The Parish of ST OSWALD.
Part of the parish of St Oswald lies in the ward of Easington, and part in Ches∣ter ward. This parish includes the chapelries of St Margaret in Crossgate, and Croxdale.
In our account of the chantries in the church of St Nicholas, we shewed by a record in bishop Langley's time, that a tenement belonging to the chantry of St Mary was described to be in the old borough of Durham: In vet'i burgo Dun. sup. fi∣nem pontis novi*ex p'te australi. ten. Pr. Dun. &c. which, with other records of the like nature, prove, that the old borough of Durham was situated in the parish of St Oswald, and so all the ancient muniments tend to confirm. It is conjectured, when the bishop erected a new free borough for merchants in Elvet, the distinctions of the borough of Elvet, and the old borough of Durham first arose. Was there not much evidence to shew, there were distinct places called the old and new borough, out of the bounds of the city, and in the limits of St Oswald's parish, we should not have insisted on the position so positively. When the old borough of Durham had its rise, from whence, or what were its privileges, we remain ignorant; but the evidence we shall produce leads us to judge the old borough of Durham comprehended the whole parish of St Oswald, substracted from Croxdale, and that on the institution of the borough of Elvet, limits and bounds were set to the new borough, and the rest remained to the old borough; admitting this conjecture, it will follow, that the old borough comprehended Crossgate, South-street, &c. now St Margaret's cha∣pelry, and in fact circumscribed the new borough, It is not material to press this subject further than to support our first position, that Old Durham, and the old borough of Durham, were the first settlements of the Saxons here, before they built their church on the summit of the hill; and from thence those places derived their present name.
On the cliff before described, in the view from Gillygate church, is the platform now called Maiden Castle†, inaccessible from the river by reason of the steepness of Page 309 the cliff, which is almost perpendicular, and about one hundred feet in height. —On the right and left the steep sides of the mount are covered with a thick forest of oaks: The crown of the mount consists of a level area or plain, forty paces wide on the summit of the scar, in the front or north east side, one hundred and sixty paces long on the left-hand side, and one hundred and seventy paces on the right. The approach is easy on the land side, from the south-west, fortified with a ditch and breast work: The entrance or passage over the ditch is not in the middle, but made to correspond with the natural rise of the outward ground; probably this entrance was guarded by a draw-bridge: The ditch is twelve paces wide, and runs with a little curvature to each edge of the slope, now covered with wood as before noted; on one hand being fifty paces in length, on the other eighty paces. After passing the ditch there is a level parade or platform, Page 310 twenty paces wide, and then a high earth fence, now nine feet perpendicular, which, as in most places of the like kind, it is apprehended, was faced with mason-work: A breast work has run from the earth fence on each hand along the brink of the hill, to the edge of the cliff or scar. The earth fence closes the whole neck of land, and is in length one hundred paces, forming the south-west side of the area. These particulars are illustrated by the annexed plate. It is most probable this was the vetus burgus Dunelmensis noted in the records; it is at a little distance from the head of the street called Old Elvet, in a direct line therewith, and oppo∣site to Old Durham, the river dividing it from the latter place, and almost filling up the intervening space: It was supported anciently, as is presumed, by another fort∣ress called the Peel, erected on the opposite eminence, which now bears the name of Peel Law. Many places in the northern counties retain the name of Peel and Law, implying castle and hill, whose antiquity may be traced back to the Saxon times. We presumed to offer an opinion, in the preceding pages, that in the valley over∣looked by this fortress, the wandering Saxons sat down with the remains of Saint Cuthbert; and we submit to the candour of the reader, whether that idea is alto∣gether vague and improbable. The name of maiden applied to a castle is now be∣come indefinite; whether it imples beautiful, or a fortress which never has been conquered, has not been determined: Our best antiquaries give preference to the distinction fair or beautiful. The old fort, on Stainmore, in Westmoreland, is called Maiden Castle, and the adjoining inclosures bear the name of Peel-yard.
Bishop Carilepho, on his bringing in the canons regular, granted to the convent, Elvet as a free borough, that they might have forty merchants there, exempted from all dues and duties to him and his successors *.
Page 311In the reign of king Stephen, Cumin's soldiers burnt the borough of Elvet; at the same time they burnt St Giles's. Bishop Pudsey restored the borough, and confirmed it to the convent, with all its ancient privileges *. In the convention entered into between bishop Poore and the convent, for quieting their privileges, we find Elvet thus mentioned. Consuetudines et emendationes de bracinis et false pane, &c. de hoib's prior. apud Elvet & apud vetus burgum Dunelm. remanebunt, &c. P'dci autem hoi'es prioris de Elvet & de veteri burgo Dunelm. utantur eisdem mensuris & ponderibus quibus hoi'es ep'i utuntur in burgo suo Dunelm. This convention was rati∣fied and exemplified by bishop Hatfield †. That prelate, in 1379, made a con∣firmatory grant of tenements, given to the priory by bishop Bury, wherein they are distinctly described, "Un. mess. & quatuor cot. cum p'tin. in Elvet in Dun. &c. un. gardinu et tres acras prati cum pertin. in vet'i burgo Dun. &c.‡"—In a licence from bishop Dudley, 1483, to the convent, to put lands in mortmain, Elvet is thus mentioned: Baronia de Elvet juxta Dun. burgo de Elvet juxta Dun.— Vet'i burgo Dun.—Vic. Sc'i Egidii juxta Dun,—Burgo Dun.—& ballio australe Dun§. Here we see the barony of Elvet, the borough of Elvet, the old borough of Dur∣ham, and the borough of Durham: The reader will immediately draw the dis∣tinction, and with it, we presume, this inference, that the borough of Elvet, the borough of Durham, and the old borough of Durham, are several; the name of the borough of Durham being solely applied to the present city ‖.
Having trespassed much on the reader's patience, we proceed with the parish of St Oswald. There are two streets, the one called Old Elvet, the other New Elvet; from New Elvet branches out a street, called Hallgarth-street; from the prior's hall, named in the records Elvet Hall, the manor and barony house standing therein ¶. Page 312 At the end of this street is a lofty hill of a conical figure, called Mont'joye, rising from the plain or valley, (but on the opposite side of the river to Old Durham) where we have presumed the Saxons sat down with the remains of St Cuthbert. In French history we find a definition of this historical title, for there the name of Mont-joye is given to heaps of stones laid together by pilgrims, on which crosses are erected, when they come within view of the end of their journey; and so betwixt St Dennis, in France, and Paris, they are called St Dennis's mont-joyes. When the travellers, bearing St Cuthbert's remains, arrived here, they would view the whole ground of their destination; and it lies in the exact line in which we presume they made their pro∣gress from Ripon. The extremity of New Elvet bears the name of Church-street.
