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Learn more about Ripon

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Population: 15,922 (parish); 16,468 (urban area) (2001 census figures)
Ordnance Survey
OS grid reference:SE3112271296
Borough: Harrogate
Shire county: North Yorkshire
Region: Yorkshire and the Humber
Constituent country:England
Sovereign state:United Kingdom
Ceremonial county: North Yorkshire
Historic county: Yorkshire (West Riding)
Police force: North Yorkshire Police
Fire and rescue: {{{Fire}}}
Post office and telephone
Post town: RIPON
Postal district: HG4
Dialling code: 01765
UK Parliament: Skipton and Ripon
European Parliament: Yorkshire and the Humber
Image:Flag of England.svg

Ripon is a small cathedral city in Yorkshire, 214 miles NNW of London, England. The city had a population of 15,922 at the 2001 census, making it the fourth smallest city in England after Wells, Ely and the City of London (in the rest of the United Kingdom, St David's, Bangor, and Armagh are also smaller).

It is pleasantly situated at the confluence of the streams Laver and Skell with the River Ure, which is crossed by a fine bridge of nine arches. The streets are for the most part narrow and irregular, and, although most of the houses are comparatively modern, some of them retain the picturesque gables characteristic of earlier times. Ripon is part of the Skipton and Ripon parliamentary constituency.

Ripon was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and remained a municipal borough until 1974, when under the Local Government Act 1972 it became part of the Harrogate district. Ripon became a successor parish, with a parish council called Ripon City Council.


[edit] Minster

Main article: Ripon Cathedral

The cathedral, which the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica described as "not ranking among those of the first class", is nevertheless celebrated for its fine proportions, and is of great interest from the various styles of architecture which it includes. Its entire length from east to west is 266 feet, the length of the transepts 130 feet, and the width of the nave and aisles 87 feet. Besides a large square central tower, there are two western towers. The Minster was founded on the ruins of St Wilfrid's abbey about 680, but of this Saxon building nothing now remains except the crypt, called St Wilfrid's Needle.

The west front of Ripon minster

The present building was begun by Archbishop Roger (1154-1181), and to this transition-period belong the transepts and portions of the choir. The western front and towers, fine specimens of Early English, were probably the work of Walter de Grey, archbishop of York (d.1255), and about the close of the century the eastern portion of the choir was rebuilt in the Decorated style. The nave, portions of the central tower, and two bays of the choir are perpendicular--having been rebuilt towards the close of the 15th century. Earlier than the rest of the fabric (except the crypt) is part of the chapter-house and the vestry, adjoining the south side of the choir, and terminating eastward in an apse. This is pure Norman work, and there is a crypt of that period beneath, which was formerly filled with unburied bones.

It became a cathedral, and the seat of the Bishop of Ripon, in 1836, with the creation of the Diocese of Ripon, the first new diocese to be created in England since the Reformation. This also led to the recognition of city status for Ripon.

There are a number of monuments of historical and antiquarian interest. The diocese, called 'Ripon and Leeds' since 1999, includes rather less than one-third of the parishes of Yorkshire. Bishop Mount, the home of the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, lies about a mile to the North of Ripon, while the old Bishop's Palace, a Victorian building in Tudor style, is situated in extensive grounds about a mile to the West. In the vicinity is the domain of Studley Royal, the seat of the Marquess of Ripon, which contains the celebrated ruins of Fountains Abbey. The principal secular buildings are the town hall, the public rooms, and the mechanics' institution (1894). There are several old charities, including the hospital of St John the Baptist, founded in 1109 but modernized; the hospital of St Anne, founded probably in the reign of Henry VI by an unknown benefactor; and the hospital of St Mary Magdalene for women. This last was founded by Thurstan, archbishop of York (1114-1141), as a secular community, one of the special duties of which was to minister to lepers. In the 13th century a master and chaplain took the place of the lay brethren, and in 1334 a chantry was founded. The chapel remains, with its interesting Norman work, its low side-windows, said to have allowed the lepers to follow the services, and its pre-Reformation altar of stone, a rare example.

[edit] Monastery

Ripon (In Rhypum, Ad Ripam) owed its origin to the monastery founded in the 7th century. A certain king, Alchfrith is said to have given the site of the town to Eata, abbot of Melrose, to found a monastery, but before it was completed Eata was deposed for refusing to celebrate Easter according to the Roman usage, and St Wilfrid was appointed the first abbot. Another version of the story, however, says that the land was given to St Wilfrid, who himself built the monastery. Ripon is said to have been made a royal borough by Alfred the Great, and in 937, Athelstan is stated to have granted to the monastery sanctuary, freedom from toll and taxes, and the privilege of holding a court, although both charters attributed to him are known to be spurious. At the same time he is said to have given the manor to Wulfstan I, Archbishop of York. About 950 the monastery and town were destroyed by King Edred during his expedition against the Danes, but the monastery was rebuilt by the archbishops of York, and about the time of the Conquest was changed to a collegiate church. A millenial celebration of charter status took place in 1886 and 1986.

In 1318, when the Scots invaded England, Ripon only escaped being burnt a second time by the payment of 1000 marks. The custom of blowing the wakeman's horn every night at nine o'clock, maintained to this day, is said to have originated about AD 700. It was probably at first a means of calling the people together in case of a sudden invasion, but was afterwards a signal for setting the watch. A horn with a baldric and the motto "Except the Lord keep the city the watchman waketh but in vain", taken from Psalm 127, forms the mayor's badge.

