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Stanhope Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Castle Heugh; Castle Hill; Castri de Stanhopp

In the civil parish of Stanhope.
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: NY99603916
Latitude 54.74740° Longitude -2.00772°

Stanhope Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are no visible remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


The possible site of a motte and bailey castle, of which no remains are now visible (1976 NY93NE57 OS). A fragment of the motte may have survived until the turn of the century and is shown in a photograph of c.1906. However, Hutchinson writing in 1794 reported the following: "At the west end of Stanhope town, lying between it and the River Wear, is an eminence called Castle Hill or Castle Heugh. The crown of the hill forms an oblong figure 30 paces in width. To the north and east it is defended by a deep ditch. A ditch crosses the crown of the eminence and divides it into unequal parts. A wall was discovered, which appeared to defend the whole summit of the hill, built of ashlar work, strongly cemented. It is certain that a castle stood here in the days of Bishop Bek, for he granted lands on the west side of the castle of Stanhope" (Hutchinson). (Durham SMR)

At the west end of Stanhope town, lying between it and the river Wear is an eminence, called the Castle Hill or Castle Heugh, the southern foot of which is washed by the river; the crown of the hill forms a plain of an oblong figure, and is thirty paces in width; to the north and east, where the ascent is easiest, it is defended by a deep ditch; a ditch crosses the crown of the eminence, and divides it into two irregular parts; the ascent from the river we measured 108 perpendicular feet, on an inquiry and search, by the late Mr. Ward of Newlandside, a wall was discovered, which appeared to defend the whole summit of the hill, built of ashler work, strongly cemented. Tradition reports, this was a fortress of great antiquity, and was demolished by the Scots in one of their incursions; our records, or provincial history, affords us no greater lights. It is probable this castle gave name to the place. Stone-hope, or the fortified hill: or Stand-hope, the hill where the inhabitants made their chief resistance against an enemy: certain it is, that a castle stood here in the days of Bishop Beck; for he granted lands to Walter de Berineton, in Whitton, Escomb, and Stanhope, the latter describe to be situate on the west side of the cattle of Stanhope. (Hutchinson where the primary source is fully quoted)

The site is occupied by a listed house of 1798 now split into flats but once an approved school.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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