Works by Percy Robertson
Click here to view a larger image. Richmond

The Terrace at Richmond is justly famed. The situation may be compared to St. Cloud :- the Royal pleasaunce conveniently near the capital : the foot of the green hillside washed by a stately river : the river itself picturesquely spanned by a stone bridge.

The royal palace, of course, exists no more, the site being occupied by the houses of Crown leaseholders. Its glories date from Henry VII., who rebuilt it and gave it his hereditary name of Richmond, after a fire had destroyed the royal mansion of Shene, built by Henry IV. in place of that which the second Richard abandoned after the death of his beloved queen Isabella. It never recovered from the sale to the king's creditors in 1649, when the materials were valued at 10,000, and it was almost entirely demolished in 1662. Since then, the Lodges in the parks have taken its place.

The earliest park, dating at least from the thirteenth century, was afterwards united with a larger enclosure of Henry VIII.'s ; and to the lodge here Wolsey retired for a time after surrendering Hampton Court to his rapacious master. Sold like the palace under the Commonwealth, it. was then occupied later by various persons under Royal grants until re-purchased by George II., whose favourite residence it became. Since then, however, the Crown has almost entirely been represented in Richmond by the Rangers.

This, the Old Park, was ultimately united with Kew Gardens ; what we know as Richmond Park is the new park of Charles I. After his execution, it fell to the Corporation of London ; but this prudent body restored it to Charles II., with the excuse "that the City had only kept it as stewards for his Majesty."

The public rights of way which make the park so strong an attraction to the neighbourhood, were originally left by Charles I. to make some amends for the arbitrary manner in which he enclosed his park. These rights were seriously encroached upon by the Rangers, especially by the Princess Amelia, daughter of George II., but were finally vindicated by the public-spirited action of a Richmond brewer named Lewis, who appealed to the law and compelled her to restore the rights of way by placing stepladders over the park-walls.

Although the railway, making Richmond a simple suburb of London, has brought a vast influx of new residents, the natural picturesqueness of hill and water, of climbing town crowned by the church spire, is hard to destroy. Indeed, the last-century dwellers in Rosedale House, where, as the inscription runs, " Thomson sang the Seasons and their change," Thomson himself, or Sir Joshua Reynolds, returning to their favourite Richmond, and; from the Terrace some evening in late May, watching the sun set beyond bridge and river, would still find it delightful as of old.

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