Address: 54.562295, -1.312514
Origin: 12th Century
Site Type: Castle
Stockton on Tees, which is much older than Middlesbrough, is found just west of the Tees. You'll probably go through it if you're on the train to Hartlepool or Sunderland. It was an Anglo-Saxon village. As it grew, a castle was also constructed around the 12th century that belonged to the Prince Bishops of Durham, more specifically a man named Hugh Pudsey. It was originally a hall, likely for Pudsey to dine and entertain guests, but was fortified due to potential attacks. It was first referred to as a castle in 1376.
Much later in its history, it was an important stronghold during the English Civil War. Stockton Castle supported the King against the parliamentarians, and in 1640 an agreement was signed making the River Tees a boundary between the forces of Scotland (who helped the Parliamentarians) and the King so it would stay in royal hands.
Because of this, lots of battles and conflicts
Another illustration of how Stockton Castle might have looked.
happened in the area. It was captured by the Scottish in 1644, and they held it until 1646. Imagine Scotland being in your back garden!
It is said that the castle was destroyed at the end of the Civil War on the orders of none other than Oliver Cromwell. Only the castle barn was left standing, but some said it was already in ruins by the time Cromwell would have demolished it. Therefore, it is not known what the fate of the castle was.
Much closer to the present day, a theatre was built on the site, aptly named Castle Theatre but later named the Empire. Many children and adults believed that because it was built on an old castle, there was a secret tunnel that meant they could get in for free! Sadly they never found that secret entrance...
The original castle barn which was demolished in the 1880s. Credit: Derek Buttle on Picture Stockton