Origins of Biddick Hall
“It is in the See of Durham and at that time a rendering of 5s rent, 160 oxen at harvest with 36 carts for the Bishops court at Houghton”.
Roger de Colleye married the daughter and heiress of one William de Durham. Subsequently Biddick went with a Colleye heiress to the Dalden family and Sir William Bowes, builder of Streatlam Castle In Elizabeth 1’s reign it was bought by Sir William Lambton of Lambton from one George Bowes. Sir William bought Biddick for his second wife Katharine Waddrington and the property passed to her grandson Freville Lambton. Since he lived till 1730 and many of the architectural aspects are dateable to the 1720’s, it would appear he was the builder of the present hall.
Biddick Hall Design
The design can be attributed to architect Sir john Vanbrugh (1664-1726) as in 1720 Sir John spent 3 weeks one summer at Delavals and Lumley, the latter being just 3 miles from Biddick and where he is responsible for much of the work seen today. The splendid baroque ceiling of the central hall at Biddick, the lively scrolled ironwork of the staircase and the arch to the lobby suggest that craftsmen under Vanbrugh had worked at Biddick as they were at that time employed at Lumley. The Venetian window is in fact a recent insertion due to Mr Trenwith Wills in the 1960’s.
It seems that the house was willed through the family till 1814 when an unmarried Mary Lambton devised it to her nephew who shortly after sold it to his distant kinsman, the future 1st Earl of Durham.
Use of Biddick Hall
Apparently the hall was used by the family during the building of Lambton Castle and subsequently became the agent’s house. At some point of time in the 19th century an extra bay was added to the east side to enlarge the drawing-room and the dining room was enlarged in 1954. As was the bedroom wing to the north.
On vacating Lambton Castle in 1932 the family moved into Biddick Hall and it is still used by the Earl of Durham today.