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The History of Durham Castle

The courtyard of Durham Castle on a bright day with blue sky.

The History of Durham Castle online exhibition explores the past 1,000 years of one of the oldest Norman Castles in England. 

Built in 1072 as an imposing fortress, Durham Castle's story is entwined with that of the Prince-Bishops of Durham, whose semi-regal status made them some of the country's most powerful and wealthy men. 

Discover a Castle that was involved in some of the most significant events in British history, from the Norman Conquest that led to its foundation to the Reformation, which removed some of the unique privileges of the Prince Bishops. From two English Civil Wars, which saw the Castle become a hospital to Scottish prisoners of war and fall into ruin, to the restoration of the monarchy and a grand rebuilding programme, and how in 1837 the Castle became home to University College, the oldest college of Durham University. 

Today, Durham Castle remains a living building, evolving to modern-day life, while retaining its power to impress as part of the iconic Durham skyline. The exhibition explores this rich history and provides a background to your visit to Durham and the Castle.