A History of the County of Durham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1928.
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Hert (xiv to xvi cent.).
The parish of Hart is bounded by the sea on the north-east. It contains the townships of Hart on the north, Elwick on the west, Dalton Piercy on the south and Throston on the east, also Thorpe Bulmer and Nesbit Hall. Under the provisions of the Local Government Act of 1894, (fn. 1) Throston was divided into two parts, the eastern half forming the district of Throston in the borough of Hartlepool, while the western half is known as Throston Rural. Rather less than half the total area is under cultivation. There are 2,400 acres of pasture land and 24 of plantation. (fn. 2) The soil is clay, subsoil Magnesian Limestone. The coast of the parish is composed of sandhills, forming a break between the rocks of Hartlepool and those of Monk Hesleden. The sea is slowly encroaching. Behind the sandhills are open links called Hart Warren, where there is a rifle range. There are village greens at Dalton Piercy and Elwick.
The road from Durham, which runs east and west through the village of Hart, divides into two branches, one leading to West Hartlepool, the other to Hartlepool. The road from Wolviston to Easington passes through the villages of Elwick and Dalton Piercy, running north and south.
As early as 1832 a railway for minerals was constructed which passed through the parish of Hart, and in 1851 the Hartlepool Railway line was opened. The latter has since been taken over by the London and North Eastern railway. (fn. 3)
The principal occupation of the inhabitants is agriculture.
There is a Wesleyan chapel in Elwick village.
There are earthworks at Low Throston. (fn. 4)
On the south of the parish of Hart is the township of Dalton Piercy (Dalton in Hertness xiii cent.; later Dalton Percy). A branch from the Sunderland and Stockton road runs north-east to the little village of Dalton Piercy. Dalton Beck flows north and south on the east of the village, and immediately to the north of it passes through a wooded valley called the Howls. The addition of Piercy is derived from the Percys of Alnwick, who held the manor in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Its near neighbourhood to the port of Hartlepool produced in Hart an unenviable number of witches and women of immoral life. In 1454 'Helena de Inferno, alias morans in inferno, alias Meldrome,' seems to have been as bad as her name implied. (fn. 5) On 28 July 1582 Alison Lawe of Hart was prosecuted for being 'a notorious sorcerer and enchanter.' Two women of the neighbourhood had consulted her and asked her for cures for the sick. Fortunately this was before the outbreak of the witch superstition in the 17th century, and Alison was condemned only to stand with a paper on her head once in Durham market, once in Hart Church and once in Norton Church. She was peacefully buried at Hart six years later on 5 August 1588. (fn. 6) In 1596 Ellen Thompson 'fornicatrix and excommunicated' 'was buried of ye people in ye chaer at ye entrance unto ye yeate or stile of ye church-yard on ye East thereof.' On 12 February 1641 Old Mother Midnight of Elwick was buried, but it does not appear how she earned her name. (fn. 7)
Seflat in Elwick is referred to about 1150. (fn. 8) At the beginning of the 13th century Kirtel in the field of Nelson and Caldewelleflat are mentioned. (fn. 9) Thruscross in Hart occurs in 1539. (fn. 10) Thick Meadows and Temple Garth are mentioned in 1633. (fn. 11) Qualimour, or Qualimour Close, occurs in 1725. (fn. 12) There are still remains of 16th and 17th-century houses in the village of Elwick. (fn. 13) Place-names of the village in 1653 were the Town Street, Thrum's Lane, the Town Wyde, North Horne, and Three Nooke Close. (fn. 14)
The Anglo-Saxon crosses and sundial in the church of Hart show that the vill existed before the Conquest. (fn. 15) The late D. H. Haigh in his work on The Anglo-Saxon Sagas (1861) elaborated the theory that Hart was the site of Heort or Heorot, the hall of Hrothgar in the Beowulf Saga. He identified the mere and hill-stream of the Saga with a large pool now drained called Bottomless Carr and the How Beck which used to flow from it. (fn. 16) The identification, however, has not been generally accepted.
Thomas Ellerker (1738–95), a Jesuit, who was 'one of the ablest professors of theology that the English province ever produced,' was born at Hart. (fn. 17)
In the Rising of the North in 1569 seventeen men from Hart joined the rebels, and four were executed. (fn. 18) In 1587 the parish suffered severely from the plague, and it was noted in the parish register that '89 corses were buried, whereof tenne were strangers.' In 1652 it was noted that John Pasmore was buried 'On Black Monday 29 March. There was a star appeared in the South-east, ye sun eclipsed.'