The church stands in a fine elevated situation, on the brink of the river. Much conjecture arises in etymologies; perhaps the situation gave the name to Elvet, de∣rived from the French elevè, lofty, sublime. The street of Old Elvet is very broad, excellently paved, and well built *: New Elvet is narrower, rises with a steep ascent, and has many ancient buildings. The gardens of each are beautiful; those of the former inclining to the race-ground, having a view of Pelaw wood, the river, and St Giles's: The others hanging on the banks of the river, and its prin∣cipal edifices.
The church † stands in the center of a very large yard or burial ground, and having been built of stone subject to decay, is in most parts covered with rough-cast Page 313 and lime: It is of such antiquity, that we find one Dolfinus mentioned as priest Page 314 there in 1156. This is a regular edifice, having two side ailes of a similar form: The length of the nave is twenty-nine paces, the middle aile is eight paces wide, and the side ailes six paces each: It is supported on pillars, five in each row, three to the east are round, and two to the west octagonal, light, and of a good height; the capitals ornamented with rolls: The arches are circular: The arch which sup∣ports the tower, and that which opens the chancel, are pointed: The upper win∣dows of the nave are regular, five on each side, with elliptic arches: The sout haile is lighted by five side windows, three are east of the door, and two to the west, and there is a window at each end, all with pointed arches: The north aile has but three side windows, two to the east of the door, with elliptic arches, and one to the west, and a window at each end with pointed arches. Those variances shew, at different periods, material alterations have been made in this fabric. The pulpit is placed against the first south pillar *. In the south wall, under the windows, are four arches for tombs, but no effigies or inscription; neither is there any tradition for whom they were made. The font is a large stone bason, and there is a gallery over it which fills the whole west end of the nave. The roof is of wood, in the vault form, of excellent workmanship, jointed with rose knots, the rafters support∣ed Page 315 on brackets, ornamented with cherubs bearing shields, but without blazoning of arms. One of the knots, in the center of the arch, is painted blue, with an inscrip∣tion in a circle in letters of gold, of the old black character: Orate p' A. W. Cat∣ten, vicr. We presume Catten caused the roof to be constructed in its present beautiful form, and find a Will. de Catten vicar in 1411. The church is well stalled, the chancel remarkably neat, and kept with that pious decency which is ne∣cessary to the solemnities of divine worship: It is 12 paces in length to the steps of the altar rails, and six wide: The altar is elevated six steps, and the space within the rails is upwards of 12 feet: The east window consists of four lights, under a pointed arch; there are three windows on the north side, and four on the south, some of which are modern: Behind the table, and on each side, it is wainscotted, painted, and gilded; and below the rails, the chancel is regularly stalled in the cathedral form with oak, having a large seat at each side of the entrance gate. The roof is flat and stuccoed. The vestry room is also very neat. There is much broken painted glass in the windows, but no figure perfect. Against the second pillar, chained to a desk, is "The defence of the apology of the church of England," with the sermon preached at Paul's cross, by the bishop of Sarum, 1560, and other curious tracts. In the tower is a set of six musical bells. The vicarage house is sweetly situated at the north entrance into the church-yard, on the banks of the river.
The parish of St Oswald * lies in the deanry of Chester, from which it is dis∣tant about seven miles; being a Peculiar belonging to the dean and chapter of Dur∣ham, it pays no procurations to their official, or to the archdeacon of Durham: Since the year 1660, no churches exempt from archidiaconial jurisdiction, and sub∣ordinate to the dean and chapter of Durham, have paid any procurations to the of∣ficial. This church is dedicated to the royal Saint Oswald.
There were two chantries in this church: One dedicated to St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist, annual value 12l. 9s. 4d. was founded by Rich. de Elvet, cl. John de Elvet, cl. and Gilbert de Elvet. Walter, bishop of Durham, granted them licence, dated the 5th of June, 1402, to erect a chantry of one chap∣lain, at the altar of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist, that they, their Page 316 ancestors and heirs, might be prayed for, and that lands and rents of the annual income of ten marks might be given to the chaplain and his successors for ever: Accordingly the manor of Edderacres * with its appurtenances, a messuage in Flesh∣ewergate in the borough of Durham, two messuages in the borough of Elvet, and one messuage in Old Elvet described to be near the cemetery of St Oswald, all which were of the real value of 6l. 10s. were conveyed over to the chaplain and his sucessors for ever, by the bishop's consent, the 26th of April, 1403 †. The other chantry was dedicated to St Mary the Virgin ‡, annual value 4l. Walter, bishop of Durham, granted his licence, dated the 20th of September, 1392, to John Sharp and Wm de Middleton, chaplains, to give two messuages with their appurtenances in Elvet, of the yearly value of 12s. to Alan Hayden, chaplain, custos of the blessed Mary's chantry in this church, to be held by him and his successors for ever, for their better support and maintenance §.
There was an hospital dedicated to St Leonard, in this parish; but who was the founder, what was the constitution, or the time of its building, remain unknown: It is not named in the Monasticon, or any other authorities before us, save those of the church of Durham. We are led to conjecture that this hospital stood at Beau∣trove or Butterby, as that manor is tithe-free, and situated near the medicinal springs hereafter noted.
Adjoining to the south wall of the church-yard, is a field, called the Anchorage, (or Anchoritage, Hermitage, or Hermit's close) and adjoining thereto is a field called the Palmer's (or Mendicant's) close; but we have met with no evidence re∣lative to a hermitage here.
From the south-west corner of the church-yard you enter upon those beautiful natural scenes which border the river. A walk is laid open, and kept in order for the recreation of the public, at the charge of the dean and chapter, whose bene∣volence on this and various other occasions, demands the warmest acknowledg∣ments. Mr Pennant, speaking of the banks, says, they
The New Bridge was erected in 1781, at the expence of the dean and chapter, by Mr Nicholson their architect: It is upon a beautiful modern plan, the arches semicircular, with a balustraded battlement. There was formerly a narrow bridge near this place for horses to pass, which was carried away by the floods in 1771 †: The accident proved fortunate for the public, as it occasioned the present hand∣some structure ‡ to be erected, which being of a suitable width, the chapter permit gentlemen's carriages to pass thereon, without toll.
