Bishopton Castle

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Bishopton Castle
County Durham, England
Castle Hill - - 1562486.jpg
Surviving motte
Bishopton Castle is located in County Durham
Bishopton Castle
Bishopton Castle
Coordinates 54°34′52″N 1°26′07″W / 54.5811°N 1.4353°W / 54.5811; -1.4353Coordinates: 54°34′52″N 1°26′07″W / 54.5811°N 1.4353°W / 54.5811; -1.4353
Grid reference grid reference NZ366208
Type Motte-and-bailey
Site information
Condition Earthworks only

Bishopton Castle was a medieval castle in Bishopton Village, County Durham, England. The surviving motte is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.[1]


Bishopton Castle was built by Roger de Conyers in 1143, in the village of Bishopton, near to the town of Darlington.[2] Constructed in a motte-and-bailey design, the castle had two baileys, rather than the usual one, and originally had two large enclosures beyond the baileys.[3] In the 12th century it was surrounded by a low artificial lake, fed by the brook to the west, and could only be accessed by causeways.[4]

De Conyers built the castle during a dispute with William Cumin, who laid claim to be the Bishop of Durham; de Conyers supported Cumin's rival, William of St. Barbara.[5] Historian Lise Hull believes that the licence to crenellate given to de Conyers for his castle may be the first recorded instance of this in England,[6] but Philip Davis rejects the licence on the grounds that the fortification was a matter of necessity rather than consent, and that the supposed licence contains no indicative wording.[7]

In later years the castle became owned directly by the Bishop of Durham, a powerful regional landowner.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Historic England. "Motte and Bailey Castle, Bishopton (1008668)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Hull (2009), p.195.
  3. ^ Pettifer, p.26.
  4. ^ Creighton, p.14.
  5. ^ Pettifer, p.26.
  6. ^ Hull (2006), p.128.
  7. ^ "The Gatehouse website record of a licence to crenellate for Bishopton Castle Hill granted on 1143". Philip Davis. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  8. ^ Brickstock, p.38.