At Haydon Bridge St. Cuthbert in the Hexham district of Northumberland ( a new parish for this website):
- 4,363 baptisms spanning 1743-1870
- 3,257 burials spanning 1743-1870
- 236 marriages spanning 1813-1837
Haydon Bridge, or just Haydon, is a chapelry in the parish of Warden. When the monks of Lindisfarne were forced by Danish raiders to take the relics of St. Cuthbert and leave their priory in the 9th century, Haydon Bridge is one of the places the monks rested. There is an ancient chapel there, dating to at least 1190 and possibly earlier. A new church, dedicated to St. Cuthbert, was built in 1796. In the register, the baptism of Cuthbert Snowball on 21 April 1799 is labelled “First baptism in Haydon Bridge Church”. This data set covers both churches, as the congregations ceased using the old church after the new church was built.
Abodes mentioned besides Haydon or Haydon Bridge include Allendale, Allerwiash, Altonside, Black Hills, Bounderlands, Branch End, Brokenheugh, Broomhill, Bush Fell, Catton, Chapel Hill, Chesterwood, Crag Shield or Grag Shield, Crindle Dykes, Cubstocks, Dean Raw or Row, Dinnetley, Elrington or Ellerington, Ellfoot, Fourstones, Gingle Pot, Grays Hill, Greenhead, Grindon Hill, Grindon Shields, Haltwhistle, Harlow Field, Harsondale, Haydon Fell Cottages, Heugh Houses, Hexham, Hunter Crook, Keeper Shield, Ladysheel or Lady Shield, Landends, Lane Foot, Langley, Langley Castle, Langley Hill Top, Langley Mills or Smelt Mills, Lees, Light Birks, Lipwood and Lipwood Well, Low Hall, Mill Hills, Moralee or Morley, Moss Kennel, Newbrough, Newcastle, Nilston Rigg, Padpool, Page Croft, Peelwell, Plankey, Plenderheath or Plunderheath, Pryor House, Ratton Raw, Shankfoot, Sillawree or Sillawray, Simonburn, Standalone, Staward, Strother House, Stublick (and Stublick Hill, High Stublick, and Low Stublick), Thorngrafton, Threepwood, Tofts, Vause, Walkup Houses, Wall, Wark, Water House, Wharmley, Whinnetly, Whittoes Hill, Wood Hall, Woodhall Mill, and Woodhouse.
In these baptisms, usually only fathers (or single mothers) and abodes are listed until May 1785, when mothers start appearing consistently with the fathers. Birth dates start appearing in many baptisms in late 1790. For example:
- 17 Apr 1743 Joseph Maughon, of Lipwood, son of the late Joseph Maughon
- 28 Mar 1766 Robert Proud, of Mill Hills, bastard child of Ann Proud
- 9 Oct 1785 Ridley Robson, of Langley, son of Hugh & Mary Robson
- 5 Jun 1791 Joseph Pigg, of Haydon Bridge, born 30 Nov 1790, son of Joseph & Ann Pigg
1798 through 1812 presents the usual marvelous detail of that period: child’s birth date and birth order in the family, mother’s maiden surname, nativity of both father and mother, some maternal grandfathers, a few paternal grandfathers, and from April 1799 onward, the father’s occupation. For example:
- 4 May 1800 Stephen Dodd, of Grindon Millhills, born 26 Mar, son of Stephen Dodd (shepherd, son of Edward Dodd of Millhills, labourer, native of the parish of Simonburn in Northumberland) by his wife Elspeth Allen (daughter of Thomas Allen, native of the parish of Haltwhistle in Northumberland)
- 23 Nov 1812 Jane Elliott, of Hugh House, born 21 Nov, 2nd daughter of Edward Elliott (mason, native of this Chapelry) by his wife Jane Errington (native of the parish of St. John Lee)
From 1769 forward, this data set is a combination of the original parish register and the Bishop’s Transcript. At first, these two documents were very consistent with each other. In mid-1784, the responsibility for preparing the BT was handed off to a new Curate and a new Vicar, and the accuracy and completeness of the copying took a sharp plunge. From that point onward, until the end of 1812, this parish presents the most extreme variation between an original register and a Bishop’s Transcript that we have ever seen. Remember, the BT is supposed to be an exact copy of the register, made at the end of the year (or more commonly, at the old calendar end of the year, in late March) and sent to the Bishop of Durham. Of course there are errors and omissions made during the copying process – we expect some of that – but in this case, out of 785 baptisms between mid-1784 and the end of 1812, we found:
- 68 baptisms in the parish register that didn’t get copied into the Bishop’s Transcript. Often this error resulted in two baptisms being combined in the Bishop’s Transcript, or the date from the missing baptism being used for the next baptism in the Bishop’s Transcript.
