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Auckland Castle

A Grade I Listed Building in Bishop Auckland, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.6664 / 54°39'59"N

Longitude: -1.6706 / 1°40'14"W

OS Eastings: 421341

OS Northings: 530200

OS Grid: NZ213302

Mapcode National: GBR JGSG.3Z

Mapcode Global: WHC52.9ZP0

Plus Code: 9C6WM88H+HP

Entry Name: Auckland Castle

Listing Date: 21 April 1952

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1196444

English Heritage Legacy ID: 385598

Also known as: Auckland Palace
Bishop's Castle
Bishop's Palace

ID on this website: 101196444

Location: Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL14

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Bishop Auckland

Built-Up Area: Bishop Auckland

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Bishop Auckland

Church of England Diocese: Durham

Tagged with: Palace Castle Gothic Revival English country house Historic house museum

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Bishop Auckland



634-1/8/83 (East side (off))
21/04/52 Auckland Castle


Bishop's palace. Official residence of Bishop of Durham,
diocesan office, and 2 independent flats. Manor house probably
begun for Bishop du Puiset (1153-95), completed in first half
of C13, altered and enlarged for Bishop Bek (1284-1311)
(Cunningham 1990). Scotland wing probably C16 long gallery for
Bishop Tunstall, later used as granary. Mid-C18 division into
rooms, and c1980 alterations and insertion of mezzanine floor.
North-south range, alterations and additions include c1530
addition of south dining room for Bishops Ruthal and Tunstall,
and substantial rebuilding dated 1664 for Bishop Cosin. Also
1767-72 for Bishops Trevor and Egerton possibly by John Carr,
and c1795 for Bishop Barrington by James Wyatt.
Medieval parts coursed rubble, later parts mostly coursed
squared sandstone, with ashlar dressings. Roofs Lakeland slate
and lead, Scotland wing roof concrete tiles.
PLAN: irregular. Medieval manor included great hall running
west-east at east of site and with its own services at east
end. Great hall is now Chapel of St Peter (qv). To west of
this, probably originally with extruded stair in angle
between, a kitchen range ran north-south. From this range the
Scotland wing runs east-west.
EXTERIOR: east elevation: 2 storeys of varied heights, 1:1:1:4
bays. At left, one bay mid-late C18 projects slightly, and has
flat-headed 3-light ground floor window with Gothick glazing
bars and traceried heads under label mould. Tall sash above
has intersecting glazing bars in Tudor-arched window with
dripmould. At right of this bay, straight join to 2-bay L-plan
with stone-mullioned 3-light windows with trefoil tracery and
moulded spandrels under flat head with dripmould; shallow
elliptical head to door at right to private apartments and
offices. Large window above has stone Y tracery between 2
lights with Gothick glazing bars under dripmould.
Similar windows in next bay breaking forward with polygonal
projecting bay window to front and 2 windows in returns, with
ground-floor dripstring, the front bay window and the rear on
the return with ogee heads to ground-floor lights, below band
(originally with battlemented parapet before upper floor
added) with richly carved arms of Ruthall and Tunstall and
moulded surrounds. Moulded plinth to this build, and quoins at
Set back above is second floor of C17 front range, with
3-light stone-mullioned traceried windows, the left blocked.
4-bay state room range set back to right has high ashlar
plinth, rainwater heads dated 1664, and tall first floor.
3-light ground-floor windows have stone mullions and heads,
and first-floor sashes have Gothick glazing bars, except in
4th bay which is obscured by lower projection containing porch
to Chapel of St Peter.
All parapets battlemented, the state room with full-height
buttresses with pinnacles, the angles with ogee domes of
Cosin's work as in Chapel of St Peter. Low pitched and flat
roofs except Scotland Wing which has steeply pitched roofs to
main and shorter 2nd rear parallel range.
Left return has symmetrical south elevation to C18 addition,
with 1:3:1 windows, the centre a canted bay. Set-back
low-pitched gable to left of centre has blocked roundel under
battlements. Similar gable set back at right to state rooms.
Scotland wing at west: south elevation 3 storeys, 10 windows.
Large square buttresses with many offsets to first 2 floors to
right of 4th window and almost full height to left of 3rd
window from right end. Coped truncated chimney projection at
centre. Ground floor has Tudor stone heads and label moulds to
ledged boarded door at left and half-glazed door at right;
flat-headed windows, all renewed and most blocked, with
chamfered stone surrounds and label moulds. Sashes, smaller on
first floor, have fine glazing bars with Gothic heads. Left
return has first-floor stone oriel on stone corbels; eaves
raised in brick from swept to straight pitch. Rear of whole
building has much medieval detail and fine C18 Gothick work.
INTERIOR: entrance hall to domestic range and offices has mid
C18 Classical stone arcades. Ground-floor library to right has
beams on corbels, and truncated stone pillar in centre of bay
window. Offices to left have mid-C18 detail including Greek
key fret to fireplace in Secretary's room. Above, private
apartments at rear, partly on mezzanine floor, have broad
glazing bars to windows to west and in part of Scotland wing
which is included, and blocked narrow splayed medieval windows
