Friday, 28 August 2009

Repton /Hreapandune: Place in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series ****

Repton is a large village cum small town, lying on the south bank of the river Trent, some 8 miles from Derby. Repton is known and sign posted as the capital of Mercia.
St Wystans Church contains a unique Saxon crypt which is one of the most important surviving pieces of Saxon architecture in England.

The Church was the burial place of Mercian Kings. It dates from around 750 AD and contains the tombs of King Ethelbald of Mercia(ad757), King Wiglaf in AD840 and his grandson St Wystan who was brutally murdered. The crypt became a place of pilgramage.
A monastery had been founded following the arrival of Christianity in Mercia around AD653. It was sacked by the Danes, lay in ruins for 200 years and never rebuilt, but the crypt survived and a church was built on the old site. Its 212 ft spire is a land mark for miles around.
A priory was founded in Repton about 1172 but was dissolved at the Reformation. On the site of the prioy ruins, Repton School was established under the will of Sir John Port of Etwall in 1557.The priory arch and the west wing of the cloister court now form the entrance to the school.
Under the headship of Dr Pears in 1854-74, Repton school grew in fame and reputation as well as physically.

Repton Market Cross

There are many fine old buildings in the town, some connected with the school. The restored, market cross in the town centre was said to have been where Christianity was first preached in the Midlands. Until the end of the 19th century regular markets took place in the area between the cross and the priory arch. Repton is a large village in Derbyshire, England between Derby and Burton upon Trent, situated at the edge of the River Trent floodplain.

It was the traditional royal burial place of the kings of Mercia, one of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Christianity was reintroduced to the Midlands at Repton, where the Mercian royal family, under Peada, were converted to Christianity in 653. Soon a double abbey under an Abbess had been constructed.
The centre of the village is dominated by the Church of Saint Wystan, also called Wigstan of Mercia, which is notable for its Saxon crypt. Built in the 8th century, the Repton crypt was to serve as a mausoleum for the Mercian royal family. Wigstan was a prince of Mercia who was murdered by his guardian in 850, under the reign of Wiglaf. His remains were buried in the crypt at Repton and miracles were ascribed to them. Repton proceeded to become a place of pilgrimage; Wigstan was later sanctified, and became the patron Saint of the church.
Repton was the original seat of Christianity in the English Midlands, though in 669 the Bishop of Mercia moved his See from Repton to Lichfield. Offa, King of Mercia seemed to resent his own bishops paying allegiance to the Archbishop of Canterbury in Kent who, whilst under Offa's control, was not of his own kingdom of Mercia. Offa therefore created his own archbishopric in Lichfield, which presided over all the bishops from the Humber to the Thames. Repton thus became an origin for a third split in the English Church: Canterbury, York and Lichfield. This lasted for only 16 years however, before Mercia returned to being under the Archbishopric of Canterbury.
Remains of a priory founded in 1172 have been incorporated into the buildings of Repton School, a public school established in 1557.

Notable Resident

A 19th century engraving of the crypt at Repton where Æthelbald was interred.

Æthelbald King of Mercia was interred here in 797 AD. Beornrad of Mercia was buried here Saint Guthlac of Croyland was a monk here in c 697 AD King Wiglaf of Mercia was buried here King Wigstan of Mercia was reburied here

River Trent

The River Trent is one of the major rivers of England. Its source is in Staffordshire between Biddulph and Biddulph Moor.

River Trent at Trent Bridge

It flows through the Midlands (forming a once-significant boundary between the North and South of England) until it joins the River Ouse at Trent Falls to form the Humber Estuary, which empties into the North Sea below Hull and Immingham.

River Ouse

Humber Bridge

The Trent is unusual amongst English rivers in that it flows north (for the second half of its route), and is also unusual in exhibiting a tidal bore, the "Trent Aegir".

The area drained by the river includes most of the northern Midlands.

Map of the River Trent Drainage

The name "Trent" comes from a Celtic word possibly meaning "strongly flooding". More specifically, the name may be a contraction of two Celtic words, tros ("over") and hynt ("way"). This may indeed indicate a river that is prone to flooding. However, a more likely explanation may be that it was considered to be a river that could be crossed principally by means of fords, i.e. the river flowed over major road routes. This may explain the presence of the Celtic element rid (c.f. Welsh rhyd, "ford") in various placenames along the Trent, such as Hill Ridware, as well as the Saxon‐derived ford. Another translation is given as "the trespasser", referring to the waters flooding over the land . According to Koch at the University of Wales, the name Trent derives from the Romano-British Trisantona, a Romano-British reflex of the combined Proto-Celtic elements *tri-sent(o)-on-ā- (through-path-AUG-F-) ‘great feminine thoroughfare’ .

