A History of the County of Durham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1928.
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The castle of Durham stands on the neck of a peninsula which was unapproachable by the engines of siege of ancient times, and from the very fact of its impregnable strength played a comparatively small part in military history. It was founded purely as a fortress, but before long became the chief residence or palace of that long line of Prince Bishops whose history has been told elsewhere. Selected first as a refuge for the venerated body of St. Cuthbert, the peninsula must have received some artificial addition to its natural defences at an early date, and by the beginning of the 11th century was strong enough to stand a siege by Malcolm of Scotland. (fn. 1) It is unlikely that the protective walls of Durham at this time were more than earthen banks crowned with palisades, nor is it probable that any part of the keep mound had been thrown up before the Conquest. The castle is recorded to have been built by Earl Waltheof about 1072, though some masonry in the Norman chapel is possibly of an earlier date. Waltheof's work was continued after his death in 1075 (fn. 2) by Bishop Walcher, his successor in the Earldom of Northumbria. The keep mound, then covering a much smaller area than at present, was probably raised at this period, but would not for some years be sufficiently stable to be crowned with a masonry tower. Bishop William de St. Calais, who planned the present church, probably strengthened the castle, which, after a brief siege, he was compelled to surrender to William Rufus in 1088. (fn. 3) But his successor, Ranulph Flambard, was, there can be little doubt, the designer of the Norman fortifications, as they can be traced to-day and as Laurence described them in the 12th century, although they have been usually credited to his successor Hugh Pudsey. Flambard cleared away the houses from the ground, now the Palace or 'Place' Green, between the castle and the church, (fn. 4) and built a wall from the east end of the church to the keep. (fn. 5) The whole of the plateau of the peninsula was thus appropriated by the castle, the church and monastery. Whatever were the individual shares of the early bishops in fortifying their stronghold, it is pretty clear that by the middle of the 12th century the fortifications had developed upon the lines then laid down.
Laurence, the monk of Durham, who wrote about 1144–9, gives a vivid description of the castle with its great natural strength, fortified by a wall broad and high with lofty battlements and threatening towers rising from the rock. (fn. 6) He describes the gate at the southeast, crowned with a tower, commanding a steep, narrow path down to the ford over the river, and the similar gate at the south-west with an easier ascent but protected by the river. The third gate at the north-east, being the chief entrance into the city, was more strongly built and possessed outworks and a barbican. From this gate the wall ran westwards up the mound to the keep and thence westwards again to the edge of the cliff, the contours of which it followed towards the south and then turned eastwards to the keep again. Within this triangular area were 'two great adjoining palaces with porticos,' portions of which we may still see incorporated in the existing ranges; here also was the chapel, 'supported on six columns, not too spacious but sufficiently handsome,' and in the central court was a deep well, which was rediscovered in 1904. On the south of the castle area was the strong and lofty gate, from which a drawbridge led across the broad moat to a field, on the east side of which a wall ran down from the keep to the cathedral. Unfortunately it is very difficult to make out much about the keep itself from Laurence's description. He seems to describe a circular shell of masonry, of which the stonework was carried down the face of the mound some 5 ft. or 6 ft., so that the surface inside was 'three cubits' higher than the base of the wall outside. (fn. 7) Inside this was apparently a tower probably of wood, possibly the original keep, rising above the shell, with the battlemented parapet of which it was connected by a bridge.
Bishop Pudsey (1153–95) completed Elvet Bridge (fn. 8) and is stated to have rebuilt the wall running southwards from the north gate. (fn. 9) To him are also ascribed the 'Constable's Hall' or 'Norman Gallery,' forming the northern range of buildings, and what is now the kitchen on the south-west of the castle. During the vacancy of the see in John's reign, from 1209 to 1216, some repairs were undertaken which probably included the building of the irregular tower at the north-west angle of Pudsey's gallery. During the remainder of the 13th century little seems to have been done, until the accession of Bishop Anthony Bek in 1284. Bek built the Great Hall on the site which it now occupies, though little of his work remains visible except the entrance doorway and three small windows formerly lighting the undercroft. Two years after Bek's death, in 1312, Brus raided and burnt the suburbs of Durham, (fn. 10) then unprotected. In 1315, in consequence of this raid, the inhabitants of Durham obtained, by petition, the right to levy murage, (fn. 11) and the walls round the present market place and the Elvet Bridge gateway were built at this time, and the gate on Framwellgate probably streng thened. Complaints were made by the King to Bishop Beaumont (1318–33) for neglecting the defences, and thereupon the bishop repaired the walls and rebuilt portions of the east wall of the castle enclosure where Flambard's foundations had failed. (fn. 12)
Great alterations were made by Bishop Hatfield (1345–81), the chief of which was the enlarging of the keep mound and the rebuilding of the keep (fn. 13) itself in the form which it approximately retained until its demolition in 1840. The former plan, an irregular octagon, has been followed in the present building. Hatfield enlarged Bek's great hall, (fn. 14) adding a carved roof, minstrels' galleries and two 'thrones.' He also added a new high-pitched open timber roof to Pudsey's Constable's Hall, at the same time inserting the west window which has lately been renovated. (fn. 15)
For a century after the death of the magnificent Hatfield, little work of importance was carried out. Bishops Skirlaw and Langley repaired the gates, the latter bishop practically rebuilding the north gate and gaol, and both bishops strengthened the work of their predecessors with buttresses, where necessary, but it was not until the accession of Bishop Fox in 1494 that any notable alterations were made in the buildings of the castle. Fox reversed Hatfield's policy and reduced the hall to about the size that it had been when built by Bek; (fn. 16) the southern end which he cut off, he divided into several rooms, and the Norman building at its south-west angle he converted into the kitchen, which is still one of the most striking features of the castle. The great fireplaces in this kitchen are of interest not only for their noble proportions but also as being the only early brickwork in the castle. The castle had by this time lost much of its military importance and had become a palace rather than a fortress, but Bishop Tunstall (1530–59) seems to have refaced part of the outer walls and the inner side of the castle gate. His most important work, however, was the building of the stair-turret, gallery and chapel on the north side of the courtyard, against Pudsey's gallery. (fn. 17) These alterations must have added not only to the effect but also to the convenience of the castle as a residence.
During the second half of the 16th century Durham Castle would seem to have been rather neglected, but Bishop Neile (1617–27) made many repairs, rendering it more habitable, at the same time shortening the hall by cutting off the north end. (fn. 18) His improvements were much praised by Charles I when he was entertained at Durham by Bishop Morton (1632–59). (fn. 19) The occupation of the castle by the Scottish forces during the Civil War naturally resulted in great injury to the fabric, and when at the Restoration the bishopric was revived and bestowed upon Bishop Cosin (1660–72), he found it in a bad condition. During the twelve years of his episcopate he executed a series of repairs in practically every part of the castle and made a few alterations, of which the most important were the destruction of the barbican and partial filling of the moat (fn. 20) and two additions to the hall. In front of the original door to the hall he built the elaborate porch and four great buttresses, which still form a prominent feature of the courtyard and at the north end he converted the portion of the hall which Bishop Neile had cut off into a council chamber and built the great stair. From a letter, (fn. 21) dated at London in 1662, to his secretary ordering the erection of this stair to be deferred until he could come down and see to it himself, it is clear that he gave not only his money but also his personal attention to the work which was then done. It is to him or probably to his successor Bishop Crewe (1674–1721) that we must attribute the extension eastward of Tunstall's chapel. Cosin was the last bishop to make any extensive alterations, other than destructive, but Bishop Crewe probably formed the Senate Room over the old Norman chapel. Bishops Butler (1750–2), Trevor (1752–71), Egerton (1771–87), and Barrington (1791–1826) all did repairs in the way of strengthening overhanging walls and refacing the masonry, and Bishop Thurlow in 1789 pulled down the upper stories of the keep for fear they would fall. Otherwise the history of the fabric during the 18th and early 19th centuries was uneventful. Upon the establishment of the University within its walls, the castle was overhauled and to some extent modernized, the most drastic change being the pulling down of the remainder of the old keep, which had become very ruinous, and the erection upon the same foundations of the new keep.
The castle court is entered from the Green by the main gateway, in front of which is the site of the barbican and moat. Laurence, the monk of Durham, writing between 1144–9, describes the gateway as strong, and mentions the drawbridge and barbican. (fn. 22) From what remains of the original work, which appears to be of Bishop Flambard's time (1099–1128), and from excavations made in 1898, it would seem that the Norman gateway consisted of a square tower with shallow projecting wings. All that definitely survives, however, of the Norman period are the circular turret stair up to the first floor and a string-course of sunk star ornament under the lean-to roof on the west side of the gateway, which is in excellent preservation. No doubt also a considerable amount of original masonry exists in the interior of the walls. The barbican was about 90 ft. in length and defended by an outer tower or turret and a gate. (fn. 23) The excavations disclosed the foundations of the west wall of the barbican, which averages about 7 ft. 4 in. in thickness. A cross wall 3 ft. 3 in. thick found at the same time, at a distance of 12 ft. from the wing of the present building, indicates the position of the drawbridge immediately in front of the gate. On the south side of this wall three stones remain which apparently formed the springers to an arch of the bridge approach.
Of the east barbican wall a short portion is known to exist under the west wall of Bishop Barrington's easterly projecting wing, but it appears to have been destroyed south of the termination of the wing; the fact that he built his west wall upon the old foundation, and his south and east walls upon the made ground of the moat, accounts for the unequal settlement of the east wing and the distortion of the south window.
Considerable repairs and additions were made to this gateway by Bishop Tunstall (fn. 24) (1530–59). He seems to have widened the passage through the gateway by recessing the jambs 3 in. on each side beyond the line of the soffit of the inner order to support which he provided small moulded abaci as brackets. A close examination further suggests that for the same purpose he rebuilt the arch and endeavoured to spread it out. It may be noticed with regard to this point that the joints of the voussoirs of the innermost order on each side of the keystone are open respectively 2 in. and ¾ in., the former being filled in with small cobble stones; and the bed joints generally of this and the two middle orders appear tight at the top and widen at the soffit, while the outer order which was added by Bishop Barrington is the only order with parallel joints. Into this widened doorway Tunstall apparently fixed the fine iron-bound gates filled in with oak. (fn. 25) These gates are hung in two halves with a wicket in the lefthand half; their original massive bolts are worthy of inspection.
In 1665 Bishop Cosin destroyed the barbican, which is said to have been in a ruinous condition, and partially filled in the moat. The requoining at this time of the north-east corner of the present library building, where the masonry was disturbed by the removal of the tower at the outer end of the barbican, can yet be seen. (fn. 26) Much of the stone work of the barbican was reused in the walls he erected. A curious picture in the castle attributed to the time of Bishop Crewe (1674–1721) shows a clock in the south face of the gateway (fn. 27) and the tower surmounted by a campanile.
The restoration by Wyatt undertaken during Bishop Barrington's episcopate (1791–1826) reduced the gateway to its present unsatisfactory appearance. He built the two projecting wings and refaced the whole of the exterior. (fn. 28) As it now stands the gateway consists of a nearly square tower with clasping angle buttresses capped by turrets rising above the embattled parapets of the main tower at each corner. The buttresses are ornamented with shallow sunk imitation loops and quatrefoils, plain rounded necking and string-courses upon which are formed the turrets slightly overhanging the lower walls. The ground and the first floors of the gate house are lighted with sharp-pointed arched windows deeply recessed by a hollow chamfer mould with roll at the outer edge, and hood moulds. The upper story has a circular window in which was formerly the clock face already referred to, and above is a square hood mould. The entrance arch is semicircular and of four orders ornamented with shallow sunk cheverons, the innermost being varied with a star mould. The three inner orders are the only remains of original Norman work to be seen. The outermost order springing from a shallow hollow chamfered jamb, and the two middle orders, carried on shafts with imitation Norman capitals, are by Wyatt. The innermost order springs from square jambs with small chamfered edges, and possesses curious small moulded abaci and bases returned on themselves within the face of the stone. On the south front, above and on either side of the gateway, are two shields, the dexter bearing the arms of the see, the sinister the arms of Bishop Barrington (three cheverons with a label for difference).
