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Framwellgate Moor Parish

The official website of the Framwellgate Moor Parish Council.
The Pavilion, Front Street, Framwellgate Moor, Durham DH1 5BL


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Richard Ormerod, Parish Clerk:
Tel: 07572 004 256


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The History of Framwellgate Moor, Pity Me and Brasside.

The Parish of Framwellgate Moor, Pity Me and Brasside.

Few guide books to Durham, old and new, even mention the outlying areas of the city, concentrating on the Cathedral, Castle and City. However Murray’s Handbook for Travellers in Durham and Northumberland, 1873, has a lot to say “A turn leads right through a hideous country, in which the lanes, in wet weather, are one quagmire of liquid coal dust, upon which other coal dust is constantly falling through the heavy blackened air, from tall chimneys around. The coal village which is passed through looks its name of “Pity Me” at every corner. The hedges are one blackened wall of smut, the trees leafless skeletons which look as if they were made of cast iron.”

Running through both Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me is the original Great North Road. Leyland in the mid 16 th century said the main road north was only an open track through country which grew a little corn but was mostly mountainous pasture with some moors and firs. The road was managed by the Durham and Tyne Bridge Turnpike between 1746 and 1871, later by the Durham and Chester le Street Highway Board. The stretch from Pity Me crossroads northwards was called Redbriar Bank, named after a house immediately on the left side where the Garden Centre is now.

Between WW1 and WW2 this road became the A1, but lost that name when the Durham motorway opened as the A1 (M). It is now the A167.

Both villages owe their existence to the Framwellgate Colliery, the Old Pit. This was situated at the area now occupied by a housing estate stretching from The Carrs houses to Cross Row, on Pit Lane. The first small pit was opened at this site in 1815 but the large colliery was started in 1838 by the Northern Mining Co. Sinking a shaft through 120ft of strata including quicksands involved a lot of piling and was very expensive. Opening in 1841, it was situated on the edge of the Carrs, a boggy area of uncultivated land then twice as large as now, since it included the whole area of Framwellgate School. It was near a house called Peewit Mires, later, Tewit Mires, long demolished, on what is now Raby Road. The colliery, which had bankrupted its original owners, came into the ownership of the Marchioness of Londonderry in 1859.

Her purchase included 44 workmen’s houses and one for the agent, both on Front St and Pit Road. Most of these still exist today. By the 1880s it was owned by the Framwellgate Coal and Coke Co., a subsidiary of the Acklam Ironworks of Middlesborough. It mainly worked the Hutton and Busty seams, the latter having four drawing shafts, Caterhouse, Framwellgate, Aykley Heads and Durham Main. Around half the output went to make coke, using banks of brick built beehive ovens. The 239 ovens were closed before WW1, due to the reduced amount of coal mined. Firebricks using the mined shale were also made until 1890. In 1896 there were 715 miners falling to 181 in 1924, the year when the seams were exhausted and the pit closed. The site eventually became a Durham County Council Repair Depot before a housing estate was built in recent years. Fatalities at Old Pit were high, at least sixty two, from the youngest a boy of eleven falling down the shaft when the winding rope broke in 1863 to the oldest, a man of seventy four who was crushed by a set of tubs in 1874.

The partner pit, Caterhouse, also called New Pit, High Pit or Dryburn Grange, was opened in 1894 with a more straight forward shaft sinking to the Brass Thill seam. These pits were connected both underground, and over ground by wagonway. All coal from Caterhouse was taken to the Old Pit for screening. A crossing keeper stopped traffic on the Great North Road, using a red flag to let the engines and wagons pass. One 0-6-0 tank engine, was called “Cetewayo”, named after the last King of the independent Zulu nation who was defeated in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. There was a small signal cabin, as well as a coal depot at this point, so buyers could load their carts near to the road.

