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


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Statutory Address:
Statutory Address:

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

County Durham (Unitary Authority)
Barnard Castle
National Grid Reference:
NZ 04875 16466



NZ0416SE THE SCAR 770-1/5/204 (South side) 24/02/50 The Castle (Formerly Listed as: The Castle - whole of medieval remains of walling and earthworks)


Consolidated and displayed ruins of castle, partly excavated. Earthwork castle in the area which was to become the Inner Ward was established by Guy de Baliol post c1095; he later probably rebuilt the south gate tower in stone. Stone castle C12: 1130-1185 Bernard de Baliol (d.1154) and his son of same name built the larger castle with wall and rock-cut ditch round the Inner Ward, the Headlam Tower in place of the stone gatehouse, and a 2-storey keep at the north-east corner (c1125-c1140); curtain wall and gates to the other wards with Constable Tower on the west and principal gatehouse (now lost) on the east in the Outer Ward, with ranges round the courtyard of the Town Ward and the Church of St Margaret in the Outer Ward (c1140-c1170); new stone Hall and Great Chamber, and Prison and Postern Towers (c1170-c1185). C13: the Round Tower at the north-west corner, incorporating earlier structure, and probable rebuilding of parts of the curtain wall. C14: the Beauchamp Earls of Warwick improved the defences of Inner and Middle Wards by digging a north-south ditch between Middle and Town Wards, building a drawbridge, and improving the sally-port in the west wall at the west end of the Great Ditch, and made domestic improvements including rebuilding the Great Hall. Richard Duke of Gloucester made further minor improvements 1471-85. Sir Henry Vane acquired the castle in 1625 and robbed it for the rebuilding of Raby Castle. MATERIALS: mostly coursed squared sandstone with ashlar dressings; roofless. PLAN: Inner Ward at the north-west corner, Middle Ward to south of it, Town Ward to east of both, and Outer Ward filling the south half of the promontory. EXTERIOR: high curtain wall survives entire on north and in varying states of alteration around other sides, and surviving buildings abut it and the internal ward walls. North Gate has chamfered jambs with plain chamfered abaci supporting double-chamfered round arch; flanking damaged walls indicate either buttresses or barbican have been removed; solid bastion projects on west. On first floor of the gatehouse are 3 plain rectangular windows. INTERIOR: has hooded fireplaces. Brackenbury's Tower on the east wall of the Town Ward: INTERIOR has barrel-vaulted undercroft with garderobe, fireplace and cupboards; incomplete stone stairs to the first floor which has garderobe, fireplace and 3 slits one of which was later altered to form window with seats. South wall of the Town Ward has shallow buttresss and leans heavily outwards; south-west wall crosses Great Ditch of Inner Ward, with C12 arched entrance, with no evidence of gates, in bottom of ditch, and joins wall with shallow buttresses which makes a shell keep of the Inner Ward. At the west end of the Great Ditch is the C14 sally-port. Facing the Town Ward the Postern and Prison Tower; on the south the demi-bastion and remains of 2 bridges on the Great Ditch; on the west, forming with the curtain wall a continuous front overlooking the ravine of the river, the Headlam and Mortham Towers, the Great Hall, the Great Chamber, and at the north-west corner the Round Tower. Headlam Tower has only its west wall; fragmentary Mortham Tower shows 5 storeys, with service rooms flanking the passage to the Hall. C15 garderobe turret added to this tower. C14 Great Hall with mullioned-and-transomed windows with cusped ogee lights and quatrefoils; joist-holes for upper gallery. Great Chamber has C15 west oriel added, with re-used carving of interlace and boar set in window head. Round tower is ashlar and is inserted into the angle between the Great Chamber and the north junction of the Inner Ward and Town Ward walls; INTERIOR has undercroft with domical spiral-laid vault, and 3 storeys above. Undercroft has 3 arrow slits, fireplace, and inserted door to Great Chamber; upper floors have much original detail including barrel-vaulted stair landing, garde-robe doors, and round-headed doors to principal apartment. Floors and roof removed when used as shot-tower in C18. (English Heritage handbooks: Austin D: Barnard Castle, Durham: London: -1988: PASSIM; Buildings of England: Pevsner: County Durham: Harmondsworth: 1983-: 85-7).

Listing NGR: NZ0487516466


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

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Austin, D , Official Guide to Barnard Castle Durham, (1988)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: County Durham, (1983), 85-7


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

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Date: 15 Aug 2001
Reference: IOE01/04821/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Derek Le Mare. Source Historic England Archive
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