Ancient Monuments

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Bowes Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Bowes, County Durham

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.5167 / 54°30'59"N

Longitude: -2.0135 / 2°0'48"W

OS Eastings: 399223.508893

OS Northings: 513484.824668

OS Grid: NY992134

Mapcode National: GBR GJC6.WP

Mapcode Global: WHB4K.1QGT

Entry Name: Bowes Castle

Scheduled Date: 8 February 1915

Last Amended: 5 December 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002318

English Heritage Legacy ID: DU 119

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Bowes

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Summary

The monument includes the standing and buried remains of a tower keep castle surrounded by the earthwork remains of a ditch on the south and west sides. It is situated at a strategic point on the approach to the Stainmore Pass over the Pennines and stands within the north-east corner of the Roman fort of Lavatris, the remainder of which is scheduled as a separate monument (DU 111 or NHLE 1002316). The castle is also a Grade I listed building.

Source: Historic England

Details

The monument includes the standing and buried remains of a tower keep castle surrounded by the earthwork remains of a ditch on the south and west sides. It is situated at a strategic point on the approach to the Stainmore Pass over the Pennines and stands within the north-east corner of the Roman fort of Lavatris, the remainder of which is scheduled as a separate monument (DU 111 or NHLE 1002316). The castle is also a Grade I listed building.

The unroofed, square keep is constructed of sandstone ashlar with a rubble core and stands to three storeys high; it is thought to incorporate some re-used Roman masonry. It has a double-chamfered plinth, and each face has projecting corners and a broad flat central buttress with set-back wall panels between. The east elevation retains the lower courses of the projecting forebuilding; the main round-arched doorway has set-back voussoirs, and is flanked by small round-arched openings. There are loops to ground and first floor in the south east corner. A well situated immediately outside the north east corner measures c.2m in diameter. The south elevation contains a first-floor round-arched window of 2 orders (inner order chamfered) to the east of the central buttress and the remains of a roll-moulded band above; four round-headed loops and a single square-headed loop lie to either side. The west elevation with large areas of exposed rubble core has exposed mural passages and a first-floor garderobe chute to the south; a projecting section of wall at the foot of the chute has two round-arched openings. There are the remains of large windows to the north end. The north elevation has a large round-headed first-floor window with set-back rounded jambs. Close to the south-western side of the keep, there is a broad L-shaped ditch measuring c.10m wide and c. 2.5m to 3m deep.

The ground floor of the keep served as storage, and the first floor was the principal living area accessed by a stone stair in the forebuilding. The second floor is considered to have housed the private chambers. The ground-floor interior retains several springers indicating the presence of former rib vaults, and in the south east corner there is a partially rebuilt newel stair, which provided communication internally between ground and first floor. At first floor the visible remains of the former kitchen in the north east corner include a fireplace and a simple flue leading out through the north wall. The first floor was divided into hall and chamber by a cross wall, visible as a stub projecting from the north wall. Mural chambers and garderobes are also present, built within the thickness of the walls, and there is evidence of a newel stair, giving access to the second floor private chambers.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bowes Castle, the standing structural, buried and earthwork remains of a Norman castle, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Historical: as the first of the chain of late C12 castles built to control the Stainmore Pass, Bowes was constructed to control this route and a section of the country bordering Scotland;
* Archaeological potential: the site retains buried remains which have the potential to increase our knowledge and understanding of the castle, and of this building type.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Colvin, H M, The History of the King's Works, (1963), 574
Vyner, et al, The Archaeology of the Stainmore Pass, (1998), 10, 15, 117-8
Other
Bowes Roman Fort, Castle and Village, by RCHME Newcastle office, 1991.
English Heritage Guide Book: 1999 Barnard Castle, Egglestone Abbey, Bowes Castle.

Source: Historic England

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