The wagonway from Old Pit went gently downhill near to the Newton Grange pub to cross the Wear on the wooden Brasside bridge before joining the Lambton Railway system. In 1857 a new section of the wagonway joined the recently constructed North East Railway at Frankland Junction, near to the level crossing on Frankland Lane. This railway, built by George Hudson “The Railway King”, ran from Bishop Auckland, over the Wear on the eight arched stone and brick Belmont Viaduct to Leamside, where it joined the main route to Sunderland.

The wagonway still exists as a footpath that connects the Carrs local nature reserve and the Caterhouse pit site. As it crosses the busy A167 the main route is by a diversion through a tunnel under it and a path across a field before a left turn to the area of the New Pit and its wooded pit heaps, long reclaimed by undergrowth and wildlife, with several seats to rest and listen to the birds. There are at present (2020) plans to build an extensive housing estate surrounding this much frequented area.

Pity Me Carrs is a varied area of ponds, wooded areas, heath and bog, but no stream. It is prone to flooding and is a habitat for the great crested newt as well as other wildlife. About forty years ago there was a smallholding in the corner of the wagonway and the Old Pit area. The ponies and goats kept tree growth down. Now long gone, tree cover has increased enormously since then, although some trees died during flood years. The name Pity Me may come from “petty mere” (small pond) or “petit mer” or “pitty mere” or possibly just an ironic name for the desolate spot that it would have been in the past. No one knows for certain.

Framwellgate Moor, familiarly known as “Fram” or “The Moor” was an area of land enclosed under the 1801 Enclosure Act, being within the chapelry of St Margaret’s, in the parish of St Oswald’s. The name means “The Street of the Strong Spring on the Moor” from Old English and Norse. The spring was situated near Crook Hall and Framwellgate Peth in Durham, and supplied water to much of the city. Maps of 1809 show 17 farms, and a small group of houses to the south west of Front St, the old Great North Road, called Durham Moor Houses. The estimated population was about 300.

An early farm near the Great North Road at Framwellgate Moor was called Cater House. This, also called Caddenhouse Farm, was first recorded in 1564 under the name of Cade House, possibly named after the owner, Geoffrey de Catden. In 1597 3 there are mentions of a kitchen, cowhouse and three enclosures. It was part of the Hagg House estate, belonging to the Bowes Family. Hagg House, still a farm off Abbey Road, was also called Scite House, according to the Victoria County History, meaning the house of dung. The Hagg estate itself came under the Newton estate, around the original Newton Hall, being divided by marriage in 1567. The part including Cater House passed through the Atkinson family to the Richardson family, tanners and maltmen of Durham. When John Richardson died in 1684 he was under the sentence of excommunication from the bishop so was buried in his own orchard. His wife, Ann, was also buried here in 1690. Photos exist of the gravestone, a large whinstone one 6ft by 4ft 8in, but it is now lost. The house, just to the north of New College, was demolished in 1996. The Richardson family retained it until it was bought by the Rev. John Fawcett.

Nearly all the development took place on this side of the road in early Victorian times. The Colliery owners could not cut their expenditure on the pit so economised on housing for the workers they needed to attract. They built rows of tiny mostly one storey terraces, with an open drain running down the middle of each pair. From the north the original names were Dyke Row, and The Cottages, which together are now North Terrace, Newcastle Row, now Newcastle Terrace, Durham Row, now Durham Terrace, Close Row and Pump Row, both now demolished, and Smoky Row, now called Garden Avenue. Ash privies, or netties, were in groups in the middle or the end of the rows. A shared pump for water, unpaved roads, poor drainage, overcrowding, open ashpits and a constant battle against dirt and noise made life hard for all.

An enquiry report written in 1924 called “Coal and Power”, chaired by David Lloyd George, describes the conditions in the Terraces then, just after Fram and Caterhouse pits were closed. Some houses had two rooms which had originally been two separate houses. Others were two roomed damp cottages with tiny attics, reached by ladder.

