Ruins of 13th-century castle discovered in northern England






Archaeologists have discovered the remains of Westgate Castle in the northern English area of Weardale in the North Pennies region. The lost castle once was part of the Bishop of Durham’s great deer park of Stanhope.

From the 13th century through until the early 17th, Westgate Castle served as the ‘west gate’ into the Bishop of Durham’s great deer park, and functioned as an administrative headquarters for the Bishop’s extensive estate encompassing the old Forest of Weardale. By the mid 17th century it lay in ruins and its masonry was quarried for new buildings.

Paul Frodsham, the North Pennines AONB Partnership’s Historic Environment Officer said: “Today, nothing of its masonry survives above ground, but recent geophysical survey suggests that substantial walls survive buried below the surface. We’re not aiming to excavate the entire site, but just to uncover a sample of what survives in order to help inform plans for its future.”

He added, “People often think archaeology is only something they read about in books or watch the experts do on TV. With the AONB Partnership’s Altogether Archaeology project, they can get out and try it themselves with appropriate professional training and supervision. The enthusiasm and commitment of local volunteers has been wonderful, and we hope to complete many more interesting projects in addition to Westgate Castle.”...



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