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Brancepeth Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Branspeth; castrum suum de Brancepad'

In the civil parish of Brancepeth.
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: NZ22333773
Latitude 54.73420° Longitude -1.65454°

Brancepeth Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are major building remains.

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


Brancepeth Castle First mentioned 1216; rebuilt c.1398 for Ralph Neville; extensive rebuilding c:1818-21 by John Patterson for Matthew Russell; internal alterations 1829 and 1864-75 by Anthony Salvin. Dressed medieval masonry and early C19 diagonally-tooled ashlar. Lead-sheathed and felted roofs. Large irregular circular courtyard enclosed by curtain wall and ranges of buildings. Projecting towers and linking ranges described in clockwise direction: gatehouse at north-east;Westmorland tower at east; Constable tower at south-east; L-plan range on south and west including Neville and Bulmer towers near south-west corner; north section of curtain wall, with 2 watch towers, returning to gatehouse. The 4 above-named towers, an un-named tower in angle between Neville and Bulmer towers, and considerable sections of the curtain wall are medieval. The remainder, including gatehouse and ranges on inside of curtain wall, is early C19 in a mix of Norman and Gothic styles. C19 windows, except where noted, are mainly round-arched or of several lights under hoodmoulds. Restored continuous battlements, some sections corbelled out. The 2- and 3- storey, rectangular-plan medieval towers have offset stages and diagonal buttresses surmounted by turrets. Constable and Westmorland towers are lower and were altered in early C19. Late C15 2-light window and C17 cross window on tower in angle between Neville and Bulmer towers. North section of curtain wall has parapet walk and 2 square-plan, battlemented watch towers at angles; north-west tower rebuilt in C19. Massive 3-storey gatehouse has archway flanked by battered round towers. Early C19 tower on south and Hamilton tower on west in similar style to medieval towers. Linking 3- and 4-storey ranges on south, west and inside of curtain wall also similar. Tall narrow Flagstaff tower above porte-cochere, facing gatehouse on inside of courtyard, was heightened c.1870. Low-pitched roofs hidden by battlements. Interior. Neville and Bulmer towers have tunnel-vaulted basements (round- arched and pointed) and groin-vaulted principal chambers above. Early C19 main rooms have Neo-Norman decoration. Entrance Hall has ornate plaster imitation of a medieval timber roof. Huge semi-octagonal staircase hall has cantilevered staircase, starting in one flight and returning in two, and ribbed domed ceiling with central skylight. 6-bay Armour Gallery with quadripartite rib vaults. Chapel in Westmorland Tower was reconstructed in Gothic style in mid C19 (possibly by Salvin) and has vaulted wood roof and elaborate decoration, mosaics, reredos and triforium at west end. Early C19 painted glass in neo-Norman style, in vestibule of Armour Gallery, depicts an Earl of Westmorland and his wife (a similar fragment depicting the Battle of Neville's Cross and now in storage was designed by Charles Muss and probably made by William Collins of the Strand). Tall single-storey mid C20 rendered addition on south outer face of curtain wall, to west of Constable tower, is not of interest. (Listed Building Report)

According to the pedigree of the Bulmer family in 'Early Yorkshire Charters II' Brancepeth had a castle between 1154 and circa 1177. (PastScape ref. Brown)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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