A History of the County of Durham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1928.
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The parish is bounded by Elwick on the north and Dalton Piercy on the north-east, both within the parish of Hart. On the east Elwick Hall borders upon Brierton, in the parish of Stranton, and on the township of Claxton, from which it is divided by Claxton Beck. On the south-east and south the boundary is the North Burn, dividing Elwick Hall from the townships of Newton Bewley and Wolviston. On the south-west is the parish of Grindon, and on the west the township of Embleton, from which Elwick Hall is divided by Amerston Beck.
The boundaries of the parish are entered in the Parish Register as follows under the date 1744 (fn. 1):—
The first boundary at the gate going out of the glebe in the road to Trimden, John Speck's land on one side the road, and William Jourdison's on the other. The iid in high Stotfold Moor, in a corner beneath a hill close by the beck side, butting on Mr Maire's land, in the parish of Sedgefield. The iiid in a corner of Amerstone farm, North west of the Gill, between Sir Edward Smith's land and Mr Maire's. The iiiith in Close farm in the Gill by the beck side, where the water makes a peninsula, butting on Sir Edward Smith's land, and near Mr Tempest's. The vth in Poplar row farm, in the corner of a field butting on Mr Tempest's and Mr Spearman's land. The vith in Newton-Hansard, in a field butting on Mr. Tempest's land in Grindon parish, and on Mr Hogg's land in Wolviston Chapelry. The viith in High Bruntoft, at a gate in the Gill, butting on John Grange's land in Wolviston Chapelry. The viiith in the Stobb farm, close by the beck side, butting on the glebe land, and on Mr Smith's, in the township of Newton. The ixth in Low Stotfold, in the meadow-field near the beck side, butting on Claxton lands, in the parish of Greatham, and on Brearton lands, in the parish of Stranton. The xth in Middle Stotfold pasture, and the gate going into the landing (sic), and butting on high Stotfold grounds and on Grace Ranson's and William Chilton's lands in the parish of Hart.
Elwick Hall is known as the West parish, to distinguish it from Elwick in Hart parish, which is called Elwick Eastwards. The only hall in the parish is the rectory, and it is unknown how the name of Elwick Hall came to be attached to the whole parish.
Elwick Hall contains 4,438 acres, of which 1,375 acres are arable land, 2,046 acres permanent grass, and 442 acres plantation. (fn. 2) The parish contains the estates of Amerston in the north-west, Burntoft in the south-east, The Close in the south-west, Newton Hanzard south-south-west, and Stotfold in the north-east. The highest point is Beacon Hill (435 ft. above the ordnance datum), which lies to the north-west of the church. The church itself stands on the steep bank of the Char Beck, at an elevation of 282 ft. It is on the northern boundary of the parish, and below it, in the valley of the Char, lies the village of Elwick in the next parish. It was this fact which caused Hutchinson to write in 1794: 'It is said that in this parish there is neither town nor village, cottage house for the poor, surgeon or apothecary, midwife, blacksmith, joiner, house-carpenter, mason, bricklayer, cart or wheelwright, weaver, butcher, shoemaker, taylor, or barber, school-master or school-mistress, alehouse, public bakehouse, grocer or chandler's shop, or a cornmill.' (fn. 3)
The main road from Sunderland to Stockton runs north and south through the parish close by the church. The road from Ferryhill to Wolviston runs north-west to south-east through the southern part of the parish. There is no railway.
Five men of Elwick Hall joined in the Rising of the North, and one was executed. (fn. 4) Elwick was occupied by the Parliamentary forces in 1644, and the grass of Baxter's garth there was 'eaten up by troopers' horses.' (fn. 5)
The manor of ELWICK comprised the whole of the township of Elwick in Hart parish, and part of the parish of Elwick Hall. As it is impossible to distinguish between the two portions, they will here be treated together for the sake of convenience.
Elwick Hall and Elwick lay within the district of Hartness (see Hart). The Anglo-Saxon sculptured stones within the church show that the place existed some time before the Conquest, (fn. 6) but nothing is known of its history before the 12th century. It was within the wapentake of Sadbergh, and so does not appear in the Boldon Book.
