RESTORATION of a landmark structure, once the seat of a powerful County Durham family, is entering its final phase.

Structural conservation work on both the interior and exterior of medieval-built Hylton Castle, in Sunderland, is nearing completion.

New floors, roof and staircase are in place and new windows are being installed to protect the interior from the elements while the final work takes place over the winter.

The community-led £4.5m partnership project between Sunderland City Council and Castle in the Community, backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, will see the castle restored and its grounds brought back into the heart of community life by the spring this year.

Main contractors William Birch & Sons completed interior stone cleaning work and repairs in preparation for the installation of three new floors housing a café, lift, learning and community spaces, toilets and a rooftop viewing platform.

The restoration has helped to preserve the historic masonry, spiral stairs, alcoves, turrets and ornamental stonework of the buildings, with other work in and around the castle including the recording of archaeological features in the grounds, prior to landscaping for new paths and car park.

Built by Sir William Hylton, in about 1400, it was intended to reflect the family’s status.

By the 13th century the wealthy Hylton family had assumed the title of a barony within the Bishopric of Durham, with the castle its symbolic seat.

Further information on its restoration are available via