Barnard Castle 

The Story

This is the view from the Startforth side of the river Tees. The buildings lie at the very edge of Barnard Castle. The first was a corn mill with records of it stretching back to the 1300s. It has been swept away by the force of the Tees several times in its history and is now a residential home. Although the Tees is still a wilful river it has been subdued a little by the Cow Green Reservoir.

Before 1967 to 1971 when the reservoir was built the river had a roll or wave that could rise up to six feet high by snow melt and heavy rainfall and by westerly winds. 

In 1771 roll damaged the county bridge and eight houses were demolished in 1881 Thorngate bridge was swept away killing two people. Daniel Defo described the Tees as 'a terrible river, so rapid'. In 1942 seven soldiers of the South Staffs regiment were drowned while building a pontoon bridge across the river. 

The erratic nature of the river led to a folk legend of Peg Powler, who would come and pull unsuspecting youngsters into the river from seaming quiet pools where they were unwisely playing. The force of the river provided power for many mills in the Barnard Castle area including this one. 

The painting itself was completed on a self stretched wide weave canvas which kept the detail at bay. The foreground rocks are stylised but reflect the beauty of the geology of the area.   

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