Watch Tower, Eston Nab, North Yorkshire


Watch Tower, Eston Nab.
Postmarked 1906
Publisher: Brittain & Wright, Stockton-on-Tees

Google Street View (approximate).

In the south-eastern section of the hillfort, where a modern monument marks its position there are the remains of a square, stone beacon. This is situated within a small quadrangular enclosure and is believed to have been erected in the early 19th century when it served as a beacon or lookout post during the Napoleonic wars.
Historic England

With the advent of ironstone mining in Eston Hills, the beacon was used as a house and survived until 1956. It was then demolished and later rebuilt into its present form. A plaque on the side of the monument reads:

This monument is placed here to mark the
site of the beacon tower which was erected
by Thomas Jackson of Lackenby about 1800 as
a look-out post against invasion during the
Napoleonic wars and which again served the same
purpose in the second world war of 1939–1945.
It stands within a Bronze Age fortified
camp whose outer defences can be seen.
Erected in 1956.
Wikipedia.

St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Launceston Cornwall


Launceston, St Mary’s Church
c.1911
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co

Google Street View.

St Mary Magdalene in Launceston is the most impressive and beautiful late medieval church in Cornwall, featuring superb carved detail on the exterior and a wealth of historic memorials and woodwork inside. In 1353 Edward, the Black Prince, was named Duke of Cornwall. Around 1370 Edward built a chapel a short distance from Launceston Castle. All that remains of that 14th-century chapel is the imposing west tower of St Mary Magdalene church, built of Polyphant stone, 20 feet square at the base and rising 70 feet to an embattled top. The tower was originally used as a watchtower, with a single bell to warn of attack, not to call worshippers to service.
Britain Express

The intricately worked granite blocks, which give the church its unique carved exterior, were originally intended for a mansion at Trecarell, Trebullett for Sir Henry Trecarell. The reason for this is said to be due to his infant son drowning in his bath and the grief-stricken Sir Henry switched the stone to ecclesiastical use as he decided to build the church instead. How true this story is, is open to conjecture, but what is most certain is that the present church owes its existence to Sir Henry. (Although widely called Sir Henry, there is no record of him actually being knighted). This was in 1511 and was to be the third church dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene on this site which at that time contained the Parochial Chapel of the Blessed Mary Magdalene of the 14th century along with tenements which were attached to the said chapel. These were purchased and removed so that the site was free for the new construction. As previously mentioned the present tower survives from one of the earlier churches, being built by Edward the Black Prince, who became the first Duke of Cornwall in 1337 and whose capital was Launceston. This explains the fact that the body of the church is not directly connected with its tower, which indeed is on a different line. Between them lies what is now the choir vestry, but at one time, there were two cottages between the church and the tower.
Launceston Then

The church of St Mary Magdalene was built in the early 1500s, but inside the Victorians have left almost nothing from the original period. The pulpit is one of the few survivals. It was covered with pitch during the civil war and only restored as to its current condition in 1970. The chancel screen is designed by Edmund H Sedding and carved by Violet Pinwill. It dates from 1911 and depicts eleven saints with Mary Magdalene at the centre.
Reed Design.includes panorama)

Font, St Martin’s Church, Canterbury, Kent


Canterbury. Font St Martin’s Church.
c.1910
Publisher: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

Google Street View.

This is an example of a Norman tub font, and quite a few have survived in churches to this day. St Mary’s Chadwell has a similar though less impressive example of arcade decoration. One theory (which was either told me by a church guide, or in a printed guide leaflet) is that it consists of stacked “baptismal tubs”; whereas the Kent Churches website claims it is carved from a single block. But most sources including the parish website agree that it consists of several stone blocks (22 is a figure often quoted). Whichever is correct, it is agreed that it is made of Caen stone, carved with intersecting and interlocking patterns.
Geograph