In the Pliocene epoch (1.7 m years ago) the River Trent rose in the Welsh hills and flowed almost east from Nottingham through the present Vale of Belvoir to cut a gap through the limestone ridge at Ancaster and thence to the North Sea. At the end of the Wolstonian Stage (c. 130,000 years ago) a mass of stagnant ice left in the Vale of Belvoir caused the river to divert north along the old Lincoln river, through the Lincoln gap. In a following glaciation (Devensian, 70,000BCE) the ice held back vast areas of water - called Lake Humber - in the current lower Trent basin and when this retreated the Trent adopted its current course into the Humber.

Migration of course in historic times
Packet House on the River Trent

Unusually for an English river, the river channel has occasionally altered significantly in historic times. An abandoned channel at Repton is described on an old map as 'Old Trent Water'. Further downstream, archaeologists have found the remains of a Medieval bridge across another abandoned channel. The course of the river was altered in the area of Ingleby in Derbyshire when 300 acres (1.2 km2) was "moved" from one side of the river to another. This is recorded in Shakespeare's play Henry IV - Part 1:
"Methinks my moiety, north from Burton here,
In quantity equals not one of yours:
See how this river comes me cranking in,
And cuts me from the best of all my land
A huge half-moon, a monstrous cantle out.
I'll have the current in this place damm'd up;
And here the smug and silver Trent shall run
In a new channel, fair and evenly;
It shall not wind with such a deep indent,
To rob me of so rich a bottom here."

History of navigation
Nottingham seems to have been the ancient head of navigation until the Restoration, due partly to the difficult navigation of the Trent Bridge.

River Trent at Nottingham

Navigation was then extended to Wilden Ferry, as a result of the efforts of the Fosbrooke family of Shardlow.
Later, in 1699, Lord Paget obtained an Act of Parliament to extend navigation up to Burton, but nothing was immediately done.
In 1711, Lord Paget leased his rights to George Hayne, who carried out improvements, quickly opening the river to Burton. He monopolised freight, causing discontent among merchants and encouraging interloping. His business was continued as the 'Burton Boat Company', but after the opening of the Trent and Mersey Canal, the Boat Company were unable to compete. Eventually in 1805, they reached an agreement with Henshall & Co. the leading canal carriers for the closure of the river above Wilden Ferry.

River Trent at Shardlow

Though the river is no doubt legally still navigable above Shardlow, it is probable that the agreement marks the end of the use of that stretch of the river as a commercial navigation.
The first improvement of the lower river was the Newark cut which, by means of two locks, brought the navigation into the town centre in 1772-3 and by-passed Averham weir, without closing it for navigation.

Beeston Weir

At the beginning of the 1790s, William Jessop was employed to make proposals for navigation between Shardlow and Gainsborough and made his second report in 1793. This proposed a cut and lock at Cranfleet near Long Eaton opposite the mouth of the Soar, a cut and lock at Beeston to join the Nottingham Canal, being built at the same time, and another at Holme Pierrepoint with the aim of increasing the minimum depth from 2 ft (0.61 m) to 3 ft (0.91 m).

Nottingham Canal

This was authorized by Act of Parliament in 1794 and the work finished by 1801. Between 1911 and 1927, and again in the 1960s the Trent was further enlarged between Cromwell and Nottingham and today can take large motor barges up to around 150ft in length with a capacity of approx 300 tonnes.

Navigation today

Trent and Mersey canal

The river is legally navigable for some 117 miles (188 km) below Burton upon Trent. However for practical purposes, navigation above the southern terminus of the Trent and Mersey Canal (at Shardlow) is conducted on the canal, rather than on the river itself.
The T&M canal connects the Trent to the Potteries and on to Runcorn and the Bridgewater Canal.
Down river of Shardlow, the non-tidal river is navigable as far as the Cromwell Lock near Newark, except just west of Nottingham where there are two lengths of canal, the Cranfleet and Nottingham. Below Cromwell lock, the Trent is tidal, and therefore only navigable by experienced, well-equipped boaters. Navigation lights and a proper anchor and cable are compulsory, and Associated British Ports, the navigation authority for the river from Trent Falls to Gainsborough, insist that anyone in charge of a boat must be experienced at navigating in tidal waters. Experience is especially necessary at Trent Falls, a lonely spot where the Trent joins the Yorkshire Ouse, to form the Humber estuary. The timetables of flows and tides of the two rivers and the estuary are very complex here, and vary through the lunar cycle. Boats coming down the Trent on an ebbing tide often have to beach themselves (sometimes in the dark) at Trent Falls to wait for the next incoming tide to carry them up the Ouse.

