History of Duck Hill

Duck Hill obtained the romantic name following centuries of history.

At the start of industrialisation in Ripon, the waters of the River Skell were diverted via a mill race which ran along Water Skellgate.

A small 3 storey mill stood on the corner of what is now Duck Hill & Waterskellgate, the modern building, ‘Mill House’ stands on the original site. A mill-pond was formed and attracted families of ducks. Each day they waddled up the hill to the market square where they foraged for foods. Hence the name DUCK HILL!

Daniel Defoe lodged on Duck Hill during his Grand tour of Britain; when he famously wrote of Ripon Market Square being the most impressive in the country.
Charles Dodgson, (Lewis Carroll) also stayed for a summer in a ‘garret’ on Duck Hill whilst his father was Canon of Ripon.

J W M Turner drew a marvellously simple sketch of Kirkgate & the Cathedral from the top of the steps on Duck Hill.

In 1845 the local Temperance Society obtained a plot of land on the western side of Duck Hill, on which stood two wooden buildings. A new Temperance Hall was built in 1847, this now houses “Ripon Small Shops” although the building that houses Deli on Duck Hill seems to date from 1762, when it appears on an old map as a ‘bakehouse’.

During construction work of the Ripon Small Shops, archaeologists discovered foundations of a medieval doorway, the quality of the find, together with some pottery artefacts and coins led them to believe it was a very rich palatial house.

Also housed in the Ripon Small Shops is the famous “Ripon Clock”, built in 1986 to celebrate the 1100 years of the Ripon Charter. It features many historic figures from Ripon’s past & a very unique single hand clock face.