The Church of St Martin is an ancient Church of England parish church in Canterbury, England, situated slightly beyond the city centre. It is recognised as the oldest church building in Britain still in use as a church, and the oldest parish church in the English-speaking world, although Roman and Celtic churches had existed for centuries. The church is, along with Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey, part of a World Heritage Site. . . . St Martin’s was the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent (died in or after 601) before Saint Augustine of Canterbury arrived from Rome in 597. Queen Bertha was a Christian Frankish princess who arrived in England with her chaplain, Bishop Liudhard. Her pagan husband, King Æthelberht of Kent, facilitated her in continuing to practise her religion by renovating a Romano-British building (ca. AD 580). The Venerable Bede says the building had been in use in the late Roman period but had fallen into disuse. As Bede specifically names it, this church was dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, a city located near where Bertha grew up. Although Bede implies that the building in Roman times had been a church, modern scholarship has questioned this and also whether it was a former Roman structure at all, suggesting that it could have been sixth century but built in the Roman way.
Wikipedia.

Historically, this is the most important church in Kent. St Martin’s is the building in which Queen Bertha and St Augustine worshipped together in the closing years of the sixth century, making it the oldest parish church in England that is still in use. Furthermore it is built of large quantities of Roman tile mixed with local flint and ragstone. The exterior shows typical Saxon buttresses and long and short work, but there are no Saxon window openings still in use. However, the west wall inside has been stripped of plaster which allows us to see very early blocked windows. Apart from the great age of the walls there is little of visual interest – with a fourteenth-century tower at the west end and a rather severe atmosphere resulting from the drastic nineteenth-century restoration that saw the insertion of dreadful ‘catalogue’ stained glass. Were it not for the early history of this church the font would be its outstanding feature. It is of Norman date and is carved from a large block of Caen stone. Tall, solid, and eminently decorative it has intersecting circlets in two lower levels, and arcading of Romanesque arches above, topped by a rim of rolling swags. 
Kent Churches

The gem of the Church and one of the gems of England is this world-famous Font, tub-shaped, consisting of a plain stone base, three tiers, and a rim. The base is a recent addition to the font, probably in the middle of the last century, when the font was moved to its present position from the centre of the Nave. The three tiers are made up of some 22 separate stones, and not out of a single block as was usual with early fonts. The two lower tiers are adorned with groups of intertwining circles. The third tier is completely different, namely intersecting arches. The rim is the same design as the two lower tiers with the exception of one stone which has a pattern not unlike dog-tooth work or stars cut in half. The two lower tiers and the rim are said to be Saxon, and the Normans requiring a higher font inserted the arches to raise same, and in so doing broke the rim, and added the one odd stone to make it complete. The lead lining is also of Norman date and still retains the marks of the hinge and staple from the days when the font had a locked cover.
Canterbury Buildings

The Tribunal, Glastonbury, Somerset


Glastonbury, The Tribunal
c.1910
Publsher: The Pictorial Stationery Co., London

Google Street View.

The Tribunal in Glastonbury, Somerset, England, was built in the 15th century as a merchant’s house. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building. The history of the building is not well documented, although the majority of the present stone house was constructed in the 15th century on the site of a 12th-century wooden building. The current front wall was added in the 16th century. It has been used as a merchant’s house and possibly a shop and school. It was thought that it was the venue for court proceedings, hence the title Tribunal, however there is no evidence this ever occurred. One of the ground floor rooms still has the window and ceiling panels from the Elizabethan era. The front room upstairs has an arched braced, wooden, truss roof. . . . The house owes its name to the fact that it was formerly mistakenly identified with the Abbey’s tribunals, where secular justice was administered for Glaston Twelve Hides. The name may have been first used by John Collinson in his History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset in 1791, however when investigated by Richard Warner in 1826 he could not identify where the name had originated. It was also thought to be the site of trials by Judge Jeffreys for the Bloody Assizes after the Monmouth Rebellion.

The current building was constructed in the 15th century on the site of a wooden building dating from the 12th century. In the 16th century a new facade was added to the original building. It is possible that the stonework and window of the front wall were removed from the abbot’s lodgings behind the great kitchen of the Abbey as similar features can be identified in a 1712 engraving, and it is known that the building was ruined and without its front wall by 1723. The door is original and above it are a Tudor rose and the arms of Richard Beere who was Abbot of Glastonbury from 1493 to 1524.
Wikipedia.

