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Beaurepaire Manor House

The ruins of Beaurepaire manor house that was a lodge for the Prior of Durham Monastery © Metaforz Photography 2013

Literally meaning ‘beautiful retreat’ in French, this now ruined manor house stood within a 1,300-acre walled park 2 miles (3 km) west of Durham City. Although close to Durham, its location is pastoral and tranquil – particularly to the west – and but for modern enclosures and the occasional wind turbine, retains more than a sense of its surroundings hundreds of years ago.

It was built for Prior Bertram de Middleton around 1258 as a recreational lodge for the priors of the monastery in Durham. However it was sacked by the Scots before the Battle of Neville’s Cross in October 1346 and although it was rebuilt soon afterwards on the orders of Prior Fossor it was destroyed yet again by the Scots during the English Civil War. Thereafter it was allowed to fall into disrepair with its dilapidations being recorded by artists such as Samuel Grimm in 1773.

Much of the  route taken by the monks journeying between the lodge and the monastery can still be walked today and includes a large part of the Neville’s Cross battle site. The entry to the park itself was through a gate in the vicinity of what is now Stotgate farm. The ruins of Beaurepaire  (NZ 243439) are located near to Bearpark Hall Farm, north of Bearpark, County Durham.