Whitfield baptisms & burials 1762-1876, marriages 1754-1876

From the rural parish of Whitfield in Haltwhistle district, in the southwest corner of Northumberland where Northumberland, Cumberland, and County Durham all come together:

  • 1,120 baptisms covering 1762-1876
  • 1,039 burials covering 1762-1876
  • 339 marriages covering 1754-1876, including 80 with full civil-registration-era details

Whitfield is an ancient parish and nowadays is dedicated to Holy Trinity, but the earlier church was dedicated to St John. Holy Trinity was dedicated in 1860 and replaced St. John’s church, which had been on the site since at least 1785 (and was preceded before that by another church; there is mention of a church here as early as 1180.) Many of the stones from St. John’s were used in the building of Holy Trinity. During the period covered, Whitfield was mostly uncultivated moorlands, sparsely populated by shepherds, farmers, lead miners and smelters.

These records are from a combination of the original register and the Bishop’s Transcript for maximum detail. For example, in 7 baptisms in 1794, the Bishop’s Transcript gave the mother’s maiden name where the original register did not, and few baptisms were found only in the Bishop’s Transcript, apparently having been added when that copy was created at the end of the year.

For 1798-1812, the clerk did a good job with the baptisms, generally providing parent birthplaces and mother’s father’s names and even some mother’s mother’s names. Sample baptisms:

  • 6 Apr 1762 James Hog, of Tod’s Burn, son of John & Isabel Hog
  • 6 Jul 1783 Hannah [Cowen/Bushby], of Dyke-row, natural daughter of John Cowen & Mary Bushby
  • 5 Jan 1794 John Fairlamb, of Parsonage, son of Hugh Fairlamb & Elizabeth Lowes (now Fairlamb)
    [Note: the mother’s maiden surname is from the Bishop’s Transcript; it was not provided in the original register.]
  • 14 Sep 1811 Jacob Bushby, of Water Meetings, born 7 Jul 1807, 4th son of Matthew Bushby (smelter, native of this parish) by his wife Mary Henderson (daughter of Thomas & Mary Henderson, native of Alston Moor, Cumberland)
  • 11 Jan 1824 Bridget Nixon, of Whitfield Toll Gate, daughter of John (collector of tolls) & Jane Nixon
  • 22 Feb 1852 William Loan, of Town Green, son of George (cartwright & farmer) & Mary Loan

Unfortunately, this clerk recorded the full details for only a few of the 1798-1812 burials, with only sporadic use of maiden names and dropping even those by 1807. However, he did continue including fathers and husbands and occupations until early 1821. Here are some sample burials:

  • 6 Jun 1762 William Stonebanks, of East Bank Head, the elder
  • 11 Feb 1798 Mary Stonebanks late Teasdale, of Woodhouse, Haltwhistle parish, age: 27, wife of John Stonebanks (junior, gentleman), died 9 Feb, decline
  • 26 May 1812 Nicholas Armstrong, of Ding Bell Hill, age: 73, smelter, native of this parish, died 23 May, accidental death having slipped his foot when passing a bridge over a small burn near the Laws and was drowned or killed by the fall
  • 20 Jan 1821 Hannah Summers, of Moscow, Alstone parish, age: 48, widow of Thomas Summers
  • 26 Jun 1837 Cuthbert Hudspith, of Ding Bell Hill, age: 84
  • 11 Jan 1854 Elizabeth Pattinson, of Agar’s Hill, age: 88
  • 10 Apr 1876 Matthew Summers, of Monk, parish of Allendale, age: 80

In the marriages, surprisingly, from 1786 to 1821, the clerk sometimes included the groom’s occupation, which is unusual (and helpful!) for this period. Sample marriages:

  • 24 Mar 1755 William Stonebanks (the younger) of this parish married Ann Shield of this parish, by banns
    Witnesses: John Laverick, the elder; John Laverick, the younger
  • 27 May 1797 Aaron Ellison (bachelor, woodman) of Hunter Gap, Allendale parish married Ann Edger (spinster) of North Dyke Row in this parish, by virtue of a licence
    Witnesses: William Alexander; Joseph Bell
  • 13 Aug 1855 James Lanchester (widower, butler), age 47, of Whitfield Hall, son of William Lanchester (labourer) married Hannah Robson (spinster, housekeeper), age 52, of Whitfield Hall, daughter of John Robson (labourer), by licence
    Witnesses: James Davidson; Mary Ann Davidson

Located near the border of Cumberland, Whitfield parish church was used by quite a few families from the Alston area. Abodes listed besides Whitfield (many of these places are in the nearby parishes of Allendale, Ninebanks,and Haltwhistle): Agar’s Hill, Allendale, Alston, Ashy Bank, Bankfoot, Bears Bridge, Black Cleugh, Bridge Eals, Burn Tongues, Burnmouth, Carrs Mill, Catton, Coanwood, Cook’s Houses, Craig Head, Cupola, Dean Row, Dews Green, Ding Bell Hill, Dod or Dodd Bank, Dryside, Dyke Row, Embley or Emly, Fell House, Frost Hall, Gorbet Hill, Haining Hall and Haining Head, Harsendale, Harsley, Hawk Steel, Hatlwhistle, Hay Leases or Hayleazes, Haydon, Haydon Bridge, Hexham, High Staward, Hinding-head, Hole House, Holly Bush, the Hope or Howp, Hunter Oak, Hunter Shields, Hunters Gap, Keenley, Kingswood,, Knaresdale, Laws, Limestones, Loaning and Loaningside, Lonning Head,┬áMains Rigg, Marshall’s Haugh, Monk, Morely Hill, Nent Head, Nine Banks or Ninebanks, Ousley or Oustly, Oustone, Park Head, Parmently Hall and Row, Pia Troon, Rowside, Side House, Tarry Back, Tod’s Burn, Water Meetings, Whamlands, White Ouston or Oustone, White Walls, Whitfield Hall (and Whitfield Lodge, Office, and Parsonage), Wide Eal or Eals, Wild Anton, Wood Foot, Woodhouse, and Wooley Green.

In an illustration of the variability of spelling in those days, the place now called Pia Troon was spelled Pye Truin, Pytroon, Pytrune, and Pyut Runn in these records.