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Bradley Hall, Wolsingham

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Braydley

In the civil parish of Wolsingham.
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: NZ108362
Latitude 54.72050° Longitude -1.83323°

Bradley Hall, Wolsingham has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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

Description

The moated site and fortified house at Bradley Hall are well-preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. They will contribute greatly to our knowledge and understanding of medieval settlement in the region. Their association with a set of fishponds and a pillow mound will add to our knowledge of the economic basis of such settlements. The monument includes the remains of a moated site, the ruins and remains of a fortified house, a pillow mound and a series of fishponds of medieval date, situated on the left bank of the Bradley Burn, a tributary of the River Wear. The fortified house is a Listed Building Grade II. In 1183 the estate was mentioned in the Bolden Book, when it was held by the Bradley family. In Bishop Hatfield's 14th century survey it was held by Roger Eure of Witton. The son of the latter was granted licence to crenellate the house in 1431 by Bishop Langley. The estate later passed to the Tempest family and after the Rebellion of 1580 Elizabeth I granted it to the Bowes family, with whom it remained until 1844. The moated site, trapezoidal in shape, measures a maximum of 110m east to west by 125m north to south within a broad ditch up to 7m wide and a maximum of 1.8m deep. On the west, north and north eastern side, the moat is a prominent steep sided feature. The remainder of the eastern side has been infilled but it survives below ground level as a buried feature. The south side of the moat has also been infilled but it is visible as a shallow depression for part of its course. A regular inner bank of stone and earth, which is between 1.2m and 1.6m high and between 6m and 9m wide, flanks the moat for most of its course. A more discontinuous outer bank is also visible measuring between 6m and 10m wide and standing up to 1.6m high. The original entrance into the island of the moat is thought to have been at the north western corner. The island of the moated site contains slight earthworks of uncertain nature and the north western part shows a pronounced rise in level; the latter is thought to reflect the greater number of structures within the moated site placed near the original entrance in the north west corner. A drainage ditch which was cut across the moated site in 1951 revealed the existence of a cobbled area interpreted as a courtyard. At the south eastern corner of the island of the moated site there are the standing and earthwork remains of a fortified manor house thought to be of 14th century date, re-modelled in the late 16th or early 17th century. The medieval fortified house is thought to have been of courtyard plan in which at least three ranges were placed around a central yard. The east range houses the present farmhouse. The south range is visible as a rectangular ruin of large undressed sandstone measuring 30m east to west by 11m north to south and standing 5m high. The remains of a chamfered plinth are visible on the south, east and west faces. This range includes four barrel vaulted compartments. The interior west wall of the south range contains an original fireplace. A pointed medieval doorway with a square window above is visible in the north wall of the building and to the west there is another, now blocked, opening. Also in the north wall are at least two further pointed doorways, all blocked. The west range of the fortified house is visible as a pronounced but spread bank, 0.3m high, running north from the west end of the south range. A bank of slighter proportions at right angles to the latter is thought to represent the north range of the fortified house. The remains of an underground passage with two branches survive, and entry is gained through a rectangular opening situated outside the south eastern corner of the moat. From here a semi-circular passage faced in sandstone blocks, 1.4m high and 0.7m wide, runs north east for approximately 22m before it is blocked by fallen masonry. Some 3m before the blockage, a second passage, 0.7m wide and 1.1m high and roofed with sandstone slabs, branches off in a westerly direction for approximately 48m when it ends near to the north east corner of the east range of the building. Some 31m along the course of this passage a third passage joins from the north; this passage, which is 0.7m wide and only 0.5m high, can be followed for some 6.5m before it becomes blocked by fallen masonry. The lower passages are thought to be an integral part of the water management system associated with the late 16th or early 17th century re- modelling of the fortified house. They are clearly later in date than the filling in of the eastern arm of the moat and the subsequent construction of the garden. The main east-west passage is thought to have served as a drain for the house which was flushed with water from the northern branch. The purpose of the higher arched passage and its destination are uncertain. Some 25m north of the northern side of the moated site there is a linear mound 8m long by 2.5m wide and standing up to 1m high. This has been interpreted as a medieval pillow mound. Immediately to the south of the moated site there is a row of at least three enclosures, each one 40m square, bounded by low banks spread to an average of 8m wide and standing to a maximum of 0.5m high. These enclosures are thought to be the remains of a series of fishponds which were fed with water from the south side of the moat. Each enclosure contains the remains of broad ridge and furrow cultivation between 4m to 5m wide which runs parallel with the enclosures. The ridge and furrow represents ploughing of what at certain times of the year were dry ponds. (Scheduling Report)

Manor house, now farmhouse. C14 in the possession of the Eure family; 1431 licence to crenellate; possibly C15 barrel-vaulted ruin the only visible survivor of this house. Late C18 addition of present house. Sandstone rubble with quoins,one of Frosterley marble; ashlar doorcase; roof of graduated Lakeland slate with stone chimney. L-plan. 4 vaulted chambers run north-south and contain arched doorways and fire arch; C20 vehicle doors fill openings. On right return the modern house of 3 storeys, 2 windows extends from the ruined wall which contains small square blocked window at right on first-floor level. Open-pedimented Tuscan doorcase at left of addition contains 6-panel door and patterned fanlight. Tripartite sashes in first bay and 12-pane sashes in second have painted wood lintels-and sills except for a painted wedge stone lintel over second-floor right window. Frosterley marble-slab as quoin at right, one metre above ground. Relieving arches, paired between ground-floor windows, probably related to tunnel or drain known to extend from this point towards River Wear. Low-pitched hipped double-span roof. Interior: one-foot- wide beam in ground floor between rooms; boarded dado; some early C18 doors. (Listed Building Report)

A Durham Palatinate licence to crenellate was granted in 1431/2 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

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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.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
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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 02/02/2017 13:45:47

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