Monday, 16 September 2019

Durham Castle


Thanks for popping in.

Our trip to Durham coincided with an open day at the Castle, which was a stroke of luck as we were able to self guide ourselves around the building that is used by Durham University.

Entering through the gate, the grand building looked beautiful in the sunshine, the keep still on the grassy motte where its been for over 900 years.  It was lived in by the Prince-Bishops of Durham who were among the most powerful and wealthy men in the country and had both religious and political authority.  As long as he remained loyal to the King of England, he could govern as a virtually autonomous ruler, reaping revenue from his territory but remaining mindful of his role of protecting England's northern frontier.

The Tour inside starts with the Norman Chapel which is the oldest building in Durham City dating from 1080.

Entering the Tudor clock tower,  the Tunstall Chapel with its black and white floor, stained glass window and notable misericords contrasts with the Norman Chapel.

Walking through the Tunstall Gallery, the beautiful Norman Arch which have been on the outside of the building at one time.  It's on the site of a second Great Hall which was later divided into smaller rooms.  The Arch is a main reason for Durham gaining World Heritage status.

The Black Stairs were built in the 1660s and was originally designed to be free-standing.

Up the stairs the Norman Hall is used for functions and has student bedrooms off to the left in the photo below, which have double doors.  If the outer door is closed, the student is not at home but if the outer door is open, you can knock in the inner door.

Downstairs is the impressive Great Hall with two stone minstrels niches, together with Cromwellian armour and pole weapons.

Needless to say, there are some good views from the windows.

The Castle was given by the Bishop as the foundation of Durham University in 1830 and now houses University College which has 1,200 students associated with it.

Definitely worth a visit.



  1. How wonderful it all looks especially the Norman chapel and arch. Love the outer and inner doors to the students' rooms. I'd have loved to see inside but it was closed when we visited:)

    1. We were really lucky to visit before all the students returned, it was such an interesting place. I've never seen anything like that two door system before. 😊

  2. What a wonderful tour you took us on, a feast for the eyes.

    1. So glad you enjoyed a trip around the Castle, imagine being a student and living there, what memories you'd have.