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Thornlaw, Thornley

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Thornton, castellum de Thornauum

In the civil parish of Thornley.
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: NZ360383
Latitude 54.73916° Longitude -1.44062°

Thornlaw, Thornley has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are no visible remains.

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


A castle was documented at Thornley in 1143, (castellum de Thornauum) when it was built or rebuilt by the lawful Bishop against the usurper Cumin. It was surrendered and retaken soon after. Last documented in 1152. (PastScape ref. King)

THORNLAW, during the time of Cummin's usurpation of the See, was a place of strength, and received bishop William de Sancta Barbara and his adherents for some short time during those contentions, as noted in the annals of that prelate. There are no remains of fortification which can lead the traveller to conjecture what was then the strength of the place: The present mansion-house stands upon an eminence, with deep gulleys or dells towards the east and south, but has no remarkable situation for defence. (Hutchinson Vol. 3)

Most probably on site of present Thornley Hall, which is naturally defensible. The DMV north of the Hall is a SAM (PastScape 25876). The site was held for a few winter months by an a force weakened by hunger so the amount of fortifications this force actually built may be open to question. However the site may already have been occupied by a manor house with some level of fortification.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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