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Richmond castle

Richmond castle (Yorks.) was the centre in the Middle Ages of the great honour of Richmond. The lands were held before the Norman invasion by Edwin, earl of Mercia, who seems to have retained them until 1068 when he rose in revolt. The honour was then granted to Alan the Red, son of Eudes, count of Penthièvre, who was related to the dukes of Brittany. This connection meant that his successors to the honour were often subjects of both the kings of England and of France, which in the disturbed relations between the kingdoms in the Middle Ages often meant that the honour was forfeit to the crown. The centres of the Anglo-Saxon estate were at Gilling and Catterick, but Earl Alan seems to have preferred Richmond as the site for his castle, which is a naturally strong one, and building started in the 1070s. This castle is of ‘ringwork’ type, with the domestic range, of which the 11th-cent. Scolland's hall survives, placed above the river cliff opposite the gate. The defences of the castle were strengthened during Henry II's reign by the addition of a keep, built over the original gate passage.

Lynda Rollason

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