Witton Castle, Witton-le-Wear

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameWitton Castle, Witton-le-Wear
Alternative NamesWitton le Wear; Whitton
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishEvenwood And Barony

Castle, now caravan site and leisure complex administration and club buildings. Probably late C14; licence to crenellate 1410; partial demolition late C17; extensive late C18 and C19 alterations and additions. Coursed sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings and some quoins; roofs not visible. Main north range of medieval castle with west extensions and additions forming enclosure to service courtyard. Main front of north range 2 storeys, 8 bays, with stair turret projection in second bay and full-height porch with projecting porte-cochere in fifth bay. Port-cochere has double-chamfered flat-2-centred arches; wide angle buttresses; front corbel table and battlemented parapet. Tudor-arched surround to boarded door in porch, which has Decorated tracery in 4-light windows, and battlemented parapet with stone figures of buck and doe. Polygonal stair turret has 3 set-back stages with small chamfered lights, and heraldic panels and date and initials HC 1881, below corbelled battlements. Varied windows in other bays in medieval and Tudor styles, some with dripmoulds, are all C19. Bays flanking porch project slightly, the right under tower with figures on battlements. Corbelled external chimney stack from ground floor between 2 right bays, which have set-back stages; right end angle turret has similar set- backs, as has corresponding turret at left end which is abutted by west forecourt wall (q.v.). Square stone chimneys on corbelled stack and to left of entrance bay; octagonal stone chimney on front of tower behind porch with bronze fox. weather-vane. West extensions have some Gothic-style openings, some of mid-C19 character, and probably incorporate early north curtain wall. Interior of main range shows principal first-floor rooms with Gothic panelling and window reveals; barrel- vaulted ground floor

(Listed Building Report)

The original rubble-built castle situated within the curtain wall has been completely restored and retains no exterior features of obvious antiquity. A modern block, similar in style to the original castle, has been added to the west side. A wall and ornamental ditch on the north side are also modern. (PastScape ref. Field Investigators Comments F1 DAD 05-JUL-57)

Gatehouse Comments

Licence to crenellate was obtained by Ralph Eure in 1410 after rebuilding had already begun, probably around 1370. Following a fire in 1796 much rebuilding took place. The original plan consisted of a square bailey, surrounded by a curtain wall,with a keep on the north side projecting beyond the curtain. The curtain remains almost unaltered. Two gateways lead to the courtyard, in the middle of the east and west sides respectively, and over each is a machicolated gallery. A broad battlement runs around the top of the wall. Each angle of the curtain was originally crowned by a bartizan of which only two remain. The keep is a rectangular structure with turrets at all corners. On the south side of the courtyard and close to the curtain wall is a square, tower-like structure with windows of C16.

- 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 ReferenceNZ153304
Latitude54.668758392334
Longitude-1.76297998428345
Eastings415350
Northings530410
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

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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 346
  • Geldard, Ed, 2009, Northumberland Strongholds (London: Frances Lincoln) p. 117
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles and Tower Houses of County Durham (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 60-2
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 155-7, 159
  • Jackson, M.J., 1996, Castles of Durham and Cleveland (Carlisle) p. 68-70
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 33
  • 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. 137
  • Pevsner, N., 1983 (Revised by Williamson, Elizabeth), Buildings of England: Durham (London, Penguin) p. 510-1
  • Hugill, Robert, 1979, The Castles and Towers of the County of Durham (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 104-107
  • Conyers-Surtees, H., 1924, History of the Parish of Witon-le-Wear p. 20-31
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Leighton, 1910, in Memories of Old Durham (London) p. 199-200
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 356-7, 431 online copy
  • Whellan, F., 1894 (2edn), History, Topography and Directory of the County of Durham p. 426-8
  • Boyle, J.R., 1892, Comprehensive Guide to the County of Durham (Newcastle) p. 510-3
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. xv (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 206 online copy
  • Brayley, E. and Britton, J., 1803, Beauties of England and Wales; Durham Vol. 5 p. 216
  • Hutchinson, Wm, 1785-94, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham Vol. 3 p. 367-70 online copy
  • Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 2 p. 108-10 online copy

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. 543
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 118 online copy

Journals

  • 2012-13, 'Castle Studies Group Conference 2012 report' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 26 p. 64-72
  • 1911-12, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Vol. 5 p. 190-1
  • Anon, 1894, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser2) Vol. 6 p. 229-34
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. xv online copy
  • 1826, The Gentleman's Magazine Vol. 96 Part 1 p. 401 online copy

Guide Books

  • anon, 1980, Witton Castle (English Life Publications: Derby)

Primary Sources

  • 1872 The Thirty-third Annual Report of Deputy Keeper of the Public Record p. 91