Petition to release Sunderland men who are prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars

       A Sunderland Petition of the Napoleonic Wars

 transcribed (and names alphabetized) by Ken Coleman, from the petition in The National Archives, Kew, Ref: HO 42/121.

 To His Most Gracious and Serene Highness The Prince Regent.

The Humble Petition of the Distressed Wives, fatherless Children, Orphans, and Aged Weeping Mothers of the Towns of Sunderland, Bishop Wearmouth and Monkwearmouth in the County of Durham. Sheweth.

Humbly forth Praying in the Name of the Blessed Prince of Peace above to Our Most merciful and Gracious Prince Regent on Earth who has Ever bore the estimations and renowns of a Protector to his Country and subjects to whose Supreme Wisdom and goodness we humbly Commit our Distressed Situations, for want of an Exchange of Prisoners and to whose Mercy has Ever been great we humbly wait the result.

Your humble Petitioners further state that thro’ a long and cruel War they have been brought to a state of Poverty, Distress and ruin by the Numerous captures made by the Enemy, and the long detention of the Husbands, Fathers, Brothers, Sons and Nephews of the Towns of Sunderland, Bishop and Monkwearmouth, amounting to many Hundreds of Brave seamen, which Case has reduced thousands to the utmost pitch of Starvation and Want, the Parish Houses being full of Wives, Widows and Orphans, some craving Charity from Street to Street, tradesmen and others ruin’d by the Heavy Charges coming on in Order to support the poor. Aged mothers, Wives, Widows and Children become Orphans, who before the War were in Opulence, are now become destitute of a Home only the small pittance of a Parish Allowance, and the Parishes so incumber’d with poor can’t sufficiently support them.

Your Humble Petitioners further Sheweth

That if it should meet his Most Serene Highness’s approbation to consider and release His Loyal Subjects now in France who has been some for 8 years, there would be many Hundreds of Brave Seamen who would venture in His Most Gracious Sovereigns Navy and boldly defend their Sovereign and Country’s Cause which would be the Means of restoring Comfort and Tranquility to a County and People who are now in a state of Misery. Should it be the Will of our Most Sacred sovereign to Consider Our Most Miserable case and release our Dear Fathers, Husbands, Brothers and Children from their long Confinement It Ever will be the Duty of them and us poor petitioners to join in Prayers and Thanksgivings, to His most Sacred Sovereignity and all the Royal family that they may Long Live to Reign over their Subjects and humble Petitioners.


of prisoner

in France

Family left
Hannah Aison son 7 widow
Hannah Bainbridge husband 4 wife & 2 children
Elizabeth Bainbridge son 5 widow
Elizabeth Briggs husband 2 wife & child
Alice Briggs father 6
Ann Buck 1 son 2 widow
Ann Blacket husband 5 wife & 4 children
Jane Brainby husband 4 wife & 2 children
Isabella Barkas son 4 mother
Margaret Booth son 9 widow
Ann Beals(?) brother 7
Elizabeth Bainbridge husband 4 wife & 3 children
Hugh Cock 2 sons 1
Margaret Curry husband 3 wife
Eleanor Cathey husband 5 wife & 2 children
Mary Cliburn husband 5 wife & 3 children
Mary Cowen sister 7 wife & 4 children
Susan Ditchburn son 3 wife & 6 children
Margaret Dunning husband 5 wife & 2 children
Margaret Forbes husband 4 wife & 2 children
Sarah Forster husband 9(?) wife & 1 child
Andrew Garson brother 4
Elizabeth Gibbons son 3
Elizabeth Gill son 5 mother of 7 children
Mary Garrat husband 1 wife & 1 child
Hannah Harling husband 2 wife & 5 children
Ann Howe husband 6 wife & 5 children
Ann Hodgson husband 3 wife & 6 children
Ann Hamilton husband 9 wife & 3 children
Ann Hamilton, elder son 9
Jane Hay husband & son 1 wife
Alice Holmes husband 6 wife & 4 children
Mary Hison husband 5 wife & 2 children
Sarah Hall husband 3 wife & 2 children
Mary Hutchinson son 1 mother of 2 children
Sarah Harrinton husband & son 9 wife & 2 children
Cathrin Johnson husband 6 wife & 3 children
Catherine Jackson husband & son 5 wife & 4 children
Isabella Jamson 2 sons 7 widow with 3 children
Mary Kay husband 5 wife & 4 children
Margaret Loutit husband 6 wife & 3 children
Margaret Lewis husband 4 wife & 4 children
Mary Loutit husband 3
Jane Lancaster husband & 2 sons 7 wife & 4 children
Ann Langley husband 8 wife
Lydia Laws husband 5 widow & 3 children
Ann Mapletoft husband 5 wife
Susan Maines husband 3 wife & 3 children
Jane Maurice husband 6 wife
Eleanor Mohudon(?) son 6 widow & 4 children
Elizabeth Melvin brother 1 mother
Susannah Mole husband 5 wife
Mary Nicholson brother 6 3 sisters
Evan Owen son 7 wife & 5 children
Elizabeth Oliver son 5 widow & 1 child
Sarah Parkin son 3 widow
Mary Paddin husband 4 wife & 1 child
Thomasin Pickering husband 7 wife & 5 children
Elizabeth Potts 2 sons 5 mother of 2 children
Ann Ridley husband 7 wife & 1 child
Isabella Robertson husband 2 wife & child
Eleanor Roxby brother & son 5 widow & 2 children
Barbara Rennison husband 5 wife & 4 children
Jane Ramsey husband 5 wife & 2 children
Mary Robinson son 5 mother of 2 children
Sa. Scott husband 7 wife & 2 children
Ann Stevinson husband 9(?) wife & 1 child
Frances Storey husband 2 wife & child
Alice Smith husband 8 wife & 2 children
Ann Smith husband & son 7 wife & 7 children
Ann Smith husband 5 wife & 3 children
Margaret Sanders husband 2 wife & 2 children
Jas. Todd son 2
Mary Tynmouth husband 6(?) wife
Ann Trulove son 7 widow & 2 children
Margaret Todd father 7 2 children
Mary Turnbull husband 5 wife & child
Elizabeth Thompson husband 4 wife & 2 children
John Wake 2 sons 1
Hannah Wardropper husband 7 wife & 5 children
Sarah Wilkinson brother 3
Mary Watson husband 5 wife & child
Mary Wilson husband & son 8 wife & 3 children
Ann Wood husband 7 wife & 2 children
Johannah Wilson husband 3 wife & 2 children
Eleanor Wheatley 2 sons 7 mother of 2 children

Hon Sir,

The above are a few names shewing how long their relations have been from them and what large family are left in distress. There is computed to be about 700 men in prisons belonging these Towns and to put down all their friends would take a long time so they thought it would be best just to send a few to shew what a state the town must be in for want and leaves it much to your Goodness whether you think it would be Proper to shew the above to the Prince or not they humbly leave to your better judgement.

[Note from Durham Records Online: this petition is undated, but must have been filed in the early 1800s. According to the book Narratives of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars: Military and Civilian Experience in Britain and Ireland, by Catriona Kennedy, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, there were around 16,000 British prisoners of war confined in France between 1793 and 1815. In 1803, Napoleon ordered the detention of every British male between the ages of 18 and 60 currently on French soil, and many of these men were not returned to Britain for several years, keeping them from taking up arms against the French. Kennedy points out that many of these men were in France as wealthy tourists or for their health, and their suitability for military service was questionable. However, many earlier detainees were sailors from merchant ships and the Navy; since Sunderland was a port, this was probably the case for many of the men listed above.]




Bishopwearmouth baptism statistics

Count of baptisms for each year in the register of St Michaels, Bishopwearmouth

compiled by Ken Coleman




































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Fertility declined in the late 1550’s, and again between 1566 and 1571. See also note in ‘Burials’ on localized starvation resulting from poor harvests.

The period 1569-1642 is the longest period of domestic peace that England has enjoyed. At the height of the Civil War there were probably 150,000 men in arms; one in eight of the adult male population. By the late 1640’s this had fallen to 25,000.

In the Interregnum period many people refused to baptise their children and waited until after the Restoration in 1660.

By the second decade of the eighteenth century, the population of Sunderland had risen to nearly 6,000 and the Bishopwearmouth church was totally inadequate to contain the parishioners. In 1719, Holy Trinity church was consecrated.

Bishopwearmouth 1570 census (compiled from other sources)

The parish of Bishopwearmouth – an unofficial census of 1570

by Ken Coleman

The sort of material available that is for a comparative estimate of the population of the North Riding between the 13th and 16th centuries is totally lacking for County Durham. The County was exempted from national taxation and it is not until the Hearth Tax assessments of the 1660’s that the Palatinate was brought fully into the national system, at the end of a long period of demographic change and social upheaval.

In a survey of parishes and chapelries taken for the Privy Council in 1563, the Parish of  Bishopwearmouth was in Easington Ward and included six townships: Bishopwearmouth, Burdon, Ford, Ryhope, Silksworth and Tunstall. The survey recorded 190 households. From the registers of Bishopwearmouth St. Michael’s church, which commenced in 1567, I have tried to identify individuals that may have resided in the parish in 1570. These are listed below in surname alphabetical order together with their abode where known.

Remember, this is not an official census and should not be quoted as a source proving that somebody lived here, but it does provide a compilation of residence data from other sources that may be helpful.

