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The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
 
 
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Witton Castle, Witton-le-Wear

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Witton le Wear; Whitton

In the civil parish of Evenwood And Barony.
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: NZ15353041
Latitude 54.66876° Longitude -1.76298°

Witton Castle, Witton-le-Wear has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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

Description

Castle, now caravan site and leisure complex administration and club buildings. Probably late C14; licence to crenellate 1410; partial demolition late C17; extensive late C18 and C19 alterations and additions. Coursed sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings and some quoins; roofs not visible. Main north range of medieval castle with west extensions and additions forming enclosure to service courtyard. Main front of north range 2 storeys, 8 bays, with stair turret projection in second bay and full-height porch with projecting porte-cochere in fifth bay. Port-cochere has double-chamfered flat-2-centred arches; wide angle buttresses; front corbel table and battlemented parapet. Tudor-arched surround to boarded door in porch, which has Decorated tracery in 4-light windows, and battlemented parapet with stone figures of buck and doe. Polygonal stair turret has 3 set-back stages with small chamfered lights, and heraldic panels and date and initials HC 1881, below corbelled battlements. Varied windows in other bays in medieval and Tudor styles, some with dripmoulds, are all C19. Bays flanking porch project slightly, the right under tower with figures on battlements. Corbelled external chimney stack from ground floor between 2 right bays, which have set-back stages; right end angle turret has similar set- backs, as has corresponding turret at left end which is abutted by west forecourt wall (q.v.). Square stone chimneys on corbelled stack and to left of entrance bay; octagonal stone chimney on front of tower behind porch with bronze fox. weather-vane. West extensions have some Gothic-style openings, some of mid-C19 character, and probably incorporate early north curtain wall. Interior of main range shows principal first-floor rooms with Gothic panelling and window reveals; barrel- vaulted ground floor. (Listed Building Report)

The original rubble-built castle situated within the curtain wall has been completely restored and retains no exterior features of obvious antiquity. A modern block, similar in style to the original castle, has been added to the west side. A wall and ornamental ditch on the north side are also modern. (PastScape ref. Field Investigators Comments F1 DAD 05-JUL-57)

A Durham Palatinate pardon and licence to crenellate was granted in 1410 Sept 23 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Comments

Licence to crenellate was obtained by Ralph Eure in 1410 after rebuilding had already begun, probably around 1370. Following a fire in 1796 much rebuilding took place. The original plan consisted of a square bailey, surrounded by a curtain wall,with a keep on the north side projecting beyond the curtain. The curtain remains almost unaltered. Two gateways lead to the courtyard, in the middle of the east and west sides respectively, and over each is a machicolated gallery. A broad battlement runs around the top of the wall. Each angle of the curtain was originally crowned by a bartizan of which only two remain. The keep is a rectangular structure with turrets at all corners. On the south side of the courtyard and close to the curtain wall is a square, tower-like structure with windows of C16.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 25/05/2017 08:01:05

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