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Project 365 - 322


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Project 365 - 322

19 Nov 2014 8:56PM   Views : 533 Unique : 383

The Obelisk.

A local landmark today, The Richmond Obelisk. Which stands on the site of the old market cross.


*When Richmonds' water supply was upgraded a new supply was brought from springs at Aislabeck, this was to feed a reservoir constructed on the site of the old Market Cross, which was duly demolished to make way for it. The water then flowed by gravity to four collection points, called pants, in the local dialect.

Above the Market place reservoir was erected the present market Obelisk, which is inscribed Rebuilt A.D 1771, Christopher Wayne Esq., Mayor.

It was designed by Robert Plummer and built by George Branson, both local stonemasons. The Agreement between Branson, and the Corporation who bore the cost can be summarized thus:

Branson is to have all the stonework of the old cross "except the dogs cut in stone placed at each corner" and the stone clumn in the centre. He is to construct beneath the new Cross a cistern 40 feet in length, 8 feet wide and 4 feet deep to hold 8,544 gallons of water. To the north-east of the new Cross he is to construct another small cistern to hold not less than 400 gallonsof watr to be connected to "the Great Reservoir" by a pipe 2inches in diameter with a stopcock. The walls of the large reservoir are to be 18 inches thick, cramped with iron and "laid in terras"(stepped). The base is to be composed of ashlar stones 8-12 inches thick "rabbited" (rebated) one into another, on a clay base 12 inches thick. The reservoir is to be covered with "an arch of stone neatly pointed and set in terras two inches thick". At the bottom is to be a plug "for the letting of water... so the same may be cleaned as often as necessary". A door giving access to the interior is to be placed in one of the recesses in the "pedestal" above ground "with stone steps doen unto the great cistern .... The Pedestal part of the obelisk to be arched over on the inside in a Gothick manner with bricks to spring a little above the door". The smaller reservoir is to be connected to "pants" in various parts of town. The whole to be completed by 10th October 1771. Branson is to "uphold the whole building for the term of seven years" and is to receive 180 10s for the work.

The obelisk was constructed as planned, but the main reservoir beneath it does not exactly follow the contract details, being circular in plan, perhaps geological conditions necessitated amendments. It is not known if there was a second reservoir nearby. The cross originally surmounting the obelisk was damaged by lightning and was replaced in 1902 by the present cone-shaped finial, the stone of which has never weathered to match the rest of the structure.*

*extract from a History of Richmond, North Yorkshire by Jane Hatcher.

An interestiing structure for sure, and surprisingly this is the first time i've tried to photograph it. I will be trying again though.


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