Category: ConsultancyBuildingsMedievalPost-medievalEvents & Outreach
NAA is excited to announce that Hylton Castle is a finalist in this year’s Constructing Excellence in the North East (CENE) Awards. The heritage-led development is up for an award in both the ‘Preservation and Rejuvenation’ and ‘Building Project of the Year’ categories. Penny Middleton, NAA’s buildings and conservation specialist, will be attending the virtual awards ceremony this Friday (9th October), along with other members of the project team from the Hylton Castle Trust, William Birch & Sons Ltd, Buro Four, BDN (Building Design (Northern) Ltd), JHPartners and Classic Masonry, led by Beaumont Brown Architects LLP.
NAA has provided heritage advice to the scheme since 2014, including preparation of a conservation management plan and input into the successful National Heritage Lottery Fund bid, as well as building recording, geophysical survey, archaeological evaluation and excavation, geophysical survey, and watching brief. In fact, some of our staff have spent so much time there it is almost their second home!
All that survives above ground today of the medieval Hylton Castle is the late 14th-century gatehouse, built by Sir William Hilton. As one of the Barons of the Bishopric, Sir William was an important local figure, and the heraldry resplendent on the front of the gatehouse declares his links with some of the most influential noble families of the period including the Lumleys, Percys, and Nevilles. Sir William was very much a man of his time, adept in the field of combat and bound by complex codes of chivalry but not adverse to flouting the law when it suited, frequently bullying the local clergy and reputedly indulging in a spot of piracy.
Accommodation in the medieval gatehouse was spread across three floors. At ground-floor level were four barrel vaulted rooms (now concealed), divided by a central gate-passage. At first-floor level was a grand two-storey gate-hall, the roof supported on magnificent carved corbel heads. To the north of this was a large retiring chamber with two smaller chambers to the south. At second-floor level were two chambers, one on each side of the gate-hall. A projecting central section on the east side of the building housed a domestic chapel at first-floor level and two chambers above, probably providing accommodation for the family priest and castle constable. Two spiral staircases, one public and one private, provided access to all floors.
The Hylton Castle development has transformed the shell of the gatehouse into an exciting heritage-led multifunctional space with café, exhibition areas and a flexible events space. A new support structure has been inserted inside the medieval building, leaving the medieval walls exposed as a living museum.
The opening of the new centre has been delayed by the current pandemic but keep visiting the castle website for updates.