All had very small yards and shared privies, usually in poor conditions. The population of the whole parish in 1831 was 1584 growing steadily to 5105 by 1901 and 6211 in 2011. The land on the east side of the road was owned by the Rev. Robert Hopper Williamson. This had little development at first, only the church, the first school, later the church hall, and the Granby pub. Now named The Marquis of Granby this pub built between 1809 and 1837 is named after the Lieutenant –General famous for commanding the cavalry during the Seven Years’ War in Germany and his practice of setting up the old soldiers of this regiment as publicans when they were too old to serve.

Behind the pub is an area once known as Ball Alley due to the high brick wall once used for playing hand ball. This was played as singles or doubles. Players had to hit a hard ball, about the size of a tennis ball, above a painted line on the wall about 1m above the ground. Twenty one points were needed to win the game. Quoits were also a very popular game in the villages, with a pitch at one time behind the Lambton Hounds, now La Spada, in Pity Me.

Football was and is the most popular game of all, with pitches at both Fram and Pity Me where council houses were later built. Games are still played on Fram School playing fields, and behind New College. A number of famous footballers of former days came from the area, Jackie Mordue, Ginger Richardson, and George Camsell. The latter is remembered in a street off Front St. called Camsell Court. In commemoration of King George V a scheme was set up to help provide children’s play areas. In 1958 the Parish Council by means of a grant from the scheme (25%) and a loan (75%) repayable through the rates built a recreation area at a total cost of £8300. Off Front St,this area with play facilities, much improved in recent years, tennis and basketball courts, bowling green and clubhouse was set up on the old village ash heap. There are two memorial plaques, on the left a Lion, holding a Royal shield with the words George V underneath and the date A.D. 1910-1936. On the right is a Unicorn holding a similar shield with the words “King George’s Field” underneath.

Fram was always plentifully supplied with pubs. At Durham Moor Houses the Black Boy first appears on the 1850’s map, but was demolished around 1910, although the name persisted for many years as that of a nearby roundabout and bus stop. A suite of offices nearby is also named Blackmoor Court. The Salutation Pub was on the wedge of land between Finchale Road and Front St. After a number of refurbishments it finally closed and was converted into a Gregg’s Bakery, a Co-op shop, and an Indian Restaurant. Along Front St was the Thunderstorm, later renamed the Traveller’s Rest, in the building now occupied by The New Peking House take away. In the 1960’s the publicans moved to the row of shops off Finchale Rd and opened the Happy Wanderer. Then on Front St came the Victoria Bridge, probably built in 1838, and possibly named after the Victoria Bridge railway viaduct built in Washington on the main line. The Old Pit wagonway linked to this line. This pub closed and reopened, much refurbished, as a dental surgery. The 1856-65 map shows The Jolly Butcher near the Victoria Bridge. The Queen’s Head, also on the 1850s map, was renamed the Tap and Spile in 1986. The Workingmens’ Club opened just before WW1.

The first Council Houses built by Durham Rural District Council, to rehouse people from the slum conditions of most existing workers’ housing, charged rents of 10s a week, beyond the reach of many people. They were on the east side of Front St and originally named First, Second, Third and Fourth Sts. The first two were renamed Lund and Gray Ave after local councillors on the 1938-50 map. By the 1980 map Third and Fourth St had become St Aidan’s and Kirby Ave. The Anglican church of St Aidan’s was built in 1871, as a daughter church, or chapel of ease, of St Cuthbert’s on North Road in Durham. That itself had been hived off the parish of St Margaret’s in 1858, opening in 1862. St Aidan’s apparently had its own graveyard at first but there is now no sign of that. It cost £800 to build and the first minister was the Rev. R. Hopper Williamson. The old village schoolroom was later used as a parish hall. However most people were Methodists and a Wesleyan Chapel was built by pit owners in 1856 in Newcastle Row. It was restored in 1889 but moved to Pity Me in 1904. The Primitive Methodists used a house in Close Row which was enlarged to seat 150, but later demolished. Only the New Connexion or Ebenezer Methodist Chapel built in 1869, seating 200 and costing £250, not including the many building materials provided by the Colliery, still remains. On Front St, Fram, the school built in 1877 still stands, though it is now the Community Centre. Following the Education Act of 1870 it provided schooling for up to 420 pupils from Fram, Pity Me and Brasside, until the latter opened its own school in 1890 for about 100 pupils. Pupils were aged between 5 and 13, but the basic  education they received was neither free nor compulsory. The headmaster lived in an adjoining house. There were also two women teachers. New infant and junior schools were opened on the southern Carrs in 1957, followed by the senior school in 1965.