The ribs of vaulting have a broad flat soffit, shallow moulded with roll on angle, meeting in a central boss. The boss is ornamented with a wreath of foliage, in the centre of which is the badge of a lion or clawed beast. It is deeply undercut and is effective in appearance. The four ribs spring from corbels, much defaced, which in turn have had plain corbels inserted under them for support. (fn. 29)
The foundations of earlier buildings have from time to time come to light in the courtyard, but until some systematic attempt is made to trace them it would be misleading to attempt any description of the fragments of walls found. One piece of wall, however, exposed in the northeast corner of the yard revealed a small windowopening very similar to those in the undercroft of Bishop Bek's hall, but without the wide splay in the jambs. An undercroft or basement was also discovered under the north-east corner of the courtyard, immediately adjoining the chapel. It is now entered by a manhole in the courtyard. Its length is 20 ft. and its width 8 ft., the length being divided into four bays by semicircular arches of one square order, springing from the side wall on the west, and from massive square pilasters on the east side. It has a depth from crown of arch to the paved floor of 18 ft. 5 in. The piers have a set-off at about half their height covered with a stone slope, and the north pier has a rectangular opening in the face, which runs a considerable distance under the courtyard, and apparently dips slightly to the east. The sides of this opening, top and bottom, are rendered in mortar, and the top angles are rounded off. Whether it has been an overflow drain, or whether a timber has been built into it and decayed, is impossible to say, but no sign of timber graining was noticed on the mortar lining. The walls generally are built of roughly coursed rubble, the arches and quoins are of ashlar dressed with the axe; the jointing is large, especially the upright joints. The wall on the south side of the courtyard, stretching from the gateway to the garden stairs, is in its lower part of early origin and is a continuation of the old moat wall under the garden stair building. The upper part is later, probably of the time of Bishop Cosin. (fn. 30) The position of two windows can be seen in the wall, and also the jamb of a third, but the rest of the windows are cut off by Bishop Barrington's extension of the gateway. These windows probably gave light to the rooms that existed on the courtyard side of this wall, and traces of the foundation of the north wall of a building are still in existence underground. Whether Bishop Barrington pulled down this building cannot be said, but he appears to have destroyed and blocked up the three windows in order to run a flue in the thickness of the wall from the gatehouse cellar kitchen to the garden staircase.
The well, the position of which had long been forgotten, was found considerably to the north-west of the present centre of the court, at a depth of 6 ft. It was surrounded by the square stone pavement of the wellhouse sloping gradually from the well in the centre. The well averages 4 ft. in diameter, and was excavated to a depth of 106 ft.; the ashlar steaning is in fairly good condition and goes down to a depth of 62 ft. It is seated on the rock, which has fallen in places. At a depth of 90 ft. the well was found to be puddled with two layers of clay finished on top with rough flags. The main supply of water appears to enter from the rock at a depth of 70 ft. The supply is still fair, but the well will not hold the water, hence the partial filling in and puddling, which appears to have been unsuccessful. Bishop Tunstall provided the castle with an independent water supply, which he brought by a lead pipe from the 'pant' in the college. This in turn drew its supply from the spring on the south road in the field adjoining Little Wood, which to-day gives an abundant supply of perfectly clear water. Portions of the lead pipe have been recovered. (fn. 31) When excavating on the Palace Green an old wood pipe with spigot end formed out of a tree trunk was found pointing directly to the castle entrance. It was unfortunately too decayed to be lifted from its position, and fell to pieces on being touched.
Portions of several cobble and flag paved paths have been uncovered; one leads directly to the Norman entrance door of Bishop Pudsey's Gallery. It is interesting to note from the section of the accumulated top soil that the courtyard has at one time been paved, at another used as a vegetable garden, and at another time covered with ashes.
At the south-west corner of the courtyard is the Garden Stair, a small block of buildings which adjoins the moat and is used for students' rooms. It has a gable to the courtyard which is recessed behind an embattled parapet forming a pleasing feature. It was originally built apparently in the Norman period, but altered by Bishop Bek in the latter part of the 13th century. The door entering this building from the kitchen passage and a considerable part of the building above the courtyard level appear to be the work of Bishop Fox (1494–1501), while the facing of the lower portion of the north-east angle is of the time of Bishop Tunstall (1530–59). Bishop Cosin (1660–72) also made various alterations, and it was he probably who erected the high-pitched roof, with its gable, already referred to, in the place of a flat roof, and inserted the upper window. The upper part of the east wall bears his arms and was possibly rebuilt or refaced by him.
The interior has been much altered and originally must have possessed a basement, now filled in. The only item of interest remaining from a fire which occurred in the 19th century is the oak staircase of late 18th century date. It has plain square newels finished at the top with flat capitals surmounted by a ball, and at the bottom with similar capitals and pear-shaped pendants. The hand-rail is shaped and the balusters flat and cut. A curious feature is the rectangular slit or small squint on the south of the entrance doorway into the courtyard. The lower portion of the south wall forms the old moat wall, which is of Norman date, and is characterised by a boldly projecting plinth course, now much decayed. The lower part on the west side to the south of the kitchen is probably the remains of the south-west turret tower of the early Norman fortification, where they adjoined the west wall crossing the moat, and has at some time been used as a latrine pit. The south windows look out upon the inner moat, now transformed into a garden, formerly called the Bishop's Garden, but now named the Don's Garden. The wall on the west side of the garden is built upon the foundations of the Norman outer defensive wall. The small wing over the kitchen entrance is of Bishop Tunstall's date, the windows and other detail corresponding with those of his gallery.
On the west and adjoining the garden stairs is the kitchen, which is entered through the door of the buttery hatch. It was originally built by Bishop Pudsey (1153–95), possibly to house the guard or garrison. There are indications that it formerly contained several floors. The extra thickness of the south wall, now covered by Bishop Fox's fireplaces, suggests that this wall may have possessed defensive features, and its position at the junction of the castle and the defensive wall crossing the moat renders it extremely likely that such was the case. When the plaster was disturbed on the west wall, the jamb and arch of a Norman window were disclosed. On the outside also of the same wall on a level with this window, but further to the south, the jamb of a second window with a column is visible, though the rest of it is obscured by a later buttress. The outside features of the building were a boldly projecting base from which sprang broad, flat pilaster buttresses at each angle, and probably a corbelled parapet, the present parapet wall, with oversailing string and drip stones, being of late date. This building was converted by Bishop Fox (fn. 32) (1494–1501) into a kitchen. He inserted the large arch in the north wall and filled it with the buttery hatch. He also constructed the magnificent fireplaces and chimney breast adjoining, completely hiding the south wall. These fireplaces consist of two three-centred hollow chamfered ashlar arches of 16 ft. and 12 ft. span, springing from a central and two side stone piers, supporting a brick frontal wall, (fn. 33) with embattled parapet of moulded brick. From the back of this wall springs the battering wall of the large flues. Over each stone arch is a brick relieving arch, one and a half bricks in depth. The eastern arch is sharply pointed with small curvature, but the western has no curvature, the rims being perfectly straight, like the upper part of a right-angled triangle. Both rise nearly to the base of the parapet, with wedge-shaped apex stones. The flues possessed the usual arrangement of smoke jacks, some of the spits and pulleys in connection with which are now hanging on the wall. Above the central stone pier is an angular brick shaft supported on a stone corbel carved with the grotesque figure of an imp, and capped at the level of the roof strut with a stone moulded capital; from this springs a transverse roof strut.
The roof is open, of low pitch, with large main beams and wall plates, both chamfered, and a lower chamfered wall plate, chamfered upright wall plates with swelled and splayed feet, resting on stone octagonal splayed corbels, with chamfered and cut struts and under bearers to each main timber. The roof is of chestnut and is probably of Bishop Fox's construction.
In the east wall is a third hollow chamfered arch, with rounded stop on jambs. In this it differs from the other fireplaces; it is also higher and of considerably greater curvature, with a double stone rim (at present filled with a range and large oven). The recess to which this arch admitted is of some depth, as its outside wall projects beyond the old Norman wall 2 ft. 6 in. or 3 ft., the projecting portion being roofed by a series of stone slopes. In this wall are the remains of a hood mould and a squareheaded window; these and a considerable amount of the stonework of the outside wall resemble that of Bishop Tunstall's time. Its original purpose is unknown, but it may have been occupied by sinks.
The west window inserted by Bishop Fox (1494–1501) is of three cinquefoil lights in a square head. The east window is also of three lights, with inner arch similar to the west, and possibly of Bishop Fox's time, but the lights are sharply pointed without cusping and appear to be later insertions.
Adjoining the kitchen on the north is the buttery, one of the most picturesque parts of the castle. Some remains of a previous building on this site exist in the hall staircase, where a portion of a 13th-century corbelled parapet may be seen incorporated in Bishop Hatfield's extension of the great hall. The present buttery, with the scullery, and the brew house below, was built by Bishop Fox about 1499. (fn. 34) It is entered by the west door of the great hall under the gallery and was formerly divided by a wall pierced by a small door, now removed. (fn. 35) The square-headed mullioned window on the north side, with three centred cusped heads, is apparently an enlargement of a window existing in 1775, and a similar window on the west side of the annexe is not earlier than the time of Bishop Cosin. The glass of both windows was inserted in 1905. High up in the north wall of the annexe is another squareheaded mullioned window with four lights dating from the 15th century, now blocked. The interior partition walls of the main building are of half-timber construction with plain perpendicular oak timbers, darkened by age and filled in with brickwork plastered over. The south side is occupied by the 'Buttery Hatch,' which opens into the kitchen, and is formed of three compartments, the western of which is the doorway. It is massively constructed of oak, and each opening possesses shallow pointed heads rounded at the springing; the spandrils are richly carved, those in the extreme east and west having the crest of Bishop Fox together with the date 1499 and the inscription 'Est Deo gracia.'
The butler's and other stores, lighted with lead glazing, open out of the buttery to the east and west. The plan of about 1775 already mentioned shows that the buildings on the west side of the buttery have been considerably altered; the present store room and scullery evidently then formed a bakehouse, as is apparent by the two small ovens in the west wall, over the large ovens in the basement. These small ovens have entirely disappeared and communication has been formed from the kitchen to the west chamber or scullery, which was then, it would seem, divided into two compartments. At the north end of the west side of the buttery is a narrow passage which leads by a circular newel stair of Bishop Fox's time to the basement. (fn. 36) On the west side of the basement is a range of two ovens, one 12 ft. in diameter, the other 8 ft., formed with stone sides (12 in. high), the floor and shallow arched roofs being of tiles with stone keystones. In the south-west corner of this apartment are the remains of a furnace for heating water, the recess being lighted by a small square-headed window in the south wall. From the remains it is evident that the front consisted of a range of three centred, chamfered arches of stone, with a boldly splayed sill course under each at the level of the oven floors, the oven doors being recessed and the flues opening out at the back of the front arch. Above the ovens, but contained in the height of the apartment, is a brick arched space evidently intended as a cooling chamber, below the apartment now used as a scullery.
The west wall of this building has been supported on the outside by stone buttresses of striking massiveness, of undetermined date. The turret stair here, before mentioned, also forms a picturesque feature. It is of five stages separated by moulded string-courses, and is surmounted by an embattled parapet. The turret rises considerably above the rest of Bishop Fox's work, providing access from the basement to roof.