FRAMWELGATE BRIDGE, seen upon this view, has one pier and two elliptic arches, of ninety feet span, so flat as to be constructed on the quarter section of a circle, calculated to suit the low shores on each side: The masonry is plain, but ex∣cellent, as is proved by its age; it was built by bishop Flambard, has stood near seven hundred years, and is perhaps the finest model of bridge-building, of that antiquity, in Britain. A gateway tower which stood on the city end of the bridge, was removed of late years for the conveniency of carriages, which have encreased amazingly in number within this century. Bishop Bainbrigg granted to prior Castel and the convent, all the waste land between this bridge and Elvet bridge, Page 318 reserving certain privileges to him and his successors and their tenants*; and bishop Kellow granted them the fishery.
CROOK HALL, which we mentioned in the preceding page, took its name from a family of Crook who settled there in the times of king Edward II. and III. they having disused the name of Sidgate manor, its ancient title. In the time of Edward III. it became the possession of Billingham, of Billingham, who held it for many ages; and we find by the proceedings on an elegit, in 1651, this was the estate of Thomas Billingham, and therein it is mentioned as being the capital house of the manor of Sidgate†. The dean and chapter have a yearly payment out of the lands of Crook hall of 53s. 4d. for tithes ‡.
Park-keepers have been appointed by patent for Frankleyn for many ages §.
At the distance of half a mile from Crook Hall is NEWTON HALL, one of the seats of Sir Henry George Liddell, bart. The situation is lofty and beautiful, com∣manding a fine prospect of the city and adjacent country: It is a handsome modern house, sheltered with plantations, and environed with rich meadow lands. Newton is named among those tenements, which, the monastic writers tell us, the bishops yielded up to the earls of Northumberland, to enable them by their issues, the bet∣ter to prosecute the wars of those times; which, when once severed from the church, were refused to be restored, and in time became lay fees: But afterwards, when the See was settled at Durham, the church was reinstated in all its ancient Page 219 possessions. By the Boldon book * we learn the abbot of Peterborough had New∣ton by agreement and free alms of the bishop; and that Radulphus Clericus held certain lands there, as well the estate of Robert Tit, as what he had of the bishop, in exchange for lands in Middleham. Bishop Pudsey granted Newton to Roger de Reding, (who afterwards appears to have taken the name of Roger de Newton) under a reserved rent of eight marks of silver: It soon afterwards was part of the possessions of the ancient family of Bowes, for bishop Bury, by his deed, dated in 1337, rehearsing several conveyances, confirms to Adam de Boughes the several lands therein named, for the twentieth part of a knight's fee, and 20s. 1d. rent payable at the bishop's exchequer. In 1345, bishop Hatfield also confirms the same; and in 1447, bishop Nevil, by inspeximus of all the former instruments, confirms the several premisses to William Bowes†. In bishop Bury's time we see Nicholas Scriptor in possession of sixty acres inter Petariam de Newton & Aldnew∣ton, held in capite by service and fealty, and 5s. rent payable at the bishop's ex∣chequer in Durham, and 13s. 4d. to John de Akeley, and 6s. to Alice, the widow of Rich. de Belle, for life‡. By bishop Hatfield's survey it is stated, that John Heron, esq was in possession of Newton per servic. forin§, and cvjs. viijd. rent. The heirs of William de Kirkenny had x acres called Kyowlawe, rendering a pound of cumin: And of the lands there termed lands of the exchequer, William Bowes, esq held 40 acres of freehold, formerly the right of the scribe called Fyngall, ren∣dering 5s. besides him sundry other persons held lands of that tenure. By an in∣quisition taken on the death of Elizabeth the widow of Robert Bowes, it appears that she had dower assigned at Newton‖. On the death of her heir Sir William del Bowes, we find he died seised int. al's of the capital messuage of Newton, with Page 320 two hundred acres of land there, of the gift of the bishop*. This estate continued in the family of Bowes till the fifth year of bishop Pilkington, when Geo. Bowes, esq obtained a licence to alien to Anth. Middleton. It afterwards became the estate of Thomas Blakiston, esq who conveyed it to Marmaduke Blakiston, clerk, one of the prebendaries of Durham, in the seventh year of bishop James†; and he sold it to the family of Liddell.
At the distance of two short miles from Newton stands
on the banks of the river Were. It was a place of some consequence in the early ages of the British church, for we hear of a synod being held here in the year 792‡, in the time of Higbald, bishop of Lindisfarn, for the purpose of regulating church dis∣cipline and manners: And it seems another synod was held here in the year 810§.
In the beginning of the twelfth century, St Godric, a hermit, sought this seclud∣ed situation for his devotions, mortifications, and severities, where he lived sixty-six years, and died in the year 1170. Soon after the hermit settled here, bishop Flambard granted to the monastery of Durham, in free alms, the hermitage of Finchale, with its waters, fishings, rights, and privileges, subject to Godric's life, who should hold of them; and after his death, that it might be the habitation of such of their brethren as they should appoint‖. Gul. Neubrigensis, gives a parti∣cular account of this man. In cibo et potu, in verbo et gestu, homo simplicissimus, decente cum gravitate servare modum studuit. velox ad audiendum, tardus autem ad loquendum, & in ipsa locutione parcissimus. The hermit erected a small chapel here, and dedi∣cated it to St John the Baptist: Though he died in great agonies, this writer des∣cribes him in vultu autem ejus mira quedam dignitas et decus insolitum visebatur¶. As to
About the year 1180, bishop Pudsey granted a foundation charter for a cell at Finchale *, by which it appears two monks of Durham, Reginald and Henry, had possessed themselves of Godric's hermitage, and had some allowances made them for their support. Henry, the bishop's son, was about to found a religious house at Backstanford †, which the convent of Durham did not approve, being esteemed an intrusion on their rights; an agreement soon took place on the following terms; the convent granted to Henry, Finchale, with its appurtenances, to the intent that he should build a church there, and institute a convent of monks; thus he was in∣duced to transfer his works of piety to this retirement, where he erected proper accommodations for a colony of Benedictines, chosen out of the convent of Dur∣ham, over whom was placed Thomas the sacrist, as prior, in the year 1196. This house received considerable augmentations by various pious donations ‡.
