Durham Castle sits on a peninsula overlooking the River Wear, the same as Durham Cathedral. This is one of the first fortified castles built by William the Conqueror during the suppression of revolts among the Anglo-Saxons. During the Middle Ages, the building served as a center of power to counter the threat from the Scots. It then became the main residence of the Prince-Bishops of Durham.
History of Durham Castle
Emerged in 1072 as part of William's plan to pacify the north in his new kingdom, Durham Castle is a fine early example of the Norman "motte and bailey" style of fortification. The castle occupies three sides of the courtyard, here you can see the changes made by the various bishops, each bishop placing his coat of arms on the part of the wall that he rebuilt. The castle changed hands in 1837, becoming part of the new University of Durham, where it now serves as a residence for students.
Durham Castle History Room
The Great Hall is a relic from the 13th and 14th centuries, which currently serves the same functions as the University dining hall. The basement of the hall now houses wine cellars. Opposite the gate is one of the oldest parts of the castle, built by the Bishop of Pudsey (1153-1195). The Great Hall gallery is filled with military relics, including relics from the Civil War and Napoleonic Wars, as well as portraits of past bishops.
An important structure of Durham Castle is the Black Staircase, located between the Great Hall and Bishop Pudsey's building. The black staircase, named after the dark oak from which it was made, reaches a height of 19 meters. And at the foot of Durham Castle, there is an original Norman chapel, which is the main feature of the castle. The column capitals were wonderfully carved with figures, including one of the earliest known images of a mermaid in Britain.
When food from the kitchen was brought into the dining hall, it was first served to the bishop and then to other officials according to rank. By the time everyone was served and the food was ready for consecration, the bishop's food was getting cold. To solve this problem, the bishop carved a blessing over the hatches leading into the kitchens of Durham Castle. When food was served through the hatch, it was considered blessed at that moment and could therefore be eaten as soon as it entered the hall.