Robert de Brus granted Elwick in Hartness as dower to Agatha, his daughter by his wife Agnes de Paganel, on Agatha's marriage with Ranulf son of Ribald lord of Middleham in Richmondshire. (fn. 7) The date of this grant lies probably between 1145 and 1154 (fn. 8); it has been conjectured, however, that the marriage took place before 1129, (fn. 9) but as Ranulf was living as late as 1167–8, (fn. 10) a later date seems more probable.
Ranulf and Agatha were succeeded in turn by their son Robert, living in 1206–7, their grandson Ranulf, who died in 1251, and their great-grandson Ralph. (fn. 11) The last-named died in 1270, leaving three daughters, among whom his lands were divided. (fn. 12) Elwick is not named, but it seems to have been allotted to Mary, the eldest daughter, who married Robert Neville, (fn. 13) as it henceforward descended in the Neville family until the attainder of the last Earl of Westmorland in 1570 (see Brancepeth). It is always described as held of the heirs of the Lord of Hart. (fn. 14)
After the attainder the manor was granted out in small freeholds, no one of which has any long history. (fn. 15)
The Earl of Westmorland appointed a bailiff of Elwick to collect his rents and hold his courts, and the tenants were charged with the service of leading the bailiff's coals from Spenimoor colliery. In 1612 the inhabitants of Elwick endeavoured to free themselves from this obligation, which was then exacted by the bailiff appointed by the king. (fn. 16)
On the wooded banks of Amerston Beck, which forms the western boundary of the parish, lies AMERSTON (Aymuneston, xii cent.; Aimundeston, xiii cent.; Aymondeston, xv cent.; Amereston, xvi cent.). The first known lord of this little manor is Gilbert Hansard, one of the feudatories of Bishop Pudsey (1153–95), and a contemporary of German Prior of Durham (1162–86). (fn. 17) Gilbert Hansard granted all his land in the vill of Amerston, including a rent of 10s. which William de Boultone paid for land in the vill, to the hospital of St. Giles, Kepier, together with lands in Hurworth, for the maintenance of a chaplain to celebrate mass for the souls of himself and his family. (fn. 18)
In 1243 the prior and monks of Finchale granted to the hospital of Kepier, in exchange for other lands, half a carucate in Amerston which had been given to the priory by John de Rudys. (fn. 19)
During the first half of the 13th century negotiations went on between the hospital and the monastery of Durham for an exchange of lands. Amerston was one of the places which it was proposed that the hospital should cede, but although several charters to this effect were drawn up, in the end the hospital kept it, and gave other lands instead. (fn. 20)
On the dissolution of the hospital in 1546 (fn. 21) this land followed the descent of the site of the hospital (q.v.) until in 1599 John Heath of Kepier conveyed to Henry Dethicke, Master of Greatham Hospital, the manor of Amerston, (fn. 22) which had been leased for 54 years to John Franklin of Thirley, Beds, by William Franklin, Dean of Windsor and Master of Kepier Hospital. (fn. 23) In 1613 Henry Dethicke died seised of the manor of Amerston; Martin Dethicke, aged twenty, was his son and heir. (fn. 24)
In 1620 Martin Dethicke sold the manor to John Girlington and both he and Bernard Jackson paid the subsidy of 1624 for land in Elwick. (fn. 25) In 1649 John Jackson of Harraton, a lieutenant-colonel in the king's army, when compounding for his estate, stated that Roger Harker, John Brach, and others held certain lands in Amerston for his use by virtue of a decree of Durham Chancery, for payment of certain debts of Mr. Girlington. Girlington had charged the estates with yearly payments to Martin Dethicke for life, one Kendrith and his heirs for ever, and one Slinger, (fn. 26) but these annuities were in arrears and the owners of the rent charge had entered into possession of the lands. Thomas Girlington with Matthew Stodart and Mary his wife conveyed a messuage and 370 acres of arable, meadow and pasture land here and in Sedgefield and Embleton to Thomas Ashmall in 1664. (fn. 27) Indeed the various interests in the estate seem to have been bought up by Thomas Ashmall, originally of Aughton (Lancs.), who had settled at Amerston as early as 1648. (fn. 28) His wife was Dorothy daughter of Ferdinando Huddleston of Millom Castle, Cumberland. (fn. 29)
Thomas Ashmall died in 1674, (fn. 30) and was succeeded by his son Thomas Ashmall, who was succeeded at his death in 1723 by his sons of his first marriage, Thomas, who died in 1753, and Robert, who died in 1758, both unmarried. From them the estate descended to Ferdinando Ashmall, a son of the second marriage, who was a Roman Catholic priest. In 1762 he sold Amerston to Humphrey Robinson, from whom it had passed before 1825 to his nephew George Robinson. (fn. 31) In 1857 the owner of Amerston was John Robinson. (fn. 32) Since then it has been purchased by the Marquess of Londonderry. The present Marquess is now owner.