In 1879 the Colliery provided a small cottage between Newcastle Row and The Cottages for a Working Men’s Institute, Reading Room and Library. Over 100 members paid 1d a week towards it. Perhaps the miner’s banner which was carried at the Durham Gala, or Big Meeting was housed here. In scarlet, one side had a heading “Durham Miners Association Framwellgate Lodge” with a central roundel showing three angels holding another roundel with a group of people in biblical type clothing. The other side has a central rounding showing the Good Samaritan helping a stricken man while his horse looks on. Above that is the message “Bear Ye One Another’s Burdens”. On both sides the scarlet is edged with gold. This aged banner is in very poor condition.

During the economic depression of the 1930s unemployment in the area was very high, following the closure of many collieries. A National Social Service Centre was opened for unemployed men, offering handicrafts and social welfare activities. Given by the people of Surrey as a Soup Kitchen it was housed in what is now the HQ of the 1 st Framwellgate Moor Scouts on Newcastle Terrace. The Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, then the Duke of Windsor, visited it in 1934 during his tour of “distressed areas”, walking down Newcastle Row through lines of flag waving schoolchildren. On an earlier visit in 1929 to houses almost identical to the Rows at Fram, he said “I have been deeply touched by what I’ve seen. I am determined to do what I can for the people.”

There also used to be a hut where Framwellgate Moor Brass Band practised and later the British Legion met. New College is the largest educational complex in the parish. The original establishment, built on the fields of Durham Moor House Farm, was Durham Technical College, opened in 1957. In 1977 this merged with Neville’s Cross College of Education, a former Teacher Training College, to form New College. This provided further and higher education and had a sixth form. A new campus was built from 2003-2005, costing £37million, and the buildings at Neville’s Cross sold off for housing. This college has a high success rate and has been graded outstanding by Ofsted.

For many years another educational centre existed on Chester Low Road. Originally the site of a pub called the Queen’s Head, and later renamed the Queen Victoria, this became the Finchale Abbey Hotel, a modern roadhouse built in the 1930’s. This became a rehabilitation and resettlement centre for service personnel in 1943. These centres helped returning prisoners of war who had difficulties on release, possibly with what is now called post traumatic stress. All POWs were volunteers and had the chance to attend workshops, interact with locals, and attend careers discussions among other things. After some years the building, and its many prefabs and training gardens, became the Finchale Abbey Training Centre for the Disabled, offering many vocational courses. Eventually just called “Finchale” locally, the building featured in the TV series George Gently as a 1960’s police station. The modern incarnation of the Finchale Group moved to Belmont in 2019, and the original buildings were demolished. A housing estate is being built on the site.

A Co-op store, known as “The Store” was set up in early 20th century on Front Street, in the group of buildings just opposite King George V Playing Fields. It had butcher’s, grocer’s and chemist shops, with internal doors between them. Framwellgate Moor Equitable and Industrial Cooperative Society Ltd amalgamated with the Durham society then was taken over by the Annfield Plain Society. There have always been shops on Front Street but the variety has changed a lot even in recent years. Thirty years ago there was a bank, a florist, a post office, a supermarket, a hardware shop and a greengrocer as well as a butcher, barber and hairdresser. The latter two are the only ones still the same. The Local Govt Act of 1894 led to the formation of the first Parish Council. In 1960 the writer of a booklet on Fram said that the first eleven members spent most of their time working on the lighting of the parish by oil or gas lighting. Apparently it was the same in 1960 when they spent about 75% of the time discussing the lighting by gas or electricity.