The well-preserved Glastonbury Tribunal is thought to have been a 15th-century merchant’s house and a residence for one of Glastonbury Abbey’s officials.
The name ‘Tribunal’ comes from the belief that the building once housed the abbey’s tribunals, a courtroom where justice was administered for managing the abbey’s vast estates. More recent historical research suggests that the building was not, in fact, used as a tribunal, but the name is so well-established that it will probably be known as the Glastonbury Tribunal as long as it stands.

The facade facing onto the High Street is typical of late medieval and Tudor houses at ground level. A projecting bay was added at first-floor level in the early years of the 16th century and you can clearly see where the addition joins to the older medieval stonework. Over the doorway are heraldic shields carved with symbols of the Tudor rose and the arms of Abbot Beer, who died in 1524. The ground floor has internal divisions added in the centuries following construction. One ground-floor room retains its fireplace and you can see linenfold panelling below the window opening. You can easily spot places where corbels helped support an upper floor, and where the medieval stairs stood. The rear ground-floor chamber has a panelled ceiling.
Britain Express

The building is a typical late medieval house, with a separate kitchen block at the rear. A passage leads from the front door through to the courtyard at the back. The present façade with its projecting first-floor bay was added in the early 16th century: the construction joints are clearly visible in the masonry. The Tudor rose and the badge of Abbot Beer (died 1524) have been reset over the entrance to the passage. Within the house, several internal partitions were added when the building was let to different tenants later in its history.

The ground-floor front room retains its arched fireplace with recesses on either side, and below the window the wooden panels, carved to imitate linen folds, date from the 16th century. Scars on the wall show the location of the medieval stairs, and corbels or supports mark the position of an upper floor. The room at the back was the main chamber and has a fine panelled ceiling; the four-light window in the north wall is original, while those in the east and west walls were inserted in the 17th century. The kitchen block at the back of the house is a separate building added in Elizabethan times. The first floor, which now houses the Lake Village Museum, repeats the arrangement of the ground floor. The main room at the front extends over the entrance passage and retains its fine original open roof.
English Heritage

Brougham Castle, Cumbria


Brougham Castle
c.1910
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

In a picturesque setting beside the crossing of the River Eamont in Cumbria, Brougham Castle was founded in the early 13th century. This great keep largely survives, amid many later buildings – including the unusual double gatehouse and impressive “Tower of League”. Both a formidable barrier against Scots invaders and a prestigious residence, the castle welcomed Edward I in 1300. 
English Heritage

Brougham Castle is a medieval building about 2 miles (3.2 km) south-east of Penrith, Cumbria, England. The castle was founded by Robert I de Vieuxpont in the early 13th century. The site, near the confluence of the rivers, Eamont and Lowther, had been chosen by the Romans for a Roman fort called Brocavum. The castle is scheduled as an Ancient Monument, along with the fort, as “Brougham Roman fort and Brougham Castle”. In its earliest form, the castle consisted of a stone keep, with an enclosure protected by an earthen bank and a wooden palisade. When the castle was built, Robert de Vieuxpont was one of the only lords in the region who were loyal to King John. The Vieuxponts were a powerful land-owning family in North West England, who also owned the castles of Appleby and Brough. In 1264, Robert de Vieuxpont’s grandson, also named Robert, was declared a traitor, and his property was confiscated by Henry III. Brougham Castle and the other estates were eventually returned to the Vieuxpont family, and stayed in their possession, until 1269, when the estates passed to the Clifford family through marriage. With the outbreak of the Wars of Scottish Independence, in 1296, Brougham became an important military base for Robert Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford. He began refortifying the castle: the wooden outer defences were replaced with stronger, more impressive stone walls, and a large stone gatehouse was added.
. . .
Lady Anne Clifford died at Brougham Castle in 1676 and her grandson, Nicholas Tufton, 3rd Earl of Thanet, inherited the Clifford estates. He died in 1679, and over the next five years possession passed through his three younger brothers. Under the youngest, Thomas Tufton, 6th Earl of Thanet, Brougham Castle suffered particular neglect. In 1714, he decided that Appleby Castle was a sufficient residence and sold the contents of Brougham Castle for £570. Only the Tower of League was left untouched, but in 1723 its contents were also sold, for £40[41] By the 1750s, the castle’s only practical use was as a ready source of building material for the village of Brougham, which prospered due to investment from the Earl of Thanet. In 1794, a record of the dilapidated state of the castle noted that “much of the interior walls have lately been removed, also, for the purposes of building houses for the adjoining farmhold”.
Wikipedia.