On the bank of the North Burn, which forms the south-east boundary of Elwick Hall, lies BURNTOFT (Brintoft, xiv cent.; Burnetoft, xiv cent.; Bromptoft, xv cent.; Brunntofte, xvi cent.). There was a mill at Burntoft early in the 13th century, but this has disappeared. (fn. 33) Mill Hill is mentioned in 1670. (fn. 34)
The first known lord of Burntoft is Sir Ilgier de Burntoft, who witnessed a charter of 1155. (fn. 35) Robert de Burntoft witnessed a charter of 1180–94. (fn. 36) In 1181–2 Alan de Burntoft and William son of Odo laid unsuccessful claim to land in Hutton and Sessay (Yorks.) against Marmaduke Darrel and Alan's name occurs in Boldon Book, 1183, as holding land in Edmundbyers (q.v.). (fn. 37) Alan held land which had once been held by Robert Burntoft, (fn. 38) and he granted land in Edmundbyers to Ranulf Burntoft. (fn. 39) He witnessed a charter of 1210. (fn. 40) Odo de Burntoft granted to Reginald son of that William who was Odo's paternal uncle 50½ acres of land in Burntoft which William had held, in return for 26 acres with a toft and croft and meadow land in the north of the vill which Henry had held. This charter was witnessed by Reginald Ganant the sheriff, and is therefore later than 1194. (fn. 41) Its terms suggest that Burntoft was held in chief, but an over-lordship belonging to the lords of Dalden (q.v.) is mentioned from 1400 to 1620. (fn. 42)
In the first half of the 13th century Simon de Burntoft occurs. (fn. 43) Philip son of Robert de Burntoft was lord of Burntoft in 1268; he enfeoffed William de Cumba in 36 acres of arable land here and sold the manor to John son of Peter de Hartlepool. (fn. 44)
William son of John son of Peter de Hartlepool, otherwise called William Clement, was lord of Burntoft in 1313. (fn. 45) John lord of Burntoft occurs in 1333–4, 1352 and 1353 and that of Walter, son of John de Burntoft, in 1354. (fn. 46) In 1368 Thomas Haswell and John Andrew granted the manor to Thomas Coke and John de Binchester. (fn. 47) This was probably a conveyance in trust. Thomas Coke and John de Binchester seem to have transferred the manor to William Lambard and Robert Couper, chaplain, who settled it in or before 1380 on William Claxton and Isabel his wife. (fn. 48) In 1380 Cecily and Agnes, daughters and heirs of Thomas de Burntoft, released to William Lambard, Thomas de Hartlepool, and Robert Couper, chaplain, all claim to lands, rents, and services held by their father in Burntoft. (fn. 49)
In 1400 the manor of Burntoft was held by the lady of Horden, i.e., Isabel widow of William de Claxton. (fn. 50) It followed the descent of Claxton (q.v.) till 1483, when it was assigned to Margaret wife of William Embleton, one of the daughters and heirs of Robert Claxton. (fn. 51) In 1505 the manor descended to Elizabeth only child of William and Margaret, afterwards the wife of Sir William Bulmer. (fn. 52) It remained in the family of Bulmer until 1605. (fn. 53)
In 1605 Sir Bertram Bulmer of Tursdale sold Burntoft to John Featherstonhalgh of Stanhope (fn. 54) (q.v.). On the death of John in December 1619 it was found that Ralph, aged forty-six, was his son and heir. (fn. 55) Burntoft was settled upon the marriage of Ralph's eldest son John to Alice daughter of Isabel Mann. After the marriage had taken place Ralph repented of his settlement, and on 22 March 1633–4 the Council of the North reported to the Privy Council that he had fled to Scotland to avoid the performance of it. (fn. 56) On 22 September 1638 it was found that John, aged thirty-seven, was the son and heir of Ralph Featherstonhalgh. (fn. 57)
The Featherstonhalghs were Royalists, and in 1644 Burntoft was sequestered and leased out in small portions. (fn. 58) John and Ralph, his younger brother, compounded in 1649. (fn. 59) Gerard Salvin of Croxdale (q.v.) had already some interest in the property, (fn. 60) and in 1652 the whole was sold to him by John Featherstonhalgh. (fn. 61) As the Salvins were Roman Catholics, their lands were held by trustees. (fn. 62) They sold High Burntoft shortly before 1823 (fn. 63) to the Marquess of Londonderry, and it is the property of the present Marquess.