When the church and other edifices at Finchale were erected, the remains of which are yet standing, it is not possible to determine with precision, no evidence thereof being found in the archives of the dean and chapter: From the order of building seen in some parts of the ruins, much may be attributed to Henry the bishop's son; but other parts appear of older date. The solemn remains are Page 322 situated in a very deep vale, on the banks of the river, where the stream making a sweep, forms a little level plot, which is almost covered with the buildings; shel∣tered to the north by the lofty rocks and hanging woods of Cocken, and on every other side by steep hills. The river flows swiftly over a rocky channel; and the murmuring of the waterfalls is re-echoed from the groves and cliffs. The present buildings are much disunited, so that it is impossible to trace all the ancient offices of this religious mansion.
At the entrance into the church, at the west end, on the right-hand, is a square vault, the roof of which is groined from the angles and the side walls, and support∣ed in the center by a short octagonal pillar: There was an aqueduct to this place, and it had an upper apartment. The church, though small, is in the form of a cross; the gateway, at the west end, has a pointed arch of several members, rising from small round columns or pilasters, with plain capitals: The nave is twenty-eight paces in length, and seven in width. In the center of the cross it appears there has been a tower or spire, supported on four circular pillars, very short and heavy, exceeding even part of Durham cathedral for disproportion: The pillars are so massive, that one of them contains a turpike staircase, which led to the super∣structure; they form a square of equal sides, twenty-one feet from pillar to pillar, the capitals of an octagonal form: The center had a dome or vaulted roof, with in∣tersecting ribs, and on the east side one pointed arch remains. In the etching given in Stevens' Monasticon, drawn by King, a short octagonal spire of stone is placed on the tower. On the north side of the nave, are four pillars supporting pointed arches; the pillars round, with capitals formed of double rolls, constructed of a durable stone, and entire; the south side is close, a long cloister or passage running on the outside to communicate with the south limb of the cross. The north and south limbs of the cross are exactly equal in length and width, being twelve paces long and seven broad: They are very ill lighted; one great window in the south limb, towards the east, being the chief: Indeed it appears that those parts have been added to the original structure, or rebuilt; as they are in no wise similar to the other parts in masonry or materials. The choir is remarkable; from the east window, ten paces in length, it is inclosed with high dark walls, and from thence to the cross, being nine paces, (the whole nineteen paces long) are two round columns on each side, similar to those in the nave, bearing three pointed arches: The east window has been sive paces wide, (as appears from the measure∣ment of the sole, for all the rest is gone) with outward buttresses, ornamented with stone pinnacles, one of which on the south side still remains. It is very singular that windows of a modern date have been placed between the pillars, to fill up the arches, formed of a yellow and perishable kind of stone; which work now separates itself from the arches: The yellow stone has been won from the bed of the river, and is of the same kind with those of which the out-buildings are constructed; the co∣lumns and arches are of a bluer nature, and in no wise injured by time; they seem to be of the Normandy stone, much like the columns and castings of several of the ancient castles. Allowing this observation to be just, we should be apt to conjec∣ture these columns and arches originally divided the center from a side aile; but Page 323 on strict search, no foundations or other work was discovered which could encourage this idea: If there were no side ailes, then this was a fabric of singular construction; for it will follow, that the nave and part of the choir were open to the air on the sides, like a cloister: There is something similar in the abbey of Furness, in Lan∣cashire, where a part on the north side is open. The founder, in imitation of the severities of St Godric, might think it expedient to deprive the monks of indul∣gence, and leave the church open to the air; but in after ages, when the religious professed more outside shew than real zeal, yielded to the fascinations of luxury, and studied gratifications and softness, they closed the arches with windows, made covered passages, and transformed this building to its present model: As its solenm beauties are much admired, if the windows were displaced, and the co∣lumns and arches laid open, it would greatly improve its appearance, and render it still a finer objet from the walks of Cocken.
The rest of the monastic buildings are very ragged and ruinous: In one part a bow window is projected from a pilaster in the wall, and seems to have appertained to some chief apartment. The hall or refectory has been a handsome edifice; it stands on the south side of a court, nearly of equal sides, about twenty-six paces every way; is twelve paces long, and eight wide, within the walls; having five re∣gular windows to the south, and four to the north; in the staircase or entrance is a large window to the south: The vault underneath is supported by a row of four octagonal pillars in the center, without capitals, from whence the groins are sprung; the pilasters in the walls and angles are capitalled; the ribs are of hewn stone, meeting in points, and the interstices of the vault wedged with thin stones; the whole a fine piece of architecture. This vault is lighted by six small windows to the south, and is not above eight feet in height to the crowns of the arches.
It is said that St Godric, and also Henry de Puteaco, or Pudsey, lie interred here; but the floor of the church is covered with ruins, and grown over with brambles and weeds, so as to prevent, without much labour, a search for their tombs *.
The revenues of this house, 26th king Henry VIII. were valued at 122l. 15s. 3d. according to Dugdale, and 146l. 19s. 2d. Speed. At the dissolution it consisted of a prior and eight monks †. The manor and cell of Finchale were part of the pos∣sessions restored to the church on the foundation of a dean and chapter, by king Henry's deed of endowment.
Page 324Finchale being part of the prebendal corps lands, the beauty of the retirement induced Mr Spence * to make a good room in the farm-house near the abbey, with a bow-window overhanging the murmuring streams of the Were, and looking upon the sweet sequestered walks of Cocken, but turning its back upon the vener∣able ruins.
The pleasant village of SHINCLIFF lies within a mile of Durham, sheltered by hills on every side, except towards the south-west, where it opens to the river Were, with rich meadow lands. Bishop Carilepho granted it with other lands to the convent of Durham †. There was an ancient bridge over the river at this place, which, in bishop Fordham's time, was gone to decay; collections have been made for repairing it, but the money being embezzeled or misapplied, a commission of account issued, dated 14th of January, 1385‡: It seems the measure was ineffectual, for his successor, bishop Skirlaw, erected a stone bridge of three arches, which stood till the year 1752, when the violent flood on the 7th of February undermined and threw down one of the piers, which carried with it two of the arches; the bridge was restored the following summer at the public expense §. It is said Shincliff was the birth place of bishop Sever, abbot of St Mary's, York. We find the family of Aslakby had possession here in bishop Langley's time. It has been the seat of the family of the Hoppers of late years, whose present representative is Robert Hopper Williamson, esq
Near this village William Rudd, esq built his villa, seated in a delightful retire∣ment, commanding a solemn view of the sequestered vale, with its hanging woods, which form a beautiful amphitheatre; a scene excellently adapted to study and contemplation.
