Ice House in Auckland Castle Park


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Auckland Castle Park, Bishop Auckland, DL14 8DL


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Statutory Address:
Auckland Castle Park, Bishop Auckland, DL14 8DL

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

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


Ice house, late C18 with a renewed C19 entrance tunnel.

Reasons for Designation

This ice house, of late-C18 date, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it is a well-constructed and well-preserved late-C18 ice house; * it appears to be a substantial structure that reflects the size and status of the estate it served.

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.


Icehouses are subterranean structures designed specifically to store ice, usually removed in winter from ponds, and used in the summer for preserving food and cooling drinks. Thousands of icehouses have been built in England since the early C17. These were initially built only by the upper level of society, but by the end of the C18 they were commonplace, and continued to be built throughout the C19. Icehouses only became obsolete after the introduction of domestic refrigerators in the early C20.

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 £8,000 on the castle and park during the period 1752 to 1771. Ewan Christian undertook a refurbishment of the castle and park during the 1880s for Bishop Lightfoot.

This ice house is considered to have been constructed in the late C18, with the entrance tunnel renewed in C19. The structure is not included in Beamon and Roaf’s county-by-county gazetteer of ice houses in Britain and is not depicted on historic mapping.


Ice house, late C18 with a renewed C19 entrance tunnel. DESCRIPTION: not inspected, information from other sources. Situated in the north-west portion of the park, east of the River Gaunless and on the south bank of the Coundon Burn. The ice house is visible as a spread mound of earth about 10m by 7m and up to 1.5m high. It has an arched, yellow brick entrance tunnel on the north side with a round rowlock arched entrance, now blocked. The low height of the entrance suggests there are steps leading down into the structure, and the interior is reported to be brick-lined.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Roberts, M, Pevsner, N, Williams, E, The Buildings of England: County Durham, (2021), 140


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: 11 Jun 2002
Reference: IOE01/06970/25
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Alan Bradley. Source Historic England Archive
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