Originally built in 1150, the Great Hall is of national significance and lays claim to being the largest, double aisled medieval hall in Europe with its last known use being courts (c1821-1990). The building was on the Historic England Heritage ‘At Risk Register’ and through working closely with Historic England and the Local Authority Conservation Officer it has been restored and sympathetically improved to meet modern requirements.
The original furniture of the Crown Court has been retained to create a unique teaching space, with reformatting to improve access. The Crown & Civil Courtrooms have been extensively developed, however the Judge’s bench, chair and canopy are retained to provide an accent to the heritage of its previous use.
Clearly visible in both courtrooms is the historic 16th Century roof structure (not the original) that are emphasised by a dramatic new lighting scheme.
The brick vault at the back of the castle has been brought back to life as a unique seminar space, with ancillary rooms on the upper levels given new uses which offer spectacular views over the grounds towards St. Mary de Castro and Castle Gardens to the rear.
A new accessible entrance provides 24 hour access for students with the separate, original entrance providing daytime access to students and visitors attending functions and events.
The adaption was completed in time for the second semester of the 2016 / 17 academic year.