On the other side of the river stands Houghall, part of the prebendal lands of the church. The manor house was built by prior Hotoun, who, notwithstanding the embarrassments he suffered under the persecuting spirit of bishop Bek, com∣pleted this and other considerable pious works. No certain etymology of the name of this place is obtained; from its situation, in a low and watry plain, we may adopt the word hough, which in this country has acceptation for a plain by the side of the river; which is sufficiently descriptive of the scite of this place. There was in the cathedral church, as before noted, an altar called Howall's altar, erected Page 325 perhaps by some benefactor who bestowed this place on the church; or indeed it might be called Hotoun's hall, from the prior who built it in the thirteenth century; the corruption to Houghhall seems a familiar one. The house has been moated round and otherwise fortified: Tradition says Sir Arthur Hazelrigge possessed it, and that Oliver lodged there for some time; it is certain it was refitted, and perhaps put into a state of defence by some of that party; the arms of Cromwell now remain on one of the mantle-pieces in the house.
At the distance of a mile to the south-west, but on the opposite side of the river, stands
anciently written Beautrove, from its beautiful situation. The river Were runs almost round the chief part of the estate, the neck of land which divides the streams being only about two hundred yards wide. Here, it has been imagined, stood the ancient hospital of St Leonard; the founder and institution not now known. The lands are remarkably fertile; the river near the house falls swiftly over a rough channel, under high rocky shores and hanging woods: On the more distant side of the estate the river flows deep and slow, forming a canal a mile in length, where the adjacent lands make a considerable plain. There is not a sweeter rural scene in the whole county, unadorned and in simple nature, for art has not yet extended her hand hither, further than in the ordinary course of agri∣culture. As this place is remarkable for its beauty, so it is for natural curiosities; surrounded with the river, from the fissure of a rock, which lies about forty feet from the shore, flows a considerable spring of salt water, mixed with a mineral quality. The situation of this spring subjects it to a mixture of fresh water, so that it is difficult to know how much salt it contains in its purest state; on several trials it has yielded double the quantity produced from sea water. The shore for a con∣siderable distance shews many ouzings, or small issues of salt water; from which cir∣cumstance, and by a dike or break of the rocks in the channel of the river, a little above the spring, it is presumed a rock or bed of salt might be won of some value: It has never been searched for; the family who lately possessed the estate, from a love of retirement and ease, neglected a trial. The spring is much resorted to in sum∣mer for its medical qualities; but as the well is not inclosed by any building, it is frequently overflowed by the river. This water is reputed to be an effectual reme∣dy for a disease known among people employed in smelting and refining houses be∣longing to the lead works. Half a pint is sufficiently purgative for the strongest person. Within a few yards of the salt spring, on the opposite shore, is a fluent spring strongly impregnated with sulphur, without any vitriolic or other compound*.
Page 326The prospect from an adjacent head-land, called Croxdale Scar, is deservedly admired by every visitant: It commands an extensive view of the valley towards the west, with the channel of the river for several miles through a country highly cultivated. Over a fine plain, at the distance of a mile, are seen Sunderland bridge of four arches, with Croxdale, the beautiful seat-house of William Salvin, esq on the left, and Burnigill on the right; the scene animated by passengers on the great southern turnpike road: Beyond the bridge the vale narrows and winds towards the south, diversified by woodlands, cottages, and inclosures: To the right you look down upon the vale of Butterby, belted round with the crystal waters of the Were, and the eye traces its varied shores, its rocks and sylvan scenes: Be∣yond which lies an extended valley, terminated by the village of Shincliff, and in∣closed on every side with lofty forests.
The manor-house of Butterby stands in a pleasant garden, which, with the whole offices are inclosed by a deep moat, walled round, and though now dry, is capable of being filled with water to the depth of 15 feet: The entrance is by a strong gate∣way and bridge. The secluded situa•ion of the house shuts it from distant pros∣pects; but such as it commands are romantic and rural. In cleansing the moat some years ago, in a large stone trough were found a coat of mail, with a cap of chain work quilted in canvas, a halbert, breastplate and buckler: In an adjacent field, where it is supposed an ancient chapel stood, many stone coffins and holy water jars were dug up.
Page 327This is a manor and constablery of itself, free of all manner of tithes, paying a prescript rent of 1l. 13s. 4d. to the curate of Croxdale, at Midsummer.
Butterby was part of the ancient possessions of the Lumleys, of Lumley castle: Sir Marmaduke Lomeley held it, and from him it descended to Robert his son, who died seised thereof in the 36th year of bishop Hatfield, 1381, as appears by an in∣quisition taken at Durham, before Will. del Bowes, escheator: Ralph de Lumley was his brother and heir, and was possessed thereof at the time of his attainder, 1st king Henry IV. 1329; after which, in great bounty, the crown in the following year granted to Eleanor his lady, daughter of John lord Nevil of Raby, and sister of Ralph earl of Westmoreland, 20l. a year out of the duties of Hull, together with the manors of Beautrove and Stranton: Thomas, her eldest son, died possessed of the castle of Lumley, and manors of Stanley, Stanton, Ricklesden, and Beautrove, in the 5th Henry IV. leaving his eldest son Sir John, who was restored in blood in the thirteenth year of that reign. As we do not find Beautrove in any future in∣quisitions taken on the deaths of the Lumley family, we may conclude it passed as a marriage portion with Margaret, one of the daughters of Ralph Lumley, who mar∣ried Sir John Clervaux of Croft, or otherwise sold into that family; for Elizabeth, the heiress of Clervaux, married Christopher Chaytor, and carried with her large pos∣sessions: And we find, in the 8th year of queen Elizabeth, this Christ. Chaytor was possessed of Beautrove, and suffered a recovery * thereof in Cur. D'nae reginae apud Dunelm. Had this estate come into the crown by the attainder of George Lumley, in the 29th king Henry VIII. we know of no grant of so early a date as to admit such limitations taking place in the Chaytors' family, as required a recovery being suffered, as before noted, to dock and defeat the same; the whole length of time being only, a period of twenty years. Nicholas Chaytor, of Croft, in the county of York, esq by his will, dated February 8, 1665, made several provisions out of this manor for his younger children, and subject thereto the estate descended to his eldest son Sir William Chaytor†. In the 6th year of king William III. 1695, an act Page 328 of parliament was obtained, intituled, an act to vest certain lands of Sir William Chaytor, bart *. in Yorkshire and Durham, to be sold for payment of debts charged thereon, and to secure portions for younger children; by virtue of which the manor of Butterby was sold in 1713, to Thomas, John, and Humphrey Doubleday, sons of Robert Doubleday, then late of Jarrow, in this county, a Quaker family, under which purchase it soon after became the sole property of Humphrey, save one-third of the salt-springs reserved to the use of John Doubleday and his heirs. Humphrey's eldest son, Martin Doubleday, dying a bachelor, he devised the manor with his other estates, to his mother, who, by her will, devised the same upon trust to be sold; and it hath lately been purchased by Mr Ward of Sedgefield.
