Crook Hall is one of the most significant buildings in Durham and along with its stunning gardens is open to visitors for large parts of the year. It started life as a small 14th century manor house that was gradually extended over the centuries and includes significant features from later periods right up to the Georgian. Amongst these is a small but perfectly formed medieval hall the west end of which has been integrated into later builds; above the porch is inscribed the date “1671”. Crook Hall has been described by the architectural historian Nicholas Pevsner as a “precious medieval relic”.
One of the hall’s most notable owners was John de Coupland (or Copeland) who in 1346 at the Battle of Neville’s Cross (fought on the ridge no more than a mile away from his home) captured the Scottish king David, purportedly after seeing his reflection in the River Browney as he hid under Aldin Grange Bridge. Despite his moment of glory, Copeland was known to be an avaricious chancer who ultimately came to a murderous end.
Crook Hall is located close to and north of Durham city centre, in a quiet spot on the riverside off Frankland Lane (OS Grid Ref NZ 274431).