The archbishops of York as lords of the manor had various privileges in the town, among which were the right of holding a market and fair, and Archbishop John, being summoned in the reign of Henry I to answer by what right he claimed these privileges, said that he held them by prescription and by the charter of Bang Æthelstan. Henry I afterwards granted or confirmed to Archbishop Thomas a fair on the feast of St Wilfrid and four following days. The fairs and markets belonged to the archbishops of York until they were transferred to the bishop of Ripon in 1837. In 1857 they were transferred to the ecclesiastical commissioners, from whom they were purchased by the corporation of Ripon in 1880. From before the Conquest until the incorporation charter of 1604 Ripon was governed by a wakeman and 12 elders, or aldermen, but in 1604 the title of wakeman was changed to mayor, and 12 aldermen and 24 common councilmen were appointed.

The manufacture of cloth was at one time carried on in Ripon, but was almost lost in the 16th century when the town was visited by Leland. The making of spurs succeeded the cloth manufacture and became so noted that the saying "as true as Ripon rowells" was a well-known proverb. This manufacture died out in the 18th century. Ripon was summoned to send two members to parliament in 1295, and occasionally from that time until 1328-1329. The privilege was revived in 1553, after which the burgesses continued to send two members until 1867, when they were allowed only one. This latter privilege was taken away by the Redistribution Bill of 1883, and it now gives its name to one of the divisions of the county.

This entry was originally based on material from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

[edit] Education

[edit] Secondary schools

[edit] Ripon Grammar School

Ripon Grammar School is a co-educational selective intake, state secondary grammar school. Pupils age ranges are from 11-18 and number about 750. Claimed to originate in Saxon times, it was refounded in the reign of Queen Mary in 1555. The school motto is the Old English phrase 'Giorne ymb lare y diowatdomas' ('Eager to learn and seek after righteousness').<ref>Ripon Grammar School</ref> <ref>Ripon Grammar School OFSTED report</ref>

The school became coeducational in the 1960s. Although most pupils are day-pupils from Ripon itself, there are attached, separate, boys and girls boarding houses. Former pupils are known as Old Riponians. Notable old Riponians include: David George Kendall the statistician, Beilby Porteus, Georgian Bishop of Chester and London, William Stubbs the Victorian Bishop of Oxford, fashion designer Bruce Oldfield, the local MP David Curry (head boy 1962), and Richard Hammond, television presenter.

Ripon was the first school catchment area in England in which parents voted to keep a selective school in 2000.

In January 2006 the school was awarded engineering status, which will help fund the improvement of facilities in the science and technology departments. This was largely due to the efforts of current headmaster Martin Pearman.

[edit] Ripon College

Ripon College (from 1999), formerly Ripon City School, is a former secondary modern school across Clotherholme road from Ripon Grammar.<ref>Ripon College</ref>

[edit] Independent schools

The Cathedral Choir School is a co-ed preparatory school founded in 1960. The school is a member of The Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools and The Choir Schools' Association.<ref>Ripon Cathedral Choir School</ref>

[edit] College of Ripon and York St John

The college descended from two Anglican teacher training colleges, which were founded in York in 1841 (for men) and 1846 (for women). In 1862, the women's college relocated to Ripon. Over the next century, the colleges gradually diversified their education programmes. The colleges merged in 1974 to form the College of Ripon and York St John. In 1990 the combined institution became a college of the University of Leeds. Between 1999 and 2001, all activities were transferred to York and the college received the name York St John College. The former buildings of the Ripon college and its halls of residence have subsequently been redeveloped by property developers.

[edit] Population

Ripon's blend of rural-poor, lower and upper middle class types, and a few wealthy landowners make the city, in socioeconomic terms, a fascinatingly diverse place, given its comparatively small population. Ethnically, however, Ripon noticeably lacks diversity, particularly in comparison to towns in West Yorkshire. There is also a large military presence, due to the sizeable army camp located on the outskirts of the city.

[edit] Transport

Ripon once had a railway station, on the North Eastern Railway, later part of the LNER. It lay on a section between Harrogate and Northallerton, which was part of the main route from Leeds northwards. It had been a very busy line, served by trains running between Liverpool and Newcastle, and until the 1960s was served by named expresses including the Queen of Scots Pullman, which ran between King's Cross and Glasgow. The Harrogate to Northallerton section lost its passenger services in March 1967, and the line closed completely in September 1969, despite a vigorous campaign by local campaigners, including the city's MP. It was revealed that in its final complete year of operation the section had made an operating loss of barely £12,000 despite no attempt having been made to cut costs. Nevertheless, Ripon still joined a list, also including Wells and Southwell, of English cathedral towns and cities that have lost their railway. In recent years there has been a movement to restore the line, at least between Harrogate and Ripon, with the cost being an estimated £40 million. Ironically, the city's bypass, completed in the mid 1990s, utilises part of the railway line's course just to the east of the city, and crosses the River Ure just yards from where the railway used to. The station still stands but is now mostly surrounded by new houses. Reconstruction of the railway is not impossible, though a filled-in cutting and short tunnel just north of Wormald Green would have to be re-excavated, but the line could not follow its former route through Ripon itself, and could not use the original station. This might be to the line's benefit, as more people had used the former station to travel south than north, but with the station situated on the north-eastern edge of the city, it had been criticised for being over a mile from the city centre and in the wrong direction.

[edit] External links

[edit] References


Places with City status in England
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