About a mile south of Butterby is
the seat of the family of Salvin†; an excellent house, placed on a lofty situation, and commanding a most beautiful prospect of the vale through which the river Were winds its course, stretching several miles towards the south-west; Sunderland bridge is in front, and the enlivened prospect of the great southern road with the passengers, at the agreeable distance of half a mile. It is bordered by extensive woods and plantations, and embellished with pleasure grounds and gardens in a good taste.
The first mention made of Croxdale in the records before us, is in bishop Lang∣ley's inspeximus, dated 1431 ‡, of a grant of bishop Anthony Bek, dated 1299, whereby the prelate granted to Walter de Robiry, certain lands of Queryndon moor, extending to the fields of Croxdale; and also an inspeximus of Richard of Routhbery's grant of the same lands to John de Denum ‖; another inspeximus of a Page 329 grant from John de Denum to Richard de Routhbery for life, of the manor of Croxdale, with the before mentioned lands, by the service of a rose at the feast of St John the Baptist. In the 37th year of bishop Hatfield, the manor was in the possession of Robert de Whalton, who obtained licence to alien the same, with limitations to his issue*. In the 14th year of bishop Skirlaw, A. D. 1402, it ap∣pears by an inquisition, that the manor of Croxdale was in the hands of trustees, to the use of the heirs of Robert Tirwhit, held of the lord bishop in capite, by suit at three head courts.
In 1474, we find Croxdale was become the possession of the Salvin family, and that Gerard Salvin died seised of the manor†, and Gerard was his son and heir, then Page 330 of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, from which time the family have held an uninterrupted possession.
There is a chapel here under St Oswald's, which being only three miles from Durham, was generally served by a monk from the convent: It is a mean building, consisting of a nave or body and chancel, very dark, and in poor repair: No arms or monuments, or any thing memorable. It is in the deanry of Easington, and a Peculiar belonging to the dean and chapter of Durham, not certified or in charge, consequently pays no first-fruits or tenths, but only 2s. 6d. as procurations to the bishop. The real value (1767) was 52l. 10s *.*
Page 331A small rivulet runs at the foot of the pleasure grounds, called Croxdale beck; this water passes through a very romantic channel, and supplies a paper-mill: It makes its way in a deep and narrow dell, just sufficient to admit a winding road to the mill. The rocks on each hand are shaken and columnar, affording several grand and awful scenes; the precipices overhang the vale; and large forest trees, bend∣ing from the cliffs, extend their solemn shade on every side. The natural grottos watered with cascades, the mossy banks, the falling streams of the brook, the gloom of the thick foliage, the grotesque rocks, the spreading arms of the oaks, the grassy plots that border the rivulets, all conspire to please the mind that has a taste for solitude, romantic scenes, and rural meditation. Was a little art employed to smooth the paths, to remove some few deformities, and with a skilful hand to dress the wild beauties of the vale, we know not where a more extraordinary scene could be found. The dell is so deep, that on very few days in the year the sun's rays touch the mill-house, and a person might live there for an age and never enjoy that spectacle. In days of deep ignorance and superstition, this dell was thought to be the residence of evil spirits; an idea which gained credit, perhaps, from its being a place resorted to by robbers and vagabonds. To banish the infernal inhabitants, a cross was erected here, which gave name to the adjacent lands, this being in se∣veral old writings wrote Croixdale; so the desert of Cross-fell, in Cumberland, is in old authors and charts called Fiends Fell; and since the erection of a cross there∣on, to vanquish the legions of Satan, it has obtained the present name of Cross-Fell.
Returning towards Durham by the turnpike road,
lies to the left, the seat of Geo. Smith, esq * The house stands in a low situation, on the banks of the river Bourn or Brune, from whence the house took its name. Mr Smith has made great improvements to his seat and adjacent lands: A farm∣house, Page 332 on the opposite side of the turnpike road, is called Old Burnhall. In the 25th year of bishop Hatfield, we find this manor was the estate of Robert de Brackenbury, held of the lord of Brancepeth by the fourth part of a knight's fee, value 10l.* In the 5th king Richard II. 1381, it was called in the record Burne∣magna, and was then held by Alicia the daughter and heiress of Gilbert de Brack∣enbury, of John de Nevill, lord of Raby. It came into the family of the Claxtons by marriage with Maud, daughter and heiress of Will. de Brackenbury, and was then held of the earl of Westmorland. It was afterwards the property of the Peacocks †.
Near Burnhall house is a house vulgarly called Farewell Hall, situated on the side of the turnpike road; this was the family house of the Farnhams, who posses∣sed a considerable landed property. The manor of Relley, which lies at the point of land between the rivulets of Brune and Derness, with lands in Aldernage, by the licence of bishop Bury, were purchased by the convent of Durham of Richard de Castro Bernardi ‡.
ALDERNAGE HOUSE, otherwise called Aldin-Grainge, in a pleasant retired situ∣ation on the banks of the Brune, was the place of residence of John Bedford, esq M. D. in the last years of his life; with a considerable estate adjoining, held un∣der the dean and chapter of Durham, by lease for twenty-one years ‖.