In 1666, on the alarm of a Dutch invasion, Hart was one of the places where beacons were erected. (fn. 19) A windmill at Hart is mentioned in 1314, (fn. 20) 1361, (fn. 21) and later. (fn. 22) Elwick mill, which is still standing, is mentioned in 1606. (fn. 23) A mill at Dalton Piercy is mentioned in a charter of c. 1270. (fn. 24)
A deed of about 1150 sets forth that in DALTON there were 265 acres in demesne held by the Bruses. (fn. 25) Hence it appears that at that time Dalton was held by Robert de Brus, but later it seems to have passed to the Balliols of Barnard Castle. (fn. 26) Ingram de Balliol, a member of a younger branch, was apparently enfeoffed by the main branch of the family, and held the manor early in the 13th century for four parts of a knight's fee. (fn. 27) The overlordship of the lords of Barnard Castle continued till the 16th century. (fn. 28) Ingram's daughter Ellen was the second wife of William de Percy, and brought as her dowry Dalton in Hartness. (fn. 29) After her husband's death in 1245 she granted the vill to her second son Ingram and his issue, with remainder to her sons Walter and William Percy. Ingram died childless in 1262, (fn. 30) and the manor was divided between William and Walter Percy.
William Percy was a canon of York. He granted £4 rent from certain lands in Dalton Piercy for life to Master Richard de St. Lawrence. (fn. 31) Later he made over his half of the manor to his brother Walter, to be held by the service of a pair of white gloves at the Nativity of St. John Baptist, with reversion to William if Walter died childless. (fn. 32) Walter evidently died without issue, and his own moiety of the manor came again into the possession of his mother, who granted it to her nephew Henry de Balliol in trust for the heir of her eldest son Henry Percy. (fn. 33) Henry Balliol transferred the trust to William Percy the canon, who already held the half of the manor which he had previously granted to Walter. He conveyed the whole to Henry son of Henry de Percy, probably on his coming of age. (fn. 34) Dalton was thus united again to the honour of Percy, to which the younger Henry succeeded in 1284. After the death of his son Henry de Percy in 1352, Dalton Piercy was held in dower by his widow Idonia, who granted it to her younger son Roger, her eldest son Henry confirming the grant on 7 September 1354. (fn. 35) Roger, however, died childless, and the manor reverted to Henry.
In 1370 it was stated that Sir Henry de Percy, lord of Alnwick, son of Henry above mentioned, had granted the manor of Dalton Piercy to John de Neville, lord of Raby, who appointed attorneys to receive seisin of it. (fn. 36) In June 1371 John de Nevill granted the manor of Dalton Piercy with rents from free tenants and bondmen and the mills to feoffees (fn. 37) whom in 1372 he authorized to deliver seisin of the manor to John D'Ogle and Margaret his wife for their lives. (fn. 38)
The manor descended to Ralph son of John de Nevill, created Earl of Westmorland in 1397. (fn. 39) On 12 January 1440–1, after the death of Joan Countess of Westmorland, widow, it was found that the late earl had demised Dalton next Elwick and other manors for the term of his life to William Tunstall and others. (fn. ) It descended in the Earls of Westmorland until the forfeiture of 1569. (fn. 40) The lands late of the Earl of Westmorland in Dalton Piercy and elsewhere were granted in 1605 to Thomas Lord Ellesmere and others for 500 years, evidently in trust for Charles Duke of York, (fn. 41) to whom as Prince of Wales they were granted in 1616. (fn. 42) They were granted in 1628 to Edward Ditchfield and others trustees for the Corporation of London. (fn. 43) In 1645 Dr. Christopher Potter had an estate here with a rental of £62 16s. which was sequestered and let to William Chilton. (fn. 44) Chilton possibly purchased it, for Robert Chilton, sen., and Robert Chilton, jun., were among the freeholders in 1684. (fn. 45) William Chilton had land here and in Seaton Carew in 1731. (fn. 46) No manorial rights in Dalton Piercy are mentioned after 1569, when the manor appears to have been reckoned a member of Brancepeth.
