Ancient Monuments

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The Bar, a surviving gateway originally part of Richmond’s medieval town wall

A Scheduled Monument in Richmond, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4018 / 54°24'6"N

Longitude: -1.7392 / 1°44'20"W

OS Eastings: 417030.833427

OS Northings: 500736.534658

OS Grid: NZ170007

Mapcode National: GBR JK9J.8V

Mapcode Global: WHC6D.8M2C

Entry Name: The Bar, a surviving gateway originally part of Richmond’s medieval town wall

Scheduled Date: 7 November 2001

Last Amended: 29 September 2021

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020324

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34834

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Richmond

Built-Up Area: Richmond

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Richmond with Holy Trinity with Hudswell

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes the standing remains of 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.
The Bargate is Listed Grade II*.
The cobbled ground surface, the bench and fittings, the metal handrail, the
light fittings and cabling, the drain covers and telegraph pole are excluded
from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features and/or the
structures to which they are attached, is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Between the Roman and post-medieval periods a large number of English Towns
were provided with defences. Construction of these reached its peak in around
1300 although many were then maintained for many centuries thereafter. The
defences could take the form of earthen banks, ditches or masonry walls or a
combination of all three. They were constructed to mark the limits of the town
or its intended size and could be used to defend the town in times of trouble.
Their symbolic role in marking out the settlement and its importance was also
significant and thus many defensive circuits included well built and visually
impressive water-filled moats, walls and gateways. In the medieval period the
development of towns was closely associated with major landowners and many
towns were deliberately established next to major castles so that their lordly
owners could influence and gain from the important market, trade and other
functions of the developing urban centres.
The Bargate at Richmond is one of only two surviving gates from the medieval
defences. It retains significant evidence of medieval methods of construction
and contains some architectural details. The area around the structure
will contain significant below ground evidence of the use of the gate in the
medieval period. The monument offers important scope for understanding the
history of Richmond's town defences and of the development of an important
medieval town.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Chandler, J, John Lelands Itinerary: Travels in Tudor England, (1993), 563-4
Ryder, J, Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire, (1982), 141
Wenham LP, , Richmond Burgages 1679-1820, (1978)

Source: Historic England

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