Richmond Castle, Richmond, North Yorkshire
Richmond castle was probably built in the 1070s by Alan Rufus. The nineteenth century detention block, just inside the Castle entrance, held conscientious objectors during World War I. The prisoners recorded their personal feelings in the form of graffiti including sketches, names and dates. The Castle served as a base for the Non-Combatant Corps from 1916. Consciencious objectors (men who for genuine religious or moral reasons would not fight in the new conscript army being raised) were often sent to join this unit. The unit was set up so that they could support the war effort without fighting. Some of these men were 'absolutist' objectors who were opposed to any support for the war. Amongst these were the 'Richmond Sixteen' who were imprisoned in the cell block at Richmond Castle. Their treatment caused a national debate despite widespread hatred of objectors. In May 1916 they were taken from Richmond Castle to an army camp in northern France. After their release some faced continuing hostility but the fact that they had stayed true to their principles had to some degree changed public opinion on conciencious objectors and pacifists. This site is now in the care of English Heritage (2010).