Tees

Auckland Castle's renovated treasures revealed

The newly conserved fire place in the long dining room at Auckland Castle Image copyright House of Hues/The Auckland Project
Image caption The fire place in the long dining room at Auckland Castle has been refurbished

The restored interiors of a 900-year-old castle have been revealed ahead of its re-opening to the public after a multimillion-pound renovation.

Auckland Castle, which was home to the Bishops of Durham, has been "returned to its original Georgian Gothic splendour", its owners have said.

Their private apartments will be on show for the first time.

Curator Charlotte Grobler said the rooms of the late Dr David Jenkins were expected to be among the most visited.

They have been furnished with items from the 1980s, including a Sony Walkman.

Dr Jenkins, who was dubbed the "unbelieving bishop" after saying he did not believe God would have arranged a virgin birth and the resurrection, was the Bishop of Durham from 1984 until 1994..

Image copyright House of Hues/Auckland Project
Image caption The long dining room at Auckland Castle has been dressed for one of Bishop Richard Trevor's dinner parties
Image copyright Peter Haygarth
Image caption Auckland Castle is part of the wider £150m Auckland Project

Paintings by Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbaran, which had hung in the castle for 250 years, will return following an international tour.

St Peter's Chapel - one of the largest private chapels in Europe - will also be open to visitors.

The restoration was expected to cost £17m, with £7m pledged by the Auckland Castle Trust.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund also donated £12.4m but a spokesperson for the Auckland Project would not confirm the final amount spent.

The castle was purchased from the Church of England by millionaire philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer in 2012 with the aim of opening it up to the public.

It will re-open on 2 November and there are hopes it will attract 130,000 visitors a year.

Image caption Rooms of the former bishop Dr David Jenkins furnished with items from the 1980s
Image copyright Graeme Peacock
Image caption The ceiling of St Peter's Chapel in Auckland Castle features the crest of Bishop John Cosin who built it
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption It has taken three years to carry out the work to the castle's interior

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