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Castelhous, Mainsforth

In the civil parish of Bishop Middleham.
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: NZ314315
Latitude 54.67764° Longitude -1.51391°

Castelhous, Mainsforth has been described as a Uncertain but is rejected as such.

There are no visible remains.


A "messuage called Castelhous" was mentioned in 1385 after the death of John de Herdwyk. Likely to take its name from Bishop Middleham castle rather than to be a fortification, but possibly fortified precursor of Mainsforth Hall. (Jackson)

But the chief free estate in Mainsforth became vested not long after Hatfield's Survey in the family of Herdwyk; an inquest on John de Herdwyk, Thursday after St. Michael, 1397, affords a very particular description of the ancient village. “The chief messuage, the toft and croft, and twenty-four acres called Coxhous. A toft and six acres called Kellawhous, held of the Bishop by homage, fealty, and no rent beside, val. 13s. 4d. A messuage and eighteen acres called Waytesplace, held by knight's service and 3s. 4d. val. 3s. 4d. A messuage called Castelhous and one oxgang, by knight's service and 3s. 4d. val. 2s. Sixteen acres once of Peter Dautre, by 1s. 4d. val. 12d.” (Surtees)

The site can not be securely identified. Jackson suggests a precursor to Mainsforth Hall, although the full quotes from Surtees would seem to suggest this was Coxhous. What is clear is that 'castelhous' was not sufficiently funded or of sufficient social status to be fortified. However, in the absence of other suggestions and evidence this is used as the map reference. Mainsforth Hall, the family seat of the Surtees family (including the historian) was demolished in the 1960s.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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