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Stockton Castle

In the civil parish of Stockton On Tees .
In the historic county of Durham.
Modern Authority of Stockton on Tees.
1974 county of Cleveland.
Medieval County of County Palatinate of Durham.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ44631865
Latitude 54.56112° Longitude -1.31134°

Stockton Castle has been described as a probable Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Palace, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.


Shopping centre and car park on site of irregular four sided enclosure with great ditches were remains of castle slighted 1652. Castle of the Bishop of Durham.

Stockton Castle was a manor house owned from at least the C12 by the Bishops of Durham. The site, known as Castle Field, was an irregular four sided area on the bank of the River Tees, defended on the S and W by a large ditch, which is now built over. The 'Castle' contained a chapel, two towers and a hall, which were in ruins by 1647 and destroyed in 1652 (VCH).
A section of wall in Castle Gate, NZ 4465 1874, 4.0m long by 1.2m high, is of old dressed stone with the remains of a plinth course visible. It is not possible to connect this wall definitely with the castle. No other remains which could be part of the castle or manor house were seen in the area. In view of Wood's plan it is probable that the description 'castle' was an early misnomer for a fortified manor house (F1 JHO 14-SEP-53).
The castle was excavated in 1965, however, owing to the heavy disturbance of the site and the limited time allowed for the dig, little was uncovered. Two drains were excavated, presumably of medieval date constructed of reused 12th century masonry. The robbed out foundations of a building were also uncovered. A layer containing 17th century pottery and evidence for burning probably represents the destruction of the castle after 1647 (Manby). (PastScape)

The Parliamentary Commissioners, reporting upon its state in 1647, wrote "that the bishop's castle situate at the south end of the town by the river Tease (sic) is ruinous and in great decay. . . . The castle hath had a great moat about it, but the same is now for want of cleaning filled up in part, and within that moat hath heretofore been orchards and gardens, but all destroyed. . . . There hath likewise been a park, but the same hath been disparked." The lands of the estate were sold, and the castle was completely dismantled. (Niemeyer)

Not destroyed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell (or, more correctly, Parliament) as sometimes suggested but already ruinous when examined by the Parliamentary Commissioners. However, Parliament did order the works around the castle 'made since the troubles' should be slighted and dismantled and dis-garisoned.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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