The early history of the manor of HART is not distinguishable from that of the whole district of HARTNESS (Heorternesse, ix cent.; Heortternisse, xi cent.; Hertenes, xii cent.; Herternesse, xiii cent.; Herternes, xiv cent.; Hertnes, xvi cent.). The boundaries of this district are not exactly known, but it seems to have included Billingham in the 9th century. In the 12th century Hartness extended into the parishes of Hart and Stranton, and the township of Thorp Bulmer, and later that of Elton. Hartness lay within the wapentake of Sadberge, but the services for this district were not mentioned in the grant of the wapentake to Bishop Hugh Pudsey in 1190. (fn. 47) Consequently the position of the district with respect to the county was uncertain, and the inhabitants until quite a late period maintained that they were not within the county of Durham. (fn. 48)
The churches of Hartness and Tynemouth are said to have been spoiled by the Danes in the year 800. (fn. 49) Bishop Ecgred, who lived c. 830–46, gave to St. Cuthbert's church his vill of Billingham (q.v.) in Hartness. (fn. 50) Regenwald the Dane invaded Durham c. 923, and gave to one of his followers, Scula, lands which extended from Eden to Billingham—that is, perhaps, the district of Hartness. (fn. 51) When Malcolm of Scotland invaded England in 1070 he occupied Hartness and thence ravaged the lands of St. Cuthbert. (fn. 52)
Between 1146 and 1151 a list of the vills in Hartness, with the amount of demesne land in each, was drawn up. In Hart there were 141½ acres of demesne, and 108 acres which Roger de Camera held of the demesne. The other vills mentioned are Thorp (Bulmer), Elwick, Dalton (Piercy), Stranton, Tunstall, Seaton (Carew) and Owton. (fn. 55)
Robert de Brus had two sons, Adam, his heir, and Robert, his second son, to whom he gave his lordship of Annandale in Scotland. In the battle of the Standard (1138) Robert the elder and Adam his son fought on the English side, but Robert the younger (called Le Meschin) was with the Scots and was taken prisoner. King Stephen, however, gave him into his father's custody. According to tradition he complained on this occasion that he could not get wheaten bread in Annandale, whereupon his father gave him the lordship of Hart and Hartness in Durham to be held of the elder branch of the family, the lords of Skelton in Yorkshire. (fn. 56) This story is probably not authentic, though it is certain that Hart was held of the elder by the younger line, who largely endowed the monastery of Guisborough with property there. (fn. 57)
The overlordship of Hart was inherited by Robert's eldest son, Adam, lord of Skelton, who married Ivetta, daughter of William de Arches, and died in 1143. (fn. 58) He was succeeded by his son Adam, who married Agnes daughter of Stephen Earl of Albemarle. The date of his death is uncertain, but it was before the end of 1198, when his son Peter paid a fine for his father's lands. (fn. 59)
In 1200 it was agreed between William de Brus of Hart (see below) and Peter de Brus, lord of Skelton, that William should hold the manors of Hart, Stranton, and Hartlepool of Peter for the service of two knight's fees. (fn. 60) Peter son of Peter de Brus of Skelton, (fn. 61) while the manor was in his hands as guardian of Robert de Brus, a minor, disputed the Bishop of Durham's right to wreck upon the shores of Hartness, but lost his case (1228–37). (fn. 62) After the death of the last Peter de Brus, lord of Skelton in 1272, (fn. 63) the overlordship was claimed by the representatives of his sister Lucy, wife of Marmaduke de Thweng, to whom the fee in Hartness was assigned in 1281, and also by Walter de Fauconberg, who married Agnes the eldest sister and co-heir, who succeeded to Skelton. The king, in asserting the rights of these claimants to the custody of the manor after the death of Robert de Clifford in 1314, came into conflict with the Bishop of Durham. (fn. 64)
Robert de Brus II, lord of Hart, otherwise called Robert le Meschin, married Euphemia, and died about 1194. (fn. 65) His son, Robert de Brus III, (fn. 66) had died before 1191, (fn. 67) and Robert II was succeeded by his younger son William de Brus. (fn. 68) In 1198 William de Brus made an exchange of land in Northumberland with Adam de Carlisle, and pledged his land in Hartness. (fn. 69) He married Christina and was dead in 1215. (fn. 70) William's son Robert de Brus IV, (fn. 71) called the Noble, married Isabel, second daughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon, the younger brother of Malcolm IV of Scotland, and thus brought into the family the royal blood which gave his descendants a claim to the throne of Scotland. (fn. 72) Robert the Noble died apparently before 1230, and was succeeded by his son Robert de Brus V, the first competitor for the throne of Scotland. (fn. 73)