Trent Aegir

The Trent Aegir seen from West Stockwith, Nottinghamshire 20 Sept 2005

At certain times of the year, the lower tidal reaches of the Trent experience a moderately large tidal bore (up to five feet (1.5m) high), commonly known as the Trent Aegir. The Aegir occurs when a high spring tide meets the downstream flow of the river, the funnel shape of the river mouth exaggerates this effect, causing a large wave to travel upstream as far as Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and sometimes beyond. The aegir cannot travel much beyond Gainsborough as the shape of the river reduces the aegir to little more than a ripple, and weirs north of Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire stop its path completely.

Barton Ferry

The literal North/South divide
The Trent historically marked the boundary between Northern England and Southern England. For example the administration of Royal Forests was subject to a different Justice in Eyre north and south of the river, and the jurisdiction of the medieval Council of the North started at the Trent. Although the rise of the identity of the "Midlands" has moved the boundary slightly (the modern idea of the "North" now usually starts at the boundary of Yorkshire) some slight traces of the old division do remain : the Trent marks the boundary between the provinces of two English Kings of Arms, Norroy and Clarenceux. Although little heard these days, the phrase "born North of the Trent" is one means of expressing that someone hails from the North of England

Places along the Trent

Cities and towns on or close to the river include:

River Trent at Gainsborough

Stone Rugeley
Burton upon Trent
Castle Donington
Dunham Bridge - A57 Swing Toll bridge

Holme Pierrepont National Watersports Centre in Nottingham on the River Trent

Among its tributaries are:
River Devon
River Greet
River Derwent, Derby
River Dove
River Erewash
River Idle, Nottinghamshire - meets the Trent at West Stockwith
River Leen
River Mease
River Soar, Leicester - meets the Trent at Trentlock
River Sow
River Tame, Birmingham


Derbyshire (pronounced /ˈdɑrbɪʃər/ ( listen) DAR-bi-shər or /ˈdɑrbɪʃɪər/ DAR-bi-sheer) is a county in the East Midlands of England. A substantial portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire.

Thorpe Cloud Derbyshire

The northern part of Derbyshire overlaps with the Pennines, a famous chain of hills and mountains. The county contains part of the National Forest, and borders on Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. Derbyshire can make some claims to be at the centre of Britain: a farm near Coton in the Elms has been identified as the furthest from the sea, whilst Rodsley and Overseal were the centres of population during the twentieth century.

Irongate Derby

The city of Derby is now a unitary authority area, but remains part of the ceremonial county of Derbyshire. The non-metropolitan county contains 30 towns with between 10,000 and 100,000 inhabitants. There is a large amount of sparsely populated agricultural upland: 75% of the population live in 25% of the area.
Although Derbyshire is in the East Midlands, some parts, such as High Peak, are closer to the northern cities of Manchester and Sheffield and these parts do receive services which are more affiliated with northern England; for example, the North West Ambulance Service, Granada Television and United Utilities serve the High Peak and some NHS Trusts within this region are governed by the Greater Manchester Health Authority. Outside the main city of Derby, the largest town in the county is Chesterfield.
The area that is now Derbyshire was first visited, probably briefly, by humans 200,000 years ago during the Aveley interglacial as evidenced by a Middle Paleolithic Acheulian hand axe found near Hopton. Further occupation came with the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic periods of the Stone Age when Mesolithic hunter gatherers roamed the hilly tundra. The evidence of these nomadic tribes is centred around limestone caves located on the Nottinghamshire border. Deposits left in the caves date the occupancy at around 12,000 to 7,000 BCE.

