Records > Whellan & Co 1894 Directory : Croxdale
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Croxdale Parish - 1894

This district, comprising the townships of Hett and Sunderland Bridge, formerly belonging to the parishes of Merrington and St. Oswald respectively, with a small portion of the townships of Elvet and Ferryhill, was formed by an Order in Council, bearing date June 10, 1843. It is bounded on the north by the River Wear, on the north-west and west by Brancepeth parish, on the south by the road which divides the townships of Hett and Ferryhill in the parish of Merrington, and on the south-east and east by the parishes of Kelloe and Bishop Middleham. The population of this district in 1851 was 438 souls.

Hett, a township and village formerley included in the parish of Merrington, was attached to that of Croxdale in June 1843. The township comprises an area of 1279 acres, and its annual value is two thousand nine hundred and sixty four pounds. The number of inhabitants in 1801 was 157; in 1811, 178; in1821, 233; in 1831, 227; in 1841, 234; in 1851, 234; in 1861, 227; in 1871, 394; in 1881, 338; and in 1891 was 357 souls. Hett was anciently held of the convent of Durham by a family bearing the local name, which failed in male issue during the episcopacy of Bishop Skirlaw. The greater portion of the land is still held under the Dean and Chapter by leasehold tenure; but the Salvins, Lord Boyne, and others have freeholds here. The great Whinstone Dyke passes through this township.

The village of Hett is pleasantly situated about four miles south of Durham, and possesses a green of some acres in extent, round which the houses form a square. At the high end the Chapel of Ease to Croxdale is situated.

Butcher Race is a hamlet in the township, on the Ferryhill road about five miles south of Durham.

The Chapel of Ease, situated at Hett, is a structure of wood and plaster, dedicated to St. Michael, and was erected in 1881, having seats for 80.

Wall letter box cleared for Durham at 4 P. M.

Sunderland Bridge is a township and village containing 1376 acres, and its annual value is five thousand six hundred and seventy three pounds. The population of the township in 1801 was 250; in 1811, 224; in 1821, 204; in 1831, 283; in 1841, 262; in 1851, 204; in 1861, 285; in 1871, 355; in 1881, 1372; in 1891 was 1359 souls. The manor of Sunderland -by-the-Bridge belonged to William de Kilkenny in 1321, and a moiety of it afterwards passed to the Nevilles, and from them to Hotouns; it is at present possessed by the Salvins of Croxdale. The Salvins of this township are descended from Anthony, eighth son of Gerard Salvin of Croxdale, who died in 1663.

The Weardale Iron and Coal Co. About the year 1875 opened out Croxdale Colliery, where the “Brockwell” seam is at present being worked at a depth of 86 fathoms, with an average thickness of 3 ft. 7 in. At a depth of 97 fathoms is found the “Victoria” seam, of 2 ft. 6 in. Thick, which has not been exclusively wrought. The “Busty,” with a very wide band, and the “Hutton,” 1 ft. 6in. Thick are both met in this pit. When fully employed, the output of this colliery amounts to 600 tons per day, which gives employment to 400 hands in the pit and at the coke ovens.

The main line (north and south) passes through this township, having a station at Croxdale.

Sunderland Bridge Village occupies a pleasant situation on the ridge of a steep hill between the River Wear and the Croxdale water, about three and a quarter miles south by west of Durham, and contains two public houses and a few tradesman’s shops. There is a commodious school on the south side of the churchyard. A skirmish took place near this village on the morning of the day of the battle at Neville’s Cross between the English troops and the Scots under Douglas; the latter of whom, having been foraging at Ferry-on-the-Hill, fell in with the main force of the advancing English, and fled fighting and retreating till he lost 500 of his best men near this place. The Wear is here crossed by a handsome bridge of four arches.

Croxdale Colliery Village, where the schools and the Primitive Chapel are situated, is a little beyond the station. It is rather a straggling village, but the houses seem to be well built and comfortable.

The Church, built in 1845, and dedicated to St. Bartholemew, is a handsome structure in the Norman style, consisting of nave, chancel, and western tower, and is situated at the western extremity of the village of Sunderland Bridge. In exchange for the ancient chapel, Gerard salvin, Esq., gave the site of this church, the old chapel now being used as a mortuary chapel. In 1878 the church was enlarged by adding a nave and a new chancel; the new nave was added to the north side of the original one; this and the chancel are in Early decorated style. The junction is formed by fine bays of wooden arches. The east window of five lights is filled with very fine stained glass as a memorial; there are also stained windows in the nave and the vestry. The church will now seat 412. The cost of the enlargements, which was defrayed by grants and private donations, was about two thousand pounds. This was formerly a chapelry under the parish of St. Oswald’s, and in 1866 it was constituted a rectory. The value of the living, which is in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Durham, is three hundred and fifty pounds; Reverend Edward Greatorex, M. A., rector. The rectory is close to the church, and is beautifully situated on top of the slope down to Croxdale hall avenue and the Wear, commanding an extensive view, including Durham Cathedral and Ushaw College.