Name Abode
Alcoke, Henry Salt Panns
Adercoope, male Salt Panns
Aldercock, male Salt Panns
Anderson, Annas Wearmouth
Anderson, Annas Burdon
Anderson, Annas Burdon
Anderson, Catherine Burdon
Anderson, Edward Panns
Anderson, Eleanor poss Wearmouth
Anderson, John Sunderland
Anderson, John Burdon
Anderson, Margaret
Anderson, Margaret
Andrew, male (poss Bartholomew) Silksworth
Annison, Christopher Sunderland
Annison, Jane Sunderland
Annison, Richard Sunderland
Annison, Rowland
Annison, William
Arkell, Agnes Sunderland
Arkell, Annas
Arkell, Eleanor Sunderland
Arkell, Jane
Arkell, Janet Sunderland
Arkell, John poss Sunderland
Arkell, Thomas
Arrow, male poss Sunderland
Arrow, female poss Sunderland
Arrow, Alison poss Sunderland
Arrow, Janet poss Sunderland
Atchison/Atkinson, male (poss Anthony) poss Silksworth
Atkinson, female poss Silksworth
Atkinson, Annes
Atkinson, Elizabeth
Atkinson, Robert
Atkinsyde, Marjory poss Ryhope
Atkinsyde, Thomas poss Ryhope
Ayre, female poss Tunstall/Field House
Ayre, Alison Wearmouth
Ayre, Anthony Tunstall
Ayre, Anthony Tunstall
Ayre, Eleanor poss Sunderland
Ayre, John poss Wearmouth/Field House
Ayre, Margaret
Ayre, Maude poss Silksworth
Ayre, Robert
Ayre, Thomas poss Wearmouth/Tunstall
Ayre, William poss Tunstall/Field House
Bailes, male
Bailes, Joane Wearmouth
Bailey, male Burdon
Bailey, female
Bailey, female
Bailey, Richard Silksworth
Bainbridge, Elizabeth Wearmouth
Bainbridge, John Wearmouth/Sunderland
Bainbridge, Nicholas Wearmouth
Bainbridge, Richard buried 1605 – Barnes
Baker, Thomas poss Burdon
Bates, Matthew Tunstall/Silksworth
Beaumont, male Tunstall
Bee, Annas
Bee, Eleanor
Bee, Janet Ryhope
Bee, Janet Wearmouth
Bee, John Wearmouth
Bee, Mabel bur 1602 – Bishopwearmouth
Bee, Ralph poss Wearmouth
Bee, Robert
Bee, William poss Wearmouth
Bell, male Sunderland
Bell, female Sunderland
Bell, Annas Sunderland
Bell, Elizabeth Ryhope
Bell, Elizabeth Sunderland
Bell, John Salt Panns
Bell, Margaret poss Sunderland
Bell, Percival bur 1607 – Sunderland
Bell, Rutter (female)
Bell, Thomas
Benton, John Poss not native of area
Beverley, male Tunstall
Beverley, female Tunstall
Biddick, Elizabeth Wearmouth
Bisset, female Wearmouth
Bisset, John Wearmouth
Blakiston/Blackstone, Edward Farneton Hall
Blakiston, Elizabeth Farneton Hall
Blakiston, George, gent
Blakiston, Ralph, gent
Blakiston, Ralph, gent Farneton Hall
Blakiston, Robert, gent Farneton Hall
Blakiston, Thomas Monkwearmouth (curate in 1565)
Blunt, John Sunderland
Blunt, Molly Sunderland
Blunt, Mary
Blunt, Robert Sunderland
Bolton, male poss Sunderland
Bolton, female poss Sunderland
Booth, Charles poss Silksworth
Bowman, Annes
Bowyer, male Sunderland
Bowyer, female Sunderland
Bowyer, Hugh Sunderland
Bridges, Thomas bur 1591 – Ferry Boat
Broom, Robert
Brough, male Ryhope
Brough, Richard Wearmouth
Brown, Allen Wearmouth
Brown, Francis
Brown, Isabel
Brown, Isabel bur 1594 – Sunderland
Brown, Janet
Brown, John
Brown, John poss Sunderland
Brown, Margaret
Brown, Margaret
Brown, Robert Sunderland
Brown, Thomas
Brown, William (married Janet Harrison 1570)
Brown, William ‘the Wright’ (bur 1579)
Brunton, male Sunderland
Burdon, Adam Ryhope
Burdon, Annas
Burdon, Annas
Burdon, Annas
Burdon, Alison (poss Alison Thompson marr J. Burdon in 1580)
Burdon, George Silksworth
Burdon, Grace Burdon
Burdon, Isabel bur 1604 – Ryhope
Burdon, John
Burdon, John
Burdon, Margaret Burdon
Burdon, Marjory Ryhope
Burdon, Richard
Burdon, Richard bur 1584 – Ryhope
Burdon, Robert
Burdon, Thomas Ryhope/Silksworth
Burdon, Thomas Ryhope/Silksworth
Burn, male
Burn, widow bur 1588
Burn, Annes
Burn, Cuthbert poss Ryhope
Burn, Edward bur 1606 – Sunderland
Burn, Jane bur 1622 – Ryhope
Burn, Robert poss Wearmouth
Burn, Robert
Burn, Thomas bur 1605 – Silksworth
Butler, male
Butler, female
Butcher, Richard
Cape, Alison
Cape, Isabel
Cape, William Wearmouth
Chamer, Andrew poss Wearmouth
Chamer, Annas
Chamer, John Wearmouth
Chamer, Richard Wearmouth
Chamer, Robert
Chamer, Rowland Wearmouth
Chamer, William
Chamer, William
Charlton, male
Charlton, female
Chater, Matthew Tunstall
Chilton, Alison Wearmouth
Chilton, Elizabeth
Chilton, Thomas bur 1614 – Burdon
Chilton, William poss Silksworth
Clark, Charles Silksworth
Clark, Marie bur 1601 – Silksworth
Cliff, Alice Wearmouth
Cliff, Richard bur 1591 – Ford
Cole, Thomas Pallion
Cole, Thomas Wearmouth
Coleson, Andrew poss Sunderland
Coleson, Jane
Coleson, John Sunderland
Collier, Adam
Collier, Annas
Collier, Jane
Collier, John Wearmouth
Collier, William
Cook, Alison
Cook, Annas
Cook, Christopher Wearmouth
Cook, Elizabeth
Cook, Jane
Cook, John
Cook, Mary
Cook, Richard
Cook, Thomas wife bur 1588 – Silksworth
Cooper, male
Cooper, Elizabeth
Copeland, Adam Silksworth
Copeland, Annas Silksworth
Craggs, Alison
Craggs, Ralph bur 1603 – Wearmouth
Crawford, Annas poss Silksworth
Crawford, James
Crawford, John Silksworth
Crawford, Margaret poss Silksworth
Crawford, Marjory poss Silksworth
Curry, William
Curtis, Alison poss Silksworth
Curtis, Bridget
Cutter, Alison
Cutter, Robert
Dantree, Robert
Davie, Alison
Davie, Janet
Davie, Margaret
Davie, Mary
Davie, William poss Wearmouth
Davison, male Sunderland
Davison, female Sunderland
Dawson, Eleanor bur 1578 – Ryhope
Dawson, Janet
Dawson, John
Dawson, John
Dawson, Richard
Denton, Peter, gent
Dickinson, Anthony son bapt 1608 – Bishopwearmouth
Dixon, male
Dixon, female
Dixon, George poss Wearmouth
Dixon, John
Dobson, Anthony
Dobson, Henry
Dobson, Meriel
Dobson, Richard
Ellis, Alice
Emlington, male
Emlington, female
Emlington, Elizabeth
Farmer, male
Farmer, female
Farmer, Alison
Farrow, Elizabeth poss Silksworth
Fawdon, Allison
Fawdon, Annas
Fell, male
Fell, female
Fell, Annas poss Ryhope
Fell, Janet poss Ryhope
Fell, John poss Ryhope
Fenwick, Molly
Fergus, William Salt pans
Fife, Thomas
Fife, Thomas
Fletcher, Ralph poss Wearmouth
Flood, Henry poss Wearmouth
Foster, Alexander Silksworth
Foster, John Silksworth
Foster, Richard
Foster, Robert poss Silksworth
Foster, William (married in 1568. Curate, bur 1579)
Frizell, Barty Silksworth
Frizell, John bur 1595 – Wearmouth
Fullerton, Arche
Gibson, Annas
Gibson, Anthony
Gibson, Bartholomew bur 1587 – Wearmouth
Gibson, Connande/Conante Ryhope
Gibson, Elizabeth bur 1587 – Silksworth
Gibson, John Silksworth
Gibson, John bur 1587 – Silksworth
Gibson, Margaret
Gibson, Richard
Gibson, William Wearmouth
Glenn, John Silksworth
Goodchild, male (William?)
Goodchild, Alison poss Wearmouth
Goodchild, John poss Ryhope
Goodchild, Ralph
Goodchild, Richard
Goodchild, Robert Sunderland
Gowland, Cuthbert bur 1581 – Sunderland
Gowland, Margaret poss Sunderland
Gowland, Robert Barns
Gowland, William
Gray, Alice (widow) bur 1612 – Sunderland
Gray, Humphrey
Gray, Isabel Silksworth
Gray, James
Gray, Jane
Gray, John
Gray, Margaret widow, bur 1609 – Sunderland
Gray, Robert Silksworth
Gray, Thomas Wearmouth
Gray, William poss Ryhope
Gray, William
Green, male
Green, female
Green, Arch
Green, John
Green, Thomas
Green, William
Hall, Elizabeth bur 1597 – Ryhope
Hall, George Silksworth/Ryhope
Hall, John bur 1590 – Pallion
Hall, Margaret bur 1583 – Silksworth
Hall, William bur 1599 – Wearmouth
Harding, John poss Sunderland
Harrison, Agnes widow, bur 1606 – Wearmouth
Harrison, Alice bur 1597 – Wearmouth
Harrison, Anthony bur 1587 – Wearmouth
Harrison, Barbara
Harrison, Catherine bur 1592 – Silksworth
Harrison, Cicely bur 1601 – Sunderland
Harrison, Clement bur 1600 – Sunderland
Harrison, Janet bur 1597 – Ryhope
Harrison, Margaret
Harrison, Margaret bur 1590 – Sunderland
Harrison, Richard
Harrison, Robert
Haswell, Annas
Haswell, ,Janet bur 1587 – Wearmouth
Heppell, Ann
Heppell, Elizabeth
Heppell, Ralph Sunderland
Heppell, Richard
Heppell, William
Hilton, Elizabeth Wearmouth
Hilton, Isabel Wearmouth
Hilton, John
Hilton, Thomas Wearmouth
Hobson, female
Hobson, Alison
Hobson, Isabel Wearmouth
Hobson, Richard Wearmouth
Hobson, Richard
Hockeson/Hodgson, Anthony
Hodge, Alley Sunderland
Hodge, Alison
Hodge, Janet Sunderland
Hodge, John
Hodge, Robert Sunderland
Hodge, William Sunderland
Holiday, Elizabeth
Holiday, John Tunstall
Holiday, Margaret
Holiday, Matthew
Holme, Adam Wearmouth
Holme, Alice Wearmouth
Holme, Alison
Holme, Elizabeth Wearmouth
Holme, John Wearmouth
Holme, Nicholas
Holme, Ralph
Holme, Mr. Rowland Wearmouth
Howdon, Edward poss Silksworth
Howdon, Henry poss Silksworth
Huntley, Alice
Huntley, Catherine Burdon/Sunderland
Huntley, Elizabeth Burdon
Huntley, Roger Silksworth
Jackson, Annas
Jackson, Christable
Jackson, Cuthbert bur 1603 – Sunderland
Jackson, George bur 1588 – Sunderland
Jackson, Gilbert Wearmouth
Jackson, John
Jackson, Margaret
Jackson, Margaret
Jackson, Margaret
Jackson, Martin poss Sunderland
Jackson, Thomas
Jackson, William
Jefferson, Alison Ryhope
Jefferson, George poss Ryhope
Jefferson, Jane Ryhope
Jefferson, Janet
Jefferson, Nicholas
Jefferson, Richard
Jefferson, William Ryhope
Jervis, Agnes Wearmouth
Jervis, Anne Wearmouth
Jervis, George Wearmouth
Jervis, Isabel
Jervis, Marjory bur 1622 -Sunderland
Jervis, Maud Sunderland
Jervis, Nicholas bur 1590 – Wearmouth
Jervis, Ralph Ford
Jewson, Annes
Johnson, Annas
Johnson, Dorothy
Johnson, Edward poss Burdon
Johnson, Eleanor
Johnson, Eleanor
Johnson, Elizabeth
Johnson, Elizabeth
Johnson, Elizabeth Claxheugh
Johnson, Grace
Johnson, James bur 1591 – Sunderland
Johnson, James
Johnson, Janet
Johnson, John
Johnson, John
Johnson, Lancelot
Johnson, Marjory
Johnson, Nicholas bur 1593 – Sunderland
Johnson, Richard
Johnson, Rowland bur 1604 – Panns
Johnson, Thomas
Johnson, Walter bur 1604 – Panns
Johnson, Elizabeth
Jordan, Elizabeth bur 1597 – Ferry Boat
Jordan, Francis Ferry Boat
Jordan, Robert bur 1590 – Ferry Boat
Jordan, Thomas Ferry Boat/Ford
Jordan, William bur 1584 – Ferry Boat
Kester, John
Kitchen, Thomas bur 1596 – Sunderland
Lambert, widow bur 1587 – Wearmouth
Lambert, Annes Sunderland
Lambert, Janet bur 1595 – Ryhope
Lambert, Richard marr 1591; bur 1614 – Tunstall
Lambert, Robert poss Sunderland
Lambert, William bur 1590 – Ryhope
Lawson, Richard bur 1587 – Ryhope
Lawson, Robert poss Ryhope
Lawson, Thomas poss Ryhope
Lawther/Lowther, James bur 1622 – Sunderland
Loader/Lawther, Margaret, wife of James bur 1614 – Sunderland
Lowder/Lawther, William marr 1587, poss Wearmouth
Lazenby, John poss Sunderland
Leadbeater, Ralph bur 1595 – Sunderland
Leadbeater, Richard poss Sunderland
