Ancient Monuments

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Deer shelter in Auckland Castle deer park

A Scheduled Monument in Bishop Auckland, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.6686 / 54°40'7"N

Longitude: -1.6667 / 1°40'0"W

OS Eastings: 421594.244046

OS Northings: 530443.774222

OS Grid: NZ215304

Mapcode National: GBR JGSG.Y6

Mapcode Global: WHC52.CXKB

Entry Name: Deer shelter in Auckland Castle deer park

Scheduled Date: 14 February 1948

Last Amended: 1 March 2022

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011641

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23219

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Bishop Auckland

Built-Up Area: Bishop Auckland

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Bishop Auckland

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument is a deer shelter situated on a promontory within the former deer
park of Auckland Castle. It is a roughly square building including an inner
enclosure wall surrounded by an arcaded outer wall, both of which are c.2m
high and constructed of coursed rubble faced with plaster.
The side facing north-east includes a central gateway flanked on the outside
by pilasters or square, projecting columns. The arcade, which faces outward,
has six bays on either side of the gateway whereas, on the featureless
north-west and south-east sides, it has fifteen bays. All the bays have
semi-circular arches. On the south-west side, six bays flank each side of a
huntsman's lodge which comprises a single storey semi-octagonal projection
built below a tower with a room overlooking the enclosure. The tower is
pinnacled and the walls of the deer shelter are castellated. Originally, the
passage between the two walls was entirely covered over with stone slates. The
passages were paved and connect with each other and the internal courtyard
through doorways.
Auckland Castle is the residence of the bishops of Durham. The deer shelter
was built in 1760 by Bishop Trevor and has been in the care of the State since
1952. It is also a Grade I Listed Building.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Deer parks were areas of land, usually enclosed, set aside and equipped for
the management and hunting of deer and other animals. They were generally
located in open countryside on marginal land or adjacent to a manor house,
castle or palace. They varied in size between 3ha and 1600ha and usually
comprised a combination of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of
cover and grazing for deer. Parks could contain a number of features,
including hunting lodges (often moated), a park-keeper's house, rabbit
warrens, fishponds and enclosures for game, and were usually surrounded by a
park pale, a massive fenced or hedged bank often with an internal ditch.
Although a small number of parks may have been established in the Anglo-Saxon
period, it was the Norman aristocracy's taste for hunting that led to the
majority being constructed. The peak period for the laying-out of parks,
between AD 1200 and 1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity
amongst the nobility. From the 15th century onwards few parks were constructed
and by the end of the 17th century the deer park in its original form had
largely disappeared. The original number of deer parks nationally is unknown
but probably exceeded 3000. Many of these survive today, although often
altered to a greater or lesser degree. They were established in virtually
every county in England, but are most numerous in the West Midlands and Home
Counties. Deer parks were a long-lived and widespread monument type. Today
they serve to illustrate an important aspect of the activities of medieval
nobility and still exert a powerful influence on the pattern of the modern
landscape. Where a deer park survives well and is well-documented or
associated with other significant remains, its principal features are normally
identified as nationally important.

Auckland Park was one of the main holdings of the medieval bishops of Durham
and the deer shelter is a typical component of a deer park. It is
well-preserved and is a good example of late 18th century Gothic architecture.
In addition, it demonstrates that, unusually, the deer park remained in use in
the late post-medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: County Durham, (2003), 106
Raine, , Auckland

Source: Historic England

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