The old chest of unknown date standing in the buttery is worthy of attention. Legend says that during the troublous times of the Reformation the body of St. Cuthbert was hidden in it. It has also been suggested that it was from this chest that a robbery of treasure in the year 1369 took place, and it is evident that it has been forcibly opened at some time.
The rooms to the north, now occupied by the housekeeper and silver pantry, appear to be comparatively modern, and the plan of about 1775 shows here only a small apartment about 13 ft. square. This has disappeared and a large building of two stories has been erected, the upper now occupied by the housekeeper's room and the butler's pantry, and the basement used as a heating chamber and bedrooms. The roof of the southern part of this building has undoubtedly been raised and covers up the 17th-century mullioned window, before mentioned, in the north wall of the buttery. It has been generally supposed that this was the building erected by Bishop Fox, for the steward's apartments, but it bears no resemblance whatever to his work. (fn. 37) If his building stood in this position it has disappeared, and possibly the small chamber shown on the plan of about 1775 may have been his work. It appears more likely that he formed his steward's chambers in the apartments cut off from the Great Hall, and the 1775 plan shows two large chambers in this position divided by a smaller compartment which may well have been devoted to stores. The windows of this building are all of two lights and square-headed with a splay running round the head, jambs, and mullions, but a mid18th century picture (fn. 38) shows four centred, arched and hooded heads to the upper windows.
The Great Hall, known also as Bek's Hall, Hatfield's Hall, and the White Hall, occupies the greater part of the west side of the courtyard and is one of the finest examples of a castle hall both for size and simple grandeur now existing in this country. There was a previous building on the site, but of what nature is unknown. Early Norman work exists at the north end of the undercroft, and the lower portion of the north-west angle and part of the north wall also date from this period. Although now covered by the buttresses and other work attributed to Bishop Tunstall, the platform upon which the north-west corner of the hall and the north wall are built is undoubtedly of early date and probably formed the base of a tower flanking the original north and west curtain walls. The hall was originally built by Bishop Anthony Bek (1284–1312) and was approximately the same size as the existing hall, being 101 ft. in length by 35 ft. in width. (fn. 39) Alterations and repairs have left little of Bek's work visible. On the east side of the hall the lower part of the wall up to the offset below the window sills and a small portion of the stone work above are original. Of the same time also are the three little windows which formerly lighted the undercroft, with semicircular heads worked out of one stone and widely splayed inner jambs. The entrance doorway now much decayed and partly coated with plaster is also of Bek's time. It has a pointed arch of two richly moulded orders and moulded jambs with detached shafts and boldly moulded capitals. Bishop Cosin's octagonal buttresses may possibly incase the original square buttresses of Bishop Bek, though they are not in alignment with the buttresses of this date on the west side.
Little of Bek's work can be identified on the west side of the hall beyond the range of square buttresses and the southernmost window with a pointed head, the tracery of which has been renewed and does not fit on to his work. Recent repairs to the interior of this wall have disclosed the original jambs of a window at the north end, of Bishop Hatfield's time, which was destroyed doubtless by Bishop Neile when he constructed the Black Chamber. A picture hanging on the Great Staircase indicates four square-headed mullioned windows in the west wall of the hall, two at the top and two at the bottom, suggesting that at one time there existed an upper chamber. On the outside, at the north end, there are three small pointed windows such as would be used for latrines, at such a height as would suggest the division of the north end of the hall into several floors, long before the time of Bishop Neile.
About 1350 Bishop Hatfield lengthened the hall (fn. 40) southward 30 ft. 6 in. and in doing so cut away half the western staircase. This extension may be identified from the courtyard by the string-course under the parapet, which is not quite at the same level as the older string. Hatfield's wall also is slightly out of alignment with the earlier wall to the north, but this is hardly distinguishable. In the south wall he inserted a double window, divided by a large square mullion carrying two pointed arches, each filled in with two lights, the tracery of which can still be seen, though the window is partly built up. Each window contains a central mullion with filleted roll nosing and deep hollow splay on either side, and has been finished at the top with some kind of splayed abacus to receive tracery. The head of each light is finished with an ogee arch cusped, and a large central quatrefoil with ogee cusping. Seen from the interior, the first window from the south in the west wall has the original jambs, head and inner arch, also the inner sill of Bishop Bek's work. The second window is of Bishop Hatfield's work, except the tracery, which has been inserted and is of the same date as that in Bek's window. The jambs have detached and banded shafts finished with moulded capitals; the window, however, has been cut short for the insertion of a pointed doorway into the pantry, and has been further so ill-treated that it is impossible to say of what mouldings the outer arch originally consisted. Late repairs have disclosed the original lower transom of this window still in position. The two other west windows are modern, but are supposed to be copies of Hatfield's work; certainly the square abacus on the outer jambs and the banded columns on the inner jambs have been repeated, but every other feature is new. The two larger pointed windows on the east side are also stated to be restorations of Hatfield's work; they are of three lights with a transom, the tracery being composed of two trefoils and a quatrefoil. Each window has two splayed stone seats, one on either side, formed by running down the inner jambs some 2 ft. 6 in. below the outer sill; this also occurs in the north-west windows. Since the removal of Cosin's panelling these windows have been altered and the sills lowered.
The north window was inserted in 1847. It is said to occupy the position of a large window by Bishop Hatfield which was possibly unused from the time of Bishop Cosin or Bishop Neile, when rooms were inserted at the north end of the hall. The window is pointed and has four lights with geometrical tracery. The appearance is heavy, but the glass inserted in 1882 is by Kempe and is good. It displays, on a groundwork of foliage, the arms of many associated with the castle and the foundation of the University. (fn. 41)
Hatfield is said to have renewed the roof with richly ornamented roof timbers, no trace of which remains. (fn. 42) There exists a contract by which the carpenter undertook to save the old timber for re-use, indicating perhaps that a very considerable portion of Bishop Bek's hall was rebuilt. (fn. 43) He also erected a 'throne' or 'princely seat' at each end of the hall.
Bishop Fox constructed the present south cross wall (fn. 44) and inserted two doorways at either end of the wall, which from a plan of about 1775 apparently entered two separate apartments. These doorways have square splayed inner orders with four centred segmental arches in square heads and sunk eyelets in the spandrels; the jambs are stopped at the bottom. The two doorways are now connected with a cavetto hood mould running along the wall above the heads and returned down the outer end of each door head. Two carvings of a 'Pelican in piety,' the bishop's badge, are inserted near the inner jambs of the doors under the hood mould. The two semicircular corbelled musicians' or trumpeters' galleries on the east and west walls at the south end were originally approached from adjacent newel staircases, portions of which still remain. These galleries are usually ascribed to Bishop Fox, (fn. 45) but whether they are his work is doubtful; they seem to be more in keeping with Bishop Hatfield's time and are probably a part of his greater scheme. The portion of the hall cut off at the south end he divided into various apartments, constructing a timber-framed house within the existing walls. These apartments on the ground floor are now used as the servants' hall and a bed and sittingroom. Fox's alterations caused the removal of the 'throne' (fn. 46) from the lower end of the hall and the building up of the south window. The large open arched recessed fireplace in the west wall, between two of Bek's exterior buttresses, was probably inserted at this time.
Bishop Neile (1617–28) is stated to have further reduced the length of the hall (fn. 47) by the construction of a set of rooms at the north end of the hall which are supposed to have been entered from a turret stair erected by Tunstall at the west end of his gallery. (fn. 48)
Bishop Cosin (1660–72) did a considerable amount of work on the hall. He is said to have formed an audience chamber at the north end, possibly inside Neile's partition wall. (fn. 49) He also cut away a portion of the east wall of the hall when erecting his great staircase, and built a timber partition to avoid too great a projection into the courtyard. Cosin also erected a 'screen of wainscot' at the south end of the hall and panelled the walls. Nothing of this work is left except possibly the double doors under the present gallery. (fn. 50) Bishop Cosin also built the porch covering Bishop Bek's doorway, and the flanking buttresses on either side, (fn. 51) and later, in 1664, he built the northernmost buttress, and the angle buttress at the south-east angle. These buttresses add immensely to the impressiveness of the exterior. They form a three-quarter octagon on plan, of bold projection, with two splayed diminishing courses in their height, finished at the top above the parapet of the hall by cornices and octagonal ogee cupolas with poppy heads and balls.
The porch at the main entrance to the hall is of an impressive and bold design, but, being built of very soft stone from the Broken Walls Quarry, has become much decayed. It is raised some 3 ft. above the courtyard on the top of an octagonal flight of steps. The doorway has a semicircular arch with richly moulded keystone, foliated spandrels and square jambs having moulded capitals, and is flanked by pairs of detached Ionic columns standing on pedestals. The columns, which are much decayed, support a moulded architrave, plain frieze and bold cornice, with segmental pediment. On this stands, on a small pedestal with moulded surbase, a winged figure in bishop's robes wearing a coronet and supporting in front a shield bearing the arms of the Bishopric impaled with those of Bishop Cosin. On either side of the pediment are two other pedestals, the southernmost bearing a bishop's mitre, and the northern one an earl's helmet, surmounted by the crest of a bird standing on a wreath.
Inside the porch, on the south side, is a doorway giving access to the lobby of the 'Hall Stairs.' It is a comparatively modern insertion and is not shown on a plan of the castle dating about 1775 (p. 67).
Above the porch on the main wall is a group of four coats of arms, arranged in a square of four separate panels, each surrounded by a simple mould. They bear the arms of Bishops Cosin, Hatfield, Archdeacon Westle and Dr. Robert Grey. The buttresses immediately adjoining the porch are of stone from the Broken Walls Quarry, and the extreme north and south buttresses are apparently the same, but a change was made after starting the Great Stair.
Between the porch and the south buttress, a two-storied projecting window has been inserted to the rooms formed by Bishop Fox at the south end of the hall. It is corbelled out from the first floor and bears the arms of Bishops Van Mildert and Villiers in sunk and grouped panels.
The flagstone paving of the hall is also Cosin's work and has been little affected by passing feet and time. It was laid down in 1663 and was to consist of 'faire courses of diamond flags containing full three yeards in the whole breadth.' In the centre between the courses mentioned is a square panel with a 'fret' borne by Cosin on his coat of arms, worked out in flagstones. (fn. 52) The 'halfe pace' mentioned in the contract for the work (fn. 53) is not the present step in the hall floor— most of the present wood flooring would be contained in the audience chamber—but a space of 11 ft. or 12 ft. in width between the termination of Cosin's flag flooring and the line of the audience chamber cross wall. This space appears to have been occupied by a wooden dais. The present panelling, designed by the late Mr. C. Hodgson Fowler, was inserted by the University about 1887, when the gallery was erected on the site of the passage formed by the old wainscot screen. Recent repairs brought to light a series of holes in the east wall towards the south end; they are regular in position and appear to have been occupied by the ends of wooden beams. Their position suggests that at some time this end of the hall was occupied by a structure four stories in height.
In the basement at the south-west angle there remains a portion of a stair hand rail, sunk and worked out of the face of the wall, probably of the 15th century date.