Learman, Anthony marr 1599 – poss Wearmouth
Learman, John son bapt’d 1602 – Bishopwearmouth
Ley/Lees, Alexander
Leigh/Lees, James
Leiss/Lees, John
Least/Lees, William
Legget, Alison bur 1585 – Burdon
Legget, Robert marr 1574; bur 1588 – East Burdon
Legget, William bur 1591 – East Burdon
Leper, female wife of John bur 1575 – Sunderland
Leper, John poss Sunderland
Liddell/Liddle, Charles Sunderland
Liddell/Liddle, Margaret
Liddell/Liddle, Robert poss son bapt’d 1599 – Panns
Littlefare, Annas
Littlefare, Annas
Littlefare, Christopher marr 1582; bur 1615 – Wearmouth
Littlefare, John bur 1603
Ludworth, Richard poss Silksworth
Maislet, Thomas
Marshall, George bur 1587 – Sunderland
Marshall, Robert
Matthew, Annas bur 1582 – Wearmouth
Matthew, Barbara bur 1589 – Silksworth
Matthew, Margaret
Matthew, Margaret bur 1596 – Wearmouth
Matthew, Ralph bur 1600 – Wearmouth
Matthew, Richard bur 1588; wife bur 1602 – Bishopwearmouth
Matthew, Robert poss Wearmouth
Matthew, William
Meavin, Anne bur 1603 – Wearmouth
Meavin, John bur 1596 –
Merriman, Robert bur 1598 – Wearmouth
Middleton, Alison
Middleton, Cicily
Middleton, Eleanor
Middleton, George daughter bapt’d 1576 – Silksworth
Middleton, Jane
Middleton, John bur 1590 – Ryhope
Middleton, Katherine
Middleton, Maud widow bur 1605 – Sunderland
Middleton, Ralph, Mr son bapt’d 1602 – Tunstall
Middleton, Richard, Mr child bapt’d 1591 – Tunstall
Middleton, Thomas Wearmouth
Miller, Eleanor
Miller, Isabel widow bur 1616 – Panns
Miller, John bur 1597 – Salt panns
Miller, Richard wife Elizabeth bur 1609 – Panns
Miller, Robert bur 1616 – Panns
Mower/Moore, female, wife of Thomas bur 1575 – Sunderland
Moir/Moore, Adam
Moore, Alison bur 1580 – Sunderland
Moore, George
Moore, John poss Sunderland
Moore, Mary
Mower/Moore, Thomas wife bur 1575 – Sunderland
Maier/Moore, William
Moyser, male (father of children bapt’d in 1570s )
Moyser, female (mother of children bapt’d in 1570s)
Moyser, John daughter bapt’d 1582; bur 1595 – Ryhope
Moyer/Moyser, Richard
Moyston, Elyan (female)
Nicholson, Annas bur 1596 – Sunderland
Nicholson, Anne bur 1619 – Sunderland
Nicholson, John bur 1604 & 1606 – Sunderland
Nicholson, Robert
North, male daughter bapt’d in 1567
North, female daughter bapt’d in 1567 –
North, Alison
North, Marjory
North, Robert
Oliver, John
Oliver, Robert
Oliver, William bur 1609 – Claxheugh
Pasmore, Elizabeth wife of Thomas bur 1602 – Ryhope
Pasmore, John
Pasmore, Margaret
Pasmore, Mary bur 1591 – Ryhope
Pasmore, Ralph daughter bapt’d in1603 – Ryhope
Pasmore, Robert bur 1587 – Wearmouth
Pasmore, Thomas Ryhope
Pasmore, Thomas wife bur in 1602 – Ryhope
Pasmore, William bur 1587 – Ryhope
Pattison, Allison
Pattison, Annas
Pattison, Dorothy bur 1585 – Sunderland
Pattison, George bur 1584 – Wearmouth
Pattison, Isabel bur 1584 – Wearmouth
Pattison, Margaret
Pattison, Robert
Pattison, Robertson bur in 1574 – Wearmouth/Sunderland
Pattison, Thomas
Pattison, William bur 1590 – Sunderland
Pearson, ‘Dame’ bur 1587 – Ryhope
Pearson, Dorothy
Pearson, William bur 1594 – Ryhope
Pode, John bur 1616 – Wearmouth
Porret, Margaret
Porret, Richard daughter bapt’d in 1602 – Sunderland
Ranson, Margaret bur 1600 – Ryhope
Ranson, Thomas poss Ryhope
Ratcliff, Annas
Ratcliff, George
Ratcliff, Thomas
Read/Reed, Christopher
Read/Reed, Elizabeth
Read/Reed, Margaret bur 1584 – Silksworth
Read/Reed, Ralph
Read/Reed, Richard bur 1585 – the Levene Mills
Redhead/Readhead, Annas bap/bur during 1602/3 in Ford
Relph, Annas, the elder bur 1584 – Ryhope
Relph, Annas bur 1584 – Ryhope
Relph, Thomas
Relph, William
Richardson, Alice
Richardson, Lancelot
Richardson, Thomas bur 1600 – Wearmouth
Richardson, Thomas son bapt’d in 1605 – Ford
Richardson, William bur 1592
Robinson, Janet
Robinson, Janet bur 1587 – Wearmouth
Robinson, John bur 1599 – Ryhope
Robinson, Marjory, widow bur 1613 – Ryhope
Robinson, Nell
Robinson, Ralph
Robinson, Robert poss Ryhope
Robinson, Rowland son bapt’d in 1601 – Sunderland
Robinson, Steven bur 1585 – Silksworth
Robinson, William
Rose, Cicelia, widow bur 1611 – Silksworth
Rose, Michael bur 1586 – Sunderland
Rose, William bur 1587 – Ryhope
Rowell, Elizabeth
Rowell, Isabel, widow bur 1605 – Sunderland
Rowell, John
Rowell, Richard
Roxby, Alison
Roxby, Annas
Roxby, Christophe Sunderland
Roxby, George bur 1582 – the Ferry boat
Roxby, Isabel
Roxby, Isabel
Roxby, Janet bur 1588 – Wearmouth
Roxby, Janet
Roxby, Margaret
Roxby, Peter
Roxby, Robert bur 1591 – Sunderland
Roxby, Thomas
Rutherford, Elizabeth bur 1587 – Silksworth
Rutherford, John Sunderland
Rutherford, Marjory bur 1587 – Sunderland
Sander, Alison bur 1597
Sander, Catherine
Sander, Catherine bur 1597 – Sunderland
Sander, Elizabeth
Sander, John
Sander, Phyllis bur 1590 – Sunderland
Sander, William
Scott, Catherine bur 1604 – Salt pans
Scott, Janet bur 1592 – Sunderland
Scott, John
Scott, William
Scurfield, Alison
Scurfield, Elizabeth poss Grindon
Scurfield, Elizabeth poss Grindon
Scurfield, Elizabeth poss Grindon
Scurfield, George poss Grindon
Scurfield, William Grindon – burials of child (1579) & wife (1597)
Shadforth, Alison bur 1590 – Ryhope
Shadforth, Ann bur 1581 – Ryhope
Shadforth, Annas
Shadforth, Elizabeth poss Ryhope
Shadforth, Janet
Shadforth, Janet poss Ryhope
Shadforth, John bur 1575 – Ryhope
Shadforth, Phylis
Shadforth, Richard bur 1590 – Ryhope
Shadforth, Thomas bur 1575 – Ryhope
Shadforth, Thomas bur 1586 – Ryhope
Shadforth, William bur 1578 – Ryhope
Shadforth, William bur 1584 – Ryhope
Shafter, Anthony poss Salt pans
Sharp, Alison bur 1587 – Wearmouth
Sharp, George bur 1587 – Wearmouth
Sharp, John daughter bapt’d 1580 – poss Wearmouth
Shepherdson, Alice
Shepherdson, Ann bur 1587 – Wearmouth
Shepherdson, Annas
Shepherdson, Elizabeth
Shepherdson, Janet bur 1585 – Sunderland
Shepherdson, Johnson bapt’d 1580; wife bur 1611 – Wearmouth
Shepherdson, Margaret bur 1580 – Wearmouth
Shepherdson, Margaret
Shepherdson, Richard
Shepherdson, Richard
Shepherdson, Thomas
Shepherdson, Thomas wife bur 1580 – Ryhope
Shepherdson, William
Shepherdson, William
Slater, William poss not native of area
Smirk, Eleanor bur 1590 – Silksworth
Smirk, John
Smirk, Thomas marr 1583 – poss Silksworth
Smirk, Thomas bur 1589 – Silksworth
Smirk, William
Smith, widow bur 1587 – Tunstall
Smith, Annas
Smith, Catherine (Katheryn)
Smith, Eleanor
Smith, Elizabeth
Smith, Grace
Smith, Isabel bur 1581 – Wearmouth
Smith, Janet
Smith, John
Smith, Lucy, widow bur 1600 – Tunstall
Smith, Margaret
Smith, Mary
Smith, Richard bur 1595 – Tunstall
Smith, Robert
Smith, Roger
Smith, Thomas
Smith, William bur 1595 – Sunderland
Smith, William son bapt’d 1601, wife bur 1602 – Sunderland
Solane, Alison
Solane, Ann
Solane, Margaret
Solbone, Annas poss not native of parish
Sparrow, Isabel bur 1588 – Wearmouth
Sparrow, Robert
Sparrow, Thomas bur 1588 – Wearmouth
Sparrow, Thomas
Spence, Elizabeth
Spence, Sybil
Spence, William
Stevenson, Alison
Stevenson, Elizabeth
Stevenson, John
Stevenson, Margaret bur 1595 – Sunderland
Stevenson, Robert
Stokeld, Ann, widow bur 1615 – Ryhope
Stouk/Stokeld, Annas
Stoklin/Stokesley, Alison
Stokesley, Andrew
Stokesley, Elizabeth bur 1587
Stokesley, Richard
Stokesley, Thomas bur 1593 – Wearmouth
Story, Alison
Story, John
Surret, male children bapt’d 1567 & 1571
Surret, Elizabeth marr 1578
Surret, Isabel bur 1592
Surret, Jane bur 1584 – Wearmouth
Surret, John
Surtees, Jane bur 1575, poss Silksworth
Tate, Arnot bur 1588 – Wearmouth
Tate, Janet bur 1593 – Wearmouth
Tate, John
Taylor, John bur 1575 – Burdon
Taylor, John poss daughter bapt’d in 1579 – Sunderland
Taylor, Lance/Lancelot
Taylor, Robert bur 1604 – Ryhope
Taylor, Thomas & wife wife bur 1604 – Sunderland
Thompson, Alison
Thompson, Annas
Thompson, Annas
Thompson, Anne
Thompson, Bell
Thompson, Bryant
Thompson, Christian
Thompson, Eleanor bur 1596 – the Barns
Thompson, Ellen
Thompson, George
Thompson, George bur 1585 – Wearmouth
Thompson, Henry
Thompson, Isabel, alias Fell bur 1587 – Wearmouth
Thompson, Jane
Thompson, Janet
Thompson, Janet bur 1578 – Wearmouth
Thompson, Janet
Thompson, Katherine
Thompson, Molly bur 1594 – Wearmouth
Thompson, Nicholas
Thompson, Ralph
Thompson, Ralph
Thompson, Richard bur 1575 – Ryhope
Thompson, Richard
Thompson, Sander bur 1596 – Sunderland
Thompson, Thomas
Thompson, Thomas
Todd, Peter bur 1585 – Silksworth
Todd, William poss daughter bur 1596 – Wearmouth
Tunstal, Anthony, gent
Tunstal, Eleanor
Turner, Matthew bur 1599 – Wearmouth
Waby, John
Waby, William bur 1611 – Ryhope
Walker, Annas
Walker, Eleanor bur 1598 – Ryhope
Walker, Elizabeth, widow bur 1621 – Wearmouth
Walker, William
Wallis, Edward daughter bapt’d in 1587 – Salt pans
Wallis, John poss Salt pans
Wallis, Richard
Wallis, Thomas marr 1584; labourer bur 1592
Wanlass, John
Warner, Elizabeth bur 1581 -Wearmouth
Warner, Nicholas
Watson, Agnes, widow bur 1606 – Wearmouth
Watson, Alison
Watson, Anthony marr 1583; bur 1614 – Ryhope
Watson, Cuthbert bur 1605 – Ryhope
Watson, Edward bur 1610 – Sunderland
Watson, Elizabeth
Watson, Elizabeth marr 1574 poss Ryhope
Watson, Elizabeth marr 1574 poss Ryhope
Watson, Elizabeth marr 1579 poss Ryhope
Watson, Elizabeth marr 1582 poss Ryhope
Watson, Isabel bur 1583 – Wearmouth
Watson, Isabel
Watson, Janet
Watson, Richard
Watson, Robert
Watson, William bur 1575 – Ryhope
Welbourn, George marr 1577; son bapt’d 1582 – Grindon
Wheldon, John bur 1586 poss the salt pans
White, Christopher
White, Eleanor bur 1597 – Wearmouth
White, Isabel
White, John bur 1590 – Ryhope
White, Margaret bur 1588 – Ryhope
White, Margaret
Whitehead, George, ferryman bur 1581 – Sunderland
Whitehead, Margaret, widow bur 1625 – Sunderland
Whittingham, Joan bur 1595 – Wearmouth
Whittingham, Richard marr 1593; daughter bur 1612 – Burdon
Whittingham, Thomas child bur 1592 poss Burdon
Wilkinson, ‘Dame’ bur 1590
Wilkinson, widow son George bur 1601 – Bishopwearmouth
Wilkinson, Alison
Wilkinson, Anthony
Wilkinson, Bartey bur 1593 – Ryhope
Wilkinson, Cuthbert marr 1592; child bur 1597 – Silksworth
Wilkinson, Eleanor bur 1594 – Ryhope
Wilkinson, Elizabeth
Wilkinson, Elizabeth
Wilkinson, Janet bur 1576 – Silksworth
Wilkinson, John son bapt’d 1576 – Ryhope
Wilkinson, Kirstyn
Wiley, Alexander marr 1570; bur 1578 – Sunderland
Wiley, Alice
Wiley, Margaret
Wiley, Thomas bur 1582 – Sunderland
Wiley, William
Williamson, male
Williamson, female
Williamson, Thomas bapt’d 156
Willis, John, sealer wife bur 1608

