Drive bridge over Coundon Burn at NZ 2285 3056


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


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Statutory Address:
Auckland Park

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:


Drive bridge, 1827.

Reasons for Designation

This bridge, of 1827, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* a largely intact elliptical barrel-vaulted early-C19 drive bridge, of simple design, yet well-constructed.

Historic interest:

* for its close historic association with Auckland Castle Park created for the Prince Bishops of Durham as a hunting estate, and in particular for its construction by William Van Mildert, Bishop of Durham from 1826 to 1836.

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 £8,000 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 1827 by William Dunelm or William of Durham, otherwise William Van Mildert, Bishop of Durham from 1826 to 1836. Traces of splayed stone kerbing in the ground on the northern approach, together with the length of the vault suggest that the structure was built to carry a carriage drive, or at the very least a bridleway. It is first depicted on the Ordnance Survey map surveyed in 1857 (published 1861) when it formed part of a network of paths or rides running around the inside of the park’s eastern perimeter.


Drive bridge, 1827.

MATERIALS: ashlar and dressed stone.

DESCRIPTION: this bridge carried a drive or bridleway over the Coundon Burn. The structure comprises a simple, elliptical barrel vault some 6.8m long by 2.13m wide, capped by earth and gravel. There are no headwalls or parapets. The eastern (upstream) elevation comprises a single arch ring of fine ashlar voussoirs with the keystone inscribed WD | 1827 (William Dunelm ie William of Durham, otherwise Willam Van Mildert, Bishop of Durham between 1826 and 1836). The arch ring of the western elevation and the vault that connects the elevations is formed of less well-dressed stone. A training wall continues the line of the north abutment a short distance downstream and the stream bed is paved.


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
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 31-03-2021 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: 11 Jun 2002
Reference: IOE01/06970/28
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Alan Bradley. Source Historic England Archive
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