- 8 baptisms that did not appear in the parish register but did appear in the Bishop’s Transcript – presumably added by the clerk when he was making the transcript.
- In the 1798-1812 period, the Bishop’s Transcript often lists the the mother’s name, her father, and the child’s birth order (7th daughter, 4th son, etc.) , but the original register does not contain this information. This is very puzzling. It’s easy to understand how the clerk might have remembered a few baptisms at the end of the year and added them when making the Bishop’s Transcript, but it’s much harder to believe he could have remembered all of these details. Did he re-interview all the parents, or was he working from another register or another document that no longer exists? The latter seems more likely.
- In that same period, the father’s occupation was often listed in the parish register but for some reason was not copied to the Bishop’s Transcript.
- Even more puzzling, in some cases, the original register shows the mother’s nativity without her name (for example, it might say “by his wife, native of Chollerton”), and the Bishop’s Transcript shows her name but not her nativity (“by his wife, Ann Makepeace”).
For all of the baptisms, we have combined the complementary information from both documents – for example, in the last case above, you would see “by his wife Ann Makepeace, native of Chollerton”. Here’s a sample of a combined entry:
- 8 Jun 1800 James Welton, born 26 Apr, son (1st son by her and 5th to the father) of Michael Welton (shoemaker, native of this Chapelry) by his wife Hannah Kirk [Waugh] (daughter of Isaac Waugh, native of Haltwhistle, Northumberland, relict of John Kirk, native of Haltwhistle)
[Note: the register lists the mother as Hannah Kirk, but the Bishop’s Transcript provides her parentage and the explanation.]
There was a lot of conflict between given names in the original register versus the Bishop’s Transcript. The register might say “Ann, daughter of Mary” and the original register might say “Elizabeth, daughter of Ann”. In general, we consider the original register to be the primary source, but we found quite a few cases where, when compared to other baptisms in the family, the original register appeared to be wrong and the Bishop’s Transcript appeared to be right – in other words, the Bishop’s Transcript was correcting an error made in the original register. Because we can’t always tell which name is correct, we decided to include both versions and annotate these with explanations. For example:
- 9 Dec 1798 John [Thomas] Sheel, of Page Croft, born 10 Nov, 2nd son of Thomas Sheel (native of this Chapelry) by his wife Jane Sheel (native of the parish of Chollerton in Northumberland)
[Note: the Bishop’s Transcript calls the child Thomas.]
There were also many cases where the child’s birth order was stated differently in the Bishop’s Transcript; for those, we have used the birth order from the original register, thinking it is more likely to be correct – but birth order should always be taken with a grain of salt, as it was often mis-remembered by the parents, especially if they had lost one or more children earlier.