Among the 190 households within the six townships recorded in the 1563 survey were the individuals working in the salt pans situated near Bishopwearmouth. The salt pans (later to be known as the township of Wearmouth Panns) were no doubt included within the township of Bishopwearmouth, formerly South Wearmouth. The Blakiston family resided in Farn(e)ton Hall which from John Speede’s 1610 map of Durham is located south west of Silksworth, and presumably was considered part thereof. Thomas Blakiston was the curate of Monkwearmouth in 1565.

The following is an analysis of 785 individuals; 367 of whom are of unknown abode; 103 who were (possibly) residing in Sunderland, and a further 14 from areas around Sunderland’s environs.

(Bishop)Wearmouth Ryhope Silksworth Farn(e)ton Hall Salt pans Burdon Tunstall Ferry Boat(Ford) Total
108 77 50 4 18 18 15 11 301
Sunderland Barnes Pallion Grindon Claxheugh Levene Mills ‘Others’(blanks) Total
103 3 2 6 2 1 367 484

If from the total count of 785 we subtract 117 (103+14) and assume that two-thirds of the 367 ‘Others’ (no-abode) were residing within the confines of Bishopwearmouth parish, and one-third in Sunderland, we arrive at a population for Bishopwearmouth of 541 which roughly equates to just under 3 persons per household.

Also in the 1563 survey in the Chester Ward, under East Division, there were 90 households in the parish of Monkwearmouth, which included the townships of Monkwearmouth Shore, Fulwell, Hylton and Southwick. (Unfortunately, due to a fire in 1790, in the church of Monkwearmouth St Peter, the early registers of the parish were lost and with them went valuable information that would have identified the individuals to support the statistics.)

Colliery Railways: Londonderry Seaham & Sunderland 1854/55- ?

Londonderry Seaham & Sunderland 1854/55- ?

The Past

Seaton and Seaham collieries came on stream in 1852. The docks at Seaham Harbour were by now receiving coal from nearly 20 inland pits and were seriously overloaded. Something had to be done to ease the pressure. The solution was to create a railway to the much larger facilities at the port of Sunderland. On a bitterly cold day, February 8 1853, the first turf of the Londonderry Seaham and Sunderland Railway was dug by the 3rd. Marquess, now aged 75. He was fated not to see the completion of this project. On January 17 1854 Frances Anne celebrated her 54th. birthday at Wynyard, the last she would share with her husband. On the same day the Londonderry Seaham and Sunderland Railway was completed as far as Ryhope where it met up with the Durham (Shincliffe) and Sunderland Railway. This company would not share its rails or its station at Ryhope (West) with the newcomer which was obliged to lay its own tracks alongside the others on the remaining stretch from Ryhope to Sunderland. This explains why the trackbed today is so wide between Ryhope and Hendon. Passenger traffic finally began on the Londonderry Seaham and Sunderland on July 1 1855 with stations at Seaham, Seaham Colliery, Seaham Hall (for the private use of the Londonderrys and their guests) and Ryhope (East). The town was at last connected to the outside world by a passenger rail service. From 1854 to 1868 the LS&S had its own station in Sunderland. From 1868 until 1879 the terminus was at Hendon Burn until the new central station opened.

The new railway terminated at Seaham, there was no southward connection to Hartlepool and Teesside. For this it was necessary to travel on the LS&S north to Ryhope (East) and change there to a D&S (rope-hauled) southbound train to Haswell and change again there to a loco-hauled train of the HD&R. This situation of dozens of independent railway companies serving the northeast was about to come to an end. A giant appeared amongst them. The North Eastern Railway was formed in 1854 by the amalgamation of four large railway companies: the York and North Midland; the York, Newcastle & Berwick; the Leeds Northern; the Malton and Driffield. In the following decades the N.E.R. gobbled up many others including the Stockton & Darlington, the Durham and Sunderland, the Hartlepool Dock and Railway and, eventually, the Londonderry Seaham and Sunderland. From HQ in York the company at its peak controlled over 500 stations, with 1700 miles of track and the right to use another 300 miles belonging to other companies. The N.E.R. and Hartlepool Dock & Railway amalgamated in 1857. The D&S was gobbled up a little later. A single station was constructed at Haswell and through trains now ran from Sunderland to Hartlepool.

The 3rd. Marquess died in March 1854 and his widow took over the running of all the Londonderry businesses. On December 12 1859 she laid the foundation stone for the Seaham Harbour Blast Furnaces at a site near Dawdon Hill Farm. An extension to the LS&S, the Blastfurnace Branch, was constructed to connect with this new and high-risk venture and Frances Anne’s second son Adolphus was put in charge. This was possibly not the wisest of choices given that Adolphus was having serious mental problems at the time. Quarrels between Frances Anne and her chief agent John Ravenshaw over the entire scheme brought about his resignation and delayed completion of the project until 1862. The furnaces were supplied with coal from Seaham Colliery and iron ore from Cleveland which was brought by rail to Seaton Bank and then down the Rainton line and on to the Londonderry Seaham and Sunderland railway. The newly built extension to this line led straight into the furnaces. Lime was brought on another short railway branch from the quarry at Fox Cover. National overproduction and falling prices threatened the scheme by the time of Frances Anne’s death three years later and it did in fact fold by the end of 1865. In 1869 the site was leased out to a chemical company for the production of soda and magnesia and occasionally pig-iron when the market revived. Both Chemical Works and Blastfurnaces finally closed in 1885. The Blastfurnace Branch line was taken over to service Dawdon Colliery whch appeared near to the furnace site in 1899. The branch line to Fox Cover Quarry remained in use until about 1919.

In the mid-1890s new deep collieries were planned along the Durham coast – Blackhall, Horden, Easington and Dawdon. The 6th. Marquess contemplated extending the LS&S southward to Easington and perhaps beyond. However the N.E.R. was also on the scene and wanted to build its own railway to connect Seaham (and all the new pits in between) with Hartlepool. The N.E.R. already owned Hartlepool Dock. A clash was inevitable and for months legal action and counter-action ensued. Londonderry opposed a new N.E.R. line, the N.E.R. opposed the dock project and the proposed extension of the LS&S. Finally the two sides came to their senses and agreed to cooperate.

In 1898 the 6th. Marquess sponsored the Seaham Harbour Dock Act which established the Seaham Harbour Dock Company and gave it powers to construct new harbour works, including two outer protective piers and an enclosed dock equipped with new coal staiths. SHDC was unusual as one of the few private companies to be established by special Act of Parliament. The capital of the Company in 1898 was £450,000. Both the N.E.R. and Lord Londonderry were major shareholders in this new concern which took over the docks and the LS&S wagonways and stock of coal wagons. As part of the deal the rest of the LS&S, in almost its entirety, was sold to the N.E.R. for £400,000 and it was incorporated in their network. The Londonderry family also gained a seat on the board of the N.E.R. Two small exceptions were made to the sale of the LS&S lock, stock and barrel: Seaham Hall station remained the private property of the family and the Marquess retained the right ‘to stop other than express trains within reasonable limits’ (between 1900 and 1923 this privilege was used only four times, an indication of how little the family used Seaham Hall by then. In 1923 the 7th. Marquess, who had by then recently abandoned Seaham Hall, was persuaded by the new L.N.E.R. to surrender this right.); The Station Hotel in Seaham also remained the property of the Marquess. This public house had an entrance straight from the platform. Seaham Colliery station became the new main station for Seaham for through-trains but the old station remained as the terminus for the local service from Sunderland. It was closed on September 11 1939 as a a wartime measure and never reopened. It and the public house were demolished in the 1970s. The N.E.R. became the L.N.E.R. after the Great War and part of British Railways after the Second World War.

