Richmondshire is a local government district of North Yorkshire, England. It covers a large northern area of the Yorkshire Dales, including Swaledale and Wensleydale and includes the major settlements of:
The land was once capital of the Honour of Richmond, which was an estate founded and usually held by the Duke of Brittany or his relatives. It was absorbed into the Kingdom of England with the reign of Henry VII of England, former Earl of Richmond. Ties with Brittany remained through trade and culture, but that duchy was absorbed into France by Henry II of France.
The current district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, and was a merger of the municipal borough of Richmond with the Aysgarth Rural District, Leyburn Rural District, Reeth Rural District and Richmond Rural District along with part of the Croft Rural District, all in the North Riding of Yorkshire.
The Council was controlled by Independent councillors until May 2003, when elections returned a council with no overall control (Conservative 11; Independent 9; Lib Dem 8; Richmondshire Independent Group 5; Social Democrat Party 1). Conservative John Blackie was elected as leader of the Council. In December 2005 Blackie was replaced by the leader of the Independent Coalition for Richmondshire, Bill Glover, following the resignation of several councillors from the Conservative group and the merger of the rival Independent groups. As of 15 May 2007 the council has been controlled by a minority Conservative administration, with Councillor Melva Steckles as leader of the council.