Beaurepaire Medieval Manor House: Pride of Place
Beaurepaire medieval manor house was the largest and most illustrious manor house in County Durham during the medieval period and was the longest surviving and operating one too. Spanning around 400 years of occupation it holds a wealth of archaeological potential. However, because of its great substance it has been subject to much vandalism through the ages. First the Scottish armies invading England collected much wealth from the site before vandalising it at least three times; the last attack from the Scots in the 1640s civil war leaving it in ruin. Second were the farmers who repurposed the building for cattle byres and used much of the stone to build up a near-by road and for other new buildings and structures. Thirdly were the locals of Bearpark, of whom robbed stone for garden rockeries and for their own buildings, and to whom still vandalise the site with waste and fires. Fourthly, it has been the many sporadic, unrecorded, unpublished archaeological excavations by what seems to have been 'every-man-and-his-dog'. The material from the university and council's excavations had the most potential of providing the story of the ruins but is currently partial and unpublished. Despite all of this, Beaurepaire has tested time and is still a massive complex of ruins.
The ruins are visited often by locals of Bearpark, and by pedestrians and cyclists who use the lanchester valley railway path. It is their 'go-to' place, which holds to ransom many memoires of childhood games and long walks in the sunshine. All-be-it its intrinsic value and its value to the community could be furthered. Undoubtedly, if the community truly could understand that this ruin is more than just its namesake, but has played an integral role in Bearpark's past, and if the community and especially the youths could understand and uncover the history of Beaurepaire and the story it has to tell, then surely anti-social behaviour and vandalism will be minimal, and community involvement and maintenance of the site would be great!
Get involved or come along and bring a picnic! Great for a walk in the Great Outdoors, and for Dog Walkers! Families and groups will love it too! Access is in daylight hours.
Volunteer Days are held every first and third Saturday of the month, weather dependent. Updates are released on our facebook page.
Necklace Park-Durham's Iconic Riverbanks
In the 18th century, merchants and traders were very fond of Durham's markets. The appearance of Durham became quite rich and stately, and great gardens and glorified vegetable patches ran from the top of the peninsula to the bottom, where the river is. With the Castle walls back-drop, the gardens could grow some unusual and beautiful flowers, and it would have been a truly remarkable site.
Today, garlic and bluebells are the prettiest reminder of the beauty of Durham's Riverbank Gardens (often referred to as Necklace Park, with the way the river curls round the peninsula). Ivy, weeds, trees and weeds have covered the walls and caused much degradation. Overgrown and messy, they are still beautiful, but what if we could change this.
The Castle Walls need to be svaed from the ensueing overgrowth so that they can be consolidated and conserved. The gardens themselves need to be adopted by local individuals, groups and organisations, so that everyone has their own area to make beautiful. The different expressions of garden would look superb and the delegation of the different areas would hope to preserve the walls and gardens for the future,and be manageable.
Much investigation and research could be done into the riverbank gardens through time, and the little folly called 'The Count's House'. Anyone looking to get involved in this project please get in contact.
Go down to the riverbank gardens and just admire the beauty of them in all seasons, even today!
Old Langley Hall: A place full of history
Old Langley Hall and refrences to such, are frequent in the old accounts and texts of the medieval period. The site is hidden, very dilapidated and needing much love and attention. Situated along Langley Lane, between Langley Park, Witton Gilbert and Burnhope, in County Durham, it is another hidden gem. Starting out as a medieval manor house and moving between many families, fashions, and times, its' history is much. With so many stories to tell, both old and new, DREAM would like to invite the community to get involved in the site's restoration and research, and to transform the site from unloved ruins, into an accessible, informative and enjoyable place to visit.
As yet site work and access is not permitted, but the research of this site is encouraged, and the peep from the footpath recommended! The remains are of a fortified manor house, belonging to the Scrope Family from the 14th century; thought to have been built by Henry Lord Scrope (d.1533) as his name was noted to have been inscribed above the fireplace. After the death of Emmanuel Lord Scrope in 1630 the hall was given to the Marquis of Winchester and then to the Lambtons in the 18th century. When obtained by the Lambtons, the site was already in ruin and had been repurposed into a farm building. It is believed that some walls were deliberately removed from the building during the Civil War, so that the house could not be used by Cromwell's forces! Large walls have fallen in the last couple of years, and the site is atm very dangerous to investigate and is inaccessible, except from the view from an adjacent footpath.
However it is worth a little look and certainly worth a whole lot of investigation! If you would be eager to investigate and research this site then don't hesistate to contact us!
DURHAM NORTHGATE-The only land entry into Durham's stronghold.
North Gate was the northern entrance of the Durham Castle Walls, and the only entry that was not protected by a steep bank and river. It provided access to and from the city and needed to be heavily fortified to prevent intruders easily entering the castle!
With time it changed use from Gateway to jail, until it was removed due to the horrendous conditions of the jail iteslf, as well as to enlarge the entrance to and from the area of Palace Green. Hidden now, there is still much of the North Gate that survives in addition to the Castle Wwalls that are visible along the riverbank walks. An entire bastion is hidden behind the shops on Saddler street, and the majority of shop basements also include much of the North Gate structure.
North Gate's tale from defence to jail to merchant, provides an interesting narrative to explore, and there is much need to record the standing and underground remains still visible. Do get in touch if you wish to be part of a team to lead the investigation, preservation and appreciation of this most loved monument!
The Village of Drax: Priory, Castle & Church
The village of Drax is home to many lost heritage sites, including the Roman settlement at Scurff Hall, the medieval Talleville Castle, and Augustinian Priory. The church is a beautiful treasure that however still odes exist, and of which holds its own treasures. Their are hidden murals under its plaster work, and heraldic imagery decorates the ends of pews, dating from the medieval period. The church itself is an amalgamation of many different eras of time, with Saxon, Norman and Victorian parts, and re-used masonry from the fall of the Augustinian priory in the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Today we are looking for volunteers to look after the church, and maintain its for future generations. Currently our main focus is regular maintenance and gardening of the church grounds. Located at the heart of the community, its beauty and condition affects all, and thus its upkeep is important. If you wish to volunteer, get in touch! We meet regularly on the 3rd Sunday of the month, followed by forest church or a cup of coffee/tea & a chat.
Goole Towncape-Street Scene, Market Hall, Arcade & Other Local Iconic Buildings
Goole is a real beauty that has been marred lately by unsympathetic modern development, and poor shop frontages. Litter is common on the streets and there is what has been descirbed locally as a 'cloud of negativity' over Goole. Famous for its inland port, Goole first made significant history in the Victorian era. Its elegant pedestrianised high street and other iconic buildings across the town are the lasting legacies of that Vicotrian age of industry and wealth. Goole Market Hall and Arcade are two buildings that have been disused for quite sometime but are beautiful examples of Victorian architecture. We are eager to see these two buildings back into public use, restored and thriving. Our major thoughts for the two buildings include: supporting local produce, trades and businesses; concert/function space; youth venue; temperance bar; board game cafe; environmental market. If you have any ideas for what these two buildings could be used for to help address a need of the local community, do get in touch, heading the email with: 'Goole'.
Another exciting venture that we are helping with in Goole is the 'Clean Goole Campaign Group'. If you are local to Goole and want to help keep the streets tidy then do join the local group on Facebook.
Geddington: The Lost Palace?