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Sockburn

"That portion of the parish of Sockburn which lies within the county of Durham, is bounded on the north-east by Dinsdale, on the north-west by Hurworth, and on the west, south and east by the Tees. It thus occupies a peninsula, formed by the windings of the river. The other portion of the parish, comprising the townships of Girsby and Over Dinsdale.

"Sockburn, a township, in the parish of the same name, about seven miles south-east by south from Darlington, comprises an area of 709 statute acres, and its annual value is 799.

"The manor of Sockburn is, as has been stated above, a long projecting peninsula, the most southern point of the county, around which the Tees sweeps with its clear waters; and, from its isolated position, long continues to maintain its secluded character. A narrow carriage-road was the only approach to the church and manor from the north, whilst the inhabitants of the Yorkshire portion of the parish had no means of attending service, except by fording or crossing the Tees in boats. The bridge, erected a few years ago at Dinsdale has now obviated this difficulty. The Roman road from Sadberge into Yorkshire crossed the river at this point."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

Census

"The population in 1801 was 34; in 1811, 37; in 1821, 43; in 1831, 50; in 1841, 42; in 1851, 43; in 1861, 59; in 1871, 35; in 1881, 44, in 18191, 44 souls."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

The 1851 Census Index (booklet 47) published by the Cleveland Family History Society may be of value to researchers interested in this parish.

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Church History

"The Old Parish Church Of Sockburn, a few ruins of which now only remain, consisted of a chancel, nave, north and south porches. The north porch contained the tombs of the Conyers, several monumental brasses (since removed) of that family, besides a blue marble slab, sculptured with a crossflory, a sword, and a shield bearing the family arms. This fine old English church was dismantled in Bishop Maltby's time, and the present nondescript building erected in the hamlet of Girsby in its place. The building dates from the early part of the fourteenth century. The Saxon sculptured stones, now at the east end of the chancel, have been ascribed to the eighth and ninth centuries.. Some are the remains of shafts and heads of crosses, which no doubt stood at the heads of graves. One of these is a very remarkable piece of work, and appears to be a representation of Daniel in the Lion's Den, a not uncommon subject in early Christian work. The recumbent effigy of one of the ancient lords of Sockburn has been removed to Sockburn Hall. The figure is completely clad in chain armour and surcoat, the legs are crossed, and the feet rest upon a lion in conflict, apparently with a dragon or other mythical beast, and allusive perhaps to the legend; the long pointed shield displays no device. This knightly effigy, which is in an excellent state of preservation, is commonly believed to be that of Sir John Conyers, who died in 1395, but is no doubt considerably older. It has been sculptured with rare skill and delicacy of execution, and is one of the finest examples of mediaeval art in the north of England."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

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Church Records

The Parish Registers for the period 1580-1982 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Soc).

Marriage indexes for 1580-1837 (11 kbytes) from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1593-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

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