, North Yorkshire
, stands in a commanding position above the River Swale
, close to the centre of the town of Richmond
. It was originally called Riche Mount, 'the strong hill'. The castle was constructed from 1071 onwards as part of the Norman Conquest
of Saxon England as the Domesday Book of 1086 refers to 'a castlery' at Richmond in that year.William the Conqueror
had put down the 1069 rebellion at York which was followed by his "harrying of the North"
- an act of ethnic cleansing which depopulated large areas for a generation or more. As a further punishment he divided up the lands of north Yorkshire among his most loyal followers. Alain Le Roux de Ponthievre
received the borough
of Richmond and began constructing the castle to defend against further rebellions and establish a personal power base for one of the most extensive Norman estates in England which covered parts of eight counties - the Honour of Richmond. The Dukes of Brittany became the owners of the castle though it was often confiscated for various periods by English Kings.
The original stone Norman castle appears to have lacked an obvious final refuge or 'keep' but a -high keep of honey-coloured sandstone was constructed at the end of the 12th century by Duke Conan the Little. This keep was probably completed by King Henry II
and had -thick walls. Modern visitors can climb to the top of the... Read More