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in Richmond, London is a hill that rises gently on its northern side from the ancient Thames meadowlands around the site of Richmond Palace
Richmond Palace was a Thameside royal residence on the right bank of the river, upstream of the Palace of Westminster, to which it lay 9 miles SW of as the crow flies. It it was erected c. 1501 within the royal manor of Sheen, by Henry VII of England, formerly known by his title Earl of Richmond,...
up to and slightly beyond the Richmond Gate entrance to Richmond Park
Richmond Park is a 2,360 acre park within London. It is the largest of the Royal Parks in London and Britain's second largest urban walled park after Sutton Park, Birmingham. It is close to Richmond, Ham, Kingston upon Thames, Wimbledon, Roehampton and East Sheen...
, the former royal hunting grounds enclosed by Charles I
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...
. The descent southwestwards from this point back down to the upstream meadows is noticeably steeper, although the down gradient is less marked on its southerly and easterly progress through the park itself.
This renowned hill offers the only view in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...
to be protected by an Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...
- the Richmond, Ham and Petersham Open Spaces Act passed in 1902 - to protect the land on and below Richmond Hill and thus preserve the fine foreground views to the west and south. Immortalised in paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds and J.M.W. Turner, it was described by Sir Walter Scott as "an unrivalled landscape".
The scenic panorama may be viewed from Terrace Walk, laid out near the top of the hill in the 18th century. This promenade surmounts the Terrace Gardens and both are Grade II* listed in the English Heritage
English Heritage . is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport...
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England
In England, the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England provides a listing and classification system for historic parks and gardens similar to that used for listed buildings. The register is managed by English Heritage under the provisions of the National...
As the town of Richmond developed from its founding in the early 16th Century, after Henry VII
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....
had established Richmond Palace, the attributes of the hill naturally attracted desirable residential and commercial development - with the result that many substantial properties came and went on the hill over the centuries, some of them with famous or notable persons as owners or occupiers. That situation is still in vogue today.