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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Working up to Wilfrid's Day.

We had been to Ripon before, but really it was a fleeting visit as we were on the way to or from somewhere else so we were looking forward to exploring it further. The moorings in Ripon are close to the centre, especially if you cross the Skeld and approach through the cathedral church yard.

We went in search of the Tourist Information Centre that was in the Town Hall on the Market Square. The first thing we saw was the cab mans shelter. We had seen permanent ones in various areas of London but this one has wheels.

The very large market square is overlooked by the very handsome Town Hall. It was built between 1799 and 1801 at the cost of Mrs Allanson of Studley Royal, for the use of the Ripon Corporation. In 1897 it was presented in perpetuity to the Ripon Council by the 1st Marquess of Ripon to celebrate that he had been the Mayor of this, the 3rd smallest city in England, between 1855/6. The Motto at the tpo means something like 'you had better listen for the Wakeman and react when he calls'! More of him later.

 The obelisk was raised in 1702 and was designed by Nicholas Hamksmoor, famous for building churches in London. It is now 80 foot tall and is the earliest free standing obelisk in the UK. It was paid for by John Aislabie who made his money in the South Sea Bubble and bought Studley Royal and built the water gardens there. He got into politics and was eventually Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was remodeled by in 1780 b y his brother who added Fountains Abbey to the land.

On top of the obelisk is this horn that is the emblem of the City since very early times. It had been told that when it was reconditioned in the past several silver sovereigns were placed in it. In 2015 when it was once again re gilded there was only a not in the horn to say they had not found the sovereigns and the bill for doing the old work!

The Hospital of St. Anne or the Maison de Dieu has been an alms institution since before 1438 and was to house 4 men and 4 women plus 2 beds for wayfarers. It was completely remodeled by the Greenwood Family in 1869 and was for eight local citizens. and is an area of calm between the river and the Cathedral.

The Cathedral isn't quite as grand as many but has a very 'Yorkshire quality to it, squat and rugged to ensure it doesn't blow away. There was an art project in the grounds that was a shed with a camera obscura in it showing the front of the building.

Ripon was acually the last spa town to be created in 1905. It never really took off as the fashion changed and the spa water was pumped form 4 miles away. However in the 1930's the swimming pool was added and these are still going strong (at 85deg it said in the lobby). The tile work inside and out is well wort a look. I do wish that places like this would remove the buddleia and birch that start to grow in the brick work as it just means the roots are going to mean you pay for it in future years.

In the Spa Park is this statue of The 1st Marquess of Ripon. He was born at 10 Downing Street, as the second son of Prime Minister F.J. Robinson in 1827. He became the Vicroy of India, the First Lord of the Admiralty among loads of other bodies and titles and inherited the Studley Royal/Fountains Abbey estates.

Also in the park is the monument to fallen of Ripon which I liked for the human nature of it rather than an angel or something. As this week has been commemorating the Battle of Passchendaele I don't think it is out of place.

I liked the view of the Cathedral over the roofs of the houses.

We knew that Saturday was St. Wilfrid's Parade but we didn't know what it was going to be like. St. Wilfrid was the founder of the city and the Cathedral in 672 and in 1108 Henry I gave permission to hold a fair on the the saints day 30th July. This years parade broke with tradition as it was the first time that a female had represented Wilfrid on the parade. There had only been one applicant. In the past however they had used a dummy!! The parade was led by the Ripon Brass Band who were very good indeed.

Here is St Wifrid on here horse. The parade started at 1345 and was still going round the town at about 1600. The horn blower was also in the parade.

St. Wifrid was followed by the Ripon Morris Dancer who kept it up for the whole two hours or more. There were then a series of floats from local organisations like the Rugby Club, school and retirement home. The whole town was out and plenty of visitors too and the weather stayed good all day. There was then a music event in the evening.

It was a lovely day and great to see everybody enjoying themselves and that traditions were still being followed.

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