Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County Durham (Unitary Authority)
City of Durham
National Grid Reference:
NZ 27320 42359



14/355 The Castle: west range 6/5/52 GV I

Castle kitchen and hall, with garden staircase and grand staircase. Now college. C11 hall undercroft; late C13 hall for Bishop Bek, extended southwards c.1350 for Bishop Hatfield. Kitchen and buttery remodelled for Bishop Fox; hatch dated 1499; garden staircase in front of kitchen C13, with later link to hall. Grand staircase wing at right added 1662 for Bishop Cosin, who also added porch to hall. C19 restoration and alterations. Coursed squared sandstone with ashlar dressings. Roofs not visible. Left staircase block 3 storeys, 2 bays, with link of 2 low storeys and 2 bays in hall. Hall has basement and one high storey (except in first bay which has windows on 4 levels), 4 bays. Right staircase block, 4 storeys, 2 windows, encloses north gallery, linking north and west ranges.

Garden staircase wing has chamfered Tudor-arched surround to central door, and 2 segmental-headed lights in square-headed window, with label moulds. Flat Tudor-arched door in set-back link under 2-light window and low gable. Hall has 8 wide octagonal steps up to second-bay Ionic porch with paired columns, dentil cornice and open segmental pediment; arms of Bishop Cosin within. Leaf-carved tympanum on panelled pilasters. Hall bays defined by 4 octagonal turrets with ogee domes; central fleur-de-lis finials and outer ball finials. Small round-headed windows in undercroft, with square-headed door at left and shouldered-arched door at right. First bay 3-light window below 2-storey oriel; single window above flanked by square-headed 2-light windows, all with label moulds. Blank bay above porch contains arms of Bishops Cosin and Hatfield, Archdeacon Westle and Dr. Robert Grey; 2 right bays have tall Decorated 3-light windows; floor string. Battlemented parapet on string. Extruded stair wing has square-headed windows with 2 segmental- headed lights and label moulds. Canted corner has 2 panels with Cosin's arms, Rainwater head dated 1662 on pipe with lugged fixings.

Interior: kitchen has wide fires with segmental moulded stone arches in battlemented brick wall; pointed relieving arches of crossed soldier courses. Rendered firehood has central brick buttress and stone corbelled shaft; imp carved on corbel. Panelled wood ceiling. Norman arch in rear of one fire. Studded buttery screen, with carved spandrels, dated and inscribed Est Deo Gracia. Much original ironwork still in use. First bay of hall, containing servants' hall, has one flight of closed-string stairs with moulded string and grip handrail, chamfered square newels with ball finials, and balustrade of flowing foliage on wavy rail carved to resemble a branch. 2-centred-arched door in hall leads to original screens passage (now enclosed in porch): 2 deeply-moulded orders on detached shafts. Great hall has 2 round balconies at south end on east and west walls; 2 C14 windows and C14 roof; C19 windows otherwise, the northernmost with glass by Kempe. C19 wainscoting, south screen and gallery. Right wing contains 'Black Staircase': of majestic proportions, through 3 floors in square open well. It has moulded closed string and wide grip handrail; richly-carved fruit and foliage swirls along the balustrade, the well face with wreath-carved pulvinated frieze below the handrail. Well face of string also enriched, as are the square newels, some with fruit-bowl finials,straps and pendants gathered to a blackberry drop. Probably later round wood columns support most newels. Similarly-carved dado; and doorcase to Bishop's rooms on north landing, which has strap-bracketed beam.

Sources: V.C.H. 1928, reprint 1968; III, 64-91. Pevsner, revised Williamson, Buildings of England: Durham 1983, 212-218.

Listing NGR: NZ2732042359


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Durham, (1928), 64-91
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: County Durham, (1983), 212-218


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

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Date: 03 Mar 2001
Reference: IOE01/03609/26
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Bob Cottrell. Source Historic England Archive
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