Lambton Castle


Lambton Castle, by the River Wear near Chester-le-Street was mostly constructed in its present form between 1820 and 1828 by John Lambton, first Earl of Durham. It was built around an existing 17th Century mansion, Harraton Hall. The castle was designed by Joseph Bonomi  and his son Ignatius and built in the style of a Norman castle. The building is Grade 2 Listed.

Largely constructed in its present form between 1820 and 1828 by John Lambton, first Earl of Durham and one-time Governor General of Canada, it was built around the existing Harraton Hall, a 17th-century mansion. The castle was designed by architects Joseph Bonomi the Elder and his son Ignatius and built in the style of a Norman castle, as was the fashion of the time.

Later additions to the house built by Sydney Smirke in 1862–65, including the great hall, were largely demolished in 1932. In the 1930s the family moved to the smaller Biddick Hall on the estate.

The park that surrounds the castle is bordered by a high wall and is still used for an annual pheasant shoot. For a time in the 1970s, the castle's grounds were also home to Lambton Lion Park, opened in 1972 and closed in 1980.

In a more recent transaction the Lambton family have sold the Biddick Woods, which now includes the link road from the A182 to the A690 in Houghton le Spring and new business units.

In 2012, Lambton Castle was the setting of the new BBC One drama The Paradise.

On 30 December 2015 plans for the development of the Lambton Estate were submitted to the local planning authority for approval: the plans would help fund the conservation of the park, with potential to turn the Lambton Castle into a wedding venue, boutique hotel or both, with between £26million and £28.5million needed to fund the work. The plans were submitted by the Trustees of Lord Durham’s 1989 Voluntary Settlement, which manages the estate on behalf of the Lambton family.

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An account of Lambton Castle and Estabe by Mackenzie and Ross in 1834 

Lambton Castle: This splendid building occupies the scite of Harraton Hall (anciently the seat of the D'Arcys). It is delightfully seated upon a gentle elevation on the north bank of the Wear, about two miles east north east of Chester. The river here divides the Park into nearly two equal portions, and sweeps swiftly round the castle, forming several fine reaches and flowing through deep, overhanging banks, thickly tufted with wood. The river valley is extremely beautiful, and the ride through the picturesque wood on the southern bank is most delightful. The bridge over the Wear, near the castle, was erected in 1819 from an elegant design by Bonomi, and consists of a single arch of which the span is 82 feet 6 inches. The park, which contains nearly 1200 acres, has three handsome lodges at the respective entrances. From 1821 to ,1825, excellent horse races were held in these beautiful grounds annually in October, and which interested all the sportsmen of England. The gardens display the triumph of art over the uncongenial accidents of nature. The ground selected for this purpose lies on the margin of the Wear, and was recently a complete bog. It is now in a high state of cultivation, under the able management of Mr Rule. The whole comprises nine acres, besides five acres, more on the opposite side of the river which is used as a nursery. The vinery is 323 feet in length; and the forcing pit is 112 feet long, 12 feet deep, and 4 feet in breadth.

The castle itself is a modern building erected by the elder Bonomi. "It displays" says Hodgson, "considerable incongruities both in design and execution;" but during the last ten years, it has been greatly enlarged, improved and castellated; in consequence of which the appellation Hall has been converted into that of Castle. The antique style has been carefully preserved, and the turrets are highly ornamental. Some idea of the internal extent of this structure may be formed from the circumstance of its having one hundred and fourteen chimneys, which however, are judiciously masked. A gasometer and other apparatus for producing pure gas are placed in a plantation near the castle, from which its numerous passages, galleries halls ,and apartments are occasionally most brilliantly illuminated. The purest taste is displayed in every room, from the most appropriate simplicity to the most unrivalled magnificence.


Eneas Mackenzie, Marvin Ross, 1834 

An historical, topographical, and descriptive view of the county palatine of Durham: comprehending the various subjects of natural, civil, and ecclesiastical geography, agriculture, mines, manufactures, navigation, trade, commerce, buildings, antiquities, curiosities, public institutions, charities, population, customs, biography, local history, &c, Volume 1. Mackenzie and Dent, 1834 - Durham.

Digitised by Google eBooks. 

from https://commons.wikimedia.o...
Main entrance of Lambton Castle, taken from the Journal of Harold M. Monck., 1929
- "The Entrance of Lambton Castle in 1929. Everything on the right hand side of the picture (including the Great Hall, the roof of which can clearly be seen) has been ...

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Simon Cotterill
from https://commons.wikimedia.o...
Lambton Castle in Durham (now in Tyne and Wear) from Morris's Country Seats (1880).
- Public domain image c/o Wikimedia Commons.

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from http://www.lambtonestates.c...
Lambton Castle
- Wesite of Lambton Estates Ltd. "....The property now passed to John George Lambton, who would become the 1st Earl of Durham and known as “Radical Jack” and who inherited when ...

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from https://historicengland.org...
LAMBTON CASTLE - List Entry
- "An extensive parkland with central pleasure grounds, accompanying the C18 Hall, extended in the early C19 when a new country house was built. The Lambton estate has belonged to the ...

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from Flickr (flickr)
Lambton Castle

Pinned by Simon Cotterill
from Flickr (flickr)
Lambton Castle, Durham

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Chester New Bridge, near Lambton Castle
  Co-Curate Page
Chester New Bridge, near Lambton Castle

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