Land here forfeited by Roger de Fulthorpe was restored by the Crown to his son William Fulthorpe in 1389, and remained in his family. (fn. 64) It was forfeited after the Rising of the Earls by John Swinburn, as one of the heirs of the Fulthorpes in right of his wife, and was granted in 1574 to Thomas Calverley (fn. 65) and Henry Anderson. From this time the history probably followed that of the Calverley estate in Newton Hansard (q.v.).
The families of Seton, Carrow, and Sayer also held lands in Burntoft. (fn. 66)
In the 15th century part of the Nevill lands in Elwick were formed into the little estate of THE CLOSE. It is first mentioned in 1463–4 among the lands settled on Ralph Earl of Westmorland and Margaret his wife, (fn. 67) and it remained in the Nevill family until the attainder of the Earl of Westmorland after the Rising of the Earls, when it escheated to the Crown. (fn. 68) On 26 April 1587 the queen granted The Close to Charles Blenkinsop and John Taylor, who conveyed it to John Watts, Paul Bayning, and Thomas Alabaster. (fn. 69) A Crown rent of £13 6s. 8d. was reserved, which on 14 March 1626 was settled upon Queen Henrietta Maria. (fn. 70)
In 1607 Watts, Bayning, and Alabaster granted The Close to Sir George Freville, (fn. 71) who was found on 12 April 1620 to have died seised of it. (fn. 72) His nephew and heir was George, aged twenty-one, but The Close was left with his other lands to another nephew, Nicholas Freville, who sold the estate on 10 August 1637 to Gerard Salvin of Croxdale (fn. 73) (q.v.). As Salvin was a Roman Catholic, the estate was sequestered in 1644 and granted to John Rawlinge. (fn. 74) There is no record of Salvin's composition, but the family recovered The Close, and it subsequently followed the descent of Burntoft until about 1823, when it was sold with Burntoft to the Marquess of Londonderry, whose descendant, the present Marquess, is now owner.
On his death in March in 1481–2 20 acres of arable and 2 acres of meadow land in Elwick were held of the Earl of Westmorland by Christopher Bamford, who also held a tenement in Burntoft of Robert Claxton. Joan, Christopher's widow, afterwards married William Booth; his son and heir Robert was a minor at his father's death. (fn. 75) In 1492 Robert Bamford granted the reversion of his lands in Elwick and elsewhere to Ralph Booth, Archdeacon of Durham, and Richard Booth, brothers of William Booth, Joan's second husband. (fn. 76)
In 1536 William Booth of The Close, another brother, died seised of a messuage and mill in Elwick, held of the Earl of Westmorland; John Booth, clerk, aged forty, son of Roger son of Robert Booth, was his kinsman and heir. (fn. 77) Robert Booth was a brother of William, Ralph, and Richard. (fn. 78) The later history of this estate is unknown.
