Brancepeth Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are major building remains

NameBrancepeth Castle
Alternative NamesBranspeth; castrum suum de Brancepad'
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishBrancepeth

Brancepeth Castle First mentioned 1216; rebuilt c.1398 for Ralph Neville; extensive rebuilding c:1818-21 by John Patterson for Matthew Russell; internal alterations 1829 and 1864-75 by Anthony Salvin. Dressed medieval masonry and early C19 diagonally-tooled ashlar. Lead-sheathed and felted roofs. Large irregular circular courtyard enclosed by curtain wall and ranges of buildings. Projecting towers and linking ranges described in clockwise direction: gatehouse at north-east;Westmorland tower at east; Constable tower at south-east; L-plan range on south and west including Neville and Bulmer towers near south-west corner; north section of curtain wall, with 2 watch towers, returning to gatehouse. The 4 above-named towers, an un-named tower in angle between Neville and Bulmer towers, and considerable sections of the curtain wall are medieval. The remainder, including gatehouse and ranges on inside of curtain wall, is early C19 in a mix of Norman and Gothic styles. C19 windows, except where noted, are mainly round-arched or of several lights under hoodmoulds. Restored continuous battlements, some sections corbelled out. The 2- and 3- storey, rectangular-plan medieval towers have offset stages and diagonal buttresses surmounted by turrets. Constable and Westmorland towers are lower and were altered in early C19. Late C15 2-light window and C17 cross window on tower in angle between Neville and Bulmer towers. North section of curtain wall has parapet walk and 2 square-plan, battlemented watch towers at angles; north-west tower rebuilt in C19. Massive 3-storey gatehouse has archway flanked by battered round towers. Early C19 tower on south and Hamilton tower on west in similar style to medieval towers. Linking 3- and 4-storey ranges on south, west and inside of curtain wall also similar. Tall narrow Flagstaff tower above porte-cochere, facing gatehouse on inside of courtyard, was heightened c.1870. Low-pitched roofs hidden by battlements. Interior

Neville and Bulmer towers have tunnel-vaulted basements (round- arched and pointed) and groin-vaulted principal chambers above. Early C19 main rooms have Neo-Norman decoration. Entrance Hall has ornate plaster imitation of a medieval timber roof. Huge semi-octagonal staircase hall has cantilevered staircase, starting in one flight and returning in two, and ribbed domed ceiling with central skylight. 6-bay Armour Gallery with quadripartite rib vaults. Chapel in Westmorland Tower was reconstructed in Gothic style in mid C19 (possibly by Salvin) and has vaulted wood roof and elaborate decoration, mosaics, reredos and triforium at west end. Early C19 painted glass in neo-Norman style, in vestibule of Armour Gallery, depicts an Earl of Westmorland and his wife (a similar fragment depicting the Battle of Neville's Cross and now in storage was designed by Charles Muss and probably made by William Collins of the Strand). Tall single-storey mid C20 rendered addition on south outer face of curtain wall, to west of Constable tower, is not of interest. (Listed Building Report)

According to the pedigree of the Bulmer family in 'Early Yorkshire Charters II' Brancepeth had a castle between 1154 and circa 1177. (PastScape ref. Brown)

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceNZ223377
Latitude54.7341995239258
Longitude-1.65453994274139
Eastings422330
Northings537730
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 269, 328-9
  • Geldard, Ed, 2009, Northumberland Strongholds (London: Frances Lincoln) p. 97
  • Hislop, M., 2007, John Lewyn of Durham: a medieval mason in practice (Oxford: John and Erica Hedges: British Archaeological Reports British Series 438) p. 30-32, 57-59
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles and Tower Houses of County Durham (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 20-23
  • Jackson, M.J., 1996, Castles of Durham and Cleveland (Carlisle) p. 22-5
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 56-60
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 27
  • Corfe, Tom (ed), 1992, 'The Visible Middle Ages' in An Historical Atlas of County Durham p. 28-9
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 135
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus (revised by Elizabeth Williamson), 1983, Buildings of England: Durham (Harmondsworth) p. 117-9
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 194
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 115
  • Hugill, Robert, 1979, The Castles and Towers of the County of Durham (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 40-43
  • Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1975, The history of the King's Works, Vol. 3: 1485-1660 (part 1) (London) p. 404
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Leighton, 1910, in Memories of Old Durham (London) p. 203-4 (slight)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 339-41 online copy
  • Whellan, F., 1894 (2edn), History, Topography and Directory of the County of Durham p. 249-52
  • Boyle, J.R., 1892, Comprehensive Guide to the County of Durham: its Castles, Churches, and Manor-Houses (London) p. 458-64
  • Brayley, E. and Britton, J., 1803, Beauties of England and Wales; Durham Vol. 5 p. 200-2
  • Hutchinson, Wm, 1785-94, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham Vol. 3 p. 376-9 online copy
  • Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 2 p. 87-8 online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 81

Antiquarian

  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 149
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 71-2 online copy

Journals

  • 2012-13, 'Castle Studies Group Conference 2012 report' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 26 p. 73-92
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required) (Ref. Farrer, Wm (ed), 1915, Early Yorkshire Charters Vol. 2 p. 128 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/earlyyorkshirech02farruoft#page/128/mode/1up])
  • 1890, The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend p. 371 online copy
  • Hodgson, J.F., 1887-8, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser2) Vol. 3 p. 415-8
  • Pritchett, 1887, Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 43 p. 224-5 online copy
  • 1827, The Gentleman's Magazine Vol. 97 Part 1 p. 305-6 online copy

Guide Books

  • Short, E.W., 1942, The Story of Brancepeth Castle
  • Surtees, C., 1920, The History of the Castle at Brancepeth

Primary Sources

  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1835, Rotuli de Oblatis et Finibus in Turri Londinensi asservati p. 572 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 187-8
  • SP14/49/82 (Survey of 1609) The National Archives reference

Other

  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk North East Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 1 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 1 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 1 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 18 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 18 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 16 online copy
  • Constable, Christopher, 2003, Aspects of the archaeology of the castle in the north of England C 1066-1216 (Doctoral thesis, Durham University) Available at Durham E-Theses Online