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Merrington with Middlestone - 1902

MERRINGTON-with-MIDDLESTONE is a parish and township, about 4 miles west from Ferry Hill Station on the main line of the North Eastern Railway, 7 south from Durham and 5 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 subscription, on the site and in imitation of the former structure coeval with the church of Jarrow, is a building of stone in the Norman style, consisting of chancel, nave, north transept, south porch, and central tower, 72 feet high, containing two bells, dated 1723 and 1729; the south doorway is deeply recessed in three orders, and the arch, on shafts with cushioned cups, is enriched with zigzag work : the screen of black oak dates from the time of Charles II and there are some carved bench ends with poppy heads : the communion table is of oak, and apparently Elizabethan : there are 350 sittings. In the churchyard there were, until recently, eleven grave covers; some of these still re,aining are coped, and one bearing a sword and spade incised 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 (Brawnspeth), the scene of which incident is marked by an old grey stone at the farm of Clevescross, near Merrington; six of these memorials have now been removed into the chancel for the sake of preservation. The register dates from the year 1578. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value 300 pounds, with residence, in 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, Charities:- The poorís land consists of 20 acres, producing about 14 pound a year, which sum is proportionately divided by the Dean and Chapter of Durham amongst the township of Merrington, Hett, Ferry Hill and Chilton; the portion for Merrington being distributed amongst ten poor people in doles of from 2s. 6d. To 5s. each. John Stokoe of Durham left 8 pounds 8s. 8d. To be divided annually among the poor of this township, and also a similar sum for Ferry Hill and Chilton township. Smithís charity consists of 200 pounds the interest which is divided amongst ten poor widows in the parish, and is in the hands of the trustees. There were other charities, but they have been lost. The Dean and Chapter of Durham are lords of the manor. The principal landowners are Sir William Eden bart. Of Windlstone, 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 1,655 acres; rateable value, 7,391 pounds; the population in 1901 was 679. Parish Sexton, James Dunn

Post & M. O. O., S. B. Annuity & Insurance Office, Merrington. - Henry Valks, sub-postmaster. Letters arrive through Ferry Hill at 7. 40 a.m.; dispatched at 4. 20 p. m.; no post on Sundays. Spennymoor is the nearest telegraph office. Letters for Merrington lane should be addressed via Spennymoor.

Merrington is included in the Tudhoe United School Board district.

National School (mixed), built in 1868, for 160 children; average attendace, 104; Thomas Scott, master.

MERRINGTON LANE is a township in this parish, adjoining Spennymoor. The area is 306 acres; rateable value, 4,944 pounds; the population in 1901 was 1,595. Wall Letter Box cleared at 8 & 10 . 30 a.m. & 1 .15, 4, 5 . 40 & 8. 15 p.m.

MIDDLESTONE is a township in this parish, 4 miles north-east from Bishop Auckland. The Dean and Chapter are lords of the manor. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are the principal landowners. The area is 893 acres; rateable value, 8,673 pounds; the population in 1901 was 1,789.
Wall Letter Box cleared at 4. 40 p.m.

LEASINGTHORNE in this township, chiefly consisting of minersí cottages. There is a primitive Methodist Chapel at Leasingthorne, erected in 1875. In this hamlet is Leasingthorne Colliery, the property of Bolckow, Vaughan & Co. Ltd.

Post Office, Leasingthorne, - John Coe, sub-postmaster. Letters arrive through Bishop Auckland at 9. 30 a. m.; dispatched at 3. 45 p.m. on week days only. Postal Orders are issued here but not paid. The nearest money order & telegraph office is at Coundon, 2 miles distant.

MIDDLESTONE MOOR is a hamlet in this parish, about a mile south-west of Spennymoor, on the road from Bishop Auckland to Spennymoor. Here is a church of England Mission Room, in which divine service is conducted by lay evangelists. There is also a Methodist New Connexion chapel; Bethel chapel, erected in 1887, and a Primitive Methodist chapel, built in 1891.

Post Office, Middlestone Moor. - William Elliot, sub-postmaster. Letters arrive through Spennymoor at 7 . 30 a.m. & 5 . 30 p. m.; dispatched at 8 . 10 a.m. & 6 p. m. Spennymoor is the nearest money order & telegraph office.

A School Board of 5 members was formed for Middlestone, June 22, 1875; William Alderson, Howlish cottage, Bishop Auckland, clerk to the board; Thomas Horner, attendance officer.

Board School, Middlestone Moor, built in 1878, for 250 children; average attendance 200; John Hamer, master; Miss Ethel Hamer, mistress.

Board School, Leasingthorne (mixed), built 1878, for 210 children; average attendance, 147; Joseph W. Hodgson, master.

Infants School, for 90 children, average attendance, 53; Miss Mary J. Harrison, mistress.

North Eastern Railway Goods Station. Leasingthorne, J. Holton, traffic agent.

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