into Ratty and headed south for home.
I really liked Richmond, When we do finally move up to Yorkshire, I suspect it’ll become a favourite haunt of ours – great for a quiet afternoon. And a castle…
Farewell my Friends!
P.S. Just before I go, this was a fantastic trip to Yorkshire and although I shall remember it all fondly, nothing was more memorable than that moon over the sea.