The Present

Seaham lost its own unique private railway in 1898. The trackbed of the LS&SR is now part of the coastal Sunderland-Seaham-Hartlepool-Teesside branch railway. Virtually the only visible reminders of the old private railway are to be seen just to the north of the former Ryhope junction with the inland Sunderland-Haswell-Hartlepool line. Back in the 1850s the original owners of the inland railway refused to share either their station at Ryhope or their existing tracks from there to Sunderland with the new LS&SR. This not only necessitated a second station at Ryhope (Ryhope East) but also a second bridge over the obstacle of the dene just to the north of Ryhope Junction and a second set of tracks alongside the other all the way from there in to Sunderland. Hence the trackbed between Ryhope and Sunderland being so wide for the next couple of miles. The second bridge thrown across the dene was made with metal and even to this day the legend ‘LS&SR’ can be seen stamped on it.

The Future

The future of trackbed of the former LS&SR seems to be reasonably secure. Without coal pits, Seaham is rapidly becoming a mere satellite of Sunderland, which is soon to be connected up to the Tyneside Metro system. It seems likely that Seaham too will be connected up one day.

— by Tony Whitehead

Colliery Railways: Hetton Colliery Railway

Hetton Colliery Railway 1822-1959

Including a chapter on the Hetton Colliery Railway in an article about the railways and communities of Easington District might seem a little strange – after all the HCR began in Hetton and ended in Sunderland and at no point does it even touch Easington district. However the railway was constructed in the early 1820s when Hetton was indeed part of the then Easington District, which was much larger than now. The HCR ran from Hetton to Sunderland by crossing over Warden Law Hill, one of the highest points for miles around, and thus it could be seen from various high points (e.g. Mount Pleasant and Kinley Hill) in and around Seaham and elsewhere and for a brief while (from 1896 to about 1920) it may have been connected to Seaham Harbour via the old Rainton and Seaham line. More importantly the HCR (about which there is little published material) deserves a place in this book because of its unique place in railway history and for its role in opening up the coalmines of Easington District. The HCR was fed by Hetton Lyons, Eppleton and Elemore pits. These were the first deep mines in the county of Durham and were the inspiration for all of the other deep collieries which came later in Easington District, including the three Seaham pits.

The Past

The Durham coalfield is divided into two distinct parts – the exposed and the concealed. In the western, exposed, half fuel at or near the surface must have been collected from earliest times. There are places today in west Durham where people can literally dig up coal from their back gardens and there are still several open-cast sites which are likely to be around for decades to come. The first clearly documented evidence of coalmining in the exposed coalfield is in the Boldon Book of 1183, a register of the Bishop of Durham’s personal lands and the dues paid by his tenants. Small mines, probably simple bell-pits, were worked during the mediaeval period in the Tyne and Wear valleys. Limited in quantity and of indifferent quality, these coals were sent by sea to London and the Low Countries. The Industrial Revolution encouraged a dramatic increase in production from the 16th. century onwards. Because of their nearness to the sea Durham and Northumberland became the most important coal-producing and exporting counties in the period 1550-1700. Early wagonways and then the railways proper enabled coal and coke to be moved to the ports on the rivers and coast, where they were loaded on to large ships for export. A coal exchange was established at Billingsgate in London in 1769 and coal cartels began to operate in the Durham coalfield in the 18th. and early 19th. centuries. Before the advent of steam coal mines had to be drained by primitive water-wheels and this placed a physical limit on the depth of the mines and the amount of water that could be removed.

Wagonways may have been used at small mines in the Midlands in the 16th. century. The earliest wagonway in the northeast was near Blyth, probably opened in 1609 to carry coal from pits near Bedlington to the river Blyth. In about 1630 Sir Thomas Liddell, of Ravensworth Castle, is said to have laid the first wagonway to the Tyne from the Teams Colliery near to Derwenthaugh. The first wagonway on the Wear was laid by Thomas Allan in 1693. By 1793 on a stretch of the river near Fatfield there were ten coal staiths connected by rail to some thirty pits. The rails of all these early lines were made of wood and the wagons were horse-drawn. By the middle of the 18th. century rails were made of cast-iron. By 1820 cheaper wrought-iron was increasingly in use. Wherever a large weight of goods had to be transported regularly between two fixed points railways showed themselves to be very practicable. At first hills set a limit to their use but inclined planes soon circumvented this problem. Complete canal boats were let down and drawn up on slopes between different canals. Similar inclined planes were placed to connect nearly level railways, and so the possibility of overcoming every difficulty of the ground was offered by them. Empty wagons were drawn up the line by the weight of the full ones in descent, a system apparently perfected by a Mr. Barnes of Benwell Colliery.

The eastern half of the Durham coalfield is concealed by several hundreds of feet of Permian magnesian limestone. The powerful steam engines required to dig and drain deep mines did not exist until the start of the 1820s. The first exploitation of the concealed coalfield using the new technology took place at the tiny village of Hetton where sinking commenced on December 19 1820. Deep mining was an expensive business, far beyond the financial means of most coalowners, and necessitated the creation of a large company for the purpose. Hetton was at the edge of the exposed coalfield. A few hundred yards to the east were old shallow pits at Rainton which sent their coal on horse-drawn wagons up a wagonway to Penshaw where it was loaded on to small vessels, taken down the river Wear, and re-transferred to larger boats for export to London and abroad. The new Hetton Colliery Company decided to dispense with all of these middlemen and have its own direct wagonway connection to its own staiths near the mouth of the river, eight miles to the northeast, for direct loading on to ocean-going vessels.

Whilst the exploratory digging proceeded at Hetton, George Stephenson, the famous engineer and pioneer of steam engines, oversaw the construction of the railway from the pithead to Sunderland from March 1821. He was allowed by his usual employers, the ‘Grand Allies’, to undertake this extra work, his first completely new railway, without any diminution of his salary as resident engineer at Killingworth Colliery in Northumberland. His brother Robert (after whom George’s equally famous son Robert was named) was the resident engineer for this, the remarkable Hetton Colliery Railway. The new line was the first railway in the world to be designed to use locomotives. Stephenson sold 5 of his own locos to the Hetton Company, but they were not terribly successful and were replaced by others in the 1830s.

The HCR ran uphill from Hetton to the Copt Hill, climbed over the top of Warden Law Hill, and descended past Silksworth on its way to the river at Sunderland. The railway was far from straight for it needed to make skilful use of the terrain. The first four stages totalled a climb of 317 feet 9 inches in about 2.8 miles. From the top of Warden Law Hill to the staiths above the river was seven more stages away, very nearly 5 miles, and a collective drop of 522 feet. Wagons, eight at a time and holding over two and a half tons each, were transported from Hetton to the Wear in about two hours – using fixed steam engines for the steepest gradients, self-acting inclined planes for the less steep, and very early locomotives and fixed engines for the few level stretches. Over the 8 miles there were two locomotives, six stationary engines, and 5 brake arrangements on as many inclined planes. At the time of its opening, November 18, 1822, the Hetton Colliery Railway was regarded as one of the engineering wonders of the world and it attracted visitors from as far afield as America and Prussia. The North-East was at the forefront of technology, the Silicon Valley of its day. The excellent publicity received launched the Stephenson clan on to even greater things – the Stockton & Darlington Railway (opened in 1825), the Manchester and Liverpool (opened in 1831) and the Birmingham & London. These pioneering achievements have earned George Stephenson a place on the back of every modern £5 note.

Coal was found at the Hetton Lyons Blossom Pit sinking, at 650 and 900 feet, in seams six and a half feet thick. By 1826 Hetton Colliery and its sister mines at Elemore and Eppleton were producing 318,000 tons of coal worth £174,000 and had become the largest mining combine in England. Hetton Colliery and its railway proved that 900 feet of limestone and quicksand and a 300 foot hill were not insurmountable obstacles to exploitation of the rich reserves of coal and that lesson did not go unnoticed. Before long others, including the 3rd. Marquess of Londonderry and Colonel Thomas Braddyll of Haswell, would enter the field and the tapping of the concealed Durham coalfield began in earnest.

Between 1828 and 1831 Lord Londonderry constructed a wagonway from his Rainton pits to his new harbour at Seaham. This, the Rainton and Seaham railway, passed under the HCR at a point opposite to the public house at the Copt Hill. No junction was effected between the two at this point in time but there may be have been one later. Rainton Colliery closed in 1896 and the Rainton and Seaham line became redundant. The sections west of the Copt Hill were dismantled. The section from the Copt Hill to Seaham Colliery and Seaham Harbour was transferred from Londonderry Collieries to the Hetton Colliery Company and a junction may have been created which enabled the HCC to ship its coal from either Sunderland or Seaham Harbour. The new connection to Seaham Harbour was used only lightly and was abandoned at some point before 1920. The original Hetton Colliery Company was gobbled up by the Lambtons, Earls of Durham, late in the nineteenth century. At the very end of the century the Lambtons in turn sold out all their mining interests to Sir James Joicey. In 1920 the 7th. Marquess of Londonderry sold Silksworth Colliery to Joicey. This pit had been connected to the Londonderry Seaham and Sunderland Railway but was now linked instead to the Hetton Colliery Railway. Thus in its time the HCR served Hetton Lyons, Elemore, Eppleton and Silksworth collieries.

When Hetton Lyons Colliery closed in 1950 Elemore, Eppleton and Silksworth collieries carried on using the ancient HCR and the old staiths on the Wear. The end for railway and staiths came with the construction of the new Hawthorn Shaft near Murton from 1952-58 to which the coals from Eppleton, Elemore and Murton were sent underground for onward shipment down the old branch line from Murton to Sunderland Docks via Seaton and Ryhope or to Seaham Harbour via the South Hetton line. After a working life of 137 years the Hetton Colliery Railway carried traffic for the last time on Wednesday, September 9 1959, and dismantling began the next day. The last 90 feet of track was lifted at Hetton on November 20 1960.

The Present

Today, in fragments, there is still much to see of Stephenson’s masterpiece. The three best viewing spots are:

1) At the Copt Hill public house on the Houghton and Seaham road you are at the top of the inclined plane from Hetton Colliery and can see down into the valley where the pit was located.

2) At the summit of Warden Law Hill, above the old quarry. From here, on a clear day, there is a spectacular view in every direction and the sheer scale of the railway can be appreciated. Truly a wonder of its time.

3) From the eastern perimeter of Farringdon estate the course of the railway can be followed, in isolated segments, past Plains Farm and on into the centre of Sunderland, running gently downhill all the way. All traces of it vanish as it crosses the Chester Road. The staiths are long since demolished.

The Future

The Hetton Colliery Railway preceded the Stockton and Darlington Railway by three years. It was the first railway in the world to be designed to use locomotives. It marked a crucial stage in the career of George Stephenson. These three facts alone give the HCR a unique place in the history of transport. And yet today over the fragmented remains you will find no information boards, no sign-posts, nothing to indicate its importance. No attempt seems to have been made to keep the trackbed of the Hetton Colliery Railway intact. A golden opportunity was missed to preserve Stephenson’s masterpiece, a direct link back to the Industrial Revolution which so altered this county and especially Easington District. A continuous walkway/cycleway/bridleway/ tourist attraction could have been created – linking the heart of Sunderland to the serene countryside at Hetton and then on to Durham City via the old Durham and Sunderland branch of the N.E.R. Instead in the 35 years since its closure the course of the Hetton Colliery Railway has been bisected by the quarry at Warden Law (itself now disused), the new A19 Sunderland bypass, and the expanding estates of Moorside and Farringdon. Some sections have been taken back by adjacent farmers.

— by Tony Whitehead

Monkwearmouth and its Records

Historical Background of Monkwearmouth and its Records

by Ken Coleman

Originally built as a monastery, much has been written about Monkwearmouth St. Peter’s, and its fame and reputation as the seat of learning and religion during the Saxon ages may be viewed as a legitimate object of historical research. However, as the focus of this review is to deal not with the Church but more with its parishioners who resided around the mouth of the river Wear, it is felt that a potted history will suffice.

