Middleham

North Yorkshire

Market Cross, MiddlehamMiddleham CastleChurch of St Mary and St Alkelda, MiddlehamCoverham Lane, MiddlehamMarket Place, MiddlehamMiddleham is a market town with a historic castle in the former Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire.

The small town is at the edge of lower Wensleydale and near the end of Coverdale.

It is situated 16 miles east of Northallerton, 8½ miles south-south-west of Richmond, 7½ miles north-west of Masham and 2 miles south-south-east of Leyburn.

Today the attractive town is one of mainly Georgian construction, including many buildings which are now listed. They are arranged principally around its medieval market place where earlier buildings would have stood at the time the town's dominating Middleham Castle was still lived in.

Middleham CastleThe castle's best-known resident was King Richard III. It was his home in his teenage days as Duke of Gloucester when he lived in the household of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick.

The future king acquired the castle and other Neville lands after the Earl of Warwick died in 1471. He married the Earl of Warwick's daughter Anne Neville the following year after her brief first marriage to Edward, Prince of Wales, which ended with his death in battle at Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. Richard and Anne's son Edward was born at the castle and died there as a young boy less than a year after Richard and Anne had become King and Queen in 1483.

The castle itself dates from the late 12th century, although earthworks of an earlier 11th century timber castle remain at a different site, William's Hill, further up the hillside from the later castle.

Market Place, MiddlehamMarkets and fairs were held in the Market Place around the Market Cross in Middleham for hundreds of years, from receiving its market charter in 1388, during the reign of King Richard II, until the 1930s.

A little nearer to the castle than the Market Cross is the Swine Cross where livestock markets were held.

The parish church, dedicated to St Mary and St Alkelda, dates mainly from the 14th century with later additions. The church was granted collegiate status by Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

Middleham has become one of the best known centres in the North of England for the training of racehorses, with hundreds of horses in training at around 15 stables in the area. A Middleham Open Day is organised in March by the Racing Welfare charity, allowing visits to the yards.

Find out more about the open day at the  Middleham Open Day website.


 Town features


Middleham has a castle.
Middleham has a choice of inns.
Inn dining can be found in Middleham.
The town has tea-rooms.
Places to stay in Middleham include hotel, inn accommodation.
The town has shops.
The town has a visiting mobile Post Office.
Middleham has a car repair garage.
Middleham has a school.
Middleham has a community hall - The Key Centre.
There are public toilets in the town.
Locations of toilets and opening times can be found at this North Yorkshire Council - Public toilets web page.
Place of worship: Anglican - St Mary and St Alkelda.

Travel

Bus travel

The town has an infrequent bus service.



Places to visit

Richmond Castle

Richmond Castle

Tower Street, Richmond, North Yorkshire
One of the finest and most complete Norman castles in Britain, around which the town of Richmond developed. Its vast square keep, 100ft (30 metres) high, is a dominant feature of the town with magnificent views. The castle was built for the Count of Brittany, Alan Rufus, high above the River Swale in 1071, just 5 years after the Battle of Hastings and Norman conquest. There are substantial remains of 11th century walls and its domestic hall. This was added around the 1150s by Conan, Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond, the great-nephew of Alan Rufus. After Conan's death in 1171 the castle came under the control of King Henry II. Many years on, a Victorian addition to the castle was an armoury which was later used in World War I to imprison conscientious objectors who became known as the Richmond 16. A Victorian barrack block built at castle in 1855 was demolished in 1931. The castle is managed by English Heritage.

More information at these  English Heritage - Richmond Castle web pages.
Find on map:  Richmond Castle


Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle

Castle Hill, Middleham, North Yorkshire
Middleham has substantial remains of a castle built in stages between the 12th and 15th centuries, including a late 12th century keep which is one of the largest hall keeps in the country. Ditch and timber defences were not replaced with the low stone curtain wall until the early 14th century. It is notable as the place where, in the 1460s, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who later became King Richard III, spent several years of his youth under the guardianship of his cousin Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. During the War of the Roses, King Edward IV was imprisoned at Middleham Castle for a short time in 1469. The castle is managed by English Heritage.

More information at these  English Heritage - Middleham Castle web pages.
Find on map:  Middleham Castle



Bolton Castle

Bolton Castle

Castle Bolton, near Redmire, North Yorkshire
One of Britain's best-preserved medieval castles was built as one of the finest homes in the land and is still in the ownership of a descendant of the castle's original owner. With a commanding view over Wensleydale, the castle is situated near Redmire, about 5 miles west of Leyburn and 6 miles east of Askrigg. Although partially slighted by Oliver Cromwell during a Civil War siege it has been preserved in excellent condition. The castle is opened to visitors daily except on dates when weddings are being held. Visitors can access much of the castle and its gardens and daily displays include birds of prey, archery and wild boar feeding. Full details can be found on the owner's website.

More information at the  Bolton Castle website.
Find on map:  Bolton Castle


Easby Abbey

Easby Abbey

Easby, near Richmond
Situated about 1.5 miles from the centre of Richmond beside the River Swale, Easby Abbey has some magnificent and quite substantial stonework remaining from its refectory, gatehouse and canon's dormitory. The abbey was founded in 1152 and was of the Premonstratensian order. As with most monasteries it was a target of Henry VIII and soon after its supression in 1536 most of its buildings were stripped for stone or demolished. Within the abbey complex is the Parish Church of St Agatha, founded before the abbey and still in use as a church today. Inside are 13th century wall paingtings and a fragment of 12th century glass. The abbey church, however, was mostly demolished after the supression. The abbey is managed as a free entry site by English Heritage.