The henge monument at Arbor Low

Burial mounds of Neolithic settlers are also situated throughout the county. These chambered tombs were designed for collective burial and are mostly located in the central Derbyshire region. There are tombs in Minning Low, and Five Wells, which date back to between 2000 and 2500 BCE.
Three miles west of Youlgreave lies the Neolithic henge monument of Arbor Low, which has been dated to 2500 BCE.
It is not until the Bronze Age that real signs of agriculture and settlement are found in the county. In the moors of the Peak District signs of clearance, arable fields and hut circles were discovered after archeological investigation. However this area and another settlement at Swarkestone are all that have been found.
During the Roman invasion the invaders were attracted to Derbyshire because of the lead ore in the limestone hills of the area. They settled throughout the county with forts built near Brough in the Hope Valley and near Glossop. Later they settled around Buxton, famed for its warm springs, and set up a fort near modern-day Derby in an area now known as Little Chester.
Several kings of Mercia are buried in the Repton area.
Following the Norman Conquest, much of the county was subject to the forest laws. To the northwest was the Forest of High Peak under the custodianship of William Peverel and his descendants. The rest of the county was bestowed upon Henry de Ferrers, a part of it becoming Duffield Frith. In time the whole area was given to the Duchy of Lancaster.

River Derwent at Hathersage

Meanwhile the Forest of East Derbyshire covered the whole county to the east of the River Derwent from the reign of Henry II to that of Edward I.

The rugged moorland edge of the southern Pennines at Kinder Downfall

Derbyshire is a mixture of a rural economy in the west, with a former coal mining economy in the northeast (Bolsover district), the Erewash Valley around Ilkeston and in the south around Swadlincote. The landscape varies from typical arable country in the flat lands to the south of Derby, to the hill farming of the high gritstone moorlands of the southern Pennines, which effectively begin to the north of the city. This topology and geology has had a fundamental effect on Derbyshire's development throughout its history. In addition it is rich in natural resources like lead, iron, coal, and limestone. The limestone outcrops in the central area led to the establishment of large quarries to supply the industries of the surrounding towns with lime for building and steel making, and latterly in the 20th century cement manufacture. The industrial revolution also increased demand for building stone and in the late 19th & early 20th century the railways arrival led to a large number of stone quarries to exploit the natural resources of the area. This industry has left its mark on the countryside but is still a major industry a lot of the stone is supplied as crushed stone for road building and concrete manufacture and is moved by rail. The Limestone areas of central Derbyshire were found to contain veins of lead ore and these were mined from roman times.

the Ruins of the Magpie Mine near Sheldon

Its remoteness in the late 18th century and an abundance of fast-flowing streams led to a proliferation of water power at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, following the mills pioneered by Richard Arkwright. For this reason, amongst others, Derbyshire has been said to be the home of the Industrial Revolution, and part of the Derwent Valley has been given World Heritage status.
Nationally famous companies in Derbyshire are Thorntons just south of Alfreton and JCB subsidiary JCB-Power Systems have an engine factory in South Derbyshire. Ashbourne Water used to be bottled in Buxton by Nestlé Waters UK until 2006 and Buxton Water still is. Other major employers in the county, especially around the Derby area, are Rolls-Royce plc, Egg Banking plc and Toyota.
Local attractions
The county of Derbyshire has many attractions for both tourists and local people. The county offers spectacular Peak District scenery such as Mam Tor, Kinder Scout, and other more metropolitan attractions such as Bakewell, Buxton, and Derby.

Bolsover Castle
Set high above the Vale of Scarsdale and with romantic picture-book looks

Local places of interest include Bolsover Castle, Castleton, Chatsworth House, Crich Tramway Museum, Peak Rail steam railway, Midland Railway steam railway, Cascades Gardens, Dovedale, Haddon Hall, Heights of Abraham and Matlock Bath.
In the north of the county, three large reservoirs, Howden, Derwent and Ladybower, were built during the early part of the 20th century to supply the rapidly growing populations of Sheffield, Derby and Leicester with drinking water. The land around these is now extensively used for leisure pursuits like walking and cycling, as the surrounding catchment area of moorland is protected from development, as part of the Peak District National Park.

Hardwicke Hall

There are many properties and lands in the care of the National Trust, located in Derbyshire that are open to the public, such as Calke Abbey, Hardwick Hall, High Peak Estate, Ilam Park, Kedleston Hall, Longshaw Estate near Hathersage, and Sudbury Hall on the Staffordshire border.