Pudsey's manner of facing his walls with squareshaped stones appears to have been followed by Bek, who intermingled them with larger stones, and Cosin's facing gives a not dissimilar impression; he made frequent use of a square stone but of larger size and in patches amid courses of larger stones; his jointing was regular in size. Hatfield consistently made use of a larger stone in courses of irregular depth; his jointing is also irregular in size. Bek's jointing is also uneven, and the perpendicular joints are frequently wide. Fox's inside ashlar work, however, is very finely dressed, and his jointing close. Compared with his additions to the exterior of the Great Hall, Bishop Cosin's design for the outside of the Great Staircase is flat and uninteresting. The building presents a square, with the salient angle splayed off, fitted into the angle between Bishop Pudsey's and Bishop Hatfield's halls. On the wall of the splayed angle are two coats of the arms of Bishop Cosin, in plain panels with simple moulded frames. The lower shield impales the see, supported by two cherubs' heads with wings crossed and drooping, supporting two swags attached to the shield, surmounted by a lion's head and scroll, above which rests a coronet and mitre. The upper shield is simple, the see without lions, impaled by Cosin and surmounted by a coronet and mitre.
There are three windows to each flight of stairs, with checked and splayed jambs, and square splayed heads, mullions and transoms; each is of two lights, the upper having three centred arched heads with small eyelets in the spandrels, and the whole surmounted by a hood mould.
A string-course divides the building at the level of the parapet of the Tunstall gallery, and there is a second string immediately under the embattled parapet, which has been renewed. The whole was originally crowned by a wooden turret or lantern light, with columns at the sides, and finished with a lead cupola, but this was removed apparently in the 18th century.
Bishop Cosin started this building with stone from the Broken Walls Quarry, but above the lower windows a great deal of the Browney stone seems to have been used. The walling here is somewhat different from the rest of his work, there being a more general use of longer stones, more varied depth of courses and finer jointing.
On the south wall is a lead downspout head, bearing the date MDCLXII, with two pendants on the underside ornamented with a Tudor rose; a third centre pendant, forming a sink and contracting to form the connection with the downspout, bears a casting of a lion's head winged. On the east wall is another almost similar lead head, bearing a shield with the arms of the see and dated 1661.
Although the outside elevation of the Great Staircase, which Cosin built in 1662, (fn. 54) may not be pleasing, it must be admitted that the interior is very imposing. He exercised great care, thought and supervision on the work, and though he spent 'largely' he spent 'wisely,' and as a result he added to the castle an object of enduring admiration.
The staircase tower is 57 ft. in height from floor to ceiling. Five separate landings or floors, which extend the entire width of the north side of the building, are each connected by three flights of stairs. On plan, the average measurements of the staircase are 28 ft. 9 in. from north to south, and 22 ft. 8 in. from east to west. The flights have a width of about 6 ft. between balustrade and walls and the well is 9 ft. square.
The balustrade surrounding the well is formed with a shaped and moulded handrail, surmounting a heavy moulded top rail with frieze of carved acanthus leaf, studded and banded on the well side, but on the stair side the boxing has three facias divided by carved fillets; the lower rail or string has a deeply moulded plain panel boxing. Between these two strings richly pierced and carved panels are inserted, surrounded and held in position by moulded and carved fillets. The panels of the lower flight are finer and more elaborately carved than the rest, the one on the gallery landing consisting of an acanthus scroll with bordered shield in the centre, with a flower on either side from the centre of which hang swags of fruit. The other panels are less elaborate and of shallower carving, but thoroughly effective in purpose from the distant view usually obtained of them. Each panel occupies a length of one side of the well.
At each angle is a square newel post with sunk panel on two sides, the panels being decorated with studded leaves in low relief. Each newel was originally finished on the top with flat caps having a moulded edge surmounted by a boldly shaped vase ornament richly carved and terminating with a ball. At the foot, each newel was finished by a deeply undercut and fret pendant. Few of either upper or lower terminals now remain. When the roof was exposed some time ago (fn. 55) the main beams were found to be broken and much decayed, the fractures being occasioned by the great weight of the lantern light which was removed subsequent to the time of Bishop Crewe. (fn. 56) The top landing was at an unknown date formed into a room now called the 'Crows' Nest,' by the erection of a partition upon the main trimmer immediately at the back of the panelled balustrade. On the failure of the roof, however, the partition transferred the pressure from the roof timbers to the trimmer, causing it to become distorted. To counteract this, the carved capitals and pendants of the newels were removed, and turned diminishing oak columns were wedged in between the top of one newel and the bottom of the one immediately above, in order to transfer the weight to the ground. The effect, however, was to force the newels out of the perpendicular, and to destroy and in some cases entirely draw out the oak-pinned tenons, especially in the upper flights. The roof has now been renewed, the staircase carefully strengthened and the broken trimmer of the top landing slung to the roof joists. Relieved of the superincumbent weight, some of the main trimmers show a tendency to resume a level bearing.
The newels, handrails, capitals, pendants and the recently renewed stair treads are of oak, but the carved panels and boxings of the strings, etc., are of a soft wood, believed to be willow.
The north-west tower is supposed to date from the reign of King John and was probably built between 1208 and 1217 when the castle was in the king's hands. (fn. 57) All that survives of the former building on the same site are a door rebate and some small portions of ashlar walling of Pudsey's date on either side of the lower chamber. The bed joints of this walling fall towards the north at approximately the same angle as the jointing at the west front of Pudsey's existing building. The massive construction of the lower part of the tower points to the conclusion that it was built primarily as a buttress and prop to the west end of Pudsey's building, which it is evident was in a state of collapse in the early part of the 13th century. It may have been intended for a latrine tower, but probably the lower chamber was a cell or prison. It contained two chambers, the lower 16 ft. by 5 ft. 9 in. with a height of 15 ft. 2 in. to the springing of the arches. Both chambers are vaulted, the lower with three segmental ribs and probably a fourth, averaging 1 ft. 4½ in. wide and about 2 ft. 1 in. apart, the spaces between them being covered by flagstones. One rib is splayed on both sides, and another on one side only. On the east they spring simply from the walls; and on the west side the wall below has been robbed for a width of 18 in. from the springing of the arches downwards except for the portion where the remains of Pudsey's ashlar may be seen. In the west wall is a recess and below a shaft about 2 ft. 6 in. square at top, and 3 ft. 4½ in. by 2 ft. 6 in. at the bottom, descending to a depth of 19 ft. 6 in. from the stone sill or step at the top. This step covers almost half the opening of the shaft and appears to be the head of an old loop turned upside down. The opening at the bottom of the shaft leading through the wall towards the west is 3 ft. high and covered with large headstones about 17½ in. deep, the inner one of which is badly split at the bearing, and is now built up. Only a 12 in. width of this opening shows in the shaft, the north wall of which hides the remainder. It is probable that this shaft was at one time the private latrine used by the bishops, as above the present entrance there is still a door opening into the bishop's room at the back of the tapestry, and communication must have been formed between the two apartments by a flight of steps. Half-way between the latrine shaft and the entrance door is a narrow round-headed window with wide internal splays. In the north wall is a mullioned window of late date with wide internal embrasures which has apparently been hacked through the solid wall and is fitted with a modern sash frame.
To the greater part of the chamber there is no formed floor except some large stones filled in with rubbish, suggesting that it is of greater depth. The lower portion of the east wall almost suggests that an arch has crossed about this level. On the line of the latrine recess a wall robbed on its face crosses the building with a height of about 2 ft. 6 in., and on the north side of the same recess a second wall rises about 2 ft. 8 in. above the last one, and crosses at a slightly different angle. On the outer face of the east wall adjoining the wall of the main building there is a rough semicircular arch almost covered by the ground, which possibly spanned an entrance to a lower chamber or possibly a latrine pit, and formed a portion of Pudsey's original building.
The upper chamber is 16 ft. by 10 ft. with a height of 16 ft. 4 in. and is larger than the lower, owing to the diminished thickness of the walls. The south end projects considerably into the thickness of Pudsey's north and west walls. It forms a rectangular room, and is entered from the upper hall or Norman Gallery. It is lighted by a single lancet with modern external jambs in the west wall and a double lancet which appears to be entirely modern in the east wall. The vaulting has double splayed pointed ribs.
Above this vaulted chamber the roof is formed with stone sets falling to a channel in the centre, which in turn falls towards the north wall. For the full length on the east side and parallel to the east wall there are the remains of what appears to have been a dwarf wall, with a space behind filled with rubbish, giving the appearance of having been a latrine for the use of the men guarding the walls; the garderobe seat being possibly covered by a lean-to roof. Apparently a wall existed on the south side, as the jambs of a doorway remain at the south-west corner. The floor is some 2 ft. below the level of the present parapet walk of Pudsey's building, but this latter and the parapets all round the building are known to have been considerably raised.
The present roof of the tower is flat and covered with concrete supported by steel joists so that the original roof now forms the floor of a chamber. The west side has been refaced, but on the north and the east sides the stonework is in good condition and remains practically untouched. The parapets all round are modern. The wall facing is of ashlar, and it is evident that a great many of the facing stones of Pudsey's destroyed building have been re-used. The bed joints are fairly even and close, but many of the upright joints are wide. On the east wall is a 15th-century shield much decayed, but apparently bearing a lion rampant, impaling the see, supporting a helmet and mitre.
The north-east angle of Bishop Pudsey's building possesses an irregular-shaped turret of 13th-century work, probably masking in the lower part a portion of Bishop Walcher's (1071–80) earlier building. It contains an irregular-shaped chamber in the upper portion, with two narrow windows facing east and west. The base of this tower is built upon the remains of a massive vault of early date, a portion of which is exposed.
The greater part of the north front of the castle between the two turrets just described was occupied by the block containing the Constable's Hall or armoury now known as the Norman Gallery. This building was originally erected by Bishop Pudsey (1153–95) (fn. 58) and when completed must have presented an imposing appearance with its double range of circularheaded windows and magnificent doorway. It stands largely upon the site of previous buildings which were probably destroyed about 1155 or 1166 by the fire referred to by Reginald. The building forms a prolonged rectangle on plan and would appear to have been a large example of the 'hall house,' but with two halls, the upper one known as the Constable's Hall, now the Norman Gallery. The two halls were connected by a large circular internal staircase, still in existence. Bishop Pudsey also incorporated, at its south-east angle, the lower portion of the newel stair of Waltheof's earlier buildings; there were also newel stairs at the south-west and north-west angles of the building. The north-west staircase has entirely disappeared, and only the lower portion of the south-west remains. A close inspection indicates that Pudsey's range of buildings began to show signs of failure at an early date, and only constant attention, aided by the thickness of the walls, has enabled it to continue its chequered existence up to the present time.
The south wall of the lower hall is built partially upon another wall, but not in alignment with it. The outer base of Bishop Pudsey's wall is carried on a series of pointed arches, which are interesting as proving the use of the pointed arch at this date. The small piers between the arches were built without any spread of foundation and only 18 in. below the level of the Norman courtyard. On account of threatened failure, these arches were built up, and the wall was later strengthened by small buttresses; the erection of Tunstall's turret and flying buttresses, and also Cosin's staircase doubtless arrested the movement. The central portion of this range, however, still crept outwards, causing the replacement of the Tunstall Gallery roof on several occasions on account of the pressure on its outer walls. By the time of Bishop Trevor, about 1754, the overhang amounted to about 18 in. towards the south, and an endeavour was then made to straighten the outer face of the wall. The upper part of the shallow Norman buttresses, together with the machicolation and parapet, were removed and stout beams were thrown under the shelter of the roof of Tunstall's Gallery from buttress to buttress. With the extra 7 in. thus gained a commencement was made to build the outer face perpendicular by robbing the old wall deeper and deeper the higher the work proceeded. Immediately above the windows was placed a plain string-course, and a second moulded string at the base of the parapet wall. The parapet is crenellated and finished with moulded and weathered coping. The date of the work was commemorated by the insertion of the arms of Bishop Trevor impaled with the arms of the see and surmounted by a mitre arising out of a coronet. The refacing was carried out in Kepier stone in courses of irregular depth, finely dressed with close joints.
