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Raby Castle

A Grade I Listed Building in Raby with Keverstone, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5909 / 54°35'27"N

Longitude: -1.8015 / 1°48'5"W

OS Eastings: 412923

OS Northings: 521766

OS Grid: NZ129217

Mapcode National: GBR HHVC.S1

Mapcode Global: WHC5D.9VCX

Entry Name: Raby Castle

Listing Date: 7 January 1952

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1338625

English Heritage Legacy ID: 111447

Location: Raby with Keverstone, County Durham, DL2

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Raby with Keverstone

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Staindrop

Church of England Diocese: Durham

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Listing Text

NZ 1221

Raby Castle


Castle towers with curtain wall and adjacent buildings. Early/mid C14,
probably incorporating earlier buildings; licence to crenellate 1379. Partial
demolition and rebuilding c.1620; extensive C18 alterations and additions
by D. Garrett, J. Paine, J. Carr; c.1814 by Joseph Browne; 1844-8 by William
Burn; 1864 and later by Austin and Johnson. Property of Neville family
until forfeited to Crown after 6th Earl of Westmorland took part in 1569
Rising of the North; 1626 acquired by Sir Henry Vane, whose descendants
became successively Baron Barnard (Christopher Vane, in 1698), Earl of Darlington
(Henry Vane, in 1754) and Duke of Cleveland (William Harry Vane, in 1833).

Coursed blocks of millstone grit (Bulmer's Tower) and limestone with plinth,
some quoins, and ashlar dressings; roofs Lakeland slate. Irregular plan: 9
perimeter towers, from north clockwise: Clifford's, Kitchen, Mount Raskelf,
Chapel, Bulmer's, Octagon, Joan's, Neville Gateway and Watch: linking buildings
and wall; Keep in yard, attached to south-west corner of Kitchen tower; smaller
yard beside Kitchen. Apart from Octagon and pentagonal Bulmer's, towers are
rectangular. Great Hall runs along east side of main yard, linking Kitchen
and Octagon towers. Principal entrance is Neville Gateway in west front,
which has 4-storey splayed projections flanking 4-centred-arched gateway,
with trefoil-pendant decoration, under machicolations and renewed 2-light
window; Garter ribbons round badges of Neville (John de Neville, Knight of
Garter 1369, died 1388) his second wife Elizabeth Latymer, and St. George's
cross, in band below top machicolations. Flanking turrets have Garrett
quatrefoils on ground and loops on top floors, with C19 lights on other floors.
This front of Neville gate is an addition corresponding to front extension of
John's Tower at right, to which it is linked by 2-storey medieval wall with
L-plan C18 one-storey additions. Joan's Tower originally 3 storeys, raised
to 4 by Carr; 3 windows on west front, the left in a projecting bay with single
trefoil-headed light on each floor; 2 right bays have 2-light windows, those
on first-floor with cusped ogee-headed lights and on second floor with trefoil
heads. To left of Neville gate a 3-storey, 4-bay section links Clifford's
Tower, 5 storeys with irregular fenestration and C18 door, with high one-bay
Watch Tower. 3-storey section has 'Old Servants' Hall' on ground floor,
probably former guard room, with trefoil-headed lights; 3 similar first-floor
and 4 paired second-floor windows.

North elevation on left return has heavily machicolated curtain wall linking
Clifford's and Kitchen towers, with wide low-2-centred arch inserted. South
elevation on right return has 2-storey 4-bay range with paired lights linking
Joan's Tower with Octagon, Burn's 1845 construction replacing Carr's incomplete
round tower, on site of medieval south tower destroyed by fire mid C18. Burn's
high 5-light transomed window in dining room to right of Octagon, and ante-
library extruded addition to left; and at east end the 5-stage tapered Bulmer's
Tower with left stair-turret, which has shouldered head to ground-floor
entrance, and varied fenestration.