BROOME is frequently mentioned in our ancient records. By an inquisition taken in the third year of bishop Bury, it appears, lands in Broome were the pos∣session of Constantia del Brome, who held them in capite by fealty and ten shillings rent, and Thomas del Brome was her son and heir. In the year 1362, Richard de Wyteparys died seised of lands in Netherbrome, held of the bishop of Durham at 6s. 8d. rent, which paid a rent-charge of 20s. yearly to the prior of Durham; and also lands in Overbrome, held of the prior of Durham at 2s. rent. By bishop Hat∣field's Page 334 survey * it is stated, that one Robert Belford held lands which formerly be∣longed to the family of Brome, and that there were sundry other proprietors, among whom the prior of Durham is noted to be in possession of Wyteparys lands. In the 31st year of bishop Hatfield, by an inquisition taken on the death of Thomas de Hexham, whose heirs are named in the survey before noted, we find he died seised of the manor of Broome, held of the prior of Finchale by fealty and four shillings rent. In a licence of bishop Fordham's, for the priory of Dur∣ham to obtain lands in mortmain, dated 1388, certain lands in Le Brome are mentioned †, formerly the estate of John Cawoode, named in the survey before re∣ferred Page 335 to, T'e. de Pr. ut de Cella sua Fynkhall. In the beginning of the fifteenth century, the 27th year of bishop Langley, it became part of the great possessions of the Fossour family, who afterwards wrote their name Forcer*.
Part of BEAUREPAIRE, or BEARPARK†, lies in the parish of St Oswald, particularly the remains of the prior's house‡. Originally part of the possessions of the bishop, it was obtained in exchange by prior Ber∣tram, for Moorhouse; who, having a desire for a rural retreat for himself and successors, in this place erected a camera or lodge, with a chapel. Prior Hugh, of Darlington, who succeeded him at the distance of about fourscore years, in bishop Stichill's time, enclosed the park; it is also said by the monkish writers, he built a camera here, which we may conceive implies he added to or improved prior Bertram's erections. Whilst bishop Bek persecuted the convent, he broke down the fences of the park, and drove out the game. In the reign of king Edward II. the Scotch, among other depredations committed in the environs of the city, pil∣laged and defaced this beautiful retreat. Prior Fossour ‖ had great pleasure in this Page 336 place; to him we may attribute part of the embellishments, for the architecture of the chapel points out the improvements of a refined age; and as he acceded to his office in 1342, it may be presumed he restored Beaurepaire after the destroying hand of the Scots, in 1346, when David Bruce, as Camden says, ferro & flamma foevisset. As authors are silent touching Beaurepaire from this period, it is probable nothing material happened to it till the dissolution. The manor, with the house and park, were part of the possessions of the monastery, restored by the king's en∣dowment, after the institution of the dean and chapter.
In the time of dean Granville, who was instituted in 1684, an inquisition was taken of the deanry possessions, in which we find Beaurepaire thus described: "Proe∣ter domos sive aedificia apud Dun. fuit & est spectan. ad decan. decanat. Dun. et 40, 50, aut 60 annos ultimo elaps. et ultra, necnon p' te'pus, cujus contrarii memoria hominis non existit, fuit stan. & existen. apud Bearparke, infra com. & dioc. Dun. quaedam domus mansional. vocat. the manor house of Bearpark, quae quidem domus mansionalis distans est a decanatu Dunelm. p' unu. miliare Anglicanu. vel eo circiter; ac infra eand. dom. mansionalem sunt, seu saltem antiquitus & ab initio fuere stan. & existen. Cameae seu partitiones & cellae particular. sequen. viz. a hall, two passages near the hall, one large kitchen and an oven in it, a back room adjoining on the west end of the kitchen, a dining room, a great room leading to the chapel called the dormitory, some arches, and two rooms above the arches, a chapel and a room under it, three rooms or two at least called the prior's chamber, and the western room thereof called the prior's lodgings, a little room adjoining the prior's chamber, a staircase, and vaults under all and every the lower or floor rooms of the said mansion house, excepting the hall and kitchen, and the room aforesaid adjoining the kitchen. And at Bearpark aforesaid, there formerly have been belonging to the said manor house, several courts and gardens that were walled about; and also sundry out-houses, which are now wholly dilapi∣dated, and nothing to be seen or perceived but the ruins thereof. Et etiam sedes, locus, sive villa de Bearparke, est & ab antiquo fuit maneriu. ac domus mansional. terraeq. dominical. ejusd. manerij & aedificiae & structurae reliquae reliqua praementionat. ad cand. dom. mansional. spectan. necnon tenementa & parcu. ejusd. manerij, aliaq. pro∣ficua & emolumenta infra precinctus & territoria dict. manerij annuatim emergen. no'ric sunt pars & parcella corporis decanat. Dun. &c. Et terrae dominical. & tene∣menta ac parcum manerij de Bearparke aliaq. proficua infra terris dom. ejusdem manerii sunt & pro 20, &c. annos ultimo elapsos et ultra fuere annuatim de claro valen. su∣mam 300l. 295l. 290l. 285l. aut 280l. legalis monetae Angliae, ac praed. J. Sudbury durante toto tempore p' q'd fuit decan. ex terris dominical. & tenementis ac parco aliisq. emolumentis manorij de Bearparke, sum'am 6000l. &c. de claro leg'lis monetae Angliae habebat p'cipicbat & in usu. suu. convertebat*." The situation of this house is excellent, about two miles to the north-west of Durham, on a lofty eminence, above the rivulet of Brune, in a dry soil, and surrounded with cultivated lands, having a long extended level mead to the south; sine coppices are scattered over the steep descents on both sides of the river; and there is a beautiful prospect to the Page 337 north, rendered highly picturesque by the town and church of Witton-Gilbert and the adjacent hamlets. Much destruction has been made in the buildings since dean Granville's time; and nothing but naked and distracted walls remain of this once beautiful place. The chapel is thirteen paces long and eight wide; the east win∣dow consists of three lights, circular at the top and very plain; there are three win∣dows on each side, each divided by a mullion into two lights, their framing on the outside square: The wall is strengthened with a buttress of neat hewn stone work between each window, and a cornice runs round the building of the zig-zag figure: There is a door on the north side of the chapel from the court*. The walls of the chapel in the inside are ornamented with a regular succession of small round columns or pilasters, belted in the midst, the capitals filled with a garland of open cut foliage, of a delicate work; from whence spring pointed arches, three pilasters and two arches in each space between the windows: The west end is equally finish∣ed with pilasters and arches; and there is a small window in the center: At each side of the east window is a pedestal, for a statue, of considerable size. The apart∣ment under the chapel is lighted by small square windows; but as the floor of the chapel is gone, it is not easy to determine how it was constructed. Adjoining to the chapel on the west is a long building, the two gabels of which are standing, having a large window of six lights to the south: This was most probably the re∣fectory. On the north are the remains of a building, twenty paces in length, light∣ed to the east by three windows, which we conjecture was the dormitory: The other remains are so ruined and confused, as to render them totally indistinct. There is a door case standing, which has been the entrance into the garden or some chief court, with the arms of the See in the center. The principal parts of this edifice are delineated in the plate on the next page†.