PLan of Brougham (“The Castles of England: their story and structure”. James MacKenzie, 1897 p. 284)

This large strong, and magnificent edifice–now in utter ruin–stands at the confluence of the Lowther with the river Eamont, about 1½ miles from Penrith, having been in its day one of the most important of the Border fortresses. The entrance to it is along a series of arches by the river-side. One part of the ruin consists of three square towers, with the remains of their connecting wall stretching for a considerable distance towards the S.W., and terminating in a tower. In the centre of the main group rises the keep, “a lofty square tower, frowning in Gothic strength and gloomy pomp.” The turrets on its summit have disappeared, together with the parapet and galleries. The lowest storey has a vaulted stone roof with eight arches, supported by one centre shaft. It is of Norman origin, but the date of its building is uncertain. On the S. are traces of the Roman camp which stood here on the road from York to Carlisle.
From “The Castles of England: their story and structure”. James MacKenzie, 1897 p. 283 (available here

Gurnard’s Head, Cornwall


Gurnard’s Head
Postmarked 1907
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co

Google Street View.

Gurnard’s Head is a prominent headland on the north coast of the Penwith peninsula in Cornwall, England, UK. The name is supposed to reflect that the rocky peninsula resembles the head of the gurnard fish.
Wikipedia.

Gurnard’s Head is a long, narrow, headland near the hamlet of Treen, in the parish of Zennor, on the north side of the Penwith peninsula. The name derives from the fact that the shape of the headland is supposed to resemble the head of the Gurnard fish. The Cornish name for the headland is ‘Ynyal’, which means ‘desolate’. Two crumbling stone ramparts, each around sixty meters long, cross the narrowest part of the headland forming an Iron Age promontory fort (cliff castle) known as Trereen Dinas (not to be confused with Treryn Dinas, near another hamlet called Treen in the parish of St Levan, the other side of Land’s End). The ramparts enclose an area of roughly three hectares within which the remains of sixteen roundhouses have been found, averaging six meters in diameter. An excavation in 1939 revealed that the back of the inner rampart had been constructed in three steps, providing a place for slingers to stand. This type of construction has also been found in some Iron Age cliff castles in Brittany. The promontory defences are generally fairly hard to make out, although it is possible to discern the remains of the walls and at least one entrance.
The Cornwall Guide

Tresco Abbey Gardens, Isles of Scilly


Scilly Isles. Old Abbey Ruins. Dracaena in Bloom.
c.1910
Publisher: Pictorial Stationery Co.

Google Street View.

In 1834, Augustus Smith left Hertfordshire and took up residence on the Isles of Scilly as Lord Proprietor and leaseholder of all the islands, choosing Tresco as his home… He selected a site adjacent to St Nicholas Priory – which had fallen into disrepair in the sixteenth century – to build his home. On a rocky outcrop above these ruins, Augustus Smith built his house, which he named Tresco Abbey. In addition to constructing the house, he started almost immediately creating a garden based around the priory ruins. In order to protect his early plantings from the winter gales, he built a series of walls around the garden. The garden then expanded across the south-facing hillside on a series of terraces carved from the granite subsoil.
Tresco Island

Tresco Priory is a former monastic settlement on Tresco, Isles of Scilly founded in 946 AD. It was re-founded as the Priory of St Nicholas by monks from Tavistock Abbey in 1114. A charter of King Henry I mentions a priory as belonging to Tavistock Abbey in the reign of Edward the Confessor. . . The Priory did not survive the Dissolution of the Monasteries and may well have closed earlier. The remains of the priory are now incorporated into Tresco Abbey Gardens.
Wikipedia.


