Deer shelter in Auckland Castle deer park


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Deer shelter in Auckland Castle deer park
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County Durham (Unitary Authority)
Bishop Auckland
National Grid Reference:
NZ 21594 30444

Reasons for Designation

Deer parks were areas of land, usually enclosed, set aside and equipped for the management and hunting of deer and other animals. They were generally located in open countryside on marginal land or adjacent to a manor house, castle or palace. They varied in size between 3ha and 1600ha and usually comprised a combination of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of cover and grazing for deer. Parks could contain a number of features, including hunting lodges (often moated), a park-keeper's house, rabbit warrens, fishponds and enclosures for game, and were usually surrounded by a park pale, a massive fenced or hedged bank often with an internal ditch. Although a small number of parks may have been established in the Anglo-Saxon period, it was the Norman aristocracy's taste for hunting that led to the majority being constructed. The peak period for the laying-out of parks, between AD 1200 and 1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity amongst the nobility. From the 15th century onwards few parks were constructed and by the end of the 17th century the deer park in its original form had largely disappeared. The original number of deer parks nationally is unknown but probably exceeded 3000. Many of these survive today, although often altered to a greater or lesser degree. They were established in virtually every county in England, but are most numerous in the West Midlands and Home Counties. Deer parks were a long-lived and widespread monument type. Today they serve to illustrate an important aspect of the activities of medieval nobility and still exert a powerful influence on the pattern of the modern landscape. Where a deer park survives well and is well-documented or associated with other significant remains, its principal features are normally identified as nationally important.

Auckland Park was one of the main holdings of the medieval bishops of Durham and the deer shelter is a typical component of a deer park. It is well-preserved and is a good example of late 18th century Gothic architecture. In addition, it demonstrates that, unusually, the deer park remained in use in the late post-medieval period.


The monument is a deer shelter situated on a promontory within the former deer park of Auckland Castle. It is a roughly square building including an inner enclosure wall surrounded by an arcaded outer wall, both of which are c.2m high and constructed of coursed rubble faced with plaster. The side facing north-east includes a central gateway flanked on the outside by pilasters or square, projecting columns. The arcade, which faces outward, has six bays on either side of the gateway whereas, on the featureless north-west and south-east sides, it has fifteen bays. All the bays have semi-circular arches. On the south-west side, six bays flank each side of a huntsman's lodge which comprises a single storey semi-octagonal projection built below a tower with a room overlooking the enclosure. The tower is pinnacled and the walls of the deer shelter are castellated. Originally, the passage between the two walls was entirely covered over with stone slates. The passages were paved and connect with each other and the internal courtyard through doorways. Auckland Castle is the residence of the bishops of Durham. The deer shelter was built in 1760 by Bishop Trevor and has been in the care of the State since 1952. It is also a Grade I Listed Building.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: County Durham, (2003), 106
Raine, , Auckland


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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