It seems probable that the manor of NEWTON HANZARD (Hannsard, xiv cent.; Hannserde, xv cent.; Hansell, xvi cent.; Hainsaid, xvii cent.) was acquired with Embleton (q.v.) by Gilbert Hansard from John de Laci, Constable of Chester. (fn. 79) A later Gilbert Hansard granted it in 1290 to his son Robert, with the vills of Embleton and Swainston, to hold of Sir Henry de Laci, Earl of Lincoln, on condition that Robert paid him an annuity of 71 marks. (fn. 80) In 1348 Alice Countess of Lincoln, who held the overlordship, died without issue, (fn. 81) and the tenant, Sir Roger Hansard, was called upon to do homage to the bishop. (fn. 82) He granted the manor in 1351 for fourteen years to Sir William Dacre. (fn. 83) In the next year it was found that Sir William had proceeded to acquire without licence the fee simple. (fn. 84) He died seised of it before 28 September 1361, leaving a brother and heir Ranulf, aged twenty-one. (fn. 85) In 1364 Ranulf Dacre, lord of Gilsland, granted the manor of Newton Hanzard to Katherine de Whitfield for the term of his life. (fn. 86) She granted her interest in it to John Nevill of Raby in 1370, (fn. 87) and Ranulf Dacre released all his right to John Nevill in the same year. (fn. 88) From that time it remained in the possession of the Nevills until the attainder of 1570. (fn. 89)
In 1574 Newton Hanzard was granted to Thomas Calverley and Henry Anderson, who acquired the lands of various rebels. (fn. 90) In 1578 Henry Anderson released the whole to Thomas Calverley, but the latter had some difficulty in obtaining possession of the property, as it had been leased by Henry Earl of Westmorland before his attainder, first to Ralph Firbank and afterwards to Christopher Ratcliff. (fn. 91) Both Calverley and the Crown contested the validity of Ratcliff's lease in 1584–5 and 1590, (fn. 92) but he seems to have proved his title as the Charles Ratcliff, associated with him in the dispute, was described as 'of Newton Hansard' in 1601. (fn. 93)
John Calverley, aged forty-two, was found on 30 October 1613 to be the son and heir of Thomas Calverley of Littleburne, in Brancepeth parish (q.v.). (fn. 94) On 27 November 1637 John Calverley made provision for his wife and daughters out of his land at Newton Hanzard, and on 11 August 1638 John, aged thirtyfive, was found to be his son and heir. (fn. 95) Newton Hanzard followed the descent of Littleburne, and belonged to Sir Henry Calverley, kt., in 1688. (fn. 96) It was sold in 1704 by Charles Turner of Kirkleatham and Margaret his wife to John Smith, D.D., prebendary of Durham. (fn. 97) On his death, in 1715, he was succeeded by his son George Smith of Burnhall (q.v.), who took orders in the non-juring church and became titular Bishop of Durham. (fn. 98) The manor remained in the Smith family until the beginning of the 19th century, and about 1820 was sold to the Thelussons. (fn. 99) It was bought before 1857 by the Marchioness of Londonderry, and is the property of the present Marquess. (fn. 100)
The largest estate in the parish of Elwick Hall is STOTFOLD (Stotfald, xiv cent.; Stotfeld, xv cent.; Stokfold, xvii cent.), now divided into High, Middle and Low Stotfold, and Stotfold Moor. At the beginning of the 13th century Robert de Amundeville was lord of the vill. (fn. 101) Ralf de Amundeville, who granted to Kepier Hospital a thrave of corn from every carucate in his vill of Stotfold, was probably Robert's successor. (fn. 102) He granted the manor of Stotfold to Master William de Kilkenny about 1245 to hold for half a knight's fee. (fn. 103)
William de Kilkenny, lord of Stotfold, witnessed the charter by which Philip de Burntoft granted Burntoft to John de Hartlepool, probably soon after 1268. (fn. 104) William de Kilkenny was lord of Stotfold in 1327 and was a commissioner of array for Stockton Ward. (fn. 105) He was apparently succeeded by the John de Kilkenny who between 1333 and 1345 granted the manor except one messuage and one carucate to William de Kilkenny for life, with remainder to Robert de Kilkenny and Joan his wife and their issue and the right heirs of Robert. (fn. 106) In 1340 it was found that William de Kilkenny had died seised jointly with his wife Agnes of the messuage and carucate excepted from this settlement. His son and heir was Robert, probably the Robert already mentioned. (fn. 107) Before 1349 Robert de Kilkenny, tenant under the settlement of the manor, had died without issue, and his widow Joan had become the wife of William Claxton. (fn. 108) The reversion of the manor was the right of William de Kilkenny, brother and heir of Robert. (fn. 109) He settled it in the spring of 1353 on his son William and Katherine his wife and their issue. (fn. 110) In 1357 Joan and William Claxton, with the consent of the younger William, granted to Sir John de Nevill a bondman in the manor of Stotfold. (fn. 111) William died before 1373, when his heir was found to be his son Richard. Both Joan and William's widow Katherine survived. (fn. 112)
