Richmond Town Wall

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameRichmond Town Wall
Alternative NamesThe Bargate; The Bar
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishRichmond

a stone gateway, known as the Bargate, which was constructed as part of the medieval town defences of Richmond. Also included is the ground through the archway and on either side in which remains of the medieval ground surface will survive. The gateway is located to the west of Richmond castle at the top of a steep slope leading down to the river Swale. The Bargate was constructed in the 14th century when a wall was built around the centre of the town primarily to keep Scottish raiders at bay. Grants for the building and repair of the wall were made in 1313, 1337 and 1341. The threat was considered real and in 1314-1315 the Archbishop of York instructed the warden of Richmond Friary to preach against the Scots and rouse the people to resist. The town wall followed a circuit around the western, northern and eastern sides of the town: the southern side being formed by the castle. It was built along the rear of the plots of land that extended from the back of the properties which surrounded the market place. It is likely that the wall was built along the line of an earlier feature, probably an earthen bank, which defined the limits of the formal planned town of Richmond established in the early 12th century. The town defences enclosed an area of 18 acres (7.2ha), half of which was taken up by the castle. The town wall fell into disrepair and by the 1540s was described as ruinous. Although none of the wall survives today, most of its circuit can still be traced in the current street plan The Bargate was built in the south western part of the defences to allow access for pedestrians and horses to and from the suburb clustered around the green located outside the town to the south west. Other gateways were built at the principal points of entry into the town, being located on Finkle Street on the western side, Millgate on the south eastern side and Frenchgate on the northern side. These were demolished by 1773 in order to allow traffic movement

A further pedestrian gate known as the Postern Gate, which still survives, was built in the northern part of the defences to allow access to the Friary to the north of the town. The Bargate comprises a stone built structure measuring 8m north to south by 2.5m deep and is approximately 6m in height. It is constructed of randomly coursed rough stones. There is an opening 1.8m wide through the centre of the structure. On the external (western) end of the opening there is a segmented pointed archway. The top of the structure is rounded. The ground through the archway and on either side is cobbled. There is a stone buttress on the western side of the gateway. There is no evidence that the medieval wall which originally extended to the north and south of the gateway survives. On the northern side the monument abuts a house and to the southern side it abuts a garden wall. The monument also includes the ground for 3m to the west of the structure and as far as the wall to the east of the pavement on the eastern side of the structure. These areas will include remains of the medieval ground surface and also provide for the support and preservation of the monument. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Murage grants made in 1313, 1337 and 1400. Gatehouse is unable to identify what the scheduling report means when it states that a grant 'for the building and repair of the wall' was made in 1341.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ170007
Latitude54.4018211364746
Longitude-1.7391300201416
Eastings417030
Northings500740
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Mark Wheaver All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 121
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 72, 83, 267
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 81
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 297 (mention)
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 534
  • Ryder, P.F., 1982 (paperback edn 1992), The Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire (Ash Grove Book) p. 141
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 download/view online
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 109
  • Beresford, Maurice, 1967, New towns of the Middle Ages: town plantation in England, Wales and Gascony (New York) p. 518
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1914, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 1 p. 18-19 online transcription
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co) p. 234

Antiquarian

  • Speed, John, 1611-12, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain online copy
  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 554, 563-4
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 79 online copy; Vol. 4 p. 25 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/itineraryofjohnl04lelauoft#page/25/mode/1up]

Journals

  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1891-1916, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1307-1313) p. 555; (1334-1338) p. 414; (1399-1401) p. 283 (murage grants) online copies via
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/murindex.html], [petitions > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/mupindex.html ] and [other such > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/muaindex.html]. < >