The Primitive Methodist Chapel at Croxdale Colliery, is a neat stone building, erected in 1877 at a cost of about four hundred pounds, and capable of seating 250.

The Board School for mixed and infants at Croxdale Colliery was built in 1878-79 with a total accommodation for 230. These are very fine stone buildings, situated a little off the main road, erected by the Board, which was formed in 1877.

At Croxdale Colliery there is an institute for the work-people, consisting of reading, recreation room, and library.

Butterby, or as it was formerly written, Beautrove, an ancient manor formerly included in St. Oswald’s parish, but attached to this district on its formation in 1843, is pleasantly situated on a sequestered peninsula formed by the Wear, about two miles south of Durham. It was soon after the Conquest in the possession of a Norman family, name d’Audre; but we find it in 1240 possessed by the Lumleys, from whom it passed by purchase to Christopher Chaytor, Esq., in 1556. It was afterwards the property of the Doubledays, from whom it was transferred to the Wards of Sedgefield, with the exception of one moiety of the salt springs and salt mines, which were reserved to John Doubleday and his heirs. It has since become the property of the Salvins of Croxdale, with the exception of the mines just named, which belong to Mr. Thomas Doubleday of Newcastle. The site of the manor house occupies a low retired situation near the banks of the Wear, and is encompassed by a moat, which has been drained and is now a wet ditch overgrown with rank vegetation. In cleansing the moat some years ago, a stone trough, containing a coat of mail and other armour was discovered; and in an adjoining field in which an ancient hospital dedicated to St. Leonard is supposed to have stood, many stone coffins and other antiquities have been dug up. A portion of the present building, which is now a farmstead, with its old gateway, studded oak doors, and general appearance, would point to it being the remains of an old manor-house. There were formerly several springs at Butterby, but owing to the opening of collieries in the neighbourhood have now entirely disappeared. These mineral springs were first noted by Camden in 1607, who states, “In nearly the middle of the River Wear is a spring of reddish salt water, from which, by evaporation, the people of the district obtain salt.” Near to this spring was a sulphur spring, which was much frequented in 1684; and in 1807 an analysis was made of the water by W. R. Clanny of Durham.

Croxdale.- We find this manor was granted to Walter de Robiry in 1299. It was afterwards the property of John de Denum, who granted it for life to Richard de Routhbury , by the service of a rose at the feast of St. John the Baptist. It afterwards was held by the Whattons and Tirwhhits, and in the beginning of the fifteenth century came into the hands of the Salvins, whith whom it has since remained.

Croxdale Hall, the property of Henry Thomas Thornton Salvin, Esq., and occupied by John Rodgerson, Esq., J. P., is a spacious mansion, occupying an elevated situation on the banks of the River Wear, and commands a fine prospect towards the south-west; and pleasure grounds, with adjacent woods and plantations, are laid out with great taste. Round their western extremity flows a small rivulet, whose channel is a romantic dell, so deep and narrow that the sun’s rays are excluded nearly throughout the year; and this circumstance in ancient times gave rise to the idea that it was the abode of evil spirits, which probably gained credit from its being the resort of robbers and other lawless persons. To banish the infernal inhabitants a cross was erected; and Croixdale became the name of the adjacent lands. The Catholic Chapel attached to the hall was erected by the late William Thomas Salvin, Esq., and consists of nave and chancel, there is a handsome marble tablet in memory of the founder. The chapel, which will accommodate about 200 persons, is much too small for the congregation. By an exchange of land between Gerald Salvin, Esq., and the Dean and Chapter of Durham, the ancient chapel became the property of the Salvin family. It is a humble primitive looking building, consisting of a nave and chancel, divided by a heavy circular arch. The south door is Norman, with rude sculpture of the Tree of Life in the tympanum. There is an Early English lancet on the north side of the nave, and a curvilineal east window. There is no record of this ancient chapel; but it is quite possible it dates back to the eleventh century, as the Norman doorway and other features would indicate. It is now the mortuary chapel of the Salvin family. The priest, the Reverend John Smith, resides at the Old Hall, which is pleasantly situated, east of the village.

In a deep ravine near the worsted mill, and almost encircled by the stream, are the picturesque ruins of an old paper mill, which owing to its romantic scenery resemble more the ruins of some ancient chapel. The dell is known as Rock Walk and the Heugh. There are many legends of fairies and goblins in connection with this spot.

Biography.- Anthony Salvyn (Salvin) of Croxdale was in 1552 collated to the mastership of Sherburn Hospital, and in 1557 petitioned Bishop Tunstall for an inquiry into the abuses of this charity by its former masters. He also sent as a proxy by the Dean and Chapter of Durham to appear before Cardinal Pole, and the Queen’s Commissioners when the corrective statutes for the cathedral were made, which are now in the Vatican. Salvin was deposed on the accession of Elizabeth.

Post Office.- Sunderland Bridge, Miss Emily Dryden, postmistress. Letters arrive here from Durham at 8 15 A. M., and despatched at 5 .15 P. M., week days only.
Wall box at Croxdale Colliery cleared for Durham at 4.45 P. M.

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