Chatsworth House across the River Derwent, with the Hunting Tower visible above

County emblems

Flag of Derbyshire

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Jacob's Ladder as the county flower.
In September 2006, an unofficial county flag was introduced, largely on the initiative of BBC Radio Derby. The flag consists of a St. George cross encompassing a golden Tudor Rose, which is a historical symbol of the county. The blue field represents the many waters of the county, its rivers and reservoirs, while the cross is green to mark the great areas of countryside

Ripon / Onhripum: Place in Bernard Cornwell's saxon Series ****

Ripon is a cathedral city, market town and successor parish in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England, located at the confluence of two streams of the River Ure in the form of the Laver and Skell. The city is noted for its main feature the Ripon Cathedral which is architecturally significant, as well as the Ripon Racecourse and other features such as its market. The city itself is just over 1,300 years old. It is one of only two cities in North Yorkshire, the other being York.

The city was originally known as Inhrypum and was founded by Saint Wilfrid during the time of Angle kingdom Northumbria, a period during which it enjoyed prominence in terms of religious importance in Great Britain. After a period of Viking control, it passed to the Cerdic dynasty who unified England and then the Normans who destroyed much of the city. After a period of building projects under the Plantagenets, the city emerged with a prominent wool and cloth industry. Ripon became well known for its production of spurs during the 16th and 17th century, but would later remain largely unaffected by the Industrial Revolution.

Ripon Coat of Arms

Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Ripon is the fourth smallest city in England. According to the 2001 United Kingdom Census it had a population of 15,922. It is located 11 miles (18 km) south-west of Thirsk, 16 miles (26 km) south of Northallerton and 12 miles (19 km) north of Harrogate. As well as its racecourse and cathedral, Ripon is a tourist destination due to its close proximinity to the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Studley Royal Park and Fountains Abbey. It also contains the theme park Lightwater Valley.

Northumbrian and Viking period

Artistic depiction and arms of Ripon's founder saint Wilfrid.

During its pre-history, the area which would later become Ripon was under the control of Brythonic tribe the Brigantes, three miles north of Ripon at Hutton Moor there is a large circular earthwork created by them. The Romans did not settle Ripon either, but they had a military outpost around five miles away at North Stainley. Solid evidence for the origins of Ripon can be traced back to the time of the Anglian kingdom Northumbria in the 7th century. The first structure built in the area, which at the time was known as Inhrypum, was a Christian church dedicated to St. Peter, with the settlement originating in the year 658. This was founded by a man who would later become the Bishop of York, a Northumbrian nobleman known as Wilfrid; he was granted the land by king Alhfrith. Wilfrid religiously directed the Angle kingdoms of the north from Insular Christianity calculations of Easter, to Catholic Church standards; he was later venerated as a saint.
The earliest settlers were stonemasons, glaziers and plasterers that Wilfrid had brought over to help construct the Ripon monastery, from Lyon in Francia and Rome which was then under Byzantine rule. The years just following on from the death of Wilfrid are obscure in Ripon's history. After the invasion of the so-called Great Heathen Army of Norse vikings in Northumbria Danelaw was inserted, and the Kingdom of Jórvík was founded in the Yorkshire area.

When King of England at the time Athelstan came to Northumbria to try and force out the Danelaw, he was said to have granted privelages to Ripon, Beverley and York. One of his successors was less favourable; after the Northumbrians rebelled against English rule in 948, king Edred had the buildings at Ripon burned. Prosperity was restored by the end of the 10th century as the body of saint Cuthbert was moved to Ripon for a while, due to the threat of Danish raids.

Normans and the Middle Ages

Ripon Cathedral.

After the Norman conquest of England, much of the north rebelled in 1069, even trying to bring back Danish rule; the suppression that followed was the Harrying of the North. Ripon is thought to have shrunk to a small community around the church after it, after 1/3 of the North of England had been killed. The lands of the church were transferred to St. Peter's Church at York as the Liberty of Ripon and it was during this time that the Ripon Cathedral was built on top of the ruins of Wilfrid's building. Eventually developing in the Gothic architecture style, the project owed much to the work of Roger de Pont L'Evêque and Walter de Gray, two Archbishop of York during the Plantagenet period of rule. During the 12th century Ripon built upon a booming wool trade, attracting Italian trade merchants, especially Florentines who bought large quantities.
Ripon's proximity to Fountains Abbey where the Cistercians had a long tradition of sheep farming and had vast grazing land for the animals, was of a considerable advantage. After English people were forbidden from wearing foreign cloth in 1326, Ripon also developed a cloth industry; after York and Halifax, Ripon was the chief Yorkshire producer of cloth. Due to conflict with Scotland political emphasis was on the North during the time of Edward I and Edward II, as Scottish invaders attacked numerous northern English towns. Ripon had a wakeman to make sure the residents were safely home by curfew and law and order was retained, yet Ripon was forced to pay 1000 marks to the Scots to prevent them from burning down the town on one occasion.