The Scotch army, before the battle of the Red Hills, in 1346‡, (called by many writers the battle of Nevill's Cross, from the cross erected on the ground after the
The ground where this battle was fought is hilly, and in many parts very steep, towards the river, so that it is not possible to conceive how such an armament could be arranged and engage in any order. The account given of this battle, and of the subsequent transactions of the convent, by the writers of that house, as pub∣lished by Davies, and contained in Sir John Lawson's MSS. and Mr Hogg's Roll, is to the effect given in the notes†. The hilloc called the Maiden's Bower, where St Cuthbert's banner was displayed, whilst the monks put up their prayers to Heaven, within hearing of the noise and bustle of the conflict, where
Page 343Near the turnpike road leading from Durham to Newcastle stands AYKLEY-HEADS HOUSE, the property of Mr Francis Johnson, in a fine elevated situation, Page 344 commanding picturesque views of several branches of the city of Durham, seen through various openings of the hills: The gardens and pleasure grounds are laid Page 345 out in a good taste, and the adjacent lands are highly cultivated: This villa being within a mile of Durham, is a most desirable retreat: The mansion-house was built by Mr John Dixon, an eminent attorney at law, uncle to the present owner; and it is presumed, is not a place of higher antiquity, as we do not find it mentioned in any records, save the proceedings in elegit touching the possessions of Thomas Billingham in the middle of the last century, mentioned with Crookhall*.
FRAMWELGATE, called in the old evidences the borough of Framwelgate, being incorporated with the city of Durham, affords no matter for particular attention in this place; what is already said of the city or borough of Durham having immediate Page 346 relation thereto. It consists of one long street leading from the bridge towards Newcastle *.
CROSGATE, which begins near the bridge, branches out into three limbs; South-street to the lest, and Allergate, or Allertongate, to the right. In the point where South-street separates from Crosgate, on an elevated situation, stands the church or chapel of St Margaret, to which you ascend by two deep flights of steps.
This church has suffered great alterations since its first erection; the architecture being various. The altar is ascended to by three steps, from which the chan∣cel is five paces in length, being eight paces in width; the south side is laid open by a wide pointed arch; the whole extent of the chancel forming a spacious porch; the north side is opened half way by a small arch. The body of the church hath a center and two side ailes, is in length seventeen paces, and of equal width. The south aile is formed by three short round pillars, supporting circular arches; the north aile by three long small pillars, with circular arches. The church is lighted by five modern windows to the south, and four to the north, more ancient. It hath a tower†.
St Margaret's is in the deanry of Chester, and a Peculiar belonging to the dean and chapter of Durham, formerly a chapel of ease to St Oswald's ‡. In the year Page 347 1431, the inhabitants of this chapelry obtained a licence for the dedication of the church, and having sepulture there *. There was an ancient chantry in this church, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin; but who was the founder is not known. The an∣nual income was 7l. 14s. 8d. out of which is yearly paid to the king's receiver forty shilllings †.
Page 348The manor of Harberhouse lies within this chapelry, the ancient estate of the Forcers. In Hatfield's Survey it is said, that William Kellowe held the manor of Harebarowes at two shillings rent *; and we find Agnes de Kellowe died seised thereof in fee tail to her and the heirs of her body begotten by William de Kellowe, in the eleventh year of bishop Langley, A. D. 1417 †, and that Johan, the wife of John Fossour, was her heiress. On the 20th of October, in the first year of bishop Sever, John son and heir of Thomas son and heir, and John and Cecily his wife, had livery of Harberhouse, with lands in Kellowe, Plawsworth, Nunstanton, and Great Kellowe. It continued in the family of Forcer to the death of Basil Forcer, the last male of that house, who died about ten years ago.
The chapelry of
lies within the parish of St Oswald. The village is pleasantly situated on the north banks of the rivulet Brune, commanding a beautiful prospect to the southward; the ruins of Beaurepaire being the chief objects in front, with the adjacent wooded banks of the rivulet.
This church is dedicated to St Michael, and was founded in the year 1423 ‡; William Battmanson and John Shephardson, soliciting the prior and his brethren under pope Clement III. It is in the deanry of Durham, being anciently a chapel of ease to St Oswald's; is a Peculiar belonging the dean and chapter of Durham, Page 349 and not being in charge, pays no first fruits or tenths*. The chapel being too small to contain the parishioners, a gallery was built at the west end in 1742. The manor of Witton Gilbert was the estate of Isabell, the wife of William Clax∣ton, esq who married to a former husband William de Laton; on the issue of which first marriage Witton was settled in tail; of that marriage there was issue Elizabeth, who intermarried with Peter Tylliall, chiv†. It descended to Robert their son and heir, and in failure of issue came to his sisters and coheiresses, Isabel, who married John Colvylle, and Margaret, the wife of Christopher Moresby, in whose families it continued in moieties for a considerable time‡. We find Fulford was the possession of the family of Lyndley, in the time of bishop Langley ‖.
Page 350KIMBLESWORTH in the old books is called a rectory; the church has long been gone to decay, and the parish united to Witton Gilbert: Was a discharged living in the deanry of Chester, and a Peculiar belonging to the dean and chapter of Durham: It lies about two miles east of Witton, and was given to the monastery of Durham about the year 1220. So far back as the year 1593 we find this church in decay*; and by entry made in the parish register of Witton, it appears the parishioners came to the following agreement,—
Ra. Eure died seised of the manor of Kymblesworth in the fourth year of bishop Booth, and livery was made to his coheiresses, Ann, the wife of Ra. Constable, Isabel, the wife of William Constable, and Henry Thwaites, his cousins, on the 24th of September, in the first year of bishop Sherwood †, 1485.
Sacriston-heugh, as part of the possessions of the cathedral church, is before noted. Of Simperley we find nothing remarkable in the records.