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'Prince' Bishops of Durham 1071-1836
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Durham cathedral was raided in and the adjacent monastery itself was suppressed in December Tunstall was later arrested and deprived of his Bishopric upon the accession of Elizabeth I in During the Civil War Auckland, lacking any serious fortifications, saw no action. But following the defeat of the King, the wider Bishopric suffered under the Puritan focused policies of the new regime. Confiscated from the church, Auckland was sold in to Sir Arthur Haselrigg who demolished the chapel and started work on a lavish mansion. Haselrigg had been one of the five MPs that King Charles had attempted to arrest in and had subsequently fought against the King.
Although he was instrumental in the downfall of Richard Cromwell in , he opposed the restoration of the monarchy and attempted to frustrate General Monck as he moved his army into London in support of Charles II. His actions failed and, after the Restoration, the Bishopric of Durham was re-established and Auckland Castle taken back into church ownership.
The twelfth century banqueting hall was converted into a chapel and the surrounding structures were renovated and repaired after decades of neglect. Haselrigg himself was imprisoned for life in the Tower of London where he died in Like nearby Durham Castle , Auckland underwent some Gothic stylisation at the hands of architect James Wyatt in the late eighteenth century.
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A deep ravine protected the east side and an artificial moat was dug round the west and south sides to complete the protection. The castle had an inner and outer ward. The inner ward stood on a mound and was separated from the outer ward by a moat, crossed by a drawbridge, now replaced by a bridge..
The main entrance to the castle was the strongly fortified West Gate leading into the outer ward. There was an additional gate to the south of the outer ward, known as the Sheep Gate but little of this is left. A motte and bailey was established here in 12thC by the Prince Bishops of Durham who were representatives of the King and responsible for maintaining law and order.
Durham of the Prince Bishops
It has been enlarged and strengthened many times. Commanding a vital ford crossing on the River Tweed, it was one of the strongest border castles and besieged at least 13 times, changing hands several times. It fell to heavy cannon attack by James IV in , shortly before his defeat at Flodden Field which caused great damage.. Following this, it under went a major rebuild to adapt it for use of artillery and became a powerful military fortress.
The lower courses of the outer ward were covered with earth to absorb the impact of cannon fire. Gun emplacements were added to the north wall above the river. The keep was heightened and given a flat roof for heavy artillery. This allowed the whole area to be covered by gunfire so preventing the enemy from getting close to the castle. Elizabeth 1 refused to spend money on the upkeep of the castle and when more settled times arrived after the Union of the Crowns in when James VI of Scotland became James I of England, it was no longer needed and fell into a state of disrepair.
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