In 1382 Richard de Kilkenny the younger granted the manor of Stotfold to John de Neville of Raby in exchange for the Yorkshire manor of Hooke, (fn. 113) and before 1426–7 it had been granted by Ralph Earl of Westmorland to Richard Neville Earl of Salisbury. (fn. 114) The manor reverted to the Westmorland family, and followed the descent of Elwick until 1564, (fn. 115) but on 15 August 1569 Charles Earl of Westmorland, before the attainder, sold it to William Selby of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. (fn. 116)
William Selby died in December 1613 and George Selby, aged 57, was his son and heir. (fn. 117) George Selby, who was knighted in 1603, (fn. 118) left six daughters, but he settled the reversion of his manor of Stotfold, subject to provision for his wife Dame Margaret for life, on his brother Sir William Selby of Shortflatt and his heirs male; (fn. 119) he died in 1625. (fn. 120)
Dame Margaret survived Sir William Selby, her nephew and heir of his father Sir William, (fn. 121) but after her death in 1650 the parliamentary sequestrators seized Stotfold on the plea that the heir-at-law, George, son of the younger Sir William, a boy of fifteen, was being brought up as a Roman Catholic. His guardian John Southey, a barrister of Gray's Inn, petitioned against the sequestration on 27 March 1651, on the ground that he was educating the boy as a Protestant, and on 31 January 1653 the sequestration was discharged with arrears. (fn. 122) George Selby made a conveyance of this manor to uses in the spring of 1654, (fn. 123) but revoked it in the next year under a clause in the agreement. (fn. 124) Mark Milbank and William Carr were associated with him in a further deed of 1656, but Sir George seems to have been in possession in 1670. (fn. 125) Mark Milbank and Ralph Carr paid the subsidy of 1670 upon it. (fn. 126) After the death of Ralph Carr in 1709 (fn. 127) High Stotfold was purchased from his executors by Ralph John Fenwick, M.D., who sold it to Jonathan Backhouse of Darlington, and it now belongs to Mr. W. O. Backhouse. (fn. 128) Middle Stotfold was sold by the Milbanks to the family of Shepperdson, who held it in about 1823. (fn. 129) It is now the property of Mr. Nicol of Wingate. Low Stotfold is held by Mr. M. B. Hutchinson.
The church of ST. PETER consists of a chancel 29 ft. 3 in. by 13 ft. 3 in. with north vestry, nave 44 ft. 4 in. by 16 ft. with north and south aisles and tower on the south side forming a porch 6 ft. 8 in. by 9 ft. 8 in., all these measurements being internal.
The site is an ancient one and two sculptured stones of pre-Conquest date on either side of the chancel arch (fn. 130) suggest the existence of an early building. The present structure, however, with the exception of the tower and vestry, dates from about 1195–1200, though very much restored and altered in later times. About the middle of the 14th century a chantry or mortuary chapel was built on the north side of the church by the Kilkenny family or by Walter de Cumba, who founded a chantry in the church in 1327. The building was then or subsequently reroofed. (fn. 131) The date of the original tower must now remain a matter of conjecture, no portion of the original work having apparently survived, but it was probably an addition in the 14th or 15th century. Between 1660 and 1670 the church was restored, perhaps under the direction of Bishop Cosin, who had been rector from 1624 to 1660. The chancel was then reconstructed with the old materials, and the chantry demolished, the wall of the north aisle being rebuilt with its masonry. In 1813 the tower was rebuilt of the old material, the old lead roof of the nave and aisles removed, a new slated roof and plaster ceiling were erected, and a window was inserted at the west end. During the incumbency of the Rev. J. Park (1828–71) the uppermost stage of the tower was added (about 1860), the chancel arch was rebuilt and new windows were inserted in the aisles, (fn. 132) and in 1887 the chancel roof was renewed and the nave reseated. The church underwent a complete restoration in 1895, when a new roof was erected over the nave and aisles.
