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Historic England Research Records

Bowes Castle

Hob Uid: 981380
Location :
County Durham
Bowes
Grid Ref : NY9923013480
Summary : A ruined castle, whose present remains comprisie a Norman keep of circa 1171-87, foundations of a forebuilding and a moat. The castle was constructed on the site of a former Roman fort, which had probably been built to guard the Stainmore pass route. The castle was originally part of the estates known as the "Honour of Richmond" but passed to the crown in 1171. An earlier timber castle may have been initially built by Alan of Brittany in the 1130s. The castle was rebuilt by Henry II: in 1173-4, the castle was unsuccessfully beseiged by the forces of William of Scotland. Later the castle was granted to other lords but reverted to royal ownership in 1471. The unpopular grant of the castle to John de Scargill by Edward II in 1322 was met by a revolt of the local tenants who beseiged and took the castle. The castle was reported as being in ruins in 1325, and was said to have been dismantled in the 17th century. Hutchinson, who visited the site in 1776, stated that it was surrounded by a deep ditch with a platform to the south (this description of the topography is a reference to the Roman Fort, see record 17561). It incorporates some Roman masonry. The moat, now dry, survives only around parts of the west and south sides; it was cleaned out earlier in the 20th century and is now 2.4 metres deep. The keep survives: this is rectangular in plan. It is built of ashlar facing and a sandstone rubble core. The keep would orginally have comprised three storeys with a first floor chamber and hall. The site is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : This record was previously recorded under NY 91 SE 1.

(NY 9923 1348) Castle (NR) (Remains of) (1a)

Building of the keep commenced at or before 1171 and was completed in 1187. Originally a possession of the Honour of Richmond, it passed to Henry II in 1171 and remained a royal possession until 1233 when it was granted to Peter, Duke of Britanny, (1b). It was reported as being in ruins in 1325, and was said to have been dismantled in the 17th century (1c). Hutchinson, who visited the site in 1776, stated that it was surrounded by a deep ditch to the S of which is an open area or platform (this is a reference to the Roman fort) (1d).

The remains of the keep (as described) are in the care of the DOE and open to the public. See photographs (1e)

Scheduled. (1f)

NY 9923 1348. The castle occupies the NW quarter of the Roman fort at Bowes (NY 91 SE 1), and was planned at 1:500 scale by RCHME Newcastle in 1990 as a part of the Bowes Survey of the fort and its environs. Plan and archive account containing bibliography for the castle, held in the NMR. It is in the care of English Heritage and open to the public. The moat, now dry, survives only around parts of the W and S sides; it was cleaned out earlier this century and is now 2.4 m deep. (1)

Bowes Castle. Keep with foundations of forebuilding to east. Circa 1171-87 by Richard the Engineer for King Henry II. Sandstone rubble core with ashlar and incorporating some Roman masonry. Square plan. Grade I. (2)

Listed by Cathcart King. (3)

Additional reference. (4)

Bowes castle was constructed on the site of a former Roman fort, which had probably been built to guard the Stainmore pass route. The castle was originally part of the estates known as the "Honour of Richmond" but passed to the crown in 1171. In 1173-4, during the reign of Henry II of England, the castle was unsuccessfully beseiged by the forces of William of Scotland. Later the castle was granted to other lords but reverted to royal ownership in 1471. The unpopular grant of the castle to John de Scargill by Edward II in 1322 was met by a revolt of the local tenants who beseiged and took the castle. After the English Civil War parts of the castle were dismantled and the stone reused elsewhere. The keep survives: this is rectangular in plan. The keep would orginally have comprised three storeys with a first floor chamber and hall. (5)

Gude book published in 1999. (6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Keith Blood/NOV-1990/RCHME: Bowes Survey
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 1a
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" map 1957
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 5
Source : Heritage unlocked: Guide to free sites in Yorkshire and the north east
Source details :
Page(s) : 54-55
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Barnard Castle, County Durham, Egglestone Abbey, North Yorkshire, Bowes Castle, North Yorkshire [guidebook]
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Source : Bowes Fort, Castle and Village
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 1b
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 2 : the Middle Ages
Source details :
Page(s) : 574
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 1c
Source : Yorkshire's ruined castles : an account of their history, asssociations and architecture with a chapter on the fortified houses of the county
Source details :
Page(s) : 45
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 1d
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hutchinson, W, 1776. An Excursion to the Lakes of Westmorland and Cumberland in the Years 1773 and 1774
Page(s) : 4
Figs. :
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Source Number : 1e
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 DS 24-APR-1973
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 1f
Source : County list of Scheduled Ancient Monuments : December 1987
Source details : Durham
Page(s) : 9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Teesdale, Durham, 17-JUN-1986
Page(s) : 23
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1205
Source Number : 3
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 514
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Feb-83
Source Number : 4
Source : Ordnance Survey guide to castles in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 175
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 1171-87
Monument End Date : 1187
Monument Start Date : 1171
Monument Type : Castle, Moat, Keep
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : in ruins
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1325
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Dismantled
Monument End Date : 1699
Monument Start Date : 1600
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DU 119
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 111195
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 123
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 91 SE 77
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 17561
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 982074
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, VICARAGE, BOWES (LAVATRIS)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1970-01-01
End Date : 1970-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: BOWES SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1990-11-01
End Date : 1991-03-01
Associated Activities : Primary, BOWES CASTLE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31