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Houghton-le-Spring

"This populous parish includes the townships of Houghton-le-Spring, and Warden-Law. The ancient parish consisted of the townships of Hetton-le-Hole, Penshaw, East Rainton, West Rainton, Newbottle, East and Middle Herrington, West Herrington, Offerton, South Biddick, Burn Moors, Morton Grange, Cocken, Moor House, Moorsley, Eppleton, Little Eppleton, and Warden Law, and was bounded by Bishopwearmouth on the north-east, by the river Wear on the north, by Chester-le-Street on the west, by St. Giles parish on the south-west, Pittington and Easington on the south, and Dalton-le-Dale and Seaham on the east.
"Wardenlaw is a small township, two miles east of Houghton-le-Spring. Its area is 498 acres, and its ratable value is 3219, 10s."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

Cemeteries

The Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery have produced a site for the historical cemetery which contains much data that genealogical researchers may find useful.

Census

Houghton-le-Spring Township

"The population in 1801 was 996; in 1811, 1356; in 1821, 2905; in 1831, 3917; in 1841, 3433; in 1851, 4075; in 1861, 4741; in 1871, 5276; in 1881, 6041; and in 1891, 6476 souls."

Wardenlaw

"It contained in 1801, 15 inhabitants; in 1811, 12; in 1821, 14; in 1831, 54; in 1841, 60; in 1851, 54; in 1861, 73; in 1871, 77; in 1881, 96; and in 1891, 85."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]
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Church History

"The Church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a fine cruciform structure, consisting of chancel, nave, with north and south aisles, north and south transepts, with square tower springing from the intersection, and south porch. The style of architecture is, with the exception of the alterations, that of the thirteenth century. Some parts of the building belong to still earlier times, the north wall of the chancel, which contains a round-headed window, being of Norman date. Two guilds were formerly instituted in this church, one dedicated to "Our Ladie," and the other to the Holy Trinity. There was also a chantry, dedicated to "St. Marie and St. Catherine," of the yearly value of 3, 5s. The living is a rectory in the gift of the Bishop of Durham, valued at 1921, including 343 acres of glebe. Rev. the Hon. John Grey, D.D., hon. canon of Durham and rural dean."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

There is a picture (27 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Michael, Houghton-le-Spring; supplied by Richard Hird.

Newbottle

There is a picture (8 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Matthew, Newbottle; supplied by George Bell.

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Church Records

Houghton-le-Spring

The Parish Registers for the period 1563-1961 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL

Marriage indexes for

from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1563-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

The following records for churches in the ancient parish of Houghton-le-Spring are also available at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL:-

Hetton-le-Hole

Marriage indexes for 1832-1837 (8 kbytes) from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1832-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

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Description and Travel

"The manor of Houghton was anciently held by the Le Spring family, from whom its additional designation was derived. The last male heir of this family was murdered in his own manor-house by Robert Lascelles; soon after which Ralph, Lord Neville of Raby, was excommunicated by Bishop Kellaw,1313, for seizing and retaining the armour of the murdered Sir John Spring.
"The town of Houghton-le-Spring is situated at the head of a beautiful vale, opening to the west, and sheltered from northern and eastern winds by the hills of Houghton and Wardenlaw. Within the last half century, it has undergone great improvement, and is now a thriving and prosperous little town, containing many large and handsome houses. The weekly market, established in 1825, is held every Saturday. Petty sessions are held here every alternate Thursday. The trade of this place depends mainly upon the numerous coal mines in the vicinity, the produce of which is sent by railway to different parts of the country. Houghton Feast is held annually on Monday after Michaelmas day. The festival is continued with great spirit for three or four days, during which period there are horse-races and various other amusements.
"Warden Law is the usual name of a lofty hill in this township, whose summit commands an uninterrupted view of the ancient principality of the Bishops of Durham. This township is exempt from tithes by payment of a small annual prescript rent to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. "Bishop Aldune and the monks rested with the body of St. Cuthbert at 'Wredelaw' on their return from Ripon to Chester-le-Street, where they intended to bear it; the car on which the shrine containing the body was placed became immovable. The Bishop addressed his people enjoining fasting and prayer, and at the end of three days it was revealed in a dream to the pious monk Eadmer, that Dunholme was the place to which the saint's body had to be taken, upon which it became movable again." "
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]
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History

Paul Lanagan at Houghton-le-Spring.org has provided a web site with many pages relating to the township.
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