The chancel is built of squared gritstone blocks and preserves several original features. Along the south side are three portions of a double-chamfered string-course and there is another piece at the east end of the north wall. In the middle of the south wall are the sill and lower part of the jambs of a built-up lancet, but the east window, of three lights with mullions crossing in the head, is modern. On the south side are two 17th-century squareheaded windows of three rounded lights, the sills of which are high up in the wall above the remains of the string. The heads are about 5 ft. below the line of the eaves and it is probable the wall has been raised. Below the westernmost of these windows is a builtup opening, possibly a low side window. The north wall is blank except for a doorway to the vestry. The pointed chancel arch, which is said to be a copy of the destroyed arch, is of two chamfered orders springing from half-round responds. The chancel floor is level with that of the nave and all the walls are plastered internally. The altar stone formerly in the chancel floor has now been put to its original use.
The walls of the nave are of rubble masonry with a chamfered plinth and heavy buttresses at the corners of the south aisle. The roof is covered with green slates and is continued at a flatter pitch over the aisles with overhanging eaves. To the east of the tower is a built-up lancet in the south aisle wall and west of the tower are two other lancets, one built-up and the other glazed. The latter is slightly chamfered all round, but has no hood mould. All the other windows are modern and of two lights, except the easternmost in the south wall, which is of three lights. At the west end there are two single-stage buttresses at the ends of the nave walls.
The north arcade is slightly earlier in date than the other, and consists of four pointed arches of two chamfered orders springing from circular piers and halfround responds, all with moulded capitals and bases. The capitals are circular in the neck and octagonal in the abacus, and are quite plain except in the case of the responds, both of which are carved with incipient foliage. The capital of the west respond has also a pellet ornament in the top member. The south arcade consists of four similar arches springing from circular piers and half-round responds, all with moulded capitals and square bases. The piers, being slightly taller and of less diameter than those on the north side, (fn. 133) produce necessarily a much lighter effect. Their capitals are all circular except that of the first pier from the west, which is octagonal. A sculptured stone crucifix, formerly over the lancet window to the west of the tower outside, is now preserved inside the church at the west end.
The tower is of three stages built of rubble masonry. The stages are marked by square string-courses, and the walls terminate in an embattled rubble parapet with stone slates laid on top. The outer doorway has a semicircular arch, above which is a pointed window. In the second stage there are windows on the south, west, and east. A stone over the doorway is inscribed with the names of the rector and churchwardens of 1813.
In the chancel are two sets of 17th-century carved bench ends, eight in all, of similar type to those at Brancepeth, Egglescliffe and other places in the county, but all the other fittings in both chancel and nave are modern.
The plate consists of a cup and cover paten without date letters, but with the marks of Thomas Mangy of York, inscribed, 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin,' and round the bottom 'for elwicke, 1667'; a flagon inscribed 'The gift of the Revd Dr Richardson to his Church of Elwick Hall,' the marks of which are indistinct; a cup of 1754 with the maker's mark P.G. above a rose, inscribed, 'Presented to the Altar of Elwick Hall, Durham, by the Honorable Mr. Justice Park, 1829'; and an almsdish and paten of 1785 with the same inscription, but with the maker's mark J·A. (fn. 134)
The advowson belonged down to 1859 to the Bishops of Durham. Bishop Lewis Beaumont intended to give the church to the monastery of Durham, but died in 1333 before accomplishing his purpose. (fn. 135) In 1859 the advowson was transferred to the Bishop of Manchester, (fn. 136) whose successor now presents.
Walter de Cumba in 1327 gave by charter all his land in Elwick to Robert Gernet and Anastasia his wife charged with a payment of 6 marks annually to the church of St. Peter of Elwick to maintain a chaplain there to sing for the souls of Walter and other benefactors. (fn. 137) This chantry is never mentioned again, unless there is a reference to it in the will of Richard Thady of Burntoft, 16 September 1558, who left money to 'St. Thomas of Elwick.' (fn. 138) This is a late date for a chantry to be mentioned, but Thady's will is markedly Romanist in character, and, living in Mary's reign, he may have hoped that the chantries would be restored.
Miss Elizabeth Allison, by her will proved at Durham in 1862, devised to trustees in perpetuity a close called 'Edgemire' containing 2a. 2r. 16p. and a close called 'Little Edgemire' containing 1 acre. By a deed of trust, dated 11 March 1868, the rent of Edgemire, amounting to £5 5s. yearly, is made applicable in aid of the restoration of the parish church and the upkeep of the churchyard, and the rent of Little Edgemire, amounting to £2 15s., for the general purposes of the Church of England school. (fn. 139)