A further movement of about 13 in. afterwards took place, and in 1902 the building was tied across with three rows of steel ties having outer steel bands. What permanent effect this may have remains to be seen. The wall, when opened, was found to consist of an outer skin of masonry, filled in with loose rubble and 'soil mortar.'
The west wall, with its boldly projecting base, has fared little better than the south; indeed, at one time it must have threatened complete collapse. The north-west angle appears to have given way, and a great rent ran from top to bottom of the building; the effect of this can be seen in the great difference in width and distortion of the arches of the west windows. Under the floor of the 'still' room recent excavation has revealed a portion of the foundation of the west wall, of which there remains a short length of about 5 ft. with a square off-set prepared for a wallplate. The depth of the wall visible is about 4 ft. 8 in. where it appears to end, but as the base of the wall on the outside is at least 6 ft. below this level, the foundations of the wall must be stepped back and down from the inner face. It is a rough rubble wall with clay joints; the single existing course of faced walling forms the side of the set-off; this latter is set in lime and denotes the original inside line of Pudsey's west wall. Fissures exist at the joint of the west and south walls and a smaller one about midway. Here also may be seen the 'great gash' which extended, ever increasing, to the very top of the building, causing the distortion and widening of the south window in the west wall of the Norman Gallery.
North of the 'gash' the character of the foundations changes; on plan the top appears to be almost semicircular, and at the first glance the general section gives the impression that it is a gathering over of an angle formed by two walls at right angles. An inspection, however, shows that this is not so, for when the adhering soil was removed it was found to have no particular face, no courses, and no regular overhang of the stones, and the impression given is that it is the rough rubble backing of a wall built upon a sloping sandy surface. At a depth of 3 ft. 6 in. it apparently stops and a step back of large size is probably formed. Whether this sandy bank is a portion of the outer defences before Pudsey's time, and upon which Pudsey built, must be left to conjecture. It is to be noted that this building never possessed an undercroft and that it is filled solid with a sandy soil from the level of the courtyard up to the underside of the joists of the Common Room a depth of some 10 ft.; also that in the Common Room an excavation at the back of the north wall revealed the fact that the foundations are stepped, rising from the outside towards the inside in a somewhat similar manner. All these facts point to the conclusion that Pudsey built upon the sides of a sloping bank, and to the probability that this bank formed a portion of the original earthwork defending the north face.
Unfortunately the north wall had to be largely rebuilt by Bishops Butler and Trevor about 1751 to 1756. This was the occasion of a bitter controversy between Mr. Course of London and Mr. Shirley of Durham, two surveyors employed to settle the dilapidations on the succession of Bishop Butler. (fn. 59) It would appear that about 41 ft. of the north wall, presumably at the west end, overhung some 3 ft. in the worst part, the whole being in a dilapidated condition. About 1741, in the time of Bishop Chandler, a London surveyor had caused 'chain bars' to be inserted from the north to the south wall, and timbers were added to prevent the roof from thrusting out the walls. The whole building, however, had evidently been a cause of anxiety for many years. (fn. 60) Mr. Course condemned the north wall, and recommended that it be rebuilt, which Mr. Shirley considered unnecessary, as it had not moved for 80 years. The repairs were apparently made by Mr. Sanderson Miller. At any rate he was employed in the decoration of the present Common Room, then the Bishop's dining room, (fn. 61) and is responsible for the lowering of the floor, the insertion of the large stone chimney piece, a window in 'Gothic taste' and the plaster decoration including the extraordinary gilt 'buttercups' on the otherwise fine oak ceiling. The work then executed included the insertion of the two windows of the Common Room with four-centred heads and shallow cavetto moulded and chamfered jambs.
Bishop Butler died in 1752 and Bishop Trevor, it would appear, carried on the work with some slight alteration, judging from the stonework, which is somewhat different from the general refacing, the bed joints not coinciding. Bishop Trevor appears to have built the chimney breast, upon which he inserted a large shield of the arms of Bishop Butler. He also built the projecting portion towards the west end, a feature of which is the door with the window over, between which he placed his coat of arms, the whole being contained in a shallow recess with ogee cusped head, having a hood mould surmounted by a rude fleur-de-lis. He also stuccoed the Bishop's or Senior Judge's Room and inserted the carved mantelpiece upon which his arms again appear. Two copies of Norman windows on the upper floor are insertions, probably the work of Mr. Salvin, the architect, who did considerable work at the castle in the early days of the University.
The two flat arched stone heads with keystones to windows of the Octagonal Room and the Senate Room Lobby probably date from the time of Bishop Neile (1617–28), but the formation of the Octagonal Room and the decoration do not appear to have been executed until the time of Bishop Egerton (1771–87).
In the thickness of the wall of Room No. 17 are the remains of a circular ashlar shaft about 2 ft. in diameter, half covered at the level of the upper floor with a flag-stone much worn; this shaft is cut away by the insertion of one of the later windows below, and all further trace is lost, but it has apparently been a well shaft used later for other purposes. At the back of the chimney breast of Room No. 18 there exists a doorway, opening out into a garderobe partially formed in the thickness of the wall and the shallow buttress at the back; the jambs are corbelled with an almost semicircular curve at the top, and the head has a shallow arch in one stone, a splay running uninterruptedly round all. The window recess of the bedroom adjoining originally had another similar doorway; a portion of the jambs, now cut away, remains below the floor level.
What little is left of Pudsey's exterior walling has a character of its own, the best part being on the west face, where many of the stones are as sound as the day they were worked. The courses vary slightly in depth, and are formed with square stones finely dressed with wide joints, the effect of which is good. His stone was obtained from the river bank.
On the south wall are two lead rain-water heads worthy of notice. The one in the west angle near the Great Stairs is rectangular, with an oval-shaped outlet under; the top is decorated with an embattled and cusped cornice, the angles have round looped columns, with ball pendants; in the centre is the shield bearing a lion rampant and on either side the initials N.D. (Bishop Nathaniel Crewe). Under are two pendants with ball termination decorated with the Tudor rose. Further to the west is a second head very similar in design, but with the initials R.D. (Bishop Richard Trevor); the outlet also has a shield bearing a lion rampant impaling the see; under it is the date 1754. On the north wall are two others somewhat similar in design, both bearing the initials I.D. (Bishop Joseph Butler) with the date 1752, and a shield displaying two bends fimbriated, impaling the see.
The lower floor of this block was built by Bishop Pudsey and probably consisted of a large central hall with a 'solar' (the Senate Room Lobby) at the east end, and one or more compartments at the west end. This arrangement would appear to have been altered not later than 1500 (Bishop Fox) and a range of two stories formed; the lower floor level corresponding with that of the present north lobby floor level on the west, and the pantry on the east; the upper floor level corresponding with that of the Bishop's Rooms on the west and Octagonal Room on the east. The existence of a floor at this level appears to be confirmed by the level of the lower steps of a range of four 15th-century windows still existing behind the stucco of the south wall of the Common Room, but whether there ever was a lower story on the actual site of this room is doubtful. When Bishop Tunstall erected his Gallery, it is clear that his roof interfered with the lower portion of these four windows and there is evidence that the sills have been raised, and Bishops Butler and Trevor would entirely obliterate them with their subsequent work.
The fine oak ceiling probably belongs to the 15th century, and the continuation of this ceiling over the Bishop's lavatory suggests that the whole space between the Octagonal Room and the Bishop's Room on the east and west, respectively, was one large compartment. This latter arrangement probably existed until Bishop Butler formed the Common Room; he lowered the floor and inserted the north windows, and covered up the windows in the south wall by his stoothings. These four windows are deeply recessed with chamfered segmental rear-arches, and slightly splayed jambs with openings formed with single segmental cinquefoil cusped heads; one of these heads may still be seen in the Bishop's lavatory, masked on the outside with mullioned 18th-century windows. It may be presumed that before the insertion of Bishop Butler's windows in the north wall these lower compartments depended for light upon the south wall.
The lower hall possesses a magnificent Norman doorway, in wonderful preservation, owing to the fact that it was built up for a long period, and was only opened out by Bishop Barrington (1791–1826). It originally formed the state entrance to the Norman Castle, and was probably one of the late works of Bishop Pudsey after the rough work upon the rest of the building was executed. The freshness of the stonework of the arch and the partially decayed condition of the lower part of the jambs, now restored in plaster, indicate that it was approached by a flight of steps open at the sides, but with a roof carried on columns, probably somewhat similar to the stairway at Canterbury. The arch is semicircular and consists of three large and two small orders, with a small modern hood mould executed in plaster. The larger orders rest on enriched cushion capitals with moulded abaci; the middle and outer orders are carried by circular nook shafts, the smaller running round the arch and jambs interrupted only by the abaci. The orders are finished at the bottom on a chamfered plinth resting on a deeply splayed base. The inner order is square, resting upon a triplet of engaged shafts and capitals as before, and is decorated with a series of square and rectangular moulded and sunk panels, each panel ornamented with beaded strings; the inner smaller order is rounded and decorated with a flower or rose, with a ball beading on either side. The middle order is ornamented with richly moulded double billets, with strings of small balls. Of the two outer orders, the smaller is square in form, and has the lozenge with ball string on the angle, and the larger consists of a series of hexagonal sunk moulded panels, the angles being filled up with small square sunk and moulded panels ornamented with a ball.
The upper or 'Constable's Hall,' now known as the Norman Gallery, from the manner of its decoration must have formed the most important compartment of this building. Possibly the plan of the lower floor was repeated here, but no sign remains of any divisions. Bishop Hatfield is credited with having removed the Norman roof and of having erected an open timber roof; he also inserted the large window high up on the west gable. This arrangement is suggestive of one large compartment, at any rate at that period. The present apartments upon the north side were formed by Bishop Crewe, 1674–1722. The Norman Gallery was originally lighted by a range of windows on both sides, each window occupying the centre and largest arch of a series of three arches spanning deep recesses. The centre arch springs from stone lintels with scallop moulding which connects the detached shafts with the wall. The smaller arches on each side are treated in the same manner, but on the wall side spring from engaged shafts worked on to the solid jambs; all the arches are decorated with the cheveron mould and surmounted by hood moulds. The method adopted of cutting back the walls on the outside in order to straighten them entailed the destruction of the exteriors of the 12thcentury windows. These were replaced by the present deeply recessed windows with four-centred low arched heads and with ogee hood moulds finished with coarsely designed fleurs-de-lis. The original exterior of the windows, however, may be seen from the two windows inclosed by Bishop Cosin's staircase, and are by this means luckily preserved. Each consists of two lights divided by a semi-cylindrical mullion or shaft, with cushioned capital, surmounted by semicircular heads worked from a single stone. The arrangement described is fairly perfect on the south wall, and especially so on the west wall, where there are two disengaged shafts to each supporting lintel, but there remain only fragmentary portions on the north wall. The eastern window in the south wall has had the large centre arch removed and a four-centred arched head inserted.
The roof was originally of low pitch, as is proved by the existence of shallow gutter stones on the west wall. This roof was subsequently removed and a high pitch open timber roof substituted, probably by Bishop Hatfield, some small portions of the ribs of which remain on the corbels originally carrying the principals. To Bishop Hatfield may also be attributed the west window of three lights with almost flamboyant tracery (recently renewed) which can be seen in the present roof. The east window now forming an entrance to the roof is of 16th-century date. The mullions have been removed from this window, and it has now been formed into a doorway. Hatfield's roof was removed, doubtless, partially on account of the pressure upon the outer walls. According to the proceedings in the dispute between Mr. Shirley and Mr. Course, it was stated 'that a new roof was put on 80 years ago,' viz., in 1670, and it is fair to presume that it was Hatfield's roof which was destroyed at this time. A further report, unsigned, but dated 15 April, '94 (1794 ?) mentions the roof to be in a very bad state, (fn. 62) so that it is probable the present roof dates back to the time of Bishop Barrington.
