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Richmondshire is a local government district of North Yorkshire, England. It covers a large northern area of the Yorkshire Dales including Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, Wensleydale and Coverdale, with the prominent Scots' Dyke and Scotch Corner along the centre. Teesdale lies to the north. It is larger than four of the English counties, such as Berkshire.
The history of this district in antiquity is not well known, but the closest important Roman settlement was at Catterick in what became known as Rheged, site of the Battle of Catterick. At the terminus of Scandinavian York, there was a local bout of rebellion in Stainmore, which resulted in the death of Eric Bloodaxe. The Scandinavian settlement of this area was eastwards from the Irish Sea with names such as Gilpatrick in Middleham and Thorfinn in Bedale occurring at the time of the Domesday Book. At the time of the Norman Conquest it was the Fee of Gillingshire, held by Edwin, Earl of Mercia.
Gillingshire was made up of the Borough of Richmond and five wapentakes of Gilling West, Gilling East, Hang West, Hang East and Hallikeld. After the Harrying of the North, the land became capital of the Duchy of Brittany's Honour of Richmond (first as a barony, then a county and later a dukedom). The honour of Richmond was one of the three largest lordships created by William the Conqueror. He granted it to his cousin, Alan the Red, brother of the Duke of Brittany. Alan had other English estates and by the time that Domesday Book was compiled he was one of the richest and most powerful barons. He died in 1093 and was succeeded by two of his brothers in turn. The family held on to this estate until 1399. Work on the castle started in 1071 after the northern rebellions had died down.