Honour of Richmond

The Honour of Richmond (or English feudal barony of Richmond) in north-west Yorkshire was granted to Count Alan Rufus by King William the Conqueror in 1071. The honour comprised 60 knight's fees and was one of the most important fiefdoms in Norman England.[1]


The composition of the Honour of Richmond in 1071
The location of the Honour in England

Most of the lands granted to Count Alan in Yorkshire had previously been held by Edwin, Earl of Mercia. It consisted of three main land divisions; the wapentakes of Hang, of Gilling and of Hallikeld. The first two of these correspond to later medieval civil land divisions or wapentakes: the third is less easily defined.

The Gilling territory consisted mainly of land which lay between the River Tees and the River Swale, with the Tees forming the northern border which separated the land from that granted to the Bishop of Durham. The western border was the watershed of the Pennine Hills and the southern border was the watershed between the River Ure and the Swale. The River Wiske formed the eastern border. The manor of Gilling, close to the boundary, was the caput of the barony until Count Alan moved it to Richmond Castle. The division of Hang, or Hangshire, had the River Swale as its northern boundary; its western boundary was the Pennine watershed and its southern boundary was the watershed with the River Wharfe and the River Nidd. The eastern border followed small streams and minor landmarks from the previous watershed to the Swale. The wapentake meeting place was situated on the Hang Beck in Finghall parish. The third part of the territory, Hallikeld, consisted of the parishes lying between the River Ure and the River Swale until their confluence at Ellenthorpe.

The Honour of Richmond, being 60 km from east to west and 45 km from north to south, comprised most of the land between the River Tees and the River Ure and ranged in its landscape from the bleak mountainous areas of the Pennines to the fertile lowlands of the Vale of York.

List of feudal barons of Richmond

The feudal barons of Richmond were usually referred to as Lords of Richmond. The Honour of Richmond was sometimes held separately from the titles Earl of Richmond, and later Duke of Richmond. Grants were sometimes partial, and sometimes included or excluded Richmond Castle as noted in the list below. The descent of the barony was as follows:[2]


  1. However, Ranulph never ruled Richmond or Brittany during their marriage.
  2. A charter made by Alix before her marriage to Peter I deals with the Honour of Richmond; Alix also styled herself Countess of Richmond before her husband received the Earldom from King Henry III. See Judith Everard and Michael Jones, The Charters of Duchess Constance and Her Family (1171-1221), The Boydell Press, 1999, pp 169-171.
  3. Although King John allowed her to use the titles Duchess of Brittany and Countess of Richmond, she never ruled. See Judith Everard and Michael Jones, The Charters of Duchess Constance and Her Family (1171-1221), The Boydell Press, 1999, pp 164-165.


  1. Butler, Lawrence (2003). "4.The origins of the honour of Richmond and its castles". In Robert Liddiard. Anglo Norman Castles. Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press. pp. 91–95. ISBN 0-85115-904-4.
  2. Sanders, I.J., English Baronies, A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086-1327, Oxford, 1960, pp.140-1, Barony of Richmond
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Sanders, p.140
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