Sadberge Castle

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are no visible remains

NameSadberge Castle
Alternative NamesSt Andrew's Church; Satbergia; Sacberge; Sedbergh
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDarlington
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishSadberge

Mediaeval fortified manor or castle at Sadberge. St. Andrew's Chapel probably stands on the site of the old castle, gaol and courthouse and has been built with the stones from these buildings (Hadcock). St. Andrew's Church (Chapel) is situated on a piece of high ground which slopes away on all sides. The ground on the eastern side of the churchyard (published as Moat on Record Sheet) drops away very sharply, the difference between the churchyard and lower level being 5.0m. The eastern or outer bank has been badly defaced by allotment gardens and buildings and is not recognisable as the bank of a moat. No remains of Manor House, Gaol or Courthouse are to be found (F1 EG 27-Apr-1953). Sadberge: The present church was built in 1831, it replaced the Norman church of 1266 (Darlington Rural District Guide). (PastScape)

The vill of Aslakby paid lxs. for castleguard to Sadberge (V. Seton Carrowe). (Hutchinson Vol. 3 p. 169)

Hugh Pudsey, Prince Bishop of Durham (1153-1195) was the man largely responsible for the decline in importance of the Sadberge district. He added the 'earldom' to Durham in 1189 and from then on Sadberge was ruled by Durham's Prince Bishops. Despite its fall in status, Sadberge retained a degree of independence and continued to be administered as an almost separate county until 1576. Even as late as the nineteenth century there were still occasionally references to 'the Counties of Durham and Sadberge'. In 1836 the revenues of the Bishopric of Durham including Sadberge passed to the Crown. (Keys to the Past)

Gatehouse Comments

Jackson writes this was late C12 castle and the church stands on the motte. The church is said to be built with stone from the castle. However, the church is also said to be on the site of earlier church and inscribed Saxon stones of C9 date have been found (but not on mound). Sadberge was an important Saxon administrative centre, and maintained some of this importance post conquest. Despite the lack of remains the status of Sadberge and some historic references do suggest a castle here. However, Sadberge has not been developed and this must mean that whatever the form of the castle at Sadberge it can not have been particular strong.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ340168
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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles and Tower Houses of County Durham (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 56
  • Jackson, M.J., 1996, Castles of Durham and Cleveland (Carlisle) p. 50-2
  • Taylor, W., 1919, History of Sadberge p. 17-8
  • Fordyce, W., 1857, History and antiquities of the county palatine of Durham (Durham) Vol. 1 p. 520 online copy
  • Surtees, R., 1823, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham Vol. 3 (Durham) p. 265 online transcription
  • Hutchinson, Wm, 1785-94, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham Vol. 3 p. 169, 210 online copy


  • Hadcock, R.N., 1939, 'A map of mediaeval Northumberland and Durham' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 16 p. 148-218 esp 198