Scilly. | Tresco Abbey.
c.1910

Google Street View.

Tresco Abbey Gardens are located on the island of Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom. The 17 acre gardens were established by the nineteenth-century proprietor of the islands, Augustus Smith, originally as a private garden within the grounds of the home he designed and built. The gardens are designated at Grade I in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Augustus Smith chose Tresco as the site of his home because the site was more or less central in relation to the rest of the islands. It is also close to the original abbey ruins, is near a fresh water pool and overlooks the sand dunes and beach at Carn Near. The area at the time was barren land and the original building, designed by Smith and started in 1835, was small in comparison to the current building. He made additions to the house in 1843 and 1861. The Grade II listed house consists of roughly coursed granite with ashlar dressings and a slate roof. Some of the timbers from the 1861 wreck of the Award were used for the panelling and roof of the new dining room, as well as panelling of the rooms Annet, Rosevean and Rosevear. His successor, Thomas Smith-Dorrien-Smith, added the tower in 1891.
Wikipedia.

Country house. Mostly of 1843 and 1861, with tower of 1891, for Augustus Smith and Thomas Algernon Dorrien Smith. Roughly coursed granite with ashlar dressings; slate roofs and granite ashlar stacks. Complex evolved plan: main square block with east tower, to east of west wing and south-west wing. 2 and 3 storeys. North elevation has 3-storey entrance bay between main block and west wing, with monogram AS and date 1843 over chamfered 4-centred arched doorway; this is flanked by a slender 3-storey tower with small windows
Historic England


Mesembryanthemums
Aloes Steps, Tresco
Scilly

c.1910
Publisher: “The ‘Neptune’ Series by C. King, Scilly Isles”

Google Street View.

Chester Rows, Chester, Cheshire


The Cross, Chester
1910s
Publisher: Hugo Lang & Co

Google Street View.

Chester Rows are a set of structures in each of the four main streets of Chester, in the United Kingdom, consisting of a series of covered walkways on the first floor behind which are entrances to shops and other premises. At street level is another set of shops and other premises, many of which are entered by going down a few steps. Dating from the medieval era, the Rows may have been built on top of rubble remaining from the ruins of Roman buildings, but their origin is still subject to speculation.
. . .
There are shops on the street level with wide steps leading to the first floor where there on more shops on the Rows. Above this are 2+ storeys in black-and-white architecture. At street level the shops and other premises are similar to those found in other towns and cities, although many of the premises are entered by going down a few steps. On the first floor level are more shops and other premises, set back from the street, in front of which is a continuous walkway. The storey above this overlaps the walkway, which makes it a covered walkway, and this constitutes what is known as the “Row”. On the street side of the walkways are railings and an area which was used as shelves or stalls for the display of goods. The floors above the level of the Rows are used for commercial or domestic purposes, or for storage.

Wikipedia.

The layout of the Rows goes back to the 13th century. There were shops or warehouses at street level, with a long gallery above, reached by steps from the street level. Living quarters are on the gallery level. In the Middle Ages, this would have been a hall, open to the roof and heated by a central hearth. The private rooms, or solar, were above the gallery. In the Tudor and Jacobean period the upper floors were built out over the gallery, supported on long poles down to the street level. Shops at ground level used the space between the posts to display their goods to passers-by.
Britain Express

