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Latitude: 54.7339 / 54°44'1"N
Longitude: -1.6549 / 1°39'17"W
OS Eastings: 422320
OS Northings: 537710
OS Grid: NZ223377
Mapcode National: GBR JFWP.JT
Mapcode Global: WHC4W.K85S
Entry Name: Brancepeth Castle
Listing Date: 10 May 1967
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1159012
English Heritage Legacy ID: 109907
Location: Brancepeth, County Durham, DH7
County: County Durham
Civil Parish: Brancepeth
Traditional County: Durham
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham
Church of England Parish: Brancepeth
Church of England Diocese: Durham
BRANCEPETH NORTH DRIVE
(South side, off)
15/26 Brancepeth Castle
Castle. First mentioned 1216; rebuilt c.1398 for Ralph Neville; extensive
rebuilding c:1818-21 by John Patterson for Matthew Russell; internal alterations
1829 and 1864-75 by Anthony Salvin. Dressed medieval masonry and early C19
diagonally-tooled ashlar. Lead-sheathed and felted roofs. Large irregular
circular courtyard enclosed by curtain wall and ranges of buildings. Projecting
towers and linking ranges described in clockwise direction: gatehouse at
north-east;Westmorland tower at east; Constable tower at south-east; L-plan
range on south and west including Neville and Bulmer towers near south-west
corner; north section of curtain wall, with 2 watch towers, returning to
gatehouse. The 4 above-named towers, an un-named tower in angle between
Neville and Bulmer towers, and considerable sections of the curtain wall are
medieval. The remainder, including gatehouse and ranges on inside of curtain
wall, is early C19 in a mix of Norman and Gothic styles. C19 windows, except
where noted, are mainly round-arched or of several lights under hoodmoulds.
Restored continuous battlements, some sections corbelled out. The 2- and 3-
storey, rectangular-plan medieval towers have offset stages and diagonal
buttresses surmounted by turrets. Constable and Westmorland towers are lower
and were altered in early C19. Late C15 2-light window and C17 cross window
on tower in angle between Neville and Bulmer towers. North section of curtain
wall has parapet walk and 2 square-plan, battlemented watch towers at angles;
north-west tower rebuilt in C19. Massive 3-storey gatehouse has archway
flanked by battered round towers. Early C19 tower on south and Hamilton tower
on west in similar style to medieval towers. Linking 3- and 4-storey ranges
on south, west and inside of curtain wall also similar. Tall narrow Flagstaff
tower above porte-cochere, facing gatehouse on inside of courtyard, was
heightened c.1870. Low-pitched roofs hidden by battlements.
Interior. Neville and Bulmer towers have tunnel-vaulted basements (round-
arched and pointed) and groin-vaulted principal chambers above. Early C19
main rooms have Neo-Norman decoration. Entrance Hall has ornate plaster
imitation of a medieval timber roof. Huge semi-octagonal staircase hall has
cantilevered staircase, starting in one flight and returning in two, and
ribbed domed ceiling with central skylight. 6-bay Armour Gallery with
quadripartite rib vaults. Chapel in Westmorland Tower was reconstructed in
Gothic style in mid C19 (possibly by Salvin) and has vaulted wood roof and
elaborate decoration, mosaics, reredos and triforium at west end. Early C19
painted glass in neo-Norman style, in vestibule of Armour Gallery, depicts an
Earl of Westmorland and his wife (a similar fragment depicting the Battle of
Neville's Cross and now in storage was designed by Charles Muss and probably
made by William Collins of the Strand).
Tall single-storey mid C20 rendered addition on south outer face of curtain
wall, to west of Constable tower, is not of interest.
(E.W. Short, The Story of Brancepeth Castle, 1.942).
(N. Pevsner rev. E. Williamson, The Buildings of England - County Durham, 2nd
Listing NGR: NZ2232237703
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