Ripon, town (1991 pop. 11,952), North Yorkshire, N England, on the Ure River. It is a market town with foundries, varnish and paint factories, tanneries, and breweries. Ripon is famous as an old cathedral city where monasteries have stood since the 7th cent. The present cathedral dates from the 12th to the 15th cent. It has a Saxon crypt with a narrow passage called St. Wilfrid's Needle; the ability to pass through it was supposed to be an indication of chastity. The Wakeman's House (13th or 15th cent.), in the marketplace, was the residence of the mayor ("wakeman"). In 1640 a treaty signed in Ripon concluded the second of the Bishops' Wars. St. Wilfrid, founder of an early monastery, is commemorated in an annual pageant.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.