History in Structure

The Castle

A Grade I Listed Building in Barnard Castle, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5434 / 54°32'36"N

Longitude: -1.9261 / 1°55'34"W

OS Eastings: 404875

OS Northings: 516466

OS Grid: NZ048164

Mapcode National: GBR GHZX.S2

Mapcode Global: WHB4L.D208

Plus Code: 9C6WG3VF+9G

Entry Name: The Castle

Listing Date: 24 February 1950

Last Amended: 28 November 1994

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1218822

English Heritage Legacy ID: 388833

ID on this website: 101218822

Location: Startforth, County Durham, DL12

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Barnard Castle

Built-Up Area: Barnard Castle

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Barnard Castle with Whorlton

Church of England Diocese: Durham

Tagged with: Ringwork castle Archaeological site

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Barnard Castle



770-1/5/204 (South side)
24/02/50 The Castle
(Formerly Listed as:
The Castle - whole of medieval
remains of walling and earthworks)


Consolidated and displayed ruins of castle, partly excavated.
Earthwork castle in the area which was to become the Inner
Ward was established by Guy de Baliol post c1095; he later
probably rebuilt the south gate tower in stone. Stone castle
C12: 1130-1185 Bernard de Baliol (d.1154) and his son of same
name built the larger castle with wall and rock-cut ditch
round the Inner Ward, the Headlam Tower in place of the stone
gatehouse, and a 2-storey keep at the north-east corner
(c1125-c1140); curtain wall and gates to the other wards with
Constable Tower on the west and principal gatehouse (now lost)
on the east in the Outer Ward, with ranges round the courtyard
of the Town Ward and the Church of St Margaret in the Outer
Ward (c1140-c1170); new stone Hall and Great Chamber, and
Prison and Postern Towers (c1170-c1185). C13: the Round Tower
at the north-west corner, incorporating earlier structure, and
probable rebuilding of parts of the curtain wall. C14: the
Beauchamp Earls of Warwick improved the defences of Inner and
Middle Wards by digging a north-south ditch between Middle and
Town Wards, building a drawbridge, and improving the
sally-port in the west wall at the west end of the Great
Ditch, and made domestic improvements including rebuilding the
Great Hall. Richard Duke of Gloucester made further minor
improvements 1471-85. Sir Henry Vane acquired the castle in
1625 and robbed it for the rebuilding of Raby Castle.
MATERIALS: mostly coursed squared sandstone with ashlar
dressings; roofless.
PLAN: Inner Ward at the north-west corner, Middle Ward to
south of it, Town Ward to east of both, and Outer Ward filling
the south half of the promontory.
EXTERIOR: high curtain wall survives entire on north and in
varying states of alteration around other sides, and surviving
buildings abut it and the internal ward walls.
North Gate has chamfered jambs with plain chamfered abaci
supporting double-chamfered round arch; flanking damaged walls
indicate either buttresses or barbican have been removed;
solid bastion projects on west. On first floor of the
gatehouse are 3 plain rectangular windows. INTERIOR: has
hooded fireplaces.
Brackenbury's Tower on the east wall of the Town Ward:
INTERIOR has barrel-vaulted undercroft with garderobe,
fireplace and cupboards; incomplete stone stairs to the first
floor which has garderobe, fireplace and 3 slits one of which
was later altered to form window with seats.
South wall of the Town Ward has shallow buttresss and leans
heavily outwards; south-west wall crosses Great Ditch of Inner
Ward, with C12 arched entrance, with no evidence of gates, in
bottom of ditch, and joins wall with shallow buttresses which
makes a shell keep of the Inner Ward. At the west end of the
Great Ditch is the C14 sally-port.
Facing the Town Ward the Postern and Prison Tower; on the
south the demi-bastion and remains of 2 bridges on the Great
Ditch; on the west, forming with the curtain wall a continuous
front overlooking the ravine of the river, the Headlam and
Mortham Towers, the Great Hall, the Great Chamber, and at the
north-west corner the Round Tower.
Headlam Tower has only its west wall; fragmentary Mortham
Tower shows 5 storeys, with service rooms flanking the passage
to the Hall. C15 garderobe turret added to this tower. C14
Great Hall with mullioned-and-transomed windows with cusped
ogee lights and quatrefoils; joist-holes for upper gallery.
Great Chamber has C15 west oriel added, with re-used carving
of interlace and boar set in window head. Round tower is
ashlar and is inserted into the angle between the Great
Chamber and the north junction of the Inner Ward and Town Ward
walls; INTERIOR has undercroft with domical spiral-laid vault,
and 3 storeys above. Undercroft has 3 arrow slits, fireplace,
and inserted door to Great Chamber; upper floors have much
original detail including barrel-vaulted stair landing,
garde-robe doors, and round-headed doors to principal
Floors and roof removed when used as shot-tower in C18.
(English Heritage handbooks: Austin D: Barnard Castle, Durham:
London: -1988: PASSIM; Buildings of England: Pevsner: County
Durham: Harmondsworth: 1983-: 85-7).

Listing NGR: NZ0487516466

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