Sketch shows Barney with no Market Cross
By Trevor Brookes - Editor
A HISTORY enthusiast has unearthed what he believes could be the earliest image of Barnard Castle.
Barnard Castle’s Gary Marshall was at The Bowes Museum looking into Richard III’s links to the town when he came across a drawing by Samuel Buck in his Yorkshire Sketchbook.
Buck sketched the view of Market Place from what is now The Lendings. The picture shows what the town centre looked like without The Market Cross, which was built in 1747. When Mr Marshall looked closer, he spotted what he believes is likely to be the former toll booth, at the top left of the sketch.
He said he has been unable to find a picture of the building anywhere else.
Mr Marshall said: “I’m sure it’s the old toll booth which has been lost for more than 200 years. It’s not the find of the century, but it’s a find.
“There is no record of it other than descriptions.”
Topographer Samuel Buck (1696 to 1779) catalogued the view of ruins of castles and abbeys in England in the 18th century with his brother, Nathaniel. Their work included the view of Barnard Castle from the west. It is thought that while Samuel was in Teesdale, the classic view of the town from Startforth caught Samuel’s eye.
The book Tour of Teesdale, published by the Teesdale Mercury, in 1879, makes reference to the toll booth. One paragraph begins: “The toll booth and shambles which formerly disgraced the middle of the market...”
A further reference reads: “The old toll booth and shambles, being considered a nuisance by the inhabitants, were removed from the Market Place in the year 1808. About the middle of the Market Place formerly stood a building called the Bluestone House, containing a singular altar table, with an inscription in mystic characters, since removed to Gilmonby Hall. The house was demolished about 40 years ago to make way for improvements.”
Mr Marshall says the toll house was two storeys high and was where road tolls were brought. Magistrates are also thought to have met there.
He added: “It may be the first image of this town.”