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Richmond in Yorkshire was an earldom of Henry VII

Posted in British Towns, Castles, Historical articles, History, Interesting Words, Language, Royalty on Friday, 9 December 2011

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This edited article about place-names originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 873 published on 7 October 1978.

Richmond in Yorks, picture, image, illustration

A picture history of Richmond in Yorkshire

Do you live at Richmond?

In England, there are two well-known towns called Richmond – one in the North and one in the South. The question is – which one came first?

Like Devizes, Richmond is an example of an English place with a French name. In Old French, riche mont meant a “strong hill” where a castle could be built. Both Richmond (Surrey) and Richmond (Yorks) are built on a steep hill.

Nevertheless, a glance at the records soon clear up any difficulties. The Yorkshire town gave its name to Richmond upon Thames during the reign of Henry VII, who was earl of Richmond (Yorks).

The Surrey town of the same name was originally called Sheen, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “shining”, referring undoubtedly to the River Thames nearby.

When Henry, Earl of Richmond became King Henry VII, he renamed this area after his Yorkshire earldom and built a palace there which can still be seen today.

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