East front shows 2 initial 'b's under head-stopped dripmoulds, John de
Neville's reference to his ancestor Bertram Bulmer, on top floor of tower.
C19 windows in 3-bay link to Chapel Tower, which has high C19 doorway replacing
medieval barbican, of which fragments survive in Raby House Farm and The Folly
(q.v.). 2 tall turrets flank recessed 2-light chapel window with reticulated
tracery under machicolation. To right of chapel a 3-storey bay links to Mount
Raskelf; in link a door and 2-light window have hollow-chamfered cusped
surrounds. Mount Raskelf has 3 set-back storeys, each with one window of
paired cusped lights. Set back at right is massive kitchen tower of 3 set-
back storeys with 2 first-floor windows and central octagonal roof lantern,
raised by Carr. Passage through Neville gate has ribbed vault on slender
half-octagonal crenellated shafts, and guard-room doors with diagonally-stopped
chamfers; inner earlier passage barrel-vaulted on chamfered ribs.

Interior: Medieval structures little altered are kitchen, keep, and 'Old
Servants' Hall'. Kitchen probably by John Lewyn: basement vaulted with 8 ribs
springing from central octagonal pillar. Main floor has 4 wide-arched ovens.
Blocked flight of steps on south (with C17 balustrade) leading towards Great
Hall and giving access to passage in wall linking kitchen windows and roof on
2 pairs of segmental-arched ribs, the crossing framing central louvre. Keep,
formerly with no external access, has 8-foot thick walls, with garderobes and
wall chambers, original window openings, and vaulted ceilings. 'Old Servants'
Hall' in similar style but with 2-centred-arched vault. In Clifford's Tower
a medieval stair on segmental arches runs in the south wall from first floor
to roof levels. In Bulmer's Tower stair turret there are blocked medieval
doors of several periods. Extensive C18 alterations include rooms on first
floor of south range, with Palladian door to north corridor with key block
inscribed HGV 1729, unattributed at time of survey. James Gibbs drawings exist
for unexecuted work at Raby.

Garrett's work of c.1745 includes state rooms in Clifford's Tower, particularly
the richly-decorated 3-apsed drawing room, with niches in the window apses,
and the dining room, which have enriched mouldings on dados and 6-panel doors,
and rococo stucco ceilings with modillion cornices. (Perritt was paid for
in 1737 for plaster work; if Thomas Perritt it would be among his earliest
work - he was made Freeman of York 1737/8. Other payments to 1753 were to
Thomas Perritt and to Rose and Perritt). Garrett's Hunters' Gallery in Gothic
style links Clifford's and Watch Towers at first-floor level; it has head
corbels and egg-and-dart moulded ogee arches, and lantern with intersecting
broad glazing bars. Paine, restoring interior in mid C18, executed interior
work including Gothic bedroom in Neville gateway, and several classical-style

Carr's work beginning c,1767 included alterations and additions to domestic
arrangements in kitchen yard, but most significantly the creation of a carriage-
way through the castle from west to east, with necessary removal of ceilings
and floors in great hall and in Chapel Tower. He inserted 2 rows of octagonal
columns and false vaulting in the lower, now entrance hall, where visitors
would alight; raised the vault of the east gate; and demolished the barbican
to allow the exit of carriages.

Circa 1814 Joseph Browne enlarged the dining room in the south range, and
encased the entrance hall pillars in red scagliola. Between 1843 and 1848
William Burn made extensive alterations, including a vigorous Jacobean-style
drawing room in the Octagon Tower, and new roofs for the Great Hall and the

Austin and Johnson's work included a grand Jacobean-style north stair to the
Baron's Hall or Great Hall, and the renewal of many windows. In 1901 J.P.
Pritchett restored the interior of the chapel and revealed medieval aumbry,
sedilia and piscina, although below the present ground level; the west arcade
of the chapel was filled with painted portraits. The chapel windows contain
reset medieval glass from France and Flanders, C16 German and other heraldic

Sources: J. Harvey, English Medieval Architects; J.F. Hodgson, 'Raby in Three
Chapters', Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of
Durham and Northumberland, Vols III and IV (1880-89 and 1890-95) pp 49-122,

153-260; J.P. Pritchett 'On Recent Discoveries in the Chapel of Raby Castle'
in Archaeological Aeliana 2, XXIV (1903'; A. Rowan; Raby Castle, Co. Durham;
in Country Life, 10 and 17 July 1969, 1, 8 and 22 January 1970; A. Rowan
'Gothick restoration at Raby Castle' in Architectural History 15, 1972; Raby
Castle guide book.

Listing NGR: NZ1292721770

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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