Reformation and Tudor times

Fountains Abbey.

Ripon, which relied heavily on its religious institutions was hit hard by the English Reformation under Tudor king Henry VIII.

The abbot of Fountains, William Thirske was expelled by Henry and replaced; he went on to become one of the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Northern England was quite traditionalist and people were unhappy about Henry's intention to break with Rome; the Pilgrimage of Grace popular rising was the manifestation of this sentiment. The revolt failed and Henry followed through with the break from Rome and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, which hit Fountains Abbey.

After Mary, Queen of Scots of the House of Stuart fled Scotland to the North of England, she stayed at Ripon on her way. The Catholic orientated north supported her and there was another popular rising in the form of the Rising of the North; this began six miles away at Topcliffe and was led by the Earl of Northumberland and the Earl of Westmorland. The rebels stayed at Ripon on 18 November 1569 but the rising eventually failed; 600 were executed in total, 300 of whom were hanged at Gallows Hill in Ripon during January 1570. Plans were drawn up to make Ripon a centre of education, a University of the North to rival Oxford and Cambridge. Although chief advisor Lord Burghley and Archbishop Sandys supported the idea Elizabeth I didn't follow it through.

Civil War and Restoration
Ripon replaced their old textiles industry with one in the creation of spurs starting in the 16th century. They were so widely known that it gave rise to the proverb "as true steel as Ripon Rowels". At the time spurs did not just serve as functional riding gear, but were also fashionable; an expensive pair was made for king James I when he stayed at Ripon during 1617. It was James who granted Ripon a Royal Charter in 1604 and created the first mayor of Ripon. After the Bishops' Wars in Scotland, a treaty was signed at Ripon in 1640 to stop the conflict between Charles I and the Scottish Covenanters. Although it wasn't in the main line of fighting to the east, Ripon remained loyal and royalist during the English Civil War. There was an incident in 1643 when parliamentarian forces under Thomas Mauleverer entered Ripon and damaged the Minster, but John Mallory and the royalist forces soon settled the matter after a skirmish in the Market Place.The royalists were defeated in the Civil War and Charles I spent two nights as a prisoner in Ripon. Oliver Cromwell visited the city twice on his way to battle; first on the way to Preston and then on the way to Worcester.

Studley Royal Park.

By the time of the English Restoration several strains of non-conformist Christian practises had appeared, though they were scarce in Ripon; after the majority Anglicanism there remained a Catholic minority. After the Revolution of 1688 which overthrew James II there were Jacobite risings in the British Isles; some Riponmen were put in jail during February 1764 upon "suspicion of corresponding with Prince Charles Edward Stuart".

John Wesley

Founder of Methodism, John Wesley preached in Ripon and a minority community of followers built up. During the Georgian era Ripon, unlike several other cities was not significantly effected by the Industrial Revolution despite the existence of various guilds. Although more widely known for his activities outside of Ripon, John Aislabie during his time as Member of Parliament for Ripon created the Studley Royal Park, its water garden and erected the obelisk.

Newby Hall was also created during this period by Christopher Wren.

Prebend House The house where Stuart king James I stayed during 1617.

Contemporary Ripon
Communications were improved with the opening of the Ripon railway station during May 1848. At the time of the First World War a large military training camp was built in Ripon, the local community provided hospitality for the soldiers wives and also the Flemish refugees became part of Ripon's community. It had a similar, though less large scale role during Second World War and in recognition of this the Royal Engineers were presented with the Freedom of the City in 1947. Since the war, Ripon has gone through some remodeling and has grown in size, it attracts thousands of tourists each year who come to view the religious buildings, nearby Studley Park, the Ripon Racecourse and in recent times the theme park Lightwater Valley.

Lightwater Lake


Sir George Cockburn was MP for Ripon from 1841 until 1847.