The lower hall of Pudsey's building having been subdivided, the necessity arose for a corridor to connect the various apartments, and no doubt it was felt that a chapel easier of access, and more in keeping with the modern ideas of comfort, was desirable. To supply this want, Bishop Tunstall (1530–59) erected the present gallery, stair turret and chapel, (fn. 63) a group which adds largely to the appearance of the courtyard. The corridor, which is of two stories, stands on the south of Pudsey's hall, and occupies a portion of the Norman courtyard. It may originally have been extended to the Great Hall. At the west end there is said to have been a staircase, and the flight of stairs in the south wall of Bishop Pudsey's building seems to form a connecting link between the newel stair in the south-west turret and a staircase now destroyed on the site of the great staircase. The staircase with the adjoining portion of the gallery was probably destroyed when Cosin erected the Great Stair.
The exterior of Tunstall's Gallery consists of five and a half bays divided by buttresses of three stages. Immediately above the buttresses runs a moulded string and a modern embattled parapet. The upper corridor is lighted with five square-headed windows of three lights with hood moulds, each window subdivided by a transom and finished at the top with three-centred arched heads. The buttresses on each side of the fourth bay are carried up considerably above the others and finished with a parapet as before; the window here is of five lights and of double the height of the others, indicating perhaps that the Norman doorway of Pudsey's building was exposed and in use when this window was constructed. The lower part of this bay is occupied by a modern doorway made probably when the tunnel entrance to the old chapel was formed about 1840. Each of the other bays of the lower story is occupied by a two-light mullioned window beside which is a small doorway with four-centred arch and hood mould, the doors of which are apparently of Bishop Crewe's date. These doorways were probably formed for the convenience of ingress and egress of the numerous guests on great occasions. Over the lower window of the third bay is inserted a shield bearing Bishop Tunstall's arms (three combs) impaling the see with two diminutive cocks as supporters, surmounted by a mitre arising out of a coronet. The shield is surrounded on the top and sides by a deep hood mould.
The stone used by Bishop Tunstall is from the Browney Quarry and his ashlar is worked in unusually large rectangular stones in courses of varying depths; the jointing is small. It is to be noted that the bed joints of his buttresses do not coincide with the joints of his walling. His ashlar work appears to have been always finished with a 'stippled' dressing. Two semicircular rain-water heads, which may be seen here, are of the 18th century.
Inside the modern lean-to roof are indications of two earlier roofs which have probably been altered from time to time to ease the pressure of Bishop Pudsey's south wall upon the gallery wall.
The interior of the lower gallery has been divided into three apartments by panelled and carved doorways and screens removed from the cathedral. The walls of the centre apartment are covered with odd pieces of Bishop Cosin's and Bishop Crewe's panelling, swags and other carvings from the same source; they vary in effectiveness, some being boldly and spiritedly done, while others are shallow and poor. Some pieces of them are believed to have belonged to the old organ screen removed from the cathedral about 1873. In the western apartment, and at the bottom of the Great Stair, portions of the constructural pointed arches of Bishop Pudsey's south wall may be seen.
The ceiling of the upper corridor is modern and calls for no remark. The gallery is closed at each end with screens, the west one undoubtedly of Bishop Cosin's time, bearing his arms in the centre of a typical frieze, and a large coronet and mitre in the bold pediment. The details of the doors are similar to those of the staircase. The screen at the east end may be of the same date, but is much less elaborate, and of poorer workmanship, but the gilded eagle referred to in 1664 is in position above the door. (fn. 64) The balusters in each look like insertions of a later date, probably by Bishop Crewe, whose screen in the chapel has similar half balusters, but worked upon the solid frame. In the raised portion of the ceiling, in front of the doorway just mentioned, hang two plaster figure panels, with central shields bearing St. Cuthbert's Cross. Hanging in the large window is a fine piece of coloured glass of the 15th century. It is of Flemish origin, depicting the judgment of Solomon in the centre, surrounded by emblematical figures. The walls of the gallery are hung with French tapestry, probably of late 16th-century date.
The chapel stair turret or clock tower, which was built by Bishop Tunstall, (fn. 65) gives access to his gallery and chapel. It projects boldly into the courtyard, the south end being semi-octagonal on plan. The turret has a window lighting the stairs and two windows in a chamber over the stairs, all of similar detail to those in the gallery. On the inner jambs of the chamber window occur two stone shields, wreathed on top, the easternmost bearing Tunstall's three combs; the other, now defaced, apparently bore his crest. His coat of arms is also displayed upon the outer face of the south wall. A little above the entrance floor level, and hidden on the outside by ivy, is a squint with circular splayed opening about 12 in. in diameter, with widely splayed internal jambs; below the squint is a projecting splayed stone seat the entire width of the turret. The entrance doorway on the west is considerably recessed and has a flat pointed head surmounted by a deep mould. The outer jambs were moulded, but the moulding has been cut away for the insertion of an outer door frame. The doors are modern. The stairs are of stone with winders at the bottom of the flight. The doorway at the top has a flat pointed head, the jambs of the outer side are stop-chamfered, and the inner jambs splayed, moulded and stop-chamfered. The walls of the upper chamber are carried over the gallery by chamfered stone arches. In the south-west angle of the chamber are the remains of stone angle corbels connected with the construction of the original roof. The ancient staircase has square panelled oak newels, the panels filled with a leaf ornament, and finished at the top with square capital and ball finial; the handrail is shaped and moulded, and the baluster is also shaped.
There is clear evidence that as originally
constructed the turret was only two stories in
height, terminating with a string-course and
parapet similar to and at the same height as
that of the chapel. The stonework of the addition
is noticeably different from the rest, and the
back of the east wall is actually built upon a
portion of the return parapet of the chapel.
The addition was probably made in the
17th century and was in existence in Bishop
Crewe's time, as is shown by a picture preserved
in the castle. (fn. 66) It was then crowned by a
wooden bell turret which has now also disappeared, although the main cross timbers framed
to support the turret still exist. Doubtless this
chamber was built by Crewe and intended to
house the machinery of a clock. (fn. 67) As, however,
there are only two small square openings in
the walls it was clearly not intended to hold a
bell, and the small campanile was evidently
built for this purpose. The clock has also disappeared, but a bell given by Bishop Crewe
hangs on the west side of the chamber, probably
placed there when the campanile became
ruinous; it is rigidly fixed and the outer rim
bears evident marks of being struck continuously
in one spot by the clock hammer. It is of fine
tone, 2 ft. in diameter at the rim, and of similar
height surmounted by a crown. Near the
shoulder it is encircled by two double narrow
bands between which is the following inscription, the date being below the bands:
N: DNVS: CREWE EPUS: DUNELM: POSVIT ANNO
CONS: 34 ET TRANS: AB. OXON: 3 R: P: FE: 1705.
This clock, purchased many years ago by a general dealer, has been traced and returned to the Castle by the generosity of Mr. J. F. Hodson.
Bishop Tunstall's Chapel (fn. 68) is entered from the top of the stair at the east end of Tunstall's Gallery through a doorway of a similar character to those already described. It gives admittance to the chapel by a lobby under the organ loft at the west end. The walls have been built upon the foundations of a Norman building. A portion of the west wall is formed by the wall of the early newel staircase, which originally led to the chapel. In the wall a doorway existed giving access from this staircase, and beside it is a second doorway connecting Bishop Pudsey's building with whatever apartment existed here before the chapel. Both are now visible, but blocked. The roof is divided into seven bays; the part of the building covered by the five western bays with the chamber beneath was constructed by Bishop Tunstall. The extension of two bays at the east end has been generally ascribed to Bishop Cosin, but owing to the absence of records and the indefinite character of the work it is impossible to say definitely whether he or Bishop Crewe executed the work. (fn. 69) Whoever it was, it is certain that Bishop Tunstall's east window was re-erected in the new east gable, as his arms and badge, three combs and a cock, are worked on shields on the north and south jambs, and in addition the dressing of his stonework is easily recognised by the 'stippling.' The interior of the walls of the extension are built with roughly squared stones in irregular courses, evidently intended to be plastered or panelled, in great contrast to the carefully dressed work of Tunstall.
The chapel is lighted on the south by five windows of three lights in two tiers having fourcentred heads, with jambs slightly splayed on the inside and moulded outside. The lights below the transoms have four-centred heads, the points of which are hardly determinable, and the lights above are similar but are distinctly pointed. In the two easternmost windows the centre upper light is semicircular. The tracery of all these windows has been renewed. (fn. 70) At the west end are two square-headed windows, the upper doubtless intended to light the old gallery and the lower the Ante Chapel or space below the gallery; they are of Tunstall's date and closely correspond in detail to the windows of the Tapestry Gallery. The east window is of similar character to those first described, but filled by five lights divided by a transom, the heads of all the lights being semicircular. The glass is by Kempe and was given in 1909 in memory of the Rev. H. A. White, once tutor of the University.
The two windows on the north side are modern and were inserted to light the staircase to the keep. The doorway, apparently of Tunstall's date, on the north side, possibly led to a sacristy which was destroyed when the new approach to the keep was made. About the centre of the south wall is a piscina, seen by opening a door in the wall panelling.
The oak stalls are of the time of Bishop Ruthall (1509–23) and were brought here together with the bench-ends from the dismantled upper chapel at Bishop Auckland by Bishop Tunstall in 1547. (fn. 71) Some of the miserere seats are curiously carved; the eastern one on the north side was found in the old moat, under Mr. Rushworth's premises in Saddler Street, about 1908 and was presented by him to the chapel. The four bench-ends are very fine and are also of the time of Bishop Ruthall; one at the south-east end of the chapel bears his arms (a cross between four martlest, on a chief two roses, slipped) impaled with the see and surmounted with a coronet and mitre. The shield is curious because the bishop's arms are placed on the dexter side and the arms of the see on the sinister, a mistake caused perhaps by the carver having the matrix of a seal for his model. The bench-end to the north, immediately opposite, is ornamented to represent a mullioned window and divided longitudinally into three parts with embattled transoms, each subdivision having delicately worked tracery. Of the two bench-ends at the west end, that on the north side bears the arms of the see with a mitre rising from a coronet in a panel having an arched and crocketed ogee head; the upper portion is finished with a second panel filled with delicate tracery. That on the south is very similar in design. All the bench-ends have richly ornamented detached shafts in front, each of different design, supporting the figures of grotesque animals, and all are surmounted by poppy heads carved out of the solid, except the poppy head, probably of Bishop Cosin's time, on the north of the entrance.
The wall panelling, altar and triptych are of oak. They were designed by the late Mr. C. Hodgson Fowler and were inserted in 1887. The panelling is constructed in long rectangular compartments surmounted by a shallow cornice, with carved bosses at intervals. Round the east end it is slightly higher, and is ornamented at the top with inserted tracery. The carving of the triptych is bolder, the Crucifixion occupying the centre panel with other figures in either wing. The two large gilt candlesticks were presented by the first warden in 1836.
The trusses of the seven bays into which the roof is divided have moulded tie beams with solid spandrel brackets framed to the wall posts, which terminate in shields bearing coats of arms. Each bay has moulded wall plates with the moulding returned across the tie beams, and is itself divided into two compartments by a heavy central rib; each compartment is again subdivided into four squares by light moulded ribs having carved bosses and shields at their intersections. There is little in appearance to indicate that the roof is not all of one date, but a close examination shows that the wall pieces between the second and third bays from the east are divided down the centre, suggesting that a piece has been added on the sides to make it of the same width as the others to the west. The ceiling boards also appear to be narrower in the two eastern bays. The two western bays have been altered of late years and raised slightly, showing the purlins and rafters of the roof, presumably for the sake of the organ. The second tie beam from the west has been decorated with carved cusping and pendants in order to screen somewhat the break in the ceiling.
