A History of the County of Durham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1928.
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The ward of Stockton included in 1831 the parishes of:
|EGGLESCLIFFE||MIDDLETON ST. GEORGE||STOCKTON|
The townships of Coatham Mundeville and Sadberge in the parish of Haughton le Skerne (which is in Darlington Ward) are also part of Stockton. The parish of Crayke is locally in Yorkshire, and has been united to that county for all purposes since 1844. (fn. 1) The townships of Girsby and Over Dinsdale in Sockburn parish are in Yorkshire.
Stockton Ward seems to have been formed late in the thirteenth or early in the fourteenth century. In 1293 the bishop had only three wards in the liberty of Durham, (fn. 2) and it has been pointed out elsewhere that these were probably Darlington, Chester and Easington. (fn. 3) In 1303 the four coroners of the bishop are mentioned. (fn. 4) If, as seems probable, one of these belonged to the wapentake of Sadberge, Stockton Ward was not then provided with its principal officer. In 1308 the 'quarter' of Stockton appears in the accounts of the bishopric, (fn. 5) and in January 1343–4 an inquiry took place before the coroner of the ward of Stockton. (fn. 6) At that date the ward included the parishes of Bishop Middleham, Billingham, Bishopton, (fn. 7) Grindon, Norton, Redmarshall, Sedgefield, Sockburn and Stockton. The remaining parishes, lying in two blocks, one in the north-east and the other in the south-west of the modern ward, belonged to the wapentake of Sadberge, which till 1189 was part of the county of Northumberland. (fn. 8) The wapentake included the parishes of Hart, Hartlepool, Greatham, (fn. 9) Stranton, Elwick Hall, Stainton, Elton, Long Newton, Egglescliffe, Middleton St. George, Low Dinsdale, Hurworth with the townships of Coatham Mundeville and Sadberge. (fn. 10) The parish of Coniscliffe, (fn. 11) now in Darlington Ward, also belonged to it, as did Gainford with its barony, though the latter developed an organization of its own which rendered it independent of wards and wapentakes. (fn. 12)
When Sadberge was purchased from Richard I by Bishop Hugh Pudsey nearly all the land in the wapentake was held by free tenants. (fn. 13) It did not therefore fit easily into the organization of the palatinate. For some time it was regarded as a separate county, in which the bishop had the same regal authority as he had in his county of Durham. There seems to have been a separate sheriff for Sadberge at least till 1311, (fn. 14) and after that date, though only a single sheriff was appointed for Durham and Sadberge, he was regarded as holding two offices. (fn. 15) The escheator had similarly a double office, and separate inquisitions were held at Sadberge for lands within the wapentake down to the late fifteenth century. (fn. 16) Places were described as 'in the county of Sadberge' as late as 1435, (fn. 17) and there are references to the county court of Sadberge down to 1576. (fn. 18) The bishop's justices in Eyre sat at Sadberge as well as at Durham till about the same date, (fn. 19) but both the county court and the assize court at Sadberge had lost their importance in the sixteenth century. (fn. 20) After 1576 the separate county organization disappeared, though the whole county was officially known as 'Durham and Sadberge' till 1836, when the double name was abolished by Act of Parliament. (fn. 21)
While Sadberge was thus in some aspects a separate county, in others it was on a level with the wards. In 1344 commissioners were appointed for the levying of an assessment in the wards of Darlington, Stockton, Chester and Easington and the east and west wards of Sadberge. (fn. 22) This division of the wapentake into two wards seems to have ceased after the fourteenth century. It had from the thirteenth century its own coroner, whose functions corresponded in most respects to those of the coroners of the wards, (fn. 23) though the financial duties of the coroner (fn. 24) seem to have been performed by the bailiff of the wapentake. (fn. 25) Separate commissions of array for Sadberge were issued down to the late fifteenth century at least. (fn. 26) In 1497 it was called a ward, and its coroner acted with those of the other four wards and the bailiff of Barnard Castle and Gainford in the arrangements for the passage of the king's army. (fn. 27)
The connexion of Sadberge with Stockton Ward began on the financial side. As early as 1413 the account of the bailiff of the wapentake was attached to the collector's accounts for Stockton Ward, (fn. 28) and this plan was followed down to 1543 (fn. 29) at least. (fn. 30) For military purposes Hart and Hartlepool and probably most of the wapentake were in Stockton Ward about 1570. (fn. 31) All that part of Sadberge which is in the present ward of Stockton was popularly considered as in Stockton Ward at that date. (fn. 32) There appears to have been no coroner for Sadberge in the reign of James I, (fn. 33) and for rating purposes the ward of Stockton had its present extent early in the seventeenth century. (fn. 34) Mickleton, writing soon after the Restoration, speaks of Sadberge as 'formerly a county of itself and now in Stockton Ward.' (fn. 35) The barony of Gainford and the parish of Coniscliffe were probably incorporated in Darlington Ward when the rest of the wapentake became part of Stockton. (fn. 36)