To trace the original cause of these rows, with any degree of certainty, is no easy task, concerning which a variety of conjectures have been formed. Some have attributed their origin to the period when Chester was liable to the frequent assaults of the Welsh, which induced the inhabitants to build their houses in this form, so that when the enemy should at any time have forced an entrance, they might avoid the danger of the horsemen, and annoy their assailants as they passed through the streets. This opinion seems to be adopted by Webb, and followed by most other writers on the subject. He says, “And because their conflicts with enemies continued long time, it was needful for them to leave a space before the doors of those their upper buildings, upon which they might stand in safety from the violence of their enemies’ horses, and withall defend their houses from spoyl, and stand with advantage to encounter their enemies, when they made incursions”. I am aware that this has long been, and still is the popular sentiment; but I think there is very good reason to question its correctness.
Chester: a Virtual Stroll Around the Walls

Bramhope Tunnel, West Yorkshire


Bramhope Tunnel – North Eastern Railway
1910s
Publisher: The Alphalsa Publishing Co., Ltd., 284, Scrutton St, London

Google Street View.

The Bramhope Tunnel is a railway tunnel 2.138 miles (3,745 Yards) long built for the Leeds and Thirsk Railway, the Leeds Northern Railway and the East and West Yorkshire Junction Railway, which together later became the North Eastern Railway. 1845-49 It was constructed on the Harrogate Line, carrying rural and commuter passengers between Horsforth and Weeton in West Yorkshire, England. It is notable for its length, for its crenellated north portal, which is Grade II listed, and for the deaths of 24 men during its construction, commemorated in Otley churchyard with a castellated replica of the north portal.

It was constructed by Thomas Grainger, engineer and James Bray, overseer, who set up two sighting towers and then twenty shafts along the line of the tunnel. Men dug horizontally from these shafts until the diggings joined up in 1848. Thousands of navvies lived locally in bothies with their families, and dug in dangerous and wet conditions to facilitate the grand opening in 1849.
Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History

The foundation stone was laid at Shaft 1 in July 1846, once a shaft was finished teams of miners were lowered down to create header tunnels, smaller 8ft x 8ft tunnels shored up by beams and joined up to make a complete mini version of the tunnel. This ensured the line was true and made communication easier. Behind the miners, labourers laid a line of temporary rails for spoil to be removed. Once the headers were complete the excavation was worked in lengths of 12ft, the excavators would move to the opposing side of the shaft and begin digging there while a team of labourers and bricklayers would take their place and begin building the tunnel walls. On Bramhope tunnel there was a total of 22 teams working at any one time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
. . .
Each end of the tunnel received very different treatment, the Gothic north portal was given a castellated finish (now grade II listed) containing rooms used by railway staff. The south entrance is very plain by comparison, a sandstone horseshoe-shaped arch below a cornice and a parapet. The tunnel was completed November 27th, 1848 and the first train went through it May 31st, Leeds and Thirsk railway officials pulled by Bray’s locomotive Stephenson.
The Secret Library

Wilson Worsdell’s Class R (LNER D20) was introduced on the North Eastern Railway (NER) in 1899. It proved to be an extremely capable locomotive, but by 1907 there was a need locomotives of greater power to handle the increasing train loads. The NER already had a number of more powerful designs, but these were better suited to more onerous duties. The larger Class S1 (LNER B14) engines were not entirely successful. So Wilson Worsdell’s choice was between building more of his Class V (LNER C6) Atlantics, or designing a larger version of the successful D20. The C6 had not been an unqualified success, so he chose the modify the D20. The new design, NER Class R1 (LNER D21) attempted to combine the wheels and cylinders of the D20 with a larger boiler based on the C6’s boiler. In order to use the larger boiler, the D20 boiler was extended by 2ft at the rear. The boiler pressure was also increased to 225psi, and the grate area was increased from 20 to 27sq.ft. The final locomotive had a high adhesive weight of almost 21 tons, reflecting its intended use on the heaviest expresses, rather than the high speed light trains.

The D21s definitely looked impressive with their large boilers, but they turned out to be not quite as good as either the D20s or the C6s. Hence only one batch was built in 1908-9 at Darlington.
The London & North Eastern Railway Encyclopedia

Durham Castle, Durham, County Durham


Durham Castle, Courtyard
Postmarked 1907
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

The order for the construction of Durham Castle was given in 1072. The new castle would protect the Norman rulers from the rebellious local population and potential invasions from Scotland. Opposition to the Norman rule was a real threat, and even whilst the castle was being constructed, rebellion was close at hand. Waltheof, the Earl of Northumbria who was tasked with building Durham Castle, rebelled and was later executed.