partly revealed in cupboards on east wall.
At north end of this a private oratory contains re-used C16
panelling with painted heraldic devices of various European
monarchs and of English counties along frieze. Raine describes
such panelling as being in `the housekeeper's room' which
seems to have been in the bay with projecting window to right
of the private entrance.
Rooms at south in extension by Wyatt have late C18 stucco
decoration. Rich mid-C18 rococo decoration to dining room,
known as King Charles Room, including chimney piece with
cornice breaking forward in scroll brackets, and pilasters and
inlay of coloured marble with carved panel on frieze showing
children and bird's nest. Ceiling has stucco of Italian York
school with central sunburst and rich mouldings, plus 6-panel
doors in architraves, the mid C18 ones with cornices, some
with broken pediments, on pulvinated friezes.
State rooms: entrance is through ground-floor room known
formerly as the Gentlemen's Hall, which has Wyatt decoration
applied to older structure with beams and ceiling stuccoed
with blind tracery, and Gothick chimney piece with re-used C17
carved wood overmantel. Wyatt inserted Imperial stair in W end
of this room, with paired shafted Gothick balusters and ramped
moulded handrail. Half-landing and landing windows are large
sashes with delicate glazing bars. All doors in the state
rooms are panelled with blind tracery, from the vestibule
onwards, which like those to all rooms and cupboards in the
major rooms is in Gothick arch with dripmould.
Wyatt divided Cosin's long chamber, its wide floorboards still
in situ, to make ante-room and throne room, both with Gothick
detail including ribbed stucco ceiling panels. Ante-room has
canted corners with arched niches. Throne room has delicate
stucco shallow canopy to throne, and grey marble or limestone
Gothick chimney piece. State dining room to south is mid C18
with rich decoration including chimney piece with terms
supporting cornice over moulded frieze, deep dado rail, coved
ceiling with guilloche panels with 2 leaf swirls for lights
and central painted arms of Bishop Trevor.
At north end of this range Bishop Trevor added private
apartments now known as the Victoria Flat. They have fine mid
C18 decoration including pronounced dado rails, with dentilled
enrichment in the bedroom, and with good chimney pieces in 2
bedrooms. Some ceiling cornices, all doors 6-panelled, and in
north room, Bishop Trevor's arms on chimney piece. One room
divided mid C19 to provide kitchen and bathroom, but canted
corner chimney breast survives although chimney piece removed
or obscured.
In the angled passage to this flat from a narrow stair to left
of the chapel porch there are walls which must be C18 lining;
a small door high in this wall, at first-floor level, reveals
painted wall decoration extending across 2 floor levels,
showing a Cross of Lorraine and other heraldic devices -
difficult to see. The Cross of Lorraine appears as part of
Bishop Bek's patriarchal seal (Raine p.22). This painting
could have been executed to decorate the grand stair which was
removed by Wyatt.
In east corridor of this flat a cupboard with C17 doors, which
is in the rear of the west wall of the chapel. Former kitchen
range has 3 octagonal stone piers down centre, fireplace
detail obscured by boiler fittings. North door of principal
room late C15, ledged and boarded with hollow-moulded Tudor
arch, has part of inscription carved in spandrels. Similar
inscription in serving hatch of Durham Castle kitchen
inscribed 1499 for Bishop Fox is complete and reads Est Deo
Gracia, suggesting that a door to the left has been removed.
In small room to north of this, now fitted as public toilets,
a creeing trough is set in square mortared rubble block beside
steps to right of door.
Scotland wing shows evidence of early fabric on ground floor
although much obscured by plaster and removed by alterations,
with deeply splayed blocked door in centre north, with
smoothly dressed octagonal stone slab with rough edges set on
round stone pedestal beside door. In west bay a
deeply-chamfered door.
In short north range c1980 staircase inserted. On first floor
a damaged elliptical fire lintel on south wall, now high above
inserted mezzanine floor. Offices at west end include boxed-in
medieval pointed arch, garderobe chamber on north wall, and
mid C18 chimney piece and stucco ceiling cornice. Upper floor
rooms have c1700 2-panel doors. Roof partly inspected. Throne
room has king and queen posts with bolted struts to rafters
from posts, and much old graffiti made by workmen. Scotland
wing has collared pegged trusses with purlins at ridge and 2
levels at sides. The full account of this building's history
by Raine gives many extracts from building accounts but must
be read bearing in mind that Raine had not understood that the
medieval hall is the present chapel.
(Raine J: History of Auckland Castle: Durham: 1852-;
Archaeologia Aeliana series 2: Hodgson J F: Article VIII The
Chapel of Auckland Castle (for 1896): Newcastle upon Tyne:
1847-: 113-240; Billings R: Architectural Antiquities of the
County of Durham (1974 ed): Newcastle: 1846-; Mackenzie E:
County Palatine of Durham: Newcastle: 1834-: 294; Medieval
Architecture and Its Intellectual Context: Cunningham J:
Auckland Castle: Some Recent Discoveries: London: 1990-:
81-90; Boyle: The County of Durham: 1892-: 483-497).

Listing NGR: NZ2136430201

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