After 1812, the Bishop’s Transcript again mirrors the original register pretty closely, and the baptisms are straightforward:
- 5 Feb 1815 Thompson Sparke, of Page Croft, son of William (pitman) & Jane Sparke
- 9 Oct 1836 Mary Askew, of High Lipwood, daughter of Benjamin (hind) & Mary Askew
- 5 Jan 1850 Mary Martinson, of Nilston Rigg, daughter of William (husbandman) & Margaret Martinson
- 21 Mar 1860 Robert Benson, of Woodhall Mill, son of Septimus George Benson (farmer and millwright) & Mary Benson
- 20 Oct 1870 John Teasdale Watson, of Haydon Bridge, son of George (railway porter) & Jane Watson
A note in the register in the middle of 1850 says that a sheet was omitted when the book was bound, so 16 baptisms between 22 June and 30 July are missing.
The burials exhibited similar differences between the original register and the Bishop’s Transcript between 1784 and 1812, so those too are a combination of the information found in each document. Out of 520 burials in that period, 34 didn’t get copied from the register to the BT, 10 were found in the BT that weren’t in the original register, and many burials had different pieces of information in each document, including many ages found only in the BT. Samples:
- 28 Mar 1743 Edward Heslop, of Dean Raw, son of Cuthbert Heslop
- 25 Apr 1765 Mary Howdon, of Chesterwood, widow of the late William Howdon
- 6 Jan 1786 Francis Garr [Carr], of Light Birks
[Note: Garr in the original register; Carr in the Bishop’s Transcript.]
- 13 Jul 1798 Benjamin Hindhaugh, of Haydon Bridge, age: 54, died 11 Jul, shoemaker
- 2 Dec 1801 Margaret Urwin, of Haydon Bridge, age: 69, died 30 Nov, wife of John Urwin (labourer)
[Note: this burial is found only in the Bishop’s Transcript, not in the original register.]
- 30 Sep 1811 Ann Leach, of Haydon Bridge, age: 63, died 28 Sep, wife of Thomas Leach (white lead manufacturer)
- 1 Mar 1820 Robert Makepeace, of Haydon Bridge, age: 81
- 25 Feb 1834 John Fairlamb, of Haydon Bridge, age: 94
- 26 Jan 1853 Matthew Robson, of Sudbury Hill, parish of Wark, age: 61
- 22 Jun 1870 Mary Jane Errington Armstrong, of Albert House, Haydon Bridge, age: 15
Marriage samples (the marriages from 1 July 1837 to the end of 1837 have the full civil registration details):
- 20 Nov 1819 John Robson (of this parish) married Ann Humble (of the parish of Jarrow in the County of Durham), by banns
Witnesses: Matthew Pattison; Robert Woodman
- 20 Dec 1837 Joshua Liddell (bachelor, butcher, full age, of Greenhead, parish of Haltwhistle, son of John Liddell, farmer) married Margaret Cowing (spinster, full age, of Low Hall, daughter of John Cowing, farmer), by licence
Witnesses: Ralph Cowing; Ann Cowing
Finally, while we were checking some of these records against other sources, we happened upon the fascinating Flood Papers. In November 1771, there was a massive flood on the River Tyne and many of the residents in the communities along the river (including Haydon Bridge) sustained huge losses. Monetary subscriptions were taken up from those who could afford to help, and payments were distributed to those who had losses. Inventories and witness testimonies were submitted to describe and value each person’s loss, and those for Haydon Bridge can be seen here. This document provides a unique look into the lives of some of the residents in 1771-1772. For example, John Atkinson of Haydon Bridge had a timber yard and lost many valuable pieces of wood, Michael and Edward Topping of Mill Hills lost numerous sheep, John Coulson & John Oliver, joiners, lost their tools and wood, and several maltsters lost barrels of barley so they were unable to make ale (perhaps the most serious tragedy!). Many homes were emptied of furniture, clothing, and food, and many farmers lost their stock of hay and had trouble feeding their livestock over the winter. If you read further, you will find some personal accounts of how people survived the flood and how devastating it was for them. In the declaration of Adam Atkin of Newbrough, several people swore to the value of his loss and one wrote “Adam Atkin is a poor industrious man and has a family of several small children”.