Robert de Brus V is mentioned as the tenant of Hartness under Peter de Brus in 1272, (fn. 74) and dated a charter at Hart in 1288. (fn. 75) He died 31 March 1295, and was succeeded by his son, Robert de Brus VI, (fn. 76) the second competitor, who married Marjory, daughter and heir of Niel Earl of Carrick, and thus brought this title into the family. (fn. 77) Robert de Brus VI died in 1304, and was succeeded by his son Robert, Earl of Carrick, afterwards King of Scotland. (fn. 78)
In 1306 Robert Brus VII murdered John Comyn in the church of the Grey Friars at Dumfries, and was accordingly outlawed by Edward I, who declared his lands forfeit. (fn. 79) At this time the king was in the midst of a quarrel with Bishop Bek, and had seized the temporalities of Durham into his own hand. He took possession of Brus's forfeited lands, although the bishop claimed forfeitures of war within his liberty. (fn. 80)
Edward I granted Hart to Robert de Clifford in May 1306. (fn. 81) Bishop Bek appears to have acquiesced in this, but subsequent bishops of Durham carried on a long and almost fruitless struggle to regain possession of the forfeitures. The king, Parliament, and the law courts were always ready to acknowledge the bishop's theoretical rights, but practically the lands remained in the hands of the king's grantees and the king exercised rights of overlordship. (fn. 82)
Robert, first Lord Clifford, was killed in the battle of Bannockburn, 24 June 1314. (fn. 83) Bishop Kellaw appointed a bailiff on 19 August to administer his lands, the custody of which was also claimed by the mesne lords. (fn. 84) On 2 May 1315 the royal escheator seized the manor into the king's hands and the custody was afterwards granted to Humphry de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, during the minority of the heir Roger. (fn. 85)
Roger, second Lord Clifford, took part in Lancaster's insurrection; his lands were seized by the king in 1322 and granted to John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond. (fn. 86) The manor of Hart, with the rest of the Clifford lands, was restored to his brother and heir Robert in 1327. (fn. 87)
Robert died in 1344 seised of the manors of Hart and Hartness which had formerly been held by Peter de Brus, Robert de Clifford, aged fourteen, being his son and heir. The manor was worth £100 and was held of the Bishop of Durham by the service of two knights' fees and suit at the court of Sadberge every three weeks. (fn. 88) Bishop Bury at once appointed a keeper of the manor of Hart, (fn. 89) but as before the king granted out the custody of the minor's lands there, which he bestowed upon Maurice de Berkeley, (fn. 90) the brother of Robert de Clifford's widow. (fn. 91) The young Lord Clifford died before 17 March 1346, when the custody of his lands was granted to Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, during the minority of his brother and heir Roger, (fn. 92) to whom the earl married his daughter Maud. This grant was extended to Hart in October 1346. (fn. 93)
Isabel, widow of Robert, third Lord Clifford, received a third of Hart as dower. (fn. 94) In 1357 Roger, fifth Lord Clifford, received licence to settle his manors of Hart and Hartlepool upon himself and his wife Maud. (fn. 95) He died on 13 July 1389; after his death it was found that he held the manor of Hart of the king, and that his son and heir was Thomas, aged twenty-six. (fn. 96) Thomas, sixth Lord Clifford, survived his father for only two years. He died on 4 October 1391, leaving a son and heir John, aged two. (fn. 97) John's grandmother Maud, widow of Roger, fifth Lord Clifford, died on 28 February 1402–3, and John, now aged thirteen, inherited the lands of which she was enfeoffed at Hart. (fn. 98)
John, seventh Lord Clifford, married Elizabeth daughter of Henry Percy (Hotspur), (fn. 99) and the manor of Hart was settled upon them and their heirs on 20 October 1414. (fn. 100) John was killed at the siege of Meaux in March 1421–2. (fn. 101) His widow died on 16 October 1436, when Hart passed to their son Thomas, eighth Lord Clifford, aged twenty-two. (fn. 102) He married Joan daughter of Thomas Lord Dacre of Gilsland, and was killed at the battle of St. Albans 22 May 1455. (fn. 103) His heir was his son John, ninth Lord Clifford, (fn. 104) Clifford the Butcher who appears in Shakespeare's Henry VI, part 3. He was killed 28 March 1461 on the eve of the battle of Towton. His wife Margaret, called Lady de Vesci, fled with her infant children, the heir being Henry, aged seven, and for many years they lived in concealment in Yorkshire and Cumberland. (fn. 105)
