On Richmond Hill there lives a lass,
More bright than May-day morn.
Whose charms all other maid’s surpass,
A rose without a thorn.
Sweet lass of Richmond Hill.
Sweet lass of Richmond Hill,
I’d crowns resign to call thee mine,
Sweet lass of Richmond Hill’
Lyrics: Leonard McNally (1752 – 1820)
Music: James Hook (1746 – 1827)
Frances I’Anson was a well-to-do local girl from Richmond in North Yorkshire, whose family owned properties in the town, one of which was the family home at Hill House.
In 1787, she married a Dublin barrister, Leonard McNally, who penned this verse in her honour.
After being set to music by James Hook and first performed publicly in 1789, the song became extremely popular and was said to be a particular favourite of King George III.
Hill House, the now Grade II listed property, can still be seen in the town.
The town itself is a picturesque market town set at the top of a hill in magnificent Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales. The mighty River Swale flows along the valley bottom. The River takes it’s name from the Anglo Saxon ‘Sualuae’ meaning rapid and liable to deluge. It is said to be the fastest flowing river in England.
Richmond’s castle dates back to 1071, whilst the majority of buildings are Georgian in period. It has a wide cobbled boulevard with a central church and stone obelisk.
There are many local attractions around the town, from lovely riverside walks, to the Wensleydale heritage railway, Castle Bolton and many artisan food producers.
For a stay in this lovely town, I would recommend a stay at Castle House, a luxury, family owned bed and breakfast in the centre. There are only five rooms, two of them suites, one with a four poster bed.
This is a Georgian era building and so over the centuries, there has been some settlement.
Some rooms have a one foot drop from one side to another! (or was it the effects of the complimentary wine I had just downed?).
There doesn’t seem to be a straight line anywhere. All the more quirky for that. Care does need to taken on the stairs as there is no place for a lift in a building like this.
We were met on arrival by owner Ian and were soon offered a complimentary drink in the ‘snug’ at the end of the breakfast room. Here a comfy sofa and table allowed us to relax and take in the small free library of books and DVD’s.
Wine and other drinks are available to purchase and not at ridiculous prices.
Ian and wife Lucy took over the business in 2015 and have continued a programme of renovation by previous owners, which is producing results. This place is very highly thought of and I can see why.
We stayed in the Wensley Suite, a spacious room with a superior king size sleigh bed which led to a very restful night. The room has dark wood furniture whilst the smart, modern en-suite bathroom has black and white chequerboard floor tiles and a reproduction slipper bath with hand-shower attachment. It’s years since I took an actual bath, normally preferring showers, but this made a relaxing change. The toiletries were all by L’Occitaine. Fluffy dressing gowns, slippers and towels were also provided.
The complimentary tray of assorted teas and ground coffee also contained biscuits and both still and sparkling water. The availability of free Wi-Fi and a flat screen tv completed the facilities.
On our return after an evening out, we found a small velvet bag on our room door handle. This contained a couple of chocolates, a nice touch.
Breakfast was superb. All ingredients were supplied by local bakers, farmers, butchers and greengrocers. A selection of juices, cereals, berries and yoghurt were followed by a freshly cooked full English breakfast. The locally made black pudding and sausages being particular favourites. Thick slices of sourdough toast were also delicious. My partner’s scrambled egg with smoked salmon was also a tasty way to start the day.
Parking is free, both right outside the establishment and in the nearby main square, though you do need a parking timer disc (available free from most local shops and businesses) with a restriction of two hours between 8am and 6pm. Arrive after 4pm, set the disc to get past 6pm then reset it for 8am and you can stay until 10am the next morning, all free.
There are plenty of places in the town for good quality lunches and evening meals, all within easy walking distance. Duncan’s Tearooms and The King’s Head Hotel (see separate earlier review) are notable.
For more details go to www.castlehouserichmond.co.uk and set the sat-nav to DL10 4QP.