Drive Bridge over River Gaunless


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Auckland Castle Park, Bishop Auckland


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Statutory Address:
Auckland Castle Park, Bishop Auckland

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

County Durham (Unitary Authority)
Bishop Auckland
County Durham (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Drive bridge, 1757 for Bishop Richard Trevor.

Reasons for Designation

Drive Bridge, of 1757, is listed at grade II for the following principal reasons: Architectural interest:

* an attractive, well-crafted and largely intact segmental-arched mid-C18 bridge;

Historic interest:

* for its close historic association with Auckland Castle Park created for the Prince Bishops of Durham as a hunting estate.

Group value: * it retains its historic relationship with the listed Auckland Castle and the registered Auckland Castle Park, and benefits from a spatial group value with numerous other listed buildings.


Auckland Castle Park originated as a deer park for the Prince Bishops of Durham, probably in the C11 or C12, associated with their residence at Auckland Castle. The park had a herd of wild cattle until the C17 and there are records of successive restocking with deer. The park fell into decline during the Interregnum at which time the trees were cut down, but it was restocked, and the fishponds renewed by Bishop Cosin during the period 1660 to 1671. In 1750 Bishop Butler extended the park to take in areas of woodland and began renewing the pale and planting, operations which were interrupted by his death in 1752. He was succeeded by Bishop Trevor, who continued with the improvements, spending more than £8000 on the Castle and park during the period 1752 to 1771. Ewan Christian undertook a refurbishment of Castle and park during the 1880s for Bishop Lightfoot.

This bridge was constructed in 1757 By Bishop Trevor to carry the drive, that formerly linked Auckland Castle to the north-eastern park gate at Park Head, across the River Gaunless. A Roman cremation urn was uncovered during its construction, raising the possibility that it lies on or near a Roman predecessor that carried Dere Street across the river.


Drive bridge, 1757, for Bishop Richard Trevor.

MATERIALS: coursed squared sandstone blocks, with finely tooled ashlar voussoirs, archivolt and copings.

PLAN: the single-span bridge crosses the River Gaunless at right angles, with approach causeways to either end, which splay out at acute angles in two stages.

DESCRIPTION: not inspected, information from other sources. The bridge comprises a single, segmental arch 3.62m wide with a span of about 12m. Each elevation has a single arch ring composed of voussoirs and a raised keystone, all surmounted by a narrow archivolt of square section that sits proud of the ring but flush with the keystone. The spandrels are brought flush with the archivolt and merge with the parapet walling (there is no string course to mark the level of the road deck). The parapet copings are flat-topped with chamfered edges. The short, ramped approach causeways have a chamfered setback at the level of the archivolt springing, but similarly are undifferentiated from the wing walls that surmount them. The elevations are identical except for the keystone on the western (downstream) face which is inscribed RD 1757 (RD standing for Richard Dunelm, or Bishop Richard Trevor of Durham). There is a pedestrian, cast-iron kissing gate at the bridge’s north-east corner, with an octagonal gatepost with ornate finial; the uprights and rails of the gate and accompanying enclosure are formed from simple rectangular bars.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


The Road, Rail and Parkland Bridges of Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, 4/2021: an assessment of the historical and archaeological evidence, M Jecock 2021, accessed 18-02-2021 from


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

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 31 May 2002
Reference: IOE01/06970/19
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Alan Bradley. Source Historic England Archive
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