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Merrington with Middlestone

MERRINGTON - with - MIDDLESTONE is a parish and township, 352 miles from London, S from Durham and 4 east-north-east from Bishop Auckland, in the Bishop Auckland division of the county, south-eastern division of Darlington ward, petty sessional division and county court district of Bishop Auckland, union of Auckland, rural deanery and archdeaconry of Auckland and diocese of Durham. The church of St. John the Evangelist, rebuilt in 1850-51, by the Dean and Chapter of Durham, on the site and in imitation of former building, which was coeval with Jarrow is a building of stone in the Norman style, consisting of chancel, nave, north transept, south porch and a central tower, 72 feet high, containing 3 bells, dated 1723 and 1729; the tower, no three stages, is lighted in the belfry story by coupled round-headed lights, on capped shafts, all within a single plain arch; the parapet, which is of much later date, it is embattled, but at the angles the battlements rise much higher, and the cops or merlons, 3 at each angle, are surmounted by square tapering finials, ornamented with gablets : the south doorway is deeply recessed in three orders, and the arch, on shafts with cushioned caps, is enriched with zigzag work : the screen of black oak dates from the time of Charles I and there are some carved beach ends with poppy heads; the communion table is of oak, and apparently Elizabethan: there are 350 sittings. In the churchyard there are eleven grave covers, some of which are coped, and one bearing a sword and spade incited on either side of a cross is said to mark the grave of Hodge of Ferry who slew the famous brawn (i.e. boar), of Brancepeth (Brawnspath), the scene of which incident is marked by an old grey stone, at the farm of Clevescross, near Merrington. The register dates from the year 1579. The living is a vicarage, gross yearly value 415, with residence in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Durham, and held since 1886 by the Rev. Richard Coulton, of St. Bees. There is a Wesleyan chapel here, and also at Low Spennymoor in this parish. The Dean and Chapter of Durham are lords of the manor. The principal landowners are Sir William Eden bart. D.L., J.P. and the Dean and Chapter of Durham. The soil is gravelly; subsoil limestone. The chief crops are wheat, barley, turnips and potatoes. The area of Merrington township is 1,961 acres; rateable value, 5,610; the population in 1881 of the township was 1,663; parish, 2,296.

Parish Clerk and Sexton, Robert Charlton.

POST & M.O.O., S.B. & Annuity & Insurance Office, Merrington. - William Sedgwick, receiver. Letters arrive through Ferry HiII at 8.30 a.m.; dispatched at 3.30 p.m.; no post on Sundays. Mount Pleasant is the nearest telegraph office. Letters for Merrington lane should be addressed via Spennymoor.

National School (mixed), built in 1868, for 260 children; average attendance, 115; George Rudd, master.

Middlestone is a small township in this parish, 3 miles north-east from Bishop Auckland, LEASINGTHORNE is a hamlet in the township, chiefly consisting of miners' cottages. Here is a coal mine, named the Leasingthorne colliery, the property of Messrs. Bolckow, Vaughan and Co. Limited. The Dean and Chapter of Durham are lords of the Manor. The principle landowner is Mr. John Lindsey. There is a Primitive Methodist chapel at Leasingthorne. The area is 893 acres; rateable value, ,12,275; the population in 1881 was 1,663.

POST OFFICE, Middlestone Moor. - William Elliott, receiver.
Letters arrive through Spennymoor; dispatched only at 6 p.m. Spennymoor is the nearest money order & telegraph office.
POST OFFICE, Leasingthorne - Miss Mary Little, receiver. Letters arrive through Bishop Auckland at 11.10 a.m; dispatched at 3.45 p.m. on week days only. The nearest money order & telegraph office is at Coundon.
A School Board of 5 members was formed June 22, 1875; J, Reed, Shildon, clerk to the board.
Board School, Middlestone Moor, built in 1879, for 300 children; average attendance, 210; John Harper master; Miss Maria Mold, mistress.
Board School, Leasingthorne (mixed), built in 1878, for 210 children; average attendance, 120; John Lloyd, master.
Infants' School, for 90 children, average attendance, 65; Miss Appelina Mitchinson, mistress.

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