Middleham  North Riding


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Middleham like this:

MIDDLEHAM, a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in Leyburn district, N. R. Yorkshire. The village stands on the slope of an eminence, ½ a mile S of the river Ure, and under Middleton moor, 2 miles SSE of Leyburn r. station; was once a market-town; is a seat of petty sessions; and has a post office‡ under Bedale, three inns, and fairs on Easter-Monday, Whit-Monday, and 5 Nov. ...

The parish comprises 2,108 acres. Real property, £5,704. Pop., 922. Houses, 199. The manor belonged to Kilpatrick the Dane; went, after the Conquest, to Robert Fitz-Ranulph, grandson to Ribald, who came over with the Conqueror; passed, in the 13th century, to the Nevilles; and belongs now to Col. J. Wood. A great castle was founded, on a commanding site, above the village, by Robert Fitz-Ranulph; was much enlarged by Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmoreland, the betrayer of Archbishop Scroop, and a prominent character in Shakspeare's "King Henry IV.; ''made a great figure in the time of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the "kingmaker;'' gave frequent entertainment, eventually of a hostile kind, under the "king-maker,'' to Edward IV.; figures as the place of some of the finest scenes of Lord Lytton's "Last of the Barons;'' passed, after the "kingmaker's ''death, to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III.; was much and often inhabited by Richard III., and was the birth-place of his only son; was dismantled, by order of parliament, in 1646; and is now a desolate, extensive, imposing, and picturesque ruin. The central part of it, changed by repairs, is the original structure of Fitz-Ranulph; and an enclosing quadrangle, 210 feet by 175, with towers at the angles, was the work of the Nevilles. A moat surrounded the pile, and is still partially traceable. The central keep has walls of great thickness, and is a good specimen of the Norman architecture of the close of the 12th century. The great hall, and the chapel, within the original building, have left interesting remains; and the arch over the staircase leading to the great hall, is a striking object. A very fine gold ring, which may have belonged to one of the Plantagenets, was found, not many years ago, among the ruins. Horses are broken on Middleham moor. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ripon. Value, £400.* Patron, the Crown. The church is of the latter part of the 15th century, and in good condition; was made collegiate by Richard III., for a dean, a subdean, and six canons; has an embattled tower, and an old stained glass E window, representing the martyrdom of St. Alkelda; and contains a curious ancient tombstone, probably brought from Jervaux abbey. There are chapels for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists, a church of England school, and charities £38.—The sub-district contains also three other parishes, and part of another. Acres, 43,071. Pop., 4,230. Houses, 914.

Middleham through time

Middleham is now part of Richmondshire district. Click here for graphs and data of how Richmondshire has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Middleham itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Middleham, in Richmondshire and North Riding | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 18th April 2024

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