Find out more at the  English Heritage - Easby Abbey website.
Find on map:  Easby Abbey



Leeming Bar station

The Wensleydale Railway

Scruton - Leeming Bar - Bedale - Finghall - Leyburn
A railway service into Wensleydale running from Scruton and Leeming Bar, near the A1(M) , towards Bedale, Finghall, Leyburn and, if reopened, to Redmire at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It operates a heritage diesel service and steam on some dates. The line was extended eastwards to Northallerton West, but the effects of flooding on a bridge at the end of 2015 resulted in that section of line remaining closed to passenger services. The railway company currently has aims of restoring a section of the track westward from Leyburn into the National Park at Redmire which has also been closed in recent years.


Further information at the  Wensleydale Railway website


Aysgarth Falls

Aysgarth
Aysgarth Falls have been a much-visited Wensleydale beauty spot and a tourist attraction for more then two centuries. The River Ure falls down a series of rocky steps near to the village of Aysgarth. The falls provided a dramatic film location for the 1991 film "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", starring Kevin Costner. A woodland nature reserve alongside the falls is run by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which also runs a National Park Centre, cafe and car park there. Nearby is the Yore Bridge across the river and the Yore Mill, a grade II listed watermill on the site of a medieval fulling mill. The present mill dates from 1854 and was built to produce both woollen textiles and corn. It replaced an earlier 18th century cotton mill which was damaged by fire. There is now a tea shop and craft shop at the mill.

Find  Aysgarth Falls on map.


Hardraw Force

Hardraw, near Hawes
Situated about a mile north of Hawes in Wensleydale, this waterfall visitor attraction claims fame as "England's highest single-drop waterfall". The fall is around 30 metres (100 feet) high and was used as a backdrop to scenes in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. There is now also a Heritage Centre in the grounds of the falls, access to which is usually open from 10am to dusk with an admission fee. Details can be found on the attraction's  Website.

Richmondshire Museum

Ryder's Wynd, Richmond
The museum is just a short walk from the Market Place in Richmond and tells a fascinating story of the Richmond area from the Stone Age to the present day. It also has a treasure trove of other exhibits such as a history of toys, how lead was mined in the Yorkshire Dales, a transport gallery with historic model of Richmond Station, shop reconstructions, including Grinton Post Office, a chemist shop from Catterick and a grocer and chandler from Richmond and the Herriott Set from the film All Creatures Great And Small.  Website

Dales Countryside Museum

Station Yard, Burtersett Road, Hawes
The Dales Countryside Museum is located at the former Victorian station in Hawes and tells how the landscape and people of the Yorkshire Dales have evolved over thousands of years. An old locomotive and carriages are preserved at the platform as a reminder of the days that train services connected the isolated Wensleydale town to the rest of Yorkshire. A Yorkshire Dales National Park Centre is also housed at the museum.

Find out more at the  Dales Countryside Museum website.


Yorkshire Dales National Park

The western half of Richmondshire is all within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Richmond is at the gateway to some of its most remote and peaceful areas of the National Park in Swaledale. Leyburn is the gateway to the Wensleydale area of the National Park, the wide and beautiful upper valley of the River Ure into which many tributaries flow. Find out more on our Yorkshire Dales National Park page.


Emergency services

North Yorkshire Police  North Yorkshire Police website.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service  North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.


Local government


Civil parish council

Middleham Town Council
Provides some local services in the area.
Link to council website:  Middleham Town Council


Unitary authority

North Yorkshire Council

The North Yorkshire Council is a new unitary authority formed from the previous County Council from April 1, 2023. It covers the existing county duties including highways, schools, libraries and transport planning over an area of 3,109 square miles while also taking over the responsibilities of the seven huge district authorities also created in 1974 — Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby — these including local planning, waste collection, street cleaning, parks and car parks, housing and markets serving a population of around 615,500*.

Councillors were elected to the County Council in 2022 and continue as councillors of the new North Yorkshire Council unitary authority. There have been a few by-elections to fill councillor vacancies since then.


Places in  North Yorkshire
Link to council website:  North Yorkshire Council

^ Area figure from ONS Standard Area Measurements 2022 (converted from hectares).
* Population figure from Census 2021 (combined total of former districts).
Contains public sector information licensed under the  Open Government Licence v3.0.

Political composition:

453CI 1311 NY Ind92 LC421
90 members

CI = Conservative & Independent    NY Ind = North Yorkshire Independents group   LC = Labour & Cooperative
Composition and groupings - source North Yorkshire Council (February 2024)

Strategic authority

York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority
The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority was created in December 2023 combining the unitary authority of York and the unitary authority of North Yorkshire — that created in April 2023 after the abolition of the county authority and its seven district authorities. The combined authority will run some functions under a mayor to be elected in May 2024 as part of the government's so-called "Devolution deal" which ties the availablity of funding to the new governance arrangements. As well as having powers over housing development, transport and boosting skills and education across the 3,214 square miles of York and North Yorkshire, the elected mayor will also take on the role and functions of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner across the area.
 York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority website.


Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire
Covers the county of North Yorkshire and  City of York.
 Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire website.


Ceremonial county

North Yorkshire

Historic

- 1974: Within the North Riding of Yorkshire.
1974 - 2023: In the Richmondshire shire district of the North Yorkshire county.




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