Information on Richmond, Yorkshire
Richmond is the county town of Richmondshire and with just over 8000 residents is the only sizeable town in Swaledale. Though the area was settled earlier, the town of Richmond was founded in 1071Norman Knight, Alain Rufus, on lands granted to him by William the Conqueror. Richmond Castle, completed in 1086, was built on the strong hill or ‘riche-mont’ which gave the town its name. The castle was a ruin by the end of the 14th century, but remains one of the best examples of Norman architecture in the country and is a grade I listed building and scheduled monument. Legend has it that around 200 years ago, soldiers found a tunnel leading from the keep of the castle. They sent a drummer boy down the tunnel and told him to keep drumming as he proceeded into the darkness so they could track his progress. They followed the sound away from the Castle, across the Market Place in the direction of Frenchgate, and beside the River Swale towards Easby. When they soldiers reached Easby Wood, half a mile from the Abbey, the drumming stopped and the boy was never seen again. A stone stands today to mark the spot and is called the ‘Drummer Boy Stone’ by the local people. Richmond grew in the late 17th and early 18th centuries due to the woollen trade and also the proliferation of lead mines in Swaledale. It is from this period that much of the town’s Georgian architecture originates. Today, tourism is a big contributor to the local economy with visitors attracted to the cobbled market place, the castle and the Georgian Theatre Royal. The nearby Catterick Garrison army base also brings additional spending to the town from the 13,000 or so soldiers and their families.