Richmond, Surrey, England - Encyclopedia

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RICHMOND, a municipal borough in the Kingston parliamentary division of Surrey, England, 9 m. W.S.W. of Charing Cross, London. Pop. (1891) 26,875; (1901) 31,672. It lies on the right bank of the Thames, which is here crossed by a bridge carrying the road to Twickenham. Through its pleasant situation Richmond has grown into a large residential suburb of the metropolis. The town was anciently called Syenes and afterwards Schene and Sheen (a name preserved in the village of East Sheen, adjacent on the London side) until the name was in 1500 changed to Richmond by command of Henry VII., who was earl of Richmond in Yorkshire. It grew up round the royal manor house, which became a frequent residence of sovereigns, but of which nothing more than a gateway remains. Edward I. received the Scotch commissioners at his manor of Sheen in 1300. The palace was rebuilt by Edward III., who died here in 1377. It was frequently used by Richard II., and here his wife Anne of Bohemia died, upon which he cursed the place and "caused it to be thrown down and defaced." By Henry V., however, it was rebuilt, and a great tournament was held here in 1492 by Henry VII., who after its destruction by fire in 1498 restored it. Henry VIII. gave it to Wolsey to reside in, after the latter presented him with the new palace of Hampton Court. James I. settled it on his son Henry, prince of Wales, who restored and embellished it at great expense. Charles I. added to it the new deer park generally known as Richmond Park, 2253 acres in extent, which is surrounded by a wall 11 m. in length. After the execution of the king, the parliament presented the park to the citizens of London, who again presented it to Charles II. at the Restoration. Though partly dismantled, the palace was the residence of the queen dowager till 1665, and by James II. it was used as a nursery for the young prince; but, gradually falling into decay, it was parcelled into tenements about 1720. In the old deer park extending northwards from the site of the palace, Kew Observatory was erected in 1769, occupying the site of a Carthusian convent founded by Henry V., and a dwelling-house in which Swift for some time resided. The White Lodge was built by George I., and has been a residence of various members of the royal family. To the south-east of the town, at the entrance to Richmond Park, is Richmond Hill, from which is seen a famous view of the Thames with the surrounding country to the west. This view was secured to the public by an agreement, sealed on the 7th of February 1896, between the corporation and the trustees of the earl of Dysart, by an act of Parliament of 1902, and by the acquisition in the same year, by the London County Council, with the assistance of the borough of Richmond and other interested local authorities, of the Marble Hill Estate and other property on the Middlesex shore. The church of St Mary Magdalen is of considerable antiquity, but almost entirely rebuilt; it contains a large number of monuments to celebrated persons. A theatre, first established in 1719, was during his later years leased by Edmund Kean. The town has a Wesleyan theological college, founded in 1834. Richmond, which was incorporated in 1890, is governed by a mayor, ro aldermen and 30 councillors. The borough includes Kew (q.v.), Petersham and North Sheen. Area, 2491 acres. Visit a Virtual Richmond here: [1] (

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