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Lumley Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Little Lumley.
In the historic county of Durham.
Modern Authority of Durham.
1974 county of County Durham.
Medieval County of County Palatinate of Durham.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ28785105
Latitude 54.85343° Longitude -1.55325°

Lumley Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Large castle and 3 ranges around service court; now an hotel. Licences to crenellate 1382 and 1392; altered c.1570-80, and 1721 by Sir John Vanbrugh. Early C18 service court. Dressed and ashlar sandstone, pantiled roofs and stone chimneys. Quadrangular plan: 4 ranges round courtyard with 4 angle towers; 3 ranges round service court on north. Hall in west range. Interior. Vaulted medieval ground floor with pointed doorways and jewel stairs in towers. Hall in west range retains 3 doorways behind screen and has c.1570 classical stone fireplace. 2-storey kitchen with 3 fireplaces in north-west tower. (Listed Building Report - medieval parts only)

Late 14th century crenellated fortified house quadrangular in plan comprising four three-storey ranges arranged round a courtyard with four four-storey angle towers. Licences to crenellate took place in 1382 and 1392. A chapel documented in 1432 was situated in the northeast tower. Alterations to the house were made circa 1580 and 1721. It is constructed of dressed and ashlar sandstone with pantiled roofs. Additions to the house were made in the 20th century, and it is now used as a hotel. The site has been interpreted as a possible site of a Roman signal station due to the presence of Roman masonry. (PastScape summary)

The strong parallels between the design of Lumley Castle and the design of Raby, Bolton, and Brancepeth Castles suggests that they were all designed by a single architect, probably John Lewyn. (PastScape ref. Hislop, 1996)

A Durham Palatinate licence to crenellate was granted in 1389 Nov 10 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was confirmed in 1392 Oct 24.


Sir Ralph Lumley obtained licences from Bishop Skirlaw in 1389 and from Richard II in 1392 to crenellate and rebuild his castle at Lumley. In plan, the castle is a quadrangle enclosing a square courtyard with a large tower at each corner. These towers are rectangular with their greatest length east and west. Access to the courtyard is gained by a vaulted passage on the east side. Externally, the outline of the original buildings has changed little, although many of the windows have been replaced by some of C16 and C18 date. The east range of buildings contains the remains of an earlier Manor House. Licence for a chapel was granted in 1432.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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