Potterhouse Electricity substation which supplies much of the area first appears on the map dated from 1951-1959. It has had considerable work done on it in recent years and the large offices beside it have become blocks of flats. The Bridgemere estate was built on the field next to it joining Fram and Pity Me in about the year 2000.

The fire station, along with an ambulance station, was built from 1959-1973 on the site of High Carr Farm on Finchale Road. The headquarters then moved to Belmont in 2013, while the station moved to Sniperly Park in 2015. There is a Memorial Garden on Finchale Rd, refurbished in recent years. A simple stone column erected in 1998 commemorates the dead of two world wars. The original WW1 wooden plaque unveiled by the wife of the manager of the Framwellgate Moor Coal Company in 1919 is still in the Community Centre. There are also two plaques in St Aidans Church.

Pity Me was originally a hamlet on the crossroads of the Great North Road and the medieval monks’ road from Sacriston to Finchale Abbey. The original name of the hamlet seems to have been Redbriar or Borough House. On early maps the road from Sacriston was called Potter Moor Lane which crossed Follis Bridge, a Georgian structure. Later they were renamed Potterhouse Lane and Folly Bridge. Folly House off that road was a substantial building, with two garths and a garden. The water came from a well in Folly Wood. Early maps show a quarry in the latter.

The road to Finchale became Henderson’s Lane or Lonnen, now Abbey Road. Other early houses were Fir Tree Cottage which once stood at the entrance to Stank Lane, the road in to the Pity Me Garden Centre. It was named after The Stanks, fish ponds nearby owned by the monks of Durham Cathedral. Red Briar House was also nearby. Woodbine Cottage, off Abbey Road, was renamed Woodbine Farm on the map of 1870-79, but was changed again to Woodcroft Farm on the map of 1980-84.

The first colliery houses were Winskill Terrace and Folly Terrace, known as the Rows, 36 houses with coal houses and earth closets between the Rows. These were demolished in the 1950s, the area becoming the new Folly Terrace, off present day Front St. Kimblesworth Colliery built houses for their miners in 1897 called Jubilee Terrace, Victoria Terrace and Woodbine Terrace, now all part of Front Street. When the A167 bypass road was constructed in 1960’s the original Potterhouse Lane became Potterhouse Terrace on the village side of the road. There were allotments beside the Terrace, but they have since been built on. One reminder of the Great North Road is a milestone, saying Newcastle 12 miles, Durham 2 miles, in a hedge near the turn into The Orchard.

Kimblesworth Colliery also opened the Jubilee Reading Room and Institute near Jubilee Terrace, deducting 1d a week from the miners’ wages for use of its facilities. This was later used as an ARP post during WW2, then by the British Legion and Womens’ groups, but eventually demolished. The colliery, which employed many of the men from the village during its long life, was worked from 1873 to 1967. In the late 19 th century a detonator factory, familiarly called the squib factory, was built on Potter House Lane as miners had to supply their own explosives for mining. It had a separate small windowless building to store its gunpowder. The original workshop was eventually converted into a bungalow and Folly Bridge House, first called Inglewild, was built on the site of the factory. 

There were two sewage works in the village. One was on the east side of the Great North Road at Red Briar Bank and was owned by Durham Rural District Council. The site became kennels, later demolished. The other, opposite Folly Woods, was owned by Chester le Street Rural District Council. Both have now been replaced by a larger  one on the north side of Potter House Lane. Nearby a poultry farm was opened in the 1980s and a garden centre around 2000. Pity Me had a small Wesleyan Chapel of wood and corrugated iron, which had moved from Fram. It was opened in 1904 by Mrs Hindson, wife of the colliery manager. It was later used as a garage and body shop repair depot before being demolished and replaced by two houses. 

