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"This parish was anciently dependent upon Merrington, but for many years it has enjoyed all the privileges of a distinct parish, the date of its separation not being accurately known. It comprises the township of Old Park, and that part of Whitworth township not within the parish of Spennymoor. The parish of Spennymoor was formed out of this parish, and nearly the whole of the town is in Whitworth township. The boundaries of the parish are, on the north by Willington parish and part of Tudhoe, as well as the Wear; on the east by Tudhoe and Spennymoor; on the south and south-east by Merrington and Coundon; and on the west by Byers Green.
"Old Park Township or manor adjoins Whitworth on the south-west, and comprises an area of 414 acres. The ratable value of this township was in 1893, 15,150.
"The coal royalties of this manor are worked by Messrs. Bolckow, Vaughan and Co., at their Binchester and Westerton pits, which lie within the township of Westerton, though the workmen's cottages are in this township, and called Binchester Blocks.
"Binchester Blocks is a colliery village situated about half a mile south from Byers Green Station, and the same distance north from the main road between Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor. Here there is a chapel-of-ease to Whitworth, an iron structure, well fitted with seats for 200.
"Whitworth Township contains an area of 1465 acres, and its ratable value in 1891 was 14,115.
"There is a small colliery in this township, where the Low Main seam is worked at a depth of 25 fathoms, having a thickness of 2 feet 9 inches. This is called Whitworth Colliery, and is only working the one seam, Thomas M. Reay being the proprietor. There are about 150 men employed, and the output is 250 tons per day. Whitworth Park Colliery, opened in 1841, was exhausted in 1882.
"There is also a small colliery at Bishop's Close, worked by the Weardale Iron Co.
"The village of Whitworth, or Newton, as it is now called, is pleasantly situated about three-quarters of a mile south and above the river Wear, four and a half miles east-north-east from Bishop Auckland.
"Old Park Terrace is another small village in this township near the railway line and about half a mile from the Byers Green Road
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]


Old Park

"The number of inhabitants in 1801 was 20; in 1811, 14; in 1821, 30; in 1831, 67; in 1841, 30; in 1851, 26; in 1861, 23; in 1871, 18; in 1881, 910; and in 1891, 902."


"The population in 1801 was 122; in 1811, 115; in 1821, 112; in 1831, 104; in 1841, 290; in 1851, 659; in 1861, 3652. This great increase was due to the opening out of the coalfield, and the increase of the ironworks, which caused the rapid development of that portion of this township now known as Spennymoor. In 1871 the number of inhabitants had increased to 5028, and in 1891 to 6295."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

The 1851 Census Index (booklet 120) published by the Cleveland Family History Society may be of value to researchers interested in this parish.

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Church History

"The Church - It is remarkable that the foundation of this church, as well as its dedication, are points upon which no information can be found. That it is of ancient foundation there is no doubt, and that by the early lords of Whitworth. It is a small but well-proportioned structure, in the Early English style, consisting of nave and chancel, south porch, and organ chamber and vestry on the north of the chancel. In 1803 the church was rebuilt, and again in 1850. In 1886 a new organ was put in; in 1889-90 the chancel and the nave were reseated; and in 1892 further improvements were made in the chancel. The living, valued at 270, is in the gift of the dean and chapter and in the incumbency of the Rev. Edward Abercrombie Wilkinson, M.A."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

There is a picture (40 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Paul, Spennymoor; supplied by Bill Henderson.

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Church Records


"The register dates from 1569." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

The Parish Registers for the period 1569-1958 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Whi).

Marriage indexes for 1754-1837 (4 kbytes) from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1754-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.


The Parish Registers for the period 1863-1979 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Sp).

Index to St Pauls Marriage registers 1863-1914

- transcribed by Derek Boys.

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

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A local history book entitled "The History of the Urban District of Spennymoor" was published in 1897 by James J. Dodds. It contains much background to the area as well as local anecdotes from the time, and a copy can be reserved for borrowing from Spennymoor branch library. Copies in good condition also contain a detailed map
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