John, ninth Lord Clifford, was attainted in the first year of Edward IV (4 November 1461), and his lands forfeited to the king. Hart does not seem to have been granted out again, and in 1485 the attainder was reversed and Henry, tenth Lord Clifford, was restored. (fn. 106) He married as his first wife Anne daughter of Sir John St. John of Bletso (co. Bedford). (fn. 107) On the restoration of the Cliffords the Bishop of Durham's struggle to reassert his right over Hart and Hartlepool began again. According to the Durham historian, Bishop Foxe was translated from Durham to Winchester in 1501 on account of his quarrel with the Earl of Cumberland [Lord Clifford] over Hartlepool. (fn. 108)
Henry, tenth Lord Clifford, died in 1523, when he was succeeded by his son Henry, created first Earl of Cumberland in 1525. (fn. 109) In 1528 Cardinal Wolsey, then Bishop of Durham, received a grant of the manor of Hart and town of Hartlepool on surrender by Henry Lord Clifford of the patents granted to his ancestors by Edward I, with an acknowledgment of the bishop's royal rights there. (fn. 110) This triumph did not last long, as it soon became part of the king's policy to weaken the church as much as possible, particularly in the north, where the Roman Catholics were strong. In 1533, a year before the attempted abolition of the bishop's palatine power, a bill was brought in providing that whereas the Bishop of Durham claimed that the lordship of Hartlepool lay within the bishopric of Durham, while the people of the lordship claimed that it lay in Northumberland, henceforward it should form part of the North Riding of Yorkshire. (fn. 111)
Henry, first Earl of Cumberland, died in 1542, and was succeeded by his son Henry, (fn. 112) but Hart and Hartlepool were left for life to his second son, Sir Ingram Clifford, kt., (fn. 113) who was ordered by the Privy Council in 1555 to cause his tenants of Hart and Hartlepool to make contribution to the repairing of Sunderland bridges, as the rest of the inhabitants of Durham had done. (fn. 114) About 1560 the Earl of Cumberland petitioned the queen to grant him certain lands in exchange for Hart and Hartlepool; this, however, was not done. (fn. 115) In 1569 the inhabitants of those places refused to attend the Durham musters, alleging that they belonged to the county of Northumberland. (fn. 116)
Henry, second Earl of Cumberland, died in January 1569–70, leaving a son and heir George, aged twelve. (fn. 117) This was the famous third Earl of Cumberland, who 'performed nine viages by sea in his own person, most of them to the West Indies.' (fn. 118) The first of these expeditions was undertaken in 1580 to recoup his fortunes. Early in that year he conveyed his manors of Hart, Hartness, Hartlepool, Throston, Over Throston, Nether Throston, and Nelston to Robert Petre and John Morley, who on 16 May 1587 transferred them to John Lord Lumley. (fn. 119)
As he had no children surviving, Lord Lumley settled his estates in 1607 on Richard Lumley, (fn. 120) a distant cousin. (fn. 121) Lord Lumley died on 11 April 1609. (fn. 122) Richard Lumley was made Viscount Lumley of Waterford in 1628. His lands at Hart were seized by the sequestrators before 20 August 1644, and the rectory of Hart was leased to Richard Malam. (fn. 123) After the Restoration the manor followed the descent of Lumley Castle until 1770, when it was sold by Richard fourth Earl of Scarbrough to Sir George Pocock, a distinguished admiral. (fn. 124) Sir George died in 1792, (fn. 125) and was succeeded by his son George Pocock, created a baronet in 1821, (fn. 126) who about 1830 sold the estates to William Henry, then Marquess and afterwards Duke of Cleveland. (fn. 127)
By will dated 15 June 1836 the Duke of Cleveland left his lands at Hart and Hartlepool upon trust for Frederick Aclom Milbank, the second son of his daughter Lady Augusta Henrietta Milbank. The duke died on 29 January 1842, and was succeeded at Hart by Frederick Aclom Milbank. (fn. 128) The latter was created a baronet in 1882 and died in 1898. (fn. 129) He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Sir Powlett Charles John Milbank, bart., who died on 30 January 1918, and his son Sir Frederick Richard Powlett Milbank is the present owner.