The need to establish and maintain order in the North was crucial. William granted additional powers to the Bishop of Durham, giving them greater authority in return for their loyalty. This was an interesting political tactic that took power away from the local ruling elite and gave it to a representative of the king. They ruled what was effectively a state within a state. Holding the title of Prince Bishop, these powerful leaders could levy taxes, mint their own coins, have their own courts, raise an army and had responsibility for protecting the northern frontier. These were not just men of the church; they were powerful politicians and rulers who were often embroiled with the politics, threats, rebellions and scandals of the day. . . . As Norman rule became more established, the 13th and 14th centuries were relatively calm, allowing the Prince Bishops to enhance their wealth, status and power. The substantial income of the Bishops saw the beginnings of the castle’s evolution into a palatial residence, frequently remodelled to reflect changes in taste and fashion.
Durham Castle (Durham University)

The construction took place under the supervision of the Earl of Northumberland, Waltheof, until he rebelled against William and was executed in 1076. The castle then came under the control of the Bishop of Durham, Walcher, who purchased the earldom and thus became the first of the Prince-Bishops of Durham, a title that was to remain until the 19th century, and was to give Durham a unique status in England. It was under Walcher that many of the Castle’s first buildings were constructed. As was typical of Norman castles, it consisted of a motte (mound) and an inner and outer bailey (fenced or walled area). Whether the motte and inner bailey were built first is unknown. There is also debate about whether or not Durham Castle was originally a stone or a wooden structure. Historic sources mention that its keep (fortified tower) was built of wood, but there is enough archaeological evidence to indicate that even in the late 11th century when it was first built, it had numerous stone buildings.
Durham World Heritage Listing

Durham Cathedral was built between the late 11th and early 12th century to house the bodies of St. Cuthbert (634-687 AD) (the evangeliser of Northumbria) and the Venerable Bede (672/3-735 AD). It attests to the importance of the early Benedictine monastic community and is the largest and finest example of Norman architecture in England. The innovative audacity of its vaulting foreshadowed Gothic architecture. The Cathedral lies within the precinct of Durham Castle, first constructed in the late eleventh century under the orders of William the Conqueror.

The Castle was the stronghold and residence of the Prince-Bishops of Durham, who were given virtual autonomy in return for protecting the northern boundaries of England, and thus held both religious and secular power. Within the Castle precinct are later buildings of the Durham Palatinate, reflecting the Prince-Bishops’ civic responsibilities and privileges. These include the Bishop’s Court (now a library), almshouses, and schools. Palace Green, a large open space connecting the various buildings of the site once provided the Prince Bishops with a venue for processions and gatherings befitting their status, and is now still a forum for public events.
UNESCO World Heritage listing


Plan of Durham Castle, 1892, from Wikimedia Commons

In a volume of the publications of the Surtees Society, Mr. James Raine, the worthy son of a distinguished sire, has given to the archæological world a very curious poem, now first printed, entitled “Dialogi Laurentii Dunelmensis Monachi ac Prioris,” a work of the time, and which records the intrusion of William Cumin into the see of Durham. This was a period of extreme interest in that important see, once including the city of Carlisle and the territory of Teviotdale, and at the date of the poem [c.1149] still holding the Castles of Durham and Norham, fortresses of the first rank, even in a district which contained Bamborough.
. . .
The castle still retains many of the features and some of the buildings described in the poem. The ditch which cut off the fortress from the cathedral is, it is true, filled up, and the pasture ward to the east is built over and obscured, but the south gate, though rebuilt, stands on the old site, and is still the main entrance; and34 the wall on the right on entering still extends towards the keep. The keep itself is a late work; but the mound upon which it stands is a part of the original fortress, and the masonry is laid on the old lines, and in outline the tower no doubt represents pretty clearly the work of Flambard. A strong wall still connects the keep with the lodgings of the castle, and forms the front towards the river. The chapel also remains but little altered, and the walls and arches of the dormitory are original. The well is still seen in the open court, and is, or was recently, in use. Notwithstanding various repairs, rebuildings, and additions, there can be but little doubt that the Castle of Durham resembles in its general aspect the fortress of the Conqueror and of Flambard;

