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MONUMENT NO. 24470

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Durham castle and town walls: The earliest peninsula defences were possibly of Anglo Saxon date, although no firm evidence of these Saxon defences has yet been found. Although the city had resisted three sieges by the Scots in 1006, 1012 and 1040 the defences were rebuilt by Bishop Flambard (1099-1128). From the motte the wall ran east to the North Gate, the principal entrance on the peninsula, then south around the river gorge, along the edge of the higher ground with gates to the east and south. Flambard also built a wall between the keep and the cathedral, having cleared Palace Green of houses to establish his adminisrative centre. The walls along the east side were rebuilt, and presumably strengthened, in 1173-4. Later, a wall was constructed from the east end of the cathedral down Bow Lane to Kingsgate to divide the civil and ecclesiastical precincts.
Scottish incursions into northern England in the early 14th century led to the strengthening of the castle and defences at Durham. In 1315 the townspeople sucessfully petitioned the King for permission to protect the Bishop's Borough around the Market Place with walls.
The military importance of the castle's peninsula walls declined during the 16th century and some gates had gone by 1595; the city was gradually opened up during the 17th and 18th centuries. The North Gate, the last of Durham's gates, was taken down in 1820.
Only fragments of the defences now remain, some of the walls visible and dislocated parts of other structures incorporated in later buildings. One of the best stretches of wall is that at the south end of the peninsula. North of the Castle the 14th century town walls have almost completely vanished.

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