The Bargate, medieval gateway


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020324

Date first listed: 07-Nov-2001


Ordnance survey map of The Bargate, medieval gateway
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 11:57:35.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Richmondshire (District Authority)

Parish: Richmond

National Grid Reference: NZ 17033 00730


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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 Bargate at Richmond is one of only two surviving gates from the medieval defences. It retains significant evidence of medieval methods of construction and contains some architectural details. The area around the structure will contain significant below ground evidence of the use of the gate in the medieval period. The monument offers important scope for understanding the history of Richmond's town defences and of the development of an important medieval town.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the standing remains of a stone gateway, known as the Bargate, which was constructed as part of the medieval town defences of Richmond. Also included is the ground through the archway and on either side in which remains of the medieval ground surface will survive. The gateway is located to the west of Richmond castle at the top of a steep slope leading down to the river Swale. The Bargate was constructed in the 14th century 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 12th century. 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 Bargate 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 Bargate comprises a stone built structure measuring 8m north to south by 2.5m deep and is approximately 6m in height. It is constructed of randomly coursed rough stones. There is an opening 1.8m wide through the centre of the structure. On the external (western) end of the opening there is a segmented pointed archway. The top of the structure is rounded. The ground through the archway and on either side is 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. On the northern side the monument abuts a house and to the southern side it abuts a garden wall. The monument also includes the ground for 3m to the west of the structure and as far as the wall to the east of the pavement on the eastern side of the structure. These areas will include remains of the medieval ground surface and also provide for the support and preservation of the monument. The Bargate is Listed Grade II*. The cobbled ground surface, 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, is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 34834

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Chandler, J, John Lelands Itinerary: Travels in Tudor England, (1993), 563-4
Ryder, J, Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire, (1982), 141
Wenham LP, , Richmond Burgages 1679-1820, (1978)

End of official listing