The oldest surviving business is J.G. Paxton’s Agricultural Engineers. This began as a blacksmith’s smithy known as the Forge on Redbriar Bank opposite the Lambton Hounds pub. Kelly’s Directory of Durham 1906 has an entry for Paxton, John George, shoeing and general smith, agricultural implement maker and agent, joiner and cartwright. Now there is a large new store selling agricultural machinery and goods on Abbey Road.

The Parish Council bought an area of land on Abbey Road in 1927 to provide “a recreation ground or pleasure ground”. The original notice states that it was
“Originally for the benefit of workers in and about the coal mines of the parish, including their dependents, and latterly the children of the parish.” The playing field is registered with the Charity Commission.”

The Arnison Shopping Centre was opened in the 1990’s. It was named after the fourteen year old boy who was killed during the demolition of Newton Hall in 1926. It has changed and expanded a lot in recent years. At the entrance to the business park behind the Centre is the only statue in the Parish. It is called “The End of the Shift” and depicts an exhausted seated miner leaning on his pick. The sculptor was Pat Simms, a student of New College. It was unveiled 20 Sept 1991 but has been neglected in recent years. Its sturdy wooden sleepers are in good condition but the pick head has been missing for many years and the shrubbery around it is almost engulfing it.

Pity Me also had a number of pubs in its early days. The Fox and Hounds was a coaching inn which was renamed The Lambton Hounds then became La Spada Italian restaurant. Borough House, later renamed the Coach and Horses, was on the corner of Abbey Road and Front Street and survived into the twentieth century. The Red, White and Blue was also on Front Street and the North Durham House was on the corner of Acorn Place and Front St, but disappeared by the twentieth century. The whole area has seen considerable building in recent years, including several small estates built on the edge of the Carrs. The Orchard is on the site of Tom Leng’s Orchard, a smallholding which had a large variety of unusual trees as well as livestock. Today there are still a number of different varieties of apple trees growing on the Carrs, as well as at least one Mirabelle plum. These may well be descendents of those in the original Orchard.

Brasside is thought to mean Broad Hillside, mentioned in the 1300s. Finchale Priory monks worked coal by adits in the steep banks of the Wear from 1350 onwards. There were a number of collieries in the area, Frankland Finchale, a drift mine, Frankland, Frankland Wood, and Brasside. The Earl of Durham opened Frankland Colliery in 1840. From the 1920s this small pit was owned by the Frankland Coal Co until it closed in 1934, having had at least 3 fatalities during its lifetime. He also owned Brasside, another small pit, opened in the 1850s and worked until 1924 with at least 4 fatalities. The wagonways from these pits, and the local quarries, joined the line from Fram Old Pit to go over Brasside Bridge and on to the main line eventually. The first small village of Brasside, started with the founding of the brick works in 1886. It was situated on Frankland Lane just south of the Frankland Junction. It consisted of three streets, Long Row, Short Row and Office Row with forty households in all. A school was held in first one, then two merged houses, during the late 19 th or early 20 th centuries, until the Rows were demolished and the people rehoused in the new houses built by Durham Rural District Council on Finchale Avenue.

It was part of Framwellgate parish but had a mission church named St Chad’s, so named after the students from the college of the same name at Durham University who helped out the minister. The small brick building with a tin roof was built in 1904 at the south end of Long Row. It closed in 1936 when the population moved away, and the whole village was demolished. Its altar was sent to Grange Villa Church.