The chapel originally contained a large gallery, now removed, projecting some 14 ft. to 16 ft. from the west wall. It was entered from the circular stairs before mentioned, through a four-centred arched doorway now forming the approach to the organ loft.
Beneath the organ loft facing east is a fine oak screen of Bishop Cosin's time. It has two half doors in the centre; the lower parts of both doors and of the screen are filled in with solid panelling, while the upper part has octagonal balusters with moulded capitals, bands and bases, square stopped at the bottom. The space at the top between the balusters is filled with flowing cusped tracery. On each side of the doorway are two square projections forming canopies to two stalls. The cornice, which returns round the canopies, is of deal dentilled. The canopies are surmounted with pediments with shields bearing the arms of the see. Over the doorway are three moulded panels with the inscription: NATH DNVS CREWE | EPISC : DVNELM : POSVIT | A° TRANSL 25° 1698, surmounted by a scroll pediment bearing Cosin's arms. The panelling of the upper part of the screen forming the front of the organ gallery was brought from the cathedral about 1840.
The organ is the old quire organ from the cathedral, and some of the pipes are the original pipes of 'Father' Smith, the celebrated builder who erected the cathedral organ. It was repaired and erected in the chapel in 1873. The panelling on the west wall under the gallery is of similar date, but the pediments are of the time of Bishop Barrington (1791–1826), the centre one bearing his arms.
On the south wall of the chapel are two very fine lead rain-water heads; the one in the west angle is rectangular in form with large diminishing outlet under. It possesses an embattled and cusped cornice, and the face is divided into three parts by rounded, looped columns finished at the top with a form of vase ornament, and at the bottom with a ball pendant. Centrally placed is a shield bearing the arms of the see. One-third of the head has been cut away to fit into the angle of the building. The ears attached to the head bear the Tudor rose surmounted by a mitre. The second head has a body of similar form, with a large almost circular outlet decorated with a circular shield bearing a lion rampant, impaling the arms of the see. The members of the projecting moulded cornice are enriched with beading and leaf ornament, and the angles have looped columns with ball pendants. Two pear-shaped pendants with ball termination, one on either side of the outlet, carry the date 1699, the time of Bishop Crewe. The main face is decorated with an earl's coronet and a mitre.
On the lower floor to the north of Tunstall's chapel is the original Norman Chapel of the castle. This forms a part of the work generally supposed to have been commenced in 1072 (fn. 72) by Waltheof, Earl of Northumbria, and continued by Walcher, Bishop of Durham, who succeeded him in the earldom, and is the only portion of the castle of that date now remaining complete. It was for many years disused, and even now is only a passage-way to the keep.
The original entrance to the chapel was in the west bay of the south wall and was approached by a short vaulted passage from a circular newel stair in the still existing south-east turret of Waltheof's building. The lower part of this stair was diverted about 1840 into Bishop Tunstall's lower gallery, from which a tunnel was made to the chapel, which was reached by an archway formed in the south bay of the west wall. The window in the corresponding bay of the east wall was destroyed and the present staircase leading to the keep was made through the opening. In tunnelling through the ancient masonry under Pudsey's building a massive vault and a stone staircase were revealed. (fn. 73)
The chapel is rectangular in plan, 32 ft. 3 in. long, by 23 ft. 9 in. wide, its height from the floor to the crown of the vault being about 15 ft. 9 in. It is divided into a nave and two aisles by arcades of four bays. The vaulting is supported by three round pillars on each side of the nave, with half-round responds on the east wall, corbels on the west wall, and rectangular pilasters on the north and south walls and in the angles. This method of construction renders the building independent of the support of the north wall, and suggests perhaps that the north wall belongs to an earlier building. This suggestion is strengthened by a close examination of the wall itself, which is rudely built with large and irregular joints containing stones of extraordinary form and dimensions, and coarse and irregular dressings. A comparison may be made with the lower portion of the wall in the east bay, where it has been cut away for the insertion of an aumbry, 2 ft. deep, 2 ft. 6 in. wide, and 3 ft. high, around which the walling is carefully coursed, more like the east wall. In further evidence of the antiquity of this wall it may be noticed that the rectangular piers, about 2 ft. 6 in. square, are not bonded into the wall, but have a straight joint at the back of the piers and of the arches carried by them. This joint at the floor level is small, but increases as it ascends, until at the crown of the arches it is from 5 in. to 7 in. in width, and has been filled in and plastered over. Between the piers of this wall runs a low solid stone bench, finished with a square angle without projection of any kind. The two existing semicircular headed windows are modern, and, being in the outer defensive wall to the north, they have succeeded mere loops; a portion of the old quick splay of such a loop may be noticed upon one of the arches.
The east wall appears to be part of the chapel structure, the half-round responds being bonded in, and the courses and jointing of the stonework fairly regular but wide. This wall originally possessed three windows, which appear to have looked out into the inner moat, or the space between the east wall of the chapel and chemise of the keep. One of these windows, as already mentioned, has been converted into an approach to the keep, but the two remaining retain original work, though much mutilated. They were round-headed, unmoulded and apparently without ornamentation. In the middle window the inner jambs appear to be original, and their slight splays are finished with plain angles. The northernmost has been reconstructed; the only original stones seem to be the inner quoin stones, and the outer jambs have been cut away to form a very wide splay. On the outside both windows have had the arch stones cut away at a sharp angle; and large areas extending upwards to a considerable height above the window heads have been formed in front of them. The jambs and arches, where mutilated to form this splay, have been rendered in lime plastering, mediaeval in character. The centre area is partially of ashlar work finely dressed; the northern area is formed in rubble, and there remains in the centre area some portion of the lead with which the bottoms of the areas were lined. There appears to be no doubt that originally the windows looked out into a clear space, but owing to the enlargement of the mound by Bishop Hatfield, the areas were rendered necessary and were probably constructed by him. Under these two windows are four corbel stones, two fairly well preserved with 6½ in. projection and 9 in. on face, sharply splayed on the underside.
The western bay in the south wall appears to be as originally constructed up to above the archway of the doorway and is recessed 11 in. back from the face of the piers, to which the lower portion seems to be bonded. This bay contains the original entrance doorway already referred to. The doorway is central between the two side piers and has a semicircular plain arched outer head cut out of a single stone and inner square rebated jambs.
The only other feature in this wall is the string-course 8¼ in. deep, which has a flat face above a splay, the top of which is level with the upper part of the abaci of the columns, and is continuous for the full length of the wall between the piers. The walling in the spandrel of the arches above is ancient, but it is doubtful whether it is coeval with the rest of the building. The late Mr. Parker stated that the two windows and doorway were inserted about 1840 and that he assisted in making them; they appear, however, to be somewhat earlier, though the woodwork may have been renewed at that time.
The greater part of the west wall appears to have been almost entirely reconstructed, but at what period it is impossible to say. It has in the northern bay a portion of a similar string to that on the south wall and half capitals under the transverse arches. The old wall would probably have half-round responds under the capitals, as on the east wall, but these have disappeared and the capitals are now supported by corbels, which have every appearance of being worked from the upper part of such responds. They are rounded and pointed at the base, but do not form the full half-circle, projecting only some 4 in. The middle portion of the rebuilt wall has been advanced some 7 in., leaving only an inch or two of the soffit of the transverse arch above, exposed. The lower portion of the south bay is occupied by the new entrance arch to the chapel. Only the east and a portion of the west bay of the south wall are original.
The payement of the chapel is of considerable interest, there being little doubt that the greater part is coeval with the building. It is formed of stone blocks of rhomboid form, each 14 in. long by 8½ in. wide, with a single central line of square jointed flags. The jointing of these blocks gives the appearance of herringboning. About one-fourth of the area of the floor at the east end has been raised two steps, of 4 in. and 6 in. rise, and the pattern of the floor of this raised area has been obliterated. This represents an alteration, for the steps almost entirely hide the bases of the two east columns. The ten pilasters on the north and south walls have no bases, but rise straight and square to the abaci. The pillars rise from circular moulded bases. The pillars vary slightly from 1 ft. 9 in. to 2 ft. in diameter and are built of courses of different heights, one course being generally formed of a single stone, the next of two stones with a vertical joint. The bed joints differ greatly, some being 7/8 in. wide, others fairly close, but generally large, the vertical joints being wide; some few are approximately 2 in. The capitals are carved rather rudely, and all are of the volute type. They have bold round neckings, of which three are cabled, and abaci moulded with a flat face above a quarter round, between double fillets. In the north arcade the capitals of the first two pillars from the east show grotesques, serpents, conventional flowers and animals. The capital of the third pillar represents a stag hunt. On the west face a stag is held at bay by two hounds; on the south-west angle, under the volute, is a conventional representation of a tree, behind which on the south face a man is approaching and in the act of releasing two more hounds. On the east face is apparently a horse from which the man has just dismounted; and on the north, a rude hairy-headed and bearded face. In the south arcade the capital of the eastern respond has a human head at each angle in place of the volute, and immediately under the abacus is a line of sunk star ornament, a Tau cross being centrally placed under the line of star ornament. The capital of the first pillar from the east has rude figures with exaggerated heads, in place of the angle volutes, with a design of flowers or plants between. The capital of the second pillar has three rude volutes, the fourth taking the form of an animal's head with two bodies, one on either face. The animals, from the stripes, are apparently intended for leopards, the lines representing some form of hairy beast. The capital of the third pillar is probably the finest of all and is covered with a sunk star ornament, a volute at each angle and a small human head, or 'mulberry' ornament, centrally on each side. The capitals at the east end of the north arcade and the two corbels of the west wall are much decayed and undecipherable.
The vaulting is divided into twelve bays by slightly stilted semicircular arches of square section, 1 ft. 8 in. wide on the soffit. The springers are apparently worked with square projections on the same stones, which form the springing of the groins, and appear to be generally three or possibly four courses in height, judging from the abrupt alteration in the curve of the groin. The cells are of rubble plastered, and are distinctly stilted for a considerable distance above the abaci, immediately above which they present a face of 3 in. The curve of the cells and transverse arches do not coincide, the latter presenting a face of about 1 in. at the springing, increasing to 5 in. or 7 in. at the crown.
The chapel has been built with a local stone, which is strongly veined and marked with quite brilliant colouring. Nothing can be said of the outside of the chapel, as it is so completely built in all round and above. That it formed a portion of Waltheof's building there is little doubt, possibly a projecting wing within the outer defensive wall. It is doubtful whether it was originally more than one story in height. The sinking of the exterior walls, together with the distortion of the arches, points to the fact that the foundations were not prepared to carry the great additional weight added to them in later years. (fn. 74)
The old approach to the keep from Pudsey's hall, including the group of buildings above the ancient chapel, and extending along the inner side of the great north wall, is now called the Junction on account of the modern staircase and corridor connecting the keep with the rest of the castle. The exterior of the north wall in this part has been so much cut about that no original work is visible except a portion of the round arch of a Norman window, high up and almost hidden by more modern facing. In the core of the wall, however, there is doubtless old work, and the lower part of the wall contains probably the oldest existing masonry in the castle.
The buttresses show that at one time the wall had a serious bulge or overhang which has been partly rectified from time to time by cutting back the masonry and refacing it. Windows of all sorts and sizes have been inserted, making it almost impossible to determine the true line of the north face.
