History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The Nevills held Raby until 1569 when it was forfeited to the crown following Nevill support for the failed Rising of the North. The castle remained in crown hands until 1626 when it was purchased by Sir Henry Vane the Elder, Treasurer to Charles I. Vane family descendants live at Raby still.
However, Raby was soon to suffer much graver damage from family squabbles than the damage caused by war. Lord Barnard, grandson of the elder Henry Vane, was so angered by his son Gilbert's marriage that he took steps to demolish the building so that Gilbert could never enjoy his inheiritance. Lord Barnard pulled up floors, stripped lead from the roof, and sold furniture from Raby. Gilbert was forced to bring a lawsuit to stop his father's actions, though Lord Barnard still managed to kill all the deer in the park and cut down most of the trees.
Still more renovation was to folow in the 1840s when William Burn made extensive interior alterations for the 2nd Duke of Cleveland, including the octagonal Drawing Room and the south front. The exterior of the this front was built of masonry, which rather stuck out as a visual eyesore against the surrounding medieval stonework. Repeated attempts to stain the modern masonry failed, but finally in the 1870s an old Suusex mason gave the 4th Duke a recipe involving quantities of bullock's blood, and that did the trick!
The interior open to visitors today is a pleasant mix of 18th and 19th century styles, furnished in gilded elegance augmented by a variety of sporting prints and paintings. In the former medieval great hall the original minstrels gallery still stands, and some of the windows are original also. The original structure can be seen most clearly in the kitchens, which date to 1360.
Raby Castle is reputedly haunted by three ghosts. The spectre of Charles Nevill is seen in the Baron's Hall, where in 1569 he plotted the rebellion known as the Rising of the North. The headless ghost of Henry Vane the Younger haunts the library, and the first Lady Barnard stalks the halls knitting with white-hot needles, seething over the memory of her son Gilbert, who dared to marry against her wishes.
About Raby Castle
Address: Staindrop, Darlington, County Durham, England, DL2 3AH
Attraction Type: Castle
Location: off the A688, 2 miles north of Staindrop
Website: Raby Castle
Phone: 01833 660 202
Historic Houses Association
OS: NZ125 221
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
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14th century (Time Period) - 19th century (Time Period) - castle (Architecture) - Charles I (Person) - Charles II (Person) - Civil War (Architecture) - Georgian (Time Period) - Medieval (Time Period) - moat (Historical Reference) - Restoration (Historical Reference) -
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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