During the Middle Ages, Ripon was governed by one wakeman and aldermen known as the twelve keepers, they oversaw the general running of the town and the maintaining of law and order. The title of wakeman was changed to mayor in 1604, and twenty-four common councilmen were appointed to assist the aldermen in the running of Ripon. The borough corporation was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 and formed a municipal borough of the West Riding of Yorkshire until 1974. In 1974, following the Local Government Act 1972, the former area of Ripon borough was merged with Harrogate borough and several rural districts of the West Riding to form an enlarged Harrogate borough in the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire. Although it is now governed by Harrogate Borough Council, Ripon also became a successor parish, with a parish council of its own called Ripon City Council.
Ripon was represented in the Houses of Parliament with its own Member of Parliament as far back as the Model Parliament of 1295. Although Ripon also sent representatives in 1307 and 1337, it did not have permanent representation. Instead it was represented by the Member of Parliament of Yorkshire until Ripon had its own parliamentary borough recreated on a permanent basis in 1553. Ripon was able to elect two MPs to represent its parliamentary borough; the right of election was vested not in the population as a whole, but in the burgesses until the Great Reform Act of 1832. The next Reform Act, which came into force at the 1868 election, reduced Ripon's representation from two MPs to one. Some of the more notable MPs of Ripon were John Aislabie, Frederick John Robinson and George Cockburn. The Reform Act of 1885 abolished the borough of Ripon, but the county constituency in which the town was placed as a result was named Ripon, and this continued as a single member constituency, though with some boundary changes, until it was abolished before the 1983 general election. Since 1983 Ripon has been part of the Skipton and Ripon constituency, a Conservative Party stronghold. The city council itself has 15 members, all of whom are currently independents.


Inside St Mary's at Studley Royal.

Christianity is the largest religious affiliation in Ripon; 79.3% of the people in the area polled as part of the United Kingdom Census 2001 professed the Christian faith, around 8% above the national average. Ripon Cathedral is the main religious building in the city and contains a tomb said to contain the bones of Saint Wilfrid who founded a monastery here and with it the town. The Venerable William Gibson is another noted local figure, a Catholic martyr who was one of the eighty-five martyrs of England and Wales. A local recusant woman Mary Ward in 1609 founded the Catholic teaching order the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as the Loreto Sisters it has provinces around the world.
The Church of England are in the majority with two parishes; the ancient Ripon Cathedral and Holy Trinity Church‎. Ripon is a suffragan bishopric of the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds represented by the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, created in 1836 with just Ripon in its title but adapted to include Leeds in 2000, its purpose is to provide a provincial episcopal visitor for the Province of York. During the time of the kingdom of Northumbria there was a short lived Diocese of Ripon, with Eadhedus as the only bishop. There is a Roman Catholic parish in Ripon called St. Wilfrid's Church, it is covered by the Diocese of Leeds in the Harrogate deanery and it is an architecturally significant building. There are also around two places of worship for Methodism in Ripon.


The Ripon Hornblower.

As a market town, the market day is central to culture in Ripon; market day is held on a Thursday, there are around 120 stalls in total. In celebration of the cities founder the Wilfrid Procession is held every year; it originated in the year 1108 when king Henry I granted the privilege of holding a fair for him. At the procession there are various decorated floats which make their way through the city with locals in costume. Part of the tradition represents the return of Wilfrid to Ripon, a decorated dummy (sometimes a man in costume instead) dressed as Wilfrid is sat on a horse, accompanied by two musicians with another man carrying St Wilfrid's hat around. Ripon also has dancing traditions such as the Long Sword dance and Morris dance.
The tradition of the Ripon Hornblower has endured for centuries and continues on to this day. It originates with the wakeman of Ripon, whose job in the Middle Ages was similar of that to a mayor although he had more responsibilities in the keeping of law and order. Every day at 9:00pm the horn is blown at the four corners of the obelsilk in Ripon Market. The horn has become the symbol of the city and represents Ripon on the Harrogate borough coat of arms. There are three museums in Ripon collectively known as the Yorkshire Law and Order Museums; it includes the Courthouse, the Prison and Police and the Workhouse Museums.
In terms of sport, the most noted field of participation is horse racing with the Ripon Racecourse. The sport has a long history in Ripon, with the first recorded meeting on Bondgate Green in 1664, while its current location has been used as a racetrack since 1900. Ripon staged Britain's first race for female riders in 1723. The Great St. Wilfrid Stakes is perhaps the best known race at the course. The town is represented in football by Ripon City Magnets who currently play in the local West Yorkshire League. Newby Hall Cricket Club represent Ripon in cricket, while Ripon Rugby have represented the city in rugby union since 1886. There is also a golf course in the north of Ripon, represented by the Ripon City Golf Club since 1908


The Ripon Canal continues to be used by barges in the modern day.