The cottage at the boarding kennels on Frankland Lane was built around 1920 by the miners as a club and community hall, possibly the only surviving part of the original village along with Brasside House, a former manager’s house. The Bradshaw Railway Guide, 1863 edition, mentions a station at Frankland, called Frankland Siding on the Bishop Auckland branch of the North East Railway, Sunderland to Durham route, opened in 1857. In 1868 the suffix “siding” was dropped. At first it operated a Saturday only service then only alternate Saturdays. It was last mentioned in Bradshaw in July 1877. However, there was a goods only service at Frankland until 1963. Four large concrete posts at Frankland Lane are the remains of a level crossing on the NER. The line was axed by Dr Beeching in 1964 but there have been proposals to reopen it. Brasside also had a number of quarries, and brickworks built in the second half of the 19 th century, due to the presence of suitable sandstone and clay. The quarrying of this material resulted in many ponds. The largest is now a site of special scientific interest due to its wildlife, especially the waterfowl. Low Newton Junction Nature Reserve, opened in 1994, is also nearby. It lies on the triangular site of an old sand quarry between the current East Coast Main line, the original curve of that line straightened out in the 1970’s to cope with faster modern trains, and the old Bishop Auckland to Leamside line. Other ponds are part of a private establishment owned by the Durham Angling Club. This was the site of the Finchale Brick and Tile Works. The Brasside brickworks closed in the early 20 th century but Frankland worked into the 1950s.

Abbey Wood drift mine and the small Finchale Colliery were also worked in the early 1950’s. The oldest pond was filled in for foundations for HM Frankland, opened in 1983. This dispersal prison, holding about 850 prisoners, is for men over 21, sentenced to ten years or more, lifers, and high risk prisoners. Next door is HM Low Newton, opened in 1965, a closed prison for female adults and young offenders. A number of houses were also built to house the prison officers.

Nearby is Adventure Valley, a childrens’ play centre and nursery, a recent venture in Brasside. On the road to Finchale Priory lie the remains of Brasside Ammunition Dump. This was built during WW2 by the Ministry of Supply. Although the Army built it, it mostly stored ammunition for the Navy. There are twenty five well spaced out and fortified bunkers with the remains of a track connecting to the main north -south railway line. There were two bungalows used as guardhouses but one is now a ruin.

The area is classed as a County Wildlife Site, especially for its birdlife. Finchale Priory is the most famous place in the parish. These beautiful ruins lie in a bend of the River Wear, opposite steep wooded cliffs. Godric, a well travelled merchant, sailor, hymn writer and pilgrim, settled here with some members of his family. After a long and self punishing life devoted to solitary prayer he was taken under the care of the monks of Durham Priory, dying at around 105 years old, in 1170 AD. He was canonised and his hermitage was eventually turned into a Priory. It was greatly rebuilt and after many years it became a holiday retreat for the monks of Durham until its dissolution in 1538 by Henry VIII. Across the footbridge over the Wear lies Cocken Woods, also part of the parish. Cocken Hall, built in the 18 th century, and donated by the Earl of Durham was used as a training centre during WW1. Over 1000 men of 18 th Battalion DLI, part of the Durham Pals, trained here at a time. In recent years excavation projects have found remains of training trenches, huts and the Hall itself, which was demolished in 1928. At the moment Newton Hall estate is not part of the parish but it may become so. The estate is very ancient, being mentioned in the Boldon Book. After passing through many families the Liddel family of Ravensworth Castle, near Gateshead bought it, restoring and remodelling it by 1717, resulting in a substantial handsome house and extensive grounds with superb views of Durham. In the early 19 th century it was sold to William Russell of Brancepeth Castle. Rented out to a succession of owners the Hall suffered from the proximity of the railway line from the north to Durham that passed close by, and from possible subsidence from nearby collieries. In the early 20th century the Hall became a branch of the Winterton County Lunatic Asylum at Sedgefield, housing 60 patients. It later housed men of the 18 th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, known as the Durham Pals, during WW1. It was then unused post war before being demolished in 1926. Newton Hall farm cottage still stands off Carr House Drive. Eventually Newton Hall housing estate was built from the 1960s onwards. For some time it was the largest private housing estate in Europe.

In 2011 the population was 7323 but it may have increased with the addition of the estate built on the site of Framwellgate Colliery, later a DCC depot.

Page Content Written by Sally Hoddy
June, 2020