. . .
Queen-like the castle sits sublime, and frowns
O’er all she sees, and deems the whole her own.
Straight from the gate the gloomy wall ascends
The mound, and thus the stately keep attains.
A close-built citadel, piercing the clear air,
Outside and inside strong, well fitted to its use.
Its base, of heaped-up earth three cubits raised,
Solid and firm, the floor does thus support;
On which firm base the supereminent keep
Rises, unrivalled in its glittering sheen.
On twice two timbers stayed, are seen to rest
The buildings there, for each main angle one:
While round each half circumference are wings,
Each ending in a formidable wall.
Springing from these a bridge, by easy steps,
To the high battlements an access forms,
Where the broad wall all round gives ample path,
And thus the summit of the keep is gained.
Stately that keep! a circle in its form,
Splendid and strong by art, and by position fair.
Thence, downward to the castle, leads the bridge,
And offers easy access to and fro;
For broad its path with many a shallow step,
The base attaining by a gradual slope.
Hard by, the wall, thrown backwards from the keep,
Faces the west towards th’ encircling stream,
On whose high bank continued, it enfolds
With a bold sweep an ample pasture there;
From parching northern blasts protected thus,
And so curves round to the stern keep again.
Nor does the space within the wall embraced
Stand without buildings: such there are, and good.
Two porches to two palaces belong,
Of which the work to th’ artist brings no shame.
Here, too, a chapel fair six columns boasts,
Nor large, nor small, but fitted to its needs.
Here beds lie near to beds, and halls to halls,
Each for its province suitably disposed:
Robes here, bright vessels there, here glittering arms,
Here bread, there flesh, and tempting coin concealed,
And corn and wine laid down, and barley beer,
And the clear flour here finds its proper bin.
Thus on one side house joins to house, and hall
To hall. The other too is occupied.
The court alone is free, and there is seen
The well, full deep, with water well supplied.

Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II (of 2), by George Thomas Clark, 1884

The original church, which was reared over St. Cuthbert’s grave in 999, was standing when the Conqueror ordered the rebuilding, in 1072, of the palace of the Saxon bishops of Durham, which had been burnt down two or three years before. This edifice did not perhaps suit the taste or requirements of the proud and wealthy prelates who came after, and in 1174 Bishop Pudsey rebuilt the whole, with great additions, in the best late Norman style of military architecture.
. . .
It is built on a high rocky hill of horse-shoe shape, round which the river Wear flows, under steep cliffs, 80 or 100 feet below, serving as a moat to the fortress. The line of walls, with their five gates, extended round that side of the hill not occupied by the cathedral, enclosing the courtyard or bailey. The great N. gate, which flanked the keep to the E., and the space leading down to the town commanded the most important approach, and was rebuilt and much strengthened by Bishop Langley in 1417 ; it had double gates towards the bailey, and one towards the city, with portcullis and battlements. The old gate had a postern and a round tower at the end of the ditch, still existing. The second gate, called the King’s Gate, commanded a ford on the river, but has disappeared. Two others stood where are now Queen Street and Duncow Lane ;and the fifth, or water gate, being that of the outer court, stood in its ancient form until of late years. The mount on which the keep stands is 44 feet high, and was vaulted beneath. The tower was an irregular octagon 63J feet across, and four storeys high, with an entrance on the W.; the eight angles were supported by buttresses, and a battlemented parapet ran round the summit. Nothing, however, remains of this edifice but the mount, the vaults, and the outer shell ;it was probably the work of Bishop Hatfield in the middle of the fourteenth century, who also built the great hall.
The Castles of England: their story and structure, Vol. II, 1897