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Structure Details
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Structure Name: Raby Castle

Castle, built in one phase during the late 14th century and modernised in the mid 19th century. The main house is connected to a series of nine perimeter towers by short walls, and the whole sits atop a platform surrounded by another wall. On the east of the castle was a barbican (now gone), which projected from Chapel Tower.
Moving clockwise from the Kitchen Tower, which is attached to the northeast corner of the keep, the towers are: Mount Raskelf, Chapel Tower, Bulmer's Tower, Octagon Tower, Joan's Tower, Neville Gateway, Watch Tower and Clifford's Tower. The towers are all rectangular, excepting Octagon Tower and Bulmer's Tower, which is pentagonal.

The main entrance to the castle is by the Neville Gateway on the west side, whose arch is flanked by outwardly-splayed turrets of four storeys.

Extant: Yes

Legal Status: Listed Building Grade I

Location: Raby Castle, DURHAM

Eastings: 412900m (view map)

Northings: 521780m (view map)

Position Accuracy: 50m

Positional Confidence: Absolute Certainty

Structure Types Identified: CASTLE, CURTAIN WALL

Historical Background
The 14th century Raby Castle was built and held by the powerful Neville family until Charles the 6th Earl of Westmorland's part in the Rising of the North (1569), when the castle was forfeited to the Crown. In 1626 the Vane family became the new owners, and were responsible for a great many alterations to the structure.


  • 1130   Construction of fortified house.
  • MID 14TH CENTURY   Castle constructed for Ralph Neville.
        Entities Involved:
              Neville, Ralph: Commissioned works.
  • 1364   Construction of chapel on east face.
  • 1379   Licence to crenellate granted.
        Entities Involved:
              Bishop Thomas Hatfield: Prince Bishop of Durham.
  • 1620   Partial demolition and rebuilding.
  • 1630   Fittings from the dismantled Barnard Castle taken to Raby Castle.
  • 1740 - 1751   Extensive interior alterations by Daniel Garrett. Clifford's Tower and Watch Tower were linked at first floor level by the Hunters' Gallery.
        Entities Involved:
              Garrett, Daniel: Architect.
  • 1752 - 1760   Alterations to the interiors by James Paine.
        Entities Involved:
              Paine, James: Architect.
  • 1767 - 1785   Alterations by John Carr. Created the east-west carriageway through the castle, necssitating the demolition of the barbican.
        Entities Involved:
              Carr, John: Architect.
  • 1814   Interior alterations by Joseph Browne. Two rooms in the south range were converted into a library.
        Entities Involved:
              Browne, Joseph: Architect.
  • 1843 - 1848   Alterations by William Burn. Drawing room installed in Octagon Tower. Chapel and Great Hall re-roofed.
        Entities Involved:
              Burn, William: Architect.
  • 1864   Alterations by Austin and Johnson, including extensive refenestration and a north stair to the Great Hall.
        Entities Involved:
              Austin (Thomas) & Johnson (R.J.): Architectural partnership.
              Austin, Thomas Hicks: Architect.
              Johnson, Robert James: Architect.
  • 1901   Interior of chapel restored by Pritchett.
        Entities Involved:
              Pritchett, J P: Architect.


  • Durham County Council SMR
  • Images of England
  • Keys To The Past
  • Pevsner, N. and Williamson, E. (1985) The Buildings of England: County Durham. 2nd ed., London, Yale University Press, pp.382-389

The information displayed in this page has been derived from authoritative sources, including any referenced above. Although substantial efforts were made to verify this information, the SINE project cannot guarantee its correctness or completeness.


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Last Modified 26 March 2004
2002 SINE Project, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
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