Around 674 AD, in the fourth year of the reign of Egfrid, King of Northumberland, Benedict Biscop obtained a grant of land on the north bank of the river Wear, on which he built a monastery and dedicated it to St Peter, the chief of the Apostles. The ground is believed to have been quite considerable in extent, amounting to some 15 square miles. In about 689, at the tender age of seven a young boy named Bede was brought to the monastery and committed to the care of Benedict, under whom and his successor Ceolfrid he was carefully instructed for twelve years. At the age of nineteen he was ordained deacon and became exemplary at that early age for his piety and studious life. Ordained a priest at thirty, he published his ‘Ecclesiastical History’ in 731 at the age of forty nine, and died in 735 having being bestowed with the title of Venerable Bede.

In the latter part of the eighth century, the Danes in one of their many predatory incursions, subjected the monastery at Wearmouth to merciless avarice, destroying every ornament of the church, slaying the monks and setting the building on fire. At this time, Christianity was almost extinct; very few churches were built for nearly two hundred years afterwards. After a degree of reparation, the monastery once again suffered extensive damage, firstly from the vengeance of William the Conqueror on account of the murder of Robert Comyn, a Norman baron whom the Northumbrians had slain during an insurrection, and then shortly afterwards in 1070 when Malcolm, King of Scotland laid waste the whole neighbourhood.

In 1084 in the eighteenth year of his reign, King William the Conqueror decreed that the monks of Jarrow and Wearmouth be received by the bishop, and their liberties, customs and dignities be restored. From this period Wearmouth became a cell for three or four monks only, at the Benedictine order, subordinate to the Abbey of Durham.

It was during the rule of Bishop Pudsey of Durham (1153-1197), that the parishes of Monkwearmouth and Bishopwearmouth were integrated under a charter of privileges. Through the unification of these two settlements sundered (eroded) from each other by the river Wear, the town of Sunderland came into being.

In 1358, Bishop Hatfield leased the borough of Sunderland with the fisheries in the Wear to Richard Hedworth of Southwick for twenty years. For many years religious life continued relatively uninterrupted in the area against the background of the Hundred Years war with France; intermittent wars with Scotland and Wales, and the Black Death.

In 1384, Richard II, on account of his devotions to St Cuthbert the titular saint of Durham, granted leave to export coals from the mines without paying any duties to the corporation of Newcastle. This was speedily taken advantage of and in 1395 coals were shipped to Whitby in Yorkshire from Sunderland and neighbouring ports at a rate of three shillings and four pence per chaldron of thirty-six bushels. In the year 1421, it was enacted that the ‘keels’ (an ancient Saxon word for a ship or vessel) carrying coals to the colliers (coal-carrying ships) should measure exactly twenty chaldrons, to prevent fraud in the duties payable to the King. In 1464, Edward IV granted the borough with the passage of the river, and the fisheries to Robert Bertram to which the King provided his lease with a ferry boat.

For centuries small wooden sailing ships came to the Wear for coal, glass and pottery and as they arrived on the tide and moored up, they would be served by the keels which were flat-bottomed craft carrying a variety of buckets, skips and slings. The ship’s crews and the keelman would unload the tons of sand ballast from far-away beaches. As each keel was filled it made its way to the bank where the sand would be dumped on dry land.

In 1590, Bishop Hutton leased the borough, the ferry boats and the fisheries to Ralph Bowes Esq., of Barnes. After the statute of Henry VIII by which the palatine jurisdiction was restrained and mutilated, Sunderland became a place of considerable note; and about the latter end of the reign of Elizabeth, the coal trade began to find its way into the Wear. It may be of interest to note that in 1609 Sunderland exported 11,648 tons of coal.

Seventeenth Century

Shortly after Charles I was crowned in Edinburgh in 1633 Bishop Morton desirous of encouraging the rising trade of the borough, incorporated the burgesses and inhabitants by the title of Mayor, twelve Alderman and Commonality of the Borough of Sunderland, and granted the privilege of a market and annual fairs. Previous to this incorporation, the borough had been governed by a Bailiff appointed under the Bishop. The charter states “…that Sunderland had beyond the memory of man been an ancient borough known by the name of the New Borough of Weremouth, containing in itself a certain port where ships had plied….that the trade was then greatly increased by reason of the multitude of ships that resorted thither, and the borough anciently enjoyed divers liberties and free customs, as well as by prescription, as by virtue of sundry charters from the Bishops of Durham confirmed to them by the crown; which from defect in form proved insufficient for the support of the ancient liberties, privileges, and free customs of the borough.”

The gentlemen incorporated under this charter were (alphabetically) as follows:

MayorSir William Belasye, of Morton House, Kent

Robert Bowes, of Biddic-Waterville, Esq;
George Burgorn, of Wearmouth, Gent;
George Gray, of Southwick, Gent;
Richard Hedworth, of Chester Deannery, Esq;
Francis James, of Hetton, Esq;
Sir William Lambton, of Lambton, Kent;
William Langley, Gent;
George Lilburne, of Sunderland, Gent;
George Walton, Alderman, of Durham;
Hugh Walton, Alderman, of Durham;
Thomas Wharton, Esq;
Hugh Wright, of Durham, Esq

Common Council Men:
Thomas Atkinson; Adam Burdon; William Caldwell; Robert Collingwood; Christopher Dickenson; William Dossey; William Freeman; John Hardcastle; Humphrey Harrison; John Harrison; George Humble; William Huntley; John Husband; Thomas  Lacie; Edward Lee, of Monkwearmouth, Gent; Clement Oldcorn; Thomas Palmer; William Potts; Thomas Scarborough, William Thompson; William Wycliffe of Offerton, Gent; William Watt and Robert Young.

In 1641 a resolution of Parliament requested all males aged over 18 to take an oath in support of the Crown, Parliament and the Protestant religion, to oppose the “plots and conspiracies of priests and Jesuits” that were allegedly subverting the kingdom. Lists of those taking the oath in each parish were sent to Parliament in 1642. Most men took the oath and those who refused to sign (mostly Catholics) were sometimes also listed. The Protestation Return’ for Monkwearmouth taken on 24 February, 1641 are set out below:

Addison, John Cuth(e)bert, Richard Harrison, William Rockwood, Robert Thompson, Thomas
Addison, John Daile, George Henderson, James Rockwood, Tabat Thompson, Thomas
Ager, William Dayle, Robert Hesley, William Rockwood, Thomas Todd, John
Ammond, John Denninge, Richard Heworth, John Rowland, Francis Todd, Thomas
Amory, John Dickeson, Thomas Hickes, Richard ** Roxby, William Todd, Thomas
Anderson, Thomas Ditchburne, Ralph Hilton, John Sanderson, Ralph Todd, William
Atchinson, Edward Dodg(s)on, Thomas Hilton, Ralph Scurfield, Bernard Tongue, William
Atchinson, Edward Doweson, Richard Hilton, Robert Scurfield, William Trumble, Usward
Atchinson, Robert Drydon, Richard Hilton, Robert, Jun Seemar (?), William Trumble, Usward
Atchinson, Thomas Emmerson, John Hopper, Edward Shepherdson, Christop’r Ushaw, John
Bee, Bernard Errington, John Humble, Alexander Smith, Duke Vas(e)y, Ralph
Bell, John Fawcet, John Hunter, Thomas Smith, John Vas(e)y, Ralph
Bell, John Field, William Hunter, William Sparrow, John, Snr Wade, Richard
Bell, John Foster, John Kitchinge, Thomas Sparrow, John Wake, Richard
Bell, Nicholas Foster, Matthew Langley, John, Sparrow, Thomas Wake, Thomas
Bell, Robert Foster, Thomas Locky, John Spence, Andrew Watteson, John
Bell, Robert Foster, Thomas Lumley, Ralph Stoddard, Nicholas Wear, Anthony
Boomer, Ralph Gardiner, Richard Lumley, Thomas Story, Thomas Wear, John
Bowry, William Garret, Cuthbert Maddison, John Symy/Simey, Michael Wetherall, Richard
Brough, George Garret, Cuthbert Matthew, Toby Symy/Simey, William Whittingham, Edward
Browne, Thomas Gibson, John Matthew, William Taylor, Anthony Whittingham, Matthew
Browne, William Gibson, Thomas, Snr Miles, Nicholas Taylor, Edward Wilkinson, Cuthbert
Bubby (?), Richard Gibson, Thomas, Jun Moody, Williams Taylor, John Wilson, Robert
Burlye, William Gowland, Richard Mushtian, John Taylor, John Woods, Thomas
Calvert, Christopher Grainger, Ralph Ourde, Henry Taylor, Michael Wrangam, Henry
Cocke, John Gray, George, Snr Page, Thomas Taylor, Nicholas Wright, Lancelot
Cole, William Gray, George, Jun Pierson, John Taylor, Richard Wudel, William
Colison, Ralph Gray, John Porrat, Thomas Taylor, Thomas Wygam, Christopher
Collyer, Thomas Gray, Thomas Rea(y), John Teasdale, George Young, John
Cooper, Daniel Green, William Rea(y), Lionel Teasdale, Thomas Young, John
Cotterall, Henry Haderick, Robert Reed, Thomas Thompson, Cuthbert
Cotterall, John Hall, John Reed, William Thompson, John
Cotterall, Richard Hall, William Rickaby, William Thompson, John
Cummin, Nicholas Harrison, John Robinson, William Thompson, Robert

The names of persons refusing to take the protestation, and those at sea:

  • Melcher Hickes, at sea
  • John Hilton, Jun, absent

Papists: George Simpson, Cuthbert Wilkinson, John Coleson, Henry Dickinson, and Ralph Grainger, who is absent.
Minister: Richard Hickes** Baptized at Whitburn 9 Nov 1604, son of John Hickes, rector of Whitburn, by his wife Alice Blakiston, of University College, Oxford. Licensed to the Perpetual Curacy of Monkwearmouth 13 Sept 1638. First marriage to Dorothy Heath on 15 Dec 1631. Second wife Alicia buried in Washington on 6 May 1673. Resigned in 1662, died in 1669.
Churchwardens: Thomas Collyer, Thomas Rockwood
Constables: Christopher Shepherdson, Robert Rockwood, John Young, Thomas Wake
Overseers (for the poor): John Fawcet, Michael Symy

The Protestation Returns’ for Bishopwearmouth are also available but have not yet been transcribed.

By mid-August 1642, all hope had faded of King Charles I and Parliament mending their differences, and the end of August saw the outbreak of the English Civil War. During this unhappy contest between king and Parliament, many of the leading families within the County of Durham supported the king; whilst the middling and lower orders, for obvious reasons, warmly espoused the cause of Parliament. In 1642 the manor of Monkwearmouth had become the property of the parliamentarian Colonel George Fenwick of Brinkburn in Northumberland. His youngest daughter Dorothea (later became the Dame Dorothy after whom the street was named), married Sir Thomas Williamson. The Williamson’s came from East Markham near Nottingham and had been penalised for their support of the Royalist cause in the Civil War. Throughout the conflict, the borough of Sunderland remained entirely devoted to parliamentary interest; a circumstance which may be attributed to the commanding influence of the Lilburne family who possessed a far greater share of both property and interest than any other private family within the borough. The first of the Lilburne family who settled in Sunderland was George Lilburne. During the civil wars he acted as the only civil magistrate within the limits of the borough.

