Barnard Castle (castle)

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Barnard Castle

County Durham

Barnard Castle.jpg
Barnard Castle
Grid reference: NZ04911641
Location: 54°32’36"N, 1°55’36"W
Built From 1095
Owned by: English Heritage
Website: Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle is a ruined mediæval castle standing in the midst of the town of the same name, Barnard Castle in County Durham. It stands on the site of an earlier defended position, but the current stone castle was built from around 1095 to 1125 by Guy de Balliol. Between 1125 and 1185 his nephew Bernard de Balliol and his son Bernard II extended the building.[1]

Today the castle is in the care of English Heritage. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument,[2] and is a Grade I listed building.[3] The remains of the mediæval chapel of St Margaret in the outer ward are listed as Grade II.[4]

A plan of the castle


In 1216 the castle was besieged by Alexander II, King of Scotland. It was still held by the Balliol family although its ownership was disputed by the Bishops of Durham. When John Balliol was deposed as King of Scotland in 1296 the castle was passed to the Bishop of Durham. Around 1300, Edward I granted it to the Earl of Warwick.[5]

In the 15th century the castle passed by marriage to the Neville family.[6] In 1477 during the Wars of the Roses, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) took possession of the castle, and it became one of his favourite residences.[7]

Over the next two centuries the Nevilles enlarged and improved the estate and created a substantial and impressive castle. However, when Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland was attainted for his leading role in the Rising of the North the Neville estates were sequestered. In 1626 the Crown sold the castle and also the Neville property at Raby Castle to Sir Henry Vane.

Vane decided to make Raby his principal residence and Barnard Castle was abandoned and its contents and much of its masonry was removed for the maintenance and improvement of Raby.[8]


The castle is in the custody of English Heritage and is opened to the public. Of particular interest are the ruins of the 12th-century cylindrical tower and the 14th-century Great Hall and Great Chamber.[9]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Barnard Castle (castle))


  1. "Barnard Castle". SINE Project, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  2. National Heritage List 1007505: Barnard Castle: ringwork, shell keep castle, chapel and dovecote
  3. National Heritage List 1218822: The Castle:Barnard Castle
  4. National Heritage List 1282722: Former chapel in outer ward of castle, with wall attached
  5. Plantagenet Somerset Fry (1980). The David & Charles Book of Castles. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 183–184. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3. 
  6. Barnard Castle
  7. Simpson, David. "Timeline of North East History: Wars of the Roses 1455–1508". The North East England History Pages. Archived from the original on 28 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  8. "Barnard Castle". CastleXplorer. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  9. Barnard Castle (castle) – English Heritage
  • Austin, David (2007), Acts of Perception, A study of Barnard Castles in Teesdale, Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland Research Report 6, ISBN 978-0-9510388-5-7