The city was previously served by Ripon railway station on the Leeds-Northallerton line that ran, as the name suggests, between Leeds and Northallerton. It was once part of the North Eastern Railway and then LNER. The Ripon line was closed in September 1969 as part of the wider Beeching Axe, despite a vigorous campaign by local campaigners, including the city's MP. The issue remains a significant one in local politics and there are movements wanting to restore the line. Reports suggest the reopening of a line between Ripon and Harrogate railway station would be economically viable, costing £40 million and could initially attract 1,200 passengers a day, rising to 2,700
By road Ripon is well connected; it is accessible from the north and south via the A1 road which connects to Ripon by the B6265. Ripon is accessible from the east and west via the A61 which is the main road running through the city. The lack of a railway means that the city has a frequent high-quality bus services ran by various operators; there are regular bus routes to Leeds, Boroughbridge, York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Leyburn, Richmond and others. The Ripon Canal was proposed by John Smeaton in 1766, to connect the city centre to part of the River Ure; it was used for the transportation of coal from Durham into the city. Although abandoned in 1956, a conservationist campaign saw it reopened in 1996; today its purpose is mostly of a aesthetic nature with barges travelling down it and local fishermen using it.

Ripon Cathedral

The Ripon Jewel was found close to Ripon Cathedral in 1976.

It is a small gold round piece of jewellery, believed to date from the seventh century. Gem settings have been fashioned on the front with strips of gold, however the piece's central setting and inner arcs of inlay are missing.
It has been suggested that the piece was made to adorn a relic casket, cross or other church fitting ordered by Saint Wilfrid

Ripon Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds and the mother church of the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds, situated in the small North Yorkshire city of Ripon, England
Background. A church on the site is thought to date from 672, when it is believed to have been the second stone building erected in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. The crypt dates from this period.
People have been coming to worship and pray at Ripon for more than 1,350 years. The Cathedral building itself is part of this continuing act of worship, begun in the 7th century when Saint Wilfrid built one of England’s first stone churches on this site, and still renewed every day. Within the nave and choir, you can see the evidence of 800 years in which master craftsmen have expressed their faith in wood and stone.

Church History
Today’s church is the fourth to have stood on this site. Saint Wilfrid brought stonemasons, plasterers and glaziers from France and Italy to build his great basilica in AD 672. A contemporary account by Eddius Stephanus tells us:
"In Ripon, Saint Wilfrid built and completed from the foundations to the roof a church of dressed stone, supported by various columns and side-aisles to a great height and many windows, arched vaults and a winding cloister."
Devastated by the English king in AD 948 as a warning to the Archbishop of York, only the crypt of Wilfrid’s church survived but today this tiny 7th century chapel rests complete beneath the later grandeur of Archbishop Roger de Pont l’Evêque’s 12th century minster.
A second minster soon arose at Ripon, but it too perished – this time in 1069 at the hands of William the Conqueror. Thomas of Bayeux, first Norman Archbishop of York, then instigated the construction of a third church, traces of which were incorporated into the later chapter house of Roger’s minster.
The exceptional Early English west front was added in 1220, its twin towers originally crowned with wooden spires and lead. Major rebuilding had to be postponed due to the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses but resumed after the accession of Henry VII and the restoration of peace in 1485. The nave was widened and the central tower partially rebuilt. The church's thirty five misericords were carved between 1489 and 1494. It is worth noting that the same (Ripon) school of carvers also carved the misericords at Beverley Minster and Manchester Cathedral, which as a group constitute the UK's best misericords and, arguably the finest group in Europe.
But in 1547, before this work was finished, Edward VI dissolved Ripon’s college of canons. All revenues were appropriated by the Crown and the tower never received its last Perpendicular arches. It was not until 1604 that James I issued his Charter of Restoration.

Cathedral status
The minster finally became a cathedral (the church where the Bishop has his cathedra or throne) in 1836, the focal point of the newly created Anglican Diocese of Ripon - the first to be established since the Reformation.