In May 1660 sees the formal restoration of the monarchy in England when Charles II is proclaimed King at the age of 30. However, for decades long before the restoration of Charles II, there were many who objected to the national church, and imbibed the principles of dissenters. From the passing of the act of uniformity in 1662, until the revolution in 1688, as many as refused to conform to the established worship, were denominated Nonconformists. Among these were about 2,000 clergy men who left the church on St Bartholomew’s day in 1662.

By the mid 1660’s, the export of coals from Sunderland had greatly increased, much to the jealousy of Newcastle men. With an intention of balancing the trade of the two ports, a fee of one shilling per chaldron (approx 1.4 tons) was imposed on all coals exported from Sunderland. In the year 1665, during the plague of London the disease was imported to Sunderland by shipping. An entry in a local parish register states:

  • “Jeremy Read, Billingham in Kent, bringer of the plague, of which died about thirty persons out of Sunderland in three months – July 5th, 1665”.

No attempt was made to organize proper harbour facilities on the Wear until the mid 17th Century, and the river’s edges were untidy-looking, especially the north bank. Before the first piers were built, the shore at Monkwearmouth was wide open to the sea, scoured by every tide, silted-up and then washed down again. Year after year, coal went out in the collier brigs and thousands of tons of sand came in. Navigation through the sand banks and mud banks was apparently not the only hazard, for it is recorded that in June 1667 “a fleet of 100 light colliers coming from Southward and in sight of Sunderland were struck by a storm with at least one half of them lost”.

In matters of religion, the country witnessed many turbulent years. Some years after Charles II secretly agreed to declare his conversion to Catholicism and subsequently to restore it to Britain, he issued his Declaration of Indulgence (March, 1672) permitting freedom of worship and assumed the right to cancel all penal legislation against both Protestants and Catholics.

Against the background of intermittent wars with Holland and France, a number of parliaments of Charles II were began and dissolved; plots of his assassinations discovered, culminating in his death in 1685. He was succeeded by his brother as James II of England and VII of Scotland. In 1688, James II issued his Declaration of Liberty of Conscience which, although professing toleration for all religions, clearly favoured Catholics. The ‘Glorious Revolution’ began when a son, James Stuart was born to James II, opening up the prospect of a succession of Catholic Kings. To counter this, Tory leaders invited the King’s son-in-law, William III of Orange, to save Britain from Catholicism. He accepted and Parliament subsequently offered the Crown to William and his wife Mary as joint sovereigns. On their accession in 1689, the name of Nonconformist was changed to that of Protestant Dissenter.

In the year 1689, Dame Dorothy, wife of Baronet Thomas Williamson bought the Monkwearmouth estates from her nephew. Upon her death in 1699, she gave the following charities, yearly, to the poor of the towns of : North Weremouth Town – 1 Pound; North Weremouth Shore – 3 Pounds; Sunderland – 2 pounds

Monkwearmouth burials, 1683-1706

  An article entitled ‘Monkwearmouth Registers, 1683-1706’ appeared in the Wearmouth Magazine for December 1882. It was written by Edward J. Taylor F.S.A. who was lent a copy of the burials from the original register by W.H.D Longstaffe, Esq F.S.A. of Gateshead. The list contains 333 burial entries over a 24-year period (an average of 14 burials per annum!), indicating the small population of the five townships.


Year Period No of burials
1683 April 6 – March 23 11
1684 April 28 – March 21 15
1685 April 19 – February 21 12
1686 April 21 – March 20 14
1687 April 3 – March 24 18
1688 April 13 – March 11 12
1689 May 6 – March 23 12
1690 March 29 – March 16 14
1691 June 25 – March 14 11
1692 April 2 – March 24 31
1693 May 6 – February 20 9
1694 April 20 – November 23 6
1695 April 23 – February 2 20
1696 April 19 – March 21 12
1697 April 4 – March 11 9
1698 April 29 – March 12 19
1699 April 27 – February 19 11
1700 June 2 – March 9 15
1701 April 14 – March 4 11
1702 May 10 – March 19 12
1703 April 13 – February 19 17
1704 April 30 – December 26 8
1705 April 2 – March 16 16
1706 March 26 – March 24 18

By the close of the seventeenth century, the export of coals from Sunderland had been greatly increased, despite the numerous tax impositions by parliament on coal exports. In 1695, five shillings per chaldron (thirty six bushels, Winchester measure) were ordered by parliament to be levied on coals. In the following years, a petition for the owners of ships were brought into parliament against this imposition; and at the same time set forth that, by a late storm, they had lost nearly two hundred sail of ships, worth upwards of two hundred thousand pounds.

Between 1704 to 1710, the average exportation of coals from Sunderland annually was 65,760 chaldrons (approx. 92,000 tons). It is interesting to compare this to the 11,648 tons a century earlier.

The River Wear Commissioners were established in 1717 to ensure that the Wear was navigable from the mouth as far as Biddick; finance for this was provided by a duty on coal and cinders (coke) loaded onto vessels on the river. The first engineer in the employment of the Commissioners was a Mr James Fawcett who, in 1719, prepared a plan of the mouth of the River Wear. This plan showed the hazards for ships entering the river to collect their cargoes of coal, lime, salt and glass. The Commissioners began construction of the South Pier in 1723; additions and alterations continued throughout the 18th century.

In 1727, the coal-owners in the county of Durham signed a seven year agreement not to sell coals to any fitter for less than eleven shillings and sixpence per chaldron. In 1738, a petition was presented to the House of Commons by the glass makers, brewers etc., of London, protesting against the excessive price of coals. On this occasion, counter petitions were sent from the coal-owners of Durham, Sunderland and Newcastle, and the fitters of these places. A rapid increase appears to have taken place in the export of coals from Sunderland between the years 1710 and 1748; the number of chaldrons shipped in the latter year amounting to 147,403 (approx. 206,000 tons). It is estimated that by 1750, there were between 500-600 keelmen on the Wear.

As previously stated, the parish of Monkwearmouth is divided into five townships viz Monkwearmouth, Monkwearmouth-shore, Fulwell, Southwick and Hilton. The township of Monkwearmouth is of great antiquity and has been universally held under lease from the Dean and Chapter of Durham. Sir Hedworth Williamson was lord of the manor and proprietor of majority of the buildings which were erected under lease from him. He died in 1789, aged about 65.  Monkwearmouth-shore is comparatavily of modern date, and owes its consequence to the extensive shipbuilding yards which during the Napoleonic war were established there. Nothing remarkable is recorded in history regarding the township of Fulwell, other than the discovery in 1759 of a gigantic human skeleton measuring nine feet six inches in length, and some Roman coins, on what was called Fulwell Hills. The township of Southwick, situated about one mile from Monkwearmouth, was an extremely pleasant village commanding fine views of the surrounding country.  The township of Hilton is situated about three miles from Monkwearmouth. Hilton Manor, with the castle, was the possession of the family of the Hiltons before the Norman Conquest, and continued over seven hundred years, to the time of John Hilton Esq., the last male heir who died there in 1746.

The Fire

The Revd. Thomas Gooday (son of Bartholomew Goodday of Penrith) was Perpetual Curate of Monkwearmouth St. Peter’s church from 1742 to 1768. He was an admirer and close friend of John Wesley the evangelist and founder of the Methodist Movement, who preached a number of times in Monkwearmouth church. The Revd. Goodday died in January, 1768 and was succeeded by the Revd. Jonathan Ivison who also welcomed Wesley. Jonathan Ivison had previously been the curate at Whitburn under Edward Hinton, rector, since 1753. In August 1774, aged 57, he married Isabella, aged 17, the youngest daughter of Mr Edward Watson, surgeon. They had several children, most of whom died in infancy. Notwithstanding the demands of his earlier years in the curacy, none could have been so torturous as 1790 when, during the early hours of a April morning,  it is believed that a candle knocked over by him had started a fire in his homely residence in Monkwearmouth Hall. The matter weighed heavily on him and possibly contributed to his death in 1792, aged 75.

The following statement appears in the inside cover of a church book entitled ‘Copy Birth Register, 1702-1790’.

Parish of Monkwearmout
County and in the Diocese of Durham 

     Be it known unto all Persons concerned that on the Twelfth day of April in the Year of our Lord One Thousand seven hundred and ninety, a terrible fire broke out in the Dwelling house of the Reverend Jonathan Ivison, Minister of Monkwearmouth in the said County which entirely destroyed the same, together with all the Household Furniture therewith belonging, and amongst other Articles, the Registers of Marriages, Christnings, and Burials belonging the said Parish (being of great Antiquity) were totally consumed, Except the Registers of marriages from the Sixteenth day of October in the Year of our Lord One Thousand seven hundred and eighty five, the Registers of Christnings from the Second day of September One Thousand seven hundred and Seventy nine, and the Registers of Burials from the First day of January One Thousand seven hundred and sixty eight, down to the time when the above fatal Accident happened.

     And Whereas at a meeting of the Principal Inhabitants of the said Parish held at the Vestry on the Fourth day of January One Thousand seven hundred and ninety one it was deem’d necessary to take the Opinion of a Learned Council in the Law, together with the Opinion of the Arch Deacon of the Diocese, what Mode was to be adopted to replace such Registers so Destroyed by the Fire, when they propos’d an Advertizement to be inserted in the Newcastle Newspapers for every person concern’d to fetch Copies of such Private Registers as they had in their Possession to the Vestry where Attendance was given by the Church Wardens and several of the Principal Inhabitants of the said Parish every Tuesday for the Purpose of Entering the same in this Book.

     We the Minister; Church Wardens and Principal Inhabitants whose names are hereunder Subscribed do upon Oath testify to the Truth of the Premises as Witness our Hands the Eighteenth day of February in the Year of our Lord One Thousand seven hundred and ninety one. Sworn at Sunderland the 18th day of February One Thousand seven hundred & ninety one. Before us:

(signed) Chrisr. Hull Jonathan Ivison Curate, Thomas Gibson Subcurate, Thos Bell &
Willm. Ettrick Joseph Yellowly (Church-Wardens); Geo. Longstaff, Thomas Burn,
Wm. Robinson Thos Cole, John Davison, Jos. Tulip Parish Clerk – parishioners

So it was that a register of births was started in January 1791, each of the churchwardens entering birth and/or baptismal information as received. Two separate registers were started, one on 25 January, the other on 8 February, 1791. Both ran concurrently throughout 1791. All the entries were made by either one of the churchwardens or by the curate Jonathan Ivison, and later by his successor, Thomas Gibson who married Jonathan’s widow Isabella.

As one would expect, the replacement entries are incomplete – after all, only a tiny minority of the population would read the Newcastle papers of the day; family Bibles might be few or memories short and, of course, as in any age, many people would simply not bother to come forward. A few notations had been inserted by the church wardens Matthew Brod(e)rick and John Avery as late as 1797.