Projecting from the north wall between the modern areas in front of the chapel windows is a square turret of unknown date and purpose, but possibly of Bishop Fox's time (1494–1501). This turret is locally called the 'Hanging Tower,' from which criminals are thought to have been executed. In support of this tradition a hollow resembling a putlog hole, about 7 in. by 5 in. by 3 in. deep, is shown inside about the middle of the west wall, and a similar hole may be seen on the opposite side. These holes are thought to have held a beam to which the halter was attached. There is, however, no record of any such use of this turret nor any execution at the castle since the turret was built. The turret rises to the parapets of the north wall, and has an average projection of 4 ft. on the east side and 4 ft. 5 in. on the west, with a face measurement on the north of 5 ft. 9 in. The inside measurements are 4 ft. from east to west and 4 ft. 6 in. from north to south. In the north face there is a square-headed opening in the wall, measuring 2 ft. 6 in. wide and 9 ft. 11 in. high from the stone head, down to the top of a modern wall that has been put in to close up what appears from the outside to be the remains of an old loop. There is a floor 6 ft. below this opening, but whether it is old cannot be said.
The roof of the chamber is formed with a course of wide splayed corbel stones on each east and west wall on a level with the corbel of the opening, but longer in both splay and projection. The west wall has a return 7½ in. deep, and 3 ft. 6 in. from the inside of the north wall, which leaves a space of 2 ft. 1 in. between the return and the present face of the great north wall, and it is suggested that here was the original entrance to this turret from a passage in the great north wall. There is the lower part of a blocked window of two lights in the upper part of the west wall. The original work of this wall and the roof do not appear to be bonded with the great north wall, but the joint of the east wall cannot be seen, as it is covered with a pyramidal mass of rough uncoursed rubble work.
The only feature of interest on the courtyard, or south side, is the wall immediately above Bishop Tunstall's chapel, which appears to be of 14th-century date. In this wall can be traced a large pointed double window the upper part of which has disappeared. This window must have lighted a large apartment, now divided into the Bursar's Lodgings, above the Senate Room or Drawing Room. In the passage, on the inside, a portion of the jambs of one of the windows may be seen. In the place of these older windows, three windows have been inserted; the centre one, of 16th-century date, is a squareheaded window of three lights. The east one is above the jamb of the earlier window, which is to be seen from the level of the window sill down to the floor; it is deeply splayed and checked in the centre. Both the new and the old jambs are of finely dressed ashlar with close joints. The east and west windows are of modern date and have two lights with four-centred heads having small eyelets in the spandrels. Under this apartment and immediately over the old Norman Chapel is the Senate Room, probably formed by Bishop Neile (1617–28), who inserted the present square-headed windows in the great north wall, here 9 ft. thick; the flat arches of these windows are noticeable on the north front. (fn. 75) This room was probably refitted by Bishop Egerton (1772–87). The walls are covered with Brussels tapestry of the 16th century, depicting incidents in the life of Moses. There is also a fine carved oak overmantel of the time of Bishop James (1606–17). The mantel possesses a cornice supported on carved lion heads as brackets, a frieze and architrave, the latter supported by caryatides standing on an ovolo fluted base, and dividing the lower portion into three compartments each slightly recessed and decorated with elaborately carved arches springing from fluted pilasters with carved Ionic capitals. Each compartment contains a coat of arms on a scroll groundwork; that in the centre bears the arms of France and England quarterly 1 and 4, Scotland 2, Ireland 3, surrounded by the Garter, with the lion and unicorn as supporters standing on a wreath bearing the motto Beati Pacifici. Each side panel contains a group of three shields, the larger in the centre bearing the arms of the see, impaling the arms of Bishop James quarterly 1 and 4 (a dolphin embowered), 2 and 3, ermine on a chief azure three crosslets or, the whole standing on a ribbon bearing the motto Dei gratia sum quod sum. The four earlier shields in the two side panels are insertions, supposed to be the arms of Palatinate officials of that time, but several are of obviously later date. The three panels of the frieze each contain the lion and unicorn standing at gaze on either side of a Tudor rose. The mantel has had a somewhat chequered existence. It is supposed to have been prepared for the place where it now stands in expectation of the proposed visit of King James; it was recovered in later years from a house in the Exchequer Buildings and restored to its former position in the Senate Room by the University. (fn. 76) The large oak doors of this room are in two panels with raised moulds, and together with the architraves are of Jacobean feeling. In the east wall is a door leading into a bedroom by a short passage with closets or stores, the one on the left having been probably used as a powder or stool closet. The walls of the bedroom are lined with late 17th-century panelling, and a portion hung with an odd piece of tapestry.
The mound and keep are placed practically on the centre of the total width of the north front. The mound rises to 45 ft. above the general level of the courtyard and is divided into three terraces by means of alternate slopes and retaining walls. The terraces, it is recorded, were made during the time of Bishop Cosin (1660–72), long after the keep had lost any military value. They have been identified with the cubitis tribus referred to by Laurence, (fn. 77) but the words will not bear this meaning, nor for defensive reasons could terraces be possible on a castle mound. The original mound may have been partly natural but enlarged with the earth taken from the south moat. In any case it was considerably extended or widened later by Bishop Hatfield, who is said to have enlarged the keep, for which purpose the mound must have been lowered. This widening is evidenced by the blocking of the east windows of the Norman Chapel. The base of the mound was at one period defended by a chemise wall, the foundations of which exist in places, and the position of it may be roughly followed by the various walls at present supporting the base. Outside this wall was a moat which, together with the chemise, was crossed by four walls ascending the mound. Two of these walls exist, and the foundations of a third have been found, but all trace of the fourth is lost.
The north wall descending to the west from the north-west angle of the keep is on the line of the main outer defensive wall of the castle and city, and doubtless includes much early work, though the facing is chiefly of the 13th century and later. There are remains of several arrow slits in the form of a cross, one partially exposed, being contained in a recess in the wall, open to the south (fn. 78) and arched over by a series of corbel stones. At the bottom of the mound is a triangular turret of 13th-century date, with the square outlet and sloping sill of a latrine. There is no access to this turret at the present time. Along the top of this wall above the recess was the stair (fn. 79) forming the only access to the keep, the latter being entered by a drawbridge. The second existing wall ascends the mound from the castle gate, and formed a portion of the south screen wall; the portion between the gate and the chemise is entirely modern, but the part ascending the mound undoubtedly contains a good deal of original work refaced at various periods. The wall was at one time considerably higher and was probably reduced to its present dimensions during the episcopate of Bishop Egerton (1772–87). (fn. 80) That it was a strongly defensible wall is shown by the existence of the lower portion of four large buttress turrets in its short length. The third wall, the foundations of which, 12 ft. in thickness, exist under the soil of the mound, was the wall completing the line at the main defences running up from the north gate to the north-east angle of the keep. The fourth wall is supposed to have joined the south-east angle of the keep with the east end of the church, and is known to have been erected by Bishop Flambard.
The original mound, as already stated, was possibly thrown up by Bishop Walcher (1071–80) and crowned by a wooden palisade and tower, which has been succeeded by three later keeps. The first, built by Bishop Flambard, consisted of a ring wall, probably inclosing the then existing wooden tower, and is mentioned by Laurence. The second was built by Bishop Hatfield (1345–81), and the present one by the University in 1840. The existing keep forms an irregular octagon on plan measuring 76 ft. by 65 ft., and is supposed to have been rebuilt upon the foundations of Hatfield's keep. A good deal of the old material was re-used, including a few of the old quoins on the west side. The dressings are, however, generally new and of Penshaw stone. Each angle is covered by a square buttress springing from the main projecting base course, and surmounted by imitation machicolated turrets rising slightly above the embattled parapet. The flagstaff turret at the north-west angle, over the point where the north wall joins the keep, denotes the position of a tower defending the entrance both to the Norman and the 14th-century keep. The interior of the keep is entirely modern, consisting of a basement for storage purposes, and three other floors divided into sets of students' rooms, each set consisting of bedroom and sitting room. The various floors are connected by a central well staircase lighted from the roof. There are no remains existing above ground of the vaults or other work mentioned by Hutchinson in his description of the remains of Hatfield's keep, and it is evident that a clean sweep must have been made when the rebuilding was commenced.
Fortunately there are several views of Hatfield's keep as it existed in the early part of the 19th century and before. The best of them are a picture in the castle common room, dated 1842, and a view from the north-east by Bryne, dated 1799, which shows that there were no windows on the exposed northern face and that the north wall between the keep and the north gate had disappeared before Bryne's time.
Hutchinson (fn. 81) describes the keep in the following words:—
Durham Tower, an ill-formed octagon of irregular sides; some of the fronts exceeding others in breadth several feet; the angles are supported by buttresses. & a parapet has run round the summit of the whole building with a breast wall and embrasure; the diameter of this Tower in the widest part is 63 ft. 6 in. & in the narrowest part 61 ft.; It has contained four stories or tiers of apartments, exclusive of the vaults; The great Entrance is on the west side; there is nothing now left of this edifice, but the mount, vaults and outside shell; which latter, from its noble appearance, & the great ornament it is to the city, has been an object of attention of many of the prelates.
Indeed from the whole mode of architecture, the roses which ornament the summits of the buttresses & the form of the windows, we are led to believe that the present shell was the work of Bishop Hatfield, & repaired & kept standing by his successors. The tower was only lined round the outward wall with apartments, so as to leave and inner area or wall from top to bottom, by which the engines of war, & necessaries in time of danger & attack, were drawn up and distributed to the several parts of the building; those apartments have been approached by five different staircases or turnpikes in the angles, the remains of which are yet visible, so that the parapet could be mounted, the galleries lined with armed men, and the apartments guarded in a very short time, & equally as quick the garrison could descend, & be ready for a sally. At the present the mount is formed into terraces, as well for ornament as recreation. The uppermost terrace is 10 ft. wide, and laid with gravel.
The building appears to have served its purpose up to the time of Bishop Fox (1494–1501), who 'Began to repair the Great Tower and build a Hall, a Kitchen & some other apartments therein, but before this plan was far advanced he was translated, & no further progress was made in that work.' Bishop Fox's alterations indicate that it was recognised that its military value had diminished. The improvement in artillery, and the impossibility of protecting the base of the outer walls by earthworks, rendered the whole castle useless from a military point of view, at a much earlier date than a similar structure built in a comparatively flat country. There is little record of its subsequent history, and it appears to have been allowed to fall gradually into decay; several bishops are recorded to have made small repairs, but its maintenance was considered a hardship, and Bishop Morton (1632–59) obtained a decree discharging him from future dilapidations. Some of the later bishops, however, considered it an ornament to the city and made some repairs. Bishop Cosin (1660–72) is stated to have put the castle into repair and doubtless did something to the keep. Bishop Crewe (1674–1721) is supposed to have restored the keep; at any rate, his arms were placed on the east side with the following inscription under: (fn. 82)
HAEC DIU RUITURI CASTELLI LATERA CU'
VETUSTATE TANDEM UTRINQ. EXESA NEC NON
COLLAPSA DE NOVO NUPERRIME EXTRUXIT
AC CITO CITIUS FIRMIORA EREXIT NATH. D'NUS
CREWE, DUNELM. EP'US ET BARO DE STANE
COM. NORTHAM. ANNIS CONSECR. 45, TRANSL.
40, SALUTIS 1714.
On the death of Bishop Chandler a dispute arose as to dilapidations on the keep, and it was then pleaded that the building had not been used since Bishop Fox's time, some 250 years before. Bishop Egerton in 1773 had the keep surveyed, with a view to repairs. Evidently it must have been in a very dilapidated condition about this time, as it is recorded that Bishop Thurlow in 1789 had the upper stories pulled down, for fear they should fall, and it doubtless remained in this condition until finally destroyed about 1839.