Muggleswick Grange

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameMuggleswick Grange
Alternative NamesMugleswick; Priory Farm; Hunting Lodge
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishMuggleswick

The monastic grange at Priory Farm is reasonably well preserved despite some structural instability in the standing fabric, and retains significant archaeological deposits. As a securely dated and well documented medieval building which retains many original features, it will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of medieval rural life. The association of the grange with the medieval priory at Durham enhances the importance of the monument. The monument includes parts of a monastic grange of 13th century date, situated on the right bank of the Muggleswick Burn, a tributary of the River Derwent. The standing remains of the monument are Listed Grade I. The grange was built for the priors of Durham by Prior Hugh of Darlington, while he held office between 1258 and 1272, on what is thought to have been the site of an earlier grange. The grange lay within a park, which Prior Hugh was granted permission to enclose in 1259. The buildings of the monastic grange remained in use throughout the medieval period; in 1464 a document records that the buildings consisted of a hall, chapel, grange and a dairy, which must have been in poor condition at that time as an estimate for their repair is also given. The same document records a large stock of oxen, cattle, calves, sheep, pigs and lambs. The visible remains of the grange above ground are two rectangular blocks orientated east to west and joined at the south western corner of the smaller, more easterly block. The latter block consists of the remains of a rectangular building 15.1m long and 4.4m wide within a wall 1.7m to 1.8m thick; it is thought that this building originally stood two or possibly three storeys high. The eastern gable is intact and stands to its full height of 15.5m. There is a rectangular buttress at each corner with corbels forming false machicolation

At the centre of the gable near the top there is a window of 15th century date which was later blocked by the insertion of a flue to a 16th century fireplace. The form of the window is thought to indicate that the upper storey was used as a chapel. The south wall of the building stands to a maximum height of 3m at its eastern end. Also at this end there is a narrow window of lancet form and at the western end there is a rebate for a doorway 1.5m high. The west wall was uncovered by excavations in the late 19th century and was found to be 1.8m thick, containing a central doorway. The north wall stands to a maximum height of 2m but is on average 0.7m high and contains the remains of two narrow windows. The western block is a rectangular building, substantially longer than the eastern, and divided by a cross partition wall. This building originally contained a vaulted undercroft; a description of the building at the end of the 19th century referred to the removal of several pillars from the site, though to have formed the undercroft. The western gable of this building stands up to 4m high. The sill of a large first floor window is visible. At the present ground level the tops of two small windows with triangular shaped lintels are visible; these are thought to have served to light the undercroft. The western block is thought to have housed the main hall of the grange, above vaulted undercrofts. The foundations of the remainder of this building, which were uncovered by excavation in the late 19th century, are considered to survive below ground level as buried features. The wider extent of the grange and location of other buildings is not yet fully understood. (Scheduling Report)

Remains of Manor House at Priory Farm. Remains of lodge and grange of manor of Muggleswick. C13 for Hugh of Darlington, Prior of Durham 1258-72. Sandstone rubble with quoins and ashlar dressings. L-plan west part, and much of 3 sides of east part, of long range, linked by early C20 byres. West wall survives to height of c.5 metres, and has some large irregular quoins; 2 low square-headed openings, the north with large triangular stone as lintel and the south with irregular stone lintel; 2 courses above sill level of upper storey show one opening with irregular-block jambs. About 3 metres of south wall survive, without features. East part has most of east and parts of north and south walls of rectangular building originally 2 storeys high and perhaps 3 bays. East wall has clasping buttresses, the right wider, with top corbels; parapet partly survives. Tall slightly-chamfered round-headed panel contains blocked 2-centred-arched window with cusped intersecting tracery; further blocking in lower part continues from ground and forms later chimney. South wall has one small chamfered lancet. North wall has small narrow slit window with chamfered surround, and small chamfered lancet above. Interior shows first-floor flat-Tudor-arched fireplace inserted. One medieval round pier survives in linking C20 farm building, which is otherwise not of interest. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

This building had an undercroft that was at least partly removed in C19. The building was originally scheduled as a hunting lodge and listed as a manor house. It's certainly finer in quality than most farmhouses and may well represent the Priors Hunting lodge. Tom Addyman led an excavation in 2010. Does not seem to be particularly fortified and Salter may have included this in his gazetteer of fortified buildings merely for it's architectural interest.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 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 ReferenceNZ044500
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles and Tower Houses of County Durham (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 47
  • Corfe, Tom (ed), 1992, 'The Visible Middle Ages' in An Historical Atlas of County Durham p. 28-9 (where marked as domestic building)


  • Greenwell, W. and Knowles, W.H., 1890, 'Muggleswick Prior's Camera' Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland Vol. 4 p. 287-308


  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 21 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 21 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 19 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 29 online copy