The front cover of the register book (EP/Mo.SP 6 in the Durham Record Office) measuring 23.5 x 15cm has a label boldly marked ‘Copy of Registers for Births’ and within it a faint notation: ‘By witnesses after fire’. The “first” register begins on page 5, the previous four being blank. An example of the format showing signatures in the attested entries, is shown below:

Register of Births, Page 5

1775     Ambrose son of Edwd. & Mary Kipling of Monkwth Shore
Feb 5    Cordwainer Born Feby 5th 1775.

1777     Robt. son of the above Born July 5th 1777.
July 5

The above taken from a copy in my possession Jany 25th 1791 –
Witness my hand (signed) Edward Kipling

1765       Anna Sophia Abbs daughter of the Revd. Cooper and Ann Abbs
Dec 1     of Monkwearmouth Born Dec 1st 1765.

1769        George Cooper Abbs son of the above
Jun 23     Born June 23rd 1769

1771       Bryan Abbs son of the above
Apr 23     Born April 23rd 1771

The above taken from a copy in my possession Jany 25th 1791 –
Witness my hand (signed) Cooper Abbs

1767        Forster the son of George & Hannah Spurs of Monkwearmouth
Oct 13     Shore, mariner Born Oct 13th 1767

The baptism entries for Monkwearmouth St. Peter’s that are available on the Durham Records Online web site are a combination of entries in the surviving baptismal registers, Bishop’s Transcripts, and the various birth registers started after the 1790 fire in an attempt to recapture the earlier births.

Monkwearmouth Hearth Tax Returns:1666 & 1674

Monkwearmouth Hearth Tax Returns

by Ken Coleman

A hearth tax was levied in England and Wales from 1662 to 1689. It was a tax of two shillings each year on each fireplace, hearth or stove. Some people, such as paupers, were exempt from paying the tax. The law also exempted householders for whom the local incumbent or parish officers provided a certificate that their houses were worth less than a rent of twenty shillings (one pound) per year and who owned goods or chattels worth less than ten pounds. Most charitable institutions, such as hospitals and almshouses, were also exempt as were industrial hearths (except smiths’ forges and bakers’ ovens).

Each year’s tax was payable in two equal installments, on Lady Day (25 March) and Michaelmas (29 September). Tax was payable by the occupier of a property or, if a building was empty, by the owner. After May 1664 landlords had to pay the tax for tenanted property if the occupier was exempt. Furthermore, anyone with more than two hearths became liable to pay the tax even if they otherwise have been exempt. The tax was unpopular and widespread evasion resulted in many names being omitted from the records. Although paupers and some other people were not chargeable, the law required them to be listed from 1663.

The hearth tax assessments are arranged by county, then by hundred and (within each hundred) by parish. Originals of hearth tax returns for Monkwearmouth and environs are to be found within Chester Ward East.  Commencing in 1663, there are various enrolled returns and schedules through to 1674. Many of the entries are illegible. However, those for 1666 and 1674 have been indexed alphabetically and are set out below.

Hearth Tax Returns – 1666 (Lady Day Assessment)

Hearth owner # of hearths Hearth owner # Hearth owner # Hearth owner #
Bell, Cuth. 1 Gowland, Christ. 3 Smur….., John 3 Atkison, Tho. 1
Boyd, Stephen 2 Hall, Francis 4 Smurfield, Robt. 2 Byant, Robert 3
Brown, Geo. 1 Harrison, John 3 Talion, Stephen 2 Gray, Geo. 7
Brown, Rich. 3 Hodgson, Geo. 4 Thompson, Will. 5 Read, Eliza. 1
Chapman, Rich. 1 Hudmand, Will. 4 Watson, James 2 R..oxby, Geo. 1
Colley, Will. 2 King, Thos. 2 Whitehead, Matt. 2 Waiks, Geo. 2
Collion, Thos. 3 Ogle, Eliza. 3 Waiks, Thos. 2
Crisks (?), Arthur 1, John 3 Suddick:
Crisks (?), Isabel 1 Shepherdson, Ralph 3 Atkison, Ralph 2
Dinlay, Christ. 2 Shepherdson, Will. 4 Atkison, Ralph 2

Hearth Tax Returns – 1666 (Non-solvents)

Addyson, M 1 Dupoort, ……. 1 Shotton, Wm. 1 L….ord, …. 1
Bambrough, Wm. 2 Dyson, John 1 Snowdon, Wm. 1 Morris, Tho. 1
Bell, Ellinor 1 Ellis, Eliz. 1 Taylor, Mary 1 Page, Hen. 1
Bell, William 1 Fi…, Tho. 1 Thompson, Robt. 1 Page, Wm. 1
(B)..k(?)eston, …an 1 Foster, Eliz. 2 Thompson, William 1 Ro…., Hen. 1
Bland. Willm. 1 Gowland, Ellinor 1 Tinmouth, Geo. 1 R…bie, …. 1
Boyd, John 1 Harryson, A…. 1 Tinmouth, John 1 Snale, Rich. 1
Brown, John 1 Harygad (?), Nich. 1 Todd, Rich. 1 Turpin, Ann 1
Brown, John 1 Johnson, John 1 (U)..sha, John 1 (2 faint entries)
Brown, William 1 King, Thos. 2
Burns, Wm. 2 Lilburne(e), Geo. 1 Suddick:
Chapman, R… 2 Meburn, Robt. 2 Almond, Eliz. 1
Craggs, Geo. 1 Potts, Ann 1 Bainbridge, Marg (?) 1
Crisks (?), Arthur (?) 1 R(e)ay, Fr…. 1 Bell, Rich. 1
Crisks (?), Isabel 2 Rea(y), John 1 Corke, Willm. 1
Doboson, Tho. 1 Sadler, Ben. 2 Lombard, Jane 1
Duglass, A…. 1 Shepherd, Wm. 1 Lowe, …… 2

Hearth Tax Returns – 1674 (Lady Day Assessment)

Balmbrough, Wm. 1 Shepherdson, Ra., Mr 3 Taylor, Anth. 1 Hilton, Jo., Esq 9
Bell, Cuth. 1 Shepherdson, Willm., Mr 4 Taylor, Jo. 1 Hilton, Wm. 2
Bell, Wm. 1 Scurfield (?), Wm. 2 Wake, Rich. 2 Hunter, Tho. 1
Bevan, Rich. 2 Taylor, Ralph 2 Wake, Tho. 2 Meggison, Clemt. 1
Brankston, ……. ? Thompson, Wm. 1 Young, John 3 Page, Jo. 2
Brown, Jo. 1 Thompson, Wm. 3 Pemberton, Jo., Mr 2
Clarke, Jo. 4 Thompson, Wm. 2 Hilton: Simey, Jo. 1
Coal (?), Wm. 2 Whitehead, Math. 2 Bell, Jo. 2 Smith, Jo. 1
Collions, Tho. 2 ……..fod, Tho. 2 Bell, ….. 1 Sparrow, Jo. 1
Craggs, Jo. 2 Bew……., …… 1 Sparrow, Tho. 1
(F?otherly, …..) 1 Fulwell & Suddick: Billington, Ra. 2 Stiroggs (?), Geo. 2
Gill, …. 2 Allinson, Geo. 2 Bowman, Tho. 1 S..lby, Rich. 1
Gowling, ….. 2 Allinson, Ra. 2 Brough, Jo. 2 Walton, Jo. 1
Halliman, …… Mr 2 Allinson, Tho. 2 Carnaby, Jo. 1 Wilson, ….. 1
Hardcastle (?), Rich. 5 Gray, Geo., Mr 6 Cumin, …… 1 Wood, Jo. 1
Harrison, Jo. 4 Lumley, Ralph 2 Eady (?), Jo. 1
Hodshon, Geo. 3 Martin, Rich. 2 Garnot (?), Rob. 2
Kirkham, Rob. 2 Mathew, Hen. 2 Gibson, Jo. 1 Misc:
Lumford, Jo. 4 Mills, Wm. 1 Gibson, Rob. 1 …….ell, Rob. 2
Maxwell, Jo. 3 Page, Wm. 1 Hilton, Geo. 2 ………, Jo. 2
Page, Hen. 1 Reed, Wm. 1 Hilton, Geo. 1 ..…….., ….. 1

Monkwearmouth residents in Sunderland-area parish records

Monkwearmouth Inhabitants mentioned in Bishopwearmouth & other parish records (1602-1770)

This listing was compiled by Ken Coleman in order to fill some of the gaps created by the loss of the early registers of St Peters church, Monkwearmouth.



Elizabeth d Peter Greene, Ford.


Bartholomew s Peter Greene ‘of ye Ferrie boate on Monkwearmouth side’

May 1 1675

Extract: a note of the several parcels of a stock of money belonging to the Poor of the Town of Bishop Wearmouth and in who(se) hand it is and also stand bound for it to the Minister and Churchwarden at this present

William Shipperdson and Robert Gowland of Monkwearmouth for forty pounds. Ralph Shipperdson of Monkwearmouth & Mr William Fawcet for fifteen pounds.


Mary d James Garret of Monkwearmouth.


John s Edward Metcalf of Monkwearmouth (Kirk Merrington regs)



William Buteman of P of Monkwearmouth married Dorothy Elstob of the Ford.


Thomas Hall of Fulwell of the P of Monkwearmouth, s of Clement Hall of Bavington, Northumberland, married Alice d Robert Bilton of Bishopwearmouth.


John s Thomas Coates of Sunderland of the P of Bishopwearmouth & Ann Chambers d of William Walters of Monkwearmouth.


Thomas Allison & Elizabeth Scurfield, both of the P of Monkwearmouth.


William Syme of Hilton of the P of Monkwearmouth & Ann Cowlee of Sunderland of the P of Bishopwearmouth.


Thomas Codling of Fulwell in the P of Monkwearmouth.


Richard s Richard Taylor of the salt panns in the P of Bishopwearmouth & Dorothy Page of Monkwearmouth.


Anthony Young of Monkwearmouth married Mary Robinson.


Thomas Gray of Monkwearmouth P married Elizabeth Hickson.


John Bulmire of Monkwearmouth married Elizabeth Blaikston, Wearmouth.


Jane Garret of Monkwearmouth parish married Edward Wood of Panns.


Robert Shipperdson (‘Shepherdson’), fitter of Monkwearmouth married Dorothy Sydgewicke (‘Sedgewick’) of Sunderland.


Nicholas Fodderingham of Monkwearmouth, boatbuilder, married Sarah Robinson of Sunderland.


Will. Little of Monkwearmouth married Jane Annison of Sunderland.


William Abbs & Mary Bryan, Lic, Monkwearmouth.


George Sanderson of Monkwearmouth & Ann Spence, Wearmouth.


John Johnson of Monkwearmouth & Jane Halliday, Pallion.



Robert Bowes, gent of Monkwearmouth.


Nicholas Bryan, Monkwearmouth


Barbara wife of Richard Boyes, Monkwearmouth Shore


Edward Boyes, Monkwearmouth


Richard Boyes, Monkwearmouth


Ann Hart, widow, Monkwearmouth


Mary, wife of John Brown, Monkwearmouth


Mary d Oswald Brankston, Monkwearmouth


Ann Kell, Monkwearmouth


Elizabeth wife of Charles Stoddart, Monkwearmouth


Richard Hardcastle, Monkwearmouth.


Isabel Hardcastle, widow, Monkwearmouth.


Elizabeth d Richard Hardcastle, Monkwearmouth


Isabel d William Harper, deceased, Monkwearmouth


Ralph s John Robinson, Ford, Monkwearmouth.


John Boyes, Monkwearmouth


Thomas s Thomas Stoddart (‘Stothard’), Ford.


Margaret Oliver, Monkwearmouth


James Davison, from Monkwearmouth (Sunderland regs**)


Elizabeth wife of George Steward, Monkwearmouth


Mr Thomas Watson, mariner, aged 33, Monkwearmouth


James Rutherford, labourer, aged 58, Monkwearmouth


Mary d George Tate, sailor, aged 1, Monkwearmouth


Nicholas s Nicholas Tinmouth, mariner, 2, Monkwearmouth


Elizabeth, wife of Richard Pemberton, Customs Officer, 36, Monkwearmouth