Stone arched gateway built in the early C14 as part of Richmond’s medieval town walls.
Reasons for Designation
The Bar, a surviving gateway originally part of Richmond’s medieval town wall, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Period: part of Richmond’s medieval town wall, contributing to our understanding of the history of the town’s defences and of the development of this important medieval settlement;
* Survival: it retains significant evidence of medieval methods of construction and contains some architectural detailing;
* Potential: the area around the structure will contain significant below ground evidence of the use of the gate in the medieval period.
Between the Roman and post-medieval periods, a large number of English towns were provided with defences. Construction of these reached its peak in around 1300, although many were then maintained for many centuries thereafter. The defences could take the form of earthen banks, ditches or masonry walls or a combination of all three. They were constructed to mark the limits of the town, or its intended size, and could be used to defend the town in times of trouble. Their symbolic role in marking out the settlement and its importance was also significant and thus many defensive circuits included well-built and visually impressive water-filled moats, walls and gateways. In the medieval period the development of towns was closely associated with major landowners and many towns were deliberately established next to major castles so that their lordly owners could influence and gain from the important market, trade and other functions of the developing urban centres.
The Bar was constructed in the C14 when a wall was built around the centre of the town primarily to keep Scottish raiders at bay. Grants for the building and repair of the wall were made in 1313, 1337 and 1341. The threat was considered real and in 1314-1315 the Archbishop of York instructed the warden of Richmond Friary to preach against the Scots and rouse the people to resist.
The town wall followed a circuit around the western, northern and eastern sides of the town: the southern side being formed by the castle. It was built along the rear of the plots of land that extended from the back of the properties which surrounded the market place. It is likely that the wall was built along the line of an earlier feature, probably an earthen bank, which defined the limits of the formal planned town of Richmond established in the early C12. The town defences enclosed an area of 18 acres (7.2ha), half of which was taken up by the castle. The town wall fell into disrepair and by the 1540s was described as ruinous. Although none of the wall survives today, most of its circuit can still be traced in the current street plan. The Bar was built in the south western part of the defences to allow access for pedestrians and horses to and from the suburb clustered around the green located outside the town to the south west. Other gateways were built at the principal points of entry into the town, being located on Finkle Street on the western side, Millgate on the south eastern side and Frenchgate on the northern side. These were demolished by 1773 in order to allow traffic movement. A further pedestrian gate known as the Postern Gate, which still survives, was built in the northern part of the defences to allow access to the Friary to the north of the town.
The standing structure of the Bar is also listed Grade II*.
PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the monument includes the standing remains of a stone gateway, known as the Bar, which was constructed as part of the medieval town defences of Richmond. Also included is the ground to the front, beneath and rear of the archway, thus including the buried surfaces and other associated remains of the medieval routeway that used the gate.
DESCRIPTION: the gateway is located to the west of Richmond Castle at the top of a steep slope leading down to the River Swale. The Bar comprises a stone-built structure measuring 8m north to south (along the line of the former town defences) by 2.5m deep (the thickness of the wall) and stands to approximately 6m in height. It is constructed of randomly coursed rough stones. The gateway opening is 1.8m wide through the centre of the structure. On the western side of the structure, the outward-facing side of the gateway, there is a segmented pointed archway formed with dressed stones. The top of the structure is truncated and is now rounded. The ground surface through the archway and on either side is largely cobbled. There is a stone buttress on the western side of the gateway. There is no evidence that the medieval wall, which originally extended to the north and south of the gateway, survives.
EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the structure of the gateway abuts a house to the north (No 8 The Bar) and effectively forms part of a garden wall to the south. The monument also includes the lane that passes through the gateway for 3m to the west of the upstanding structure and eastwards to a line drawn between the southern corner of No 8 The Bar and the northern corner of the garden wall. These areas will include remains of the medieval ground surface and will also provide for the support and preservation of the monument.
EXCLUSIONS: the bench and fittings, the metal handrail, the light fittings and cabling, the drain-covers and telegraph pole are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features and/or the structures to which they are attached (within the mapped area of the monument), is included.