A letter from Thomas Lord Clifford to the Bishop of Durham, written about 1438 was dated at Hart. (fn. 130) There was a chapel attached to the manor in 1344, which points to a residence at that date. In 1436 an 'aula' with 4 rooms, 2 barns, and a chapel is mentioned in an extent of the manor. (fn. 131)
In the confirmation of Henry I to the priory of Guisborough, 12 bovates of land are included with the churches of Hartness. (fn. 132) Robert de Brus the Noble granted 5 oxgangs in Stranton and one in Hart to the monastery. (fn. 133) The priory's lands in Hartlepool, Hart, Stranton, Eden, and Elton were confirmed by Robert son of Robert Brus IV. (fn. 134) In 1344 the Prior of Guisborough held 4 oxgangs and seven cottages in Hart by knight service. (fn. 135)
After the Dissolution in 1539–40 the monastery was found to possess lands worth 115s. 4d. yearly in Hart. (fn. 136) The premises in Hart belonging to Guisborough Monastery were acquired by the Earl of Cumberland, and in 1587 were bought with the manor of Hart by Lord Lumley. (fn. 137)
Sir John de Eppleton was said to hold a carucate of land in Hart of Robert de Clifford in 1344. (fn. 138) In February 1358–9 it was found that Joan widow of Robert de Eppleton had died seised of 1 carucate of land in Hart held of Lord Clifford. Her grandson Robert, son of her son Thomas de Eppleton, was her heir. (fn. 139) This land, called NORTH HART, together with the rest of the Eppleton lands, was bought by the Herons with whom it descended until 1409. (fn. 140) Probably it was bought up by the Lord of Hart, who in 1436 held 4 messuages and land at North Hart, which is then called a parcel of the Manor of Hart.
On the north of Hart village, near the northern boundary of the parish, lie the farm and estate of NELSON (Nelleston, Nelestune, xii cent.; Neliston, xiii cent.; Nelston, xv cent.). This estate seems to have been granted by Robert de Brus II (le Meschin) to his cupbearer Niel, who also held land in Castle Eden (fn. 141) and probably it received its name (Niel's-tun) from him. In the time of William de Brus, son of Robert II, Robert son of Niel granted to the church of Hart all his land called Kirtel in the field of Nelson, and 1 acre in Caldewelleflat, as an obit for himself and his lords, Robert de Brus, senior and junior. Among the witnesses were Robert's brothers William, Geoffrey, and Walter. (fn. 142) At some time after 1194 Henry de Pudsey gave to the monks of Finchale the land in Nelson which William de Nelson had previously given to him. (fn. 143) In the time of Robert de Brus IV (the Noble), c. 1215–45, Geoffrey son of Niel granted to the monks of Finchale a rent of 3s. from his vill of Nelson to maintain a light before St. Godric's body. (fn. 144) The debts of the lord of Nelson in connexion with this rent are entered in the Finchale account rolls of 1354–5. (fn. 145)
In 1344 Stephen de Nelson held a carucate here of the Brus fee by knight service. (fn. 146) In 1389 it was found that Richard de Nelson was a free tenant of Sir Roger de Clifford, holding land in Nelson by fealty and homage. (fn. 147) Richard de Nelson held the vill of Nelson of Maud, the widow of Sir Roger de Clifford, (fn. 148) in 1403, but by 1436 the vill of Nelson had apparently been acquired by the Cliffords, (fn. 149) who held 2 messuages, 4 gardens, and 200 acres of arable land there as parcel of the manor of Hart. From that time forward it remained in the hands of the lord of Hart.
Another member of the fee of Hart was THROSTON (Thurston, xiv cent.; Thorston, Thirston, and Thruston, xv cent.; Thurston, xvii cent.). In 1344 6 bovates of land and 2 salterns here were held of the lord of Hart like Morleston in Stranton (q.v.) by Richard de Aldeburg for life. This estate in Nether Throston subsequently followed the descent of Morleston and after 1403 of Tunstall in Stranton.
The lords of Hart held lands in Over and Nether Throston as parcel of the Manor of Hart. (fn. 150)
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE stands on rising ground on the north side of the village and consists of a chancel 25 ft. 6 in. by 18 ft., nave 49 ft. 3 in. by 23 ft. 8 in., north aisle 44 ft. 6 in. by 10 ft. 6 in., south aisle 50 ft. 6 in. by 11 ft. 4 in., south porch, and west tower 13 ft. 8 in. square, all these measurements being internal. The total width across nave and aisles is 49 ft. 9 in.
The nave represents the body of a pre-Conquest aisleless church 22 ft. wide with walls 3 ft. thick, the small square-ended chancel of which has vanished. The east, west and north walls remain in great part, the north arcade and the chancel and tower arches having been broken through the original masonry, but the south wall has been entirely removed and the nave slightly increased in width on that side. The four angles of the pre-Conquest nave, however, are still in position, the quoins showing more or less distinctly outside in each case. The great antiquity of the building was unsuspected till 1884–5, when a restoration took place and the walls were stripped of their plaster. (fn. 151) Six fragments of pre-Conquest crosses carved with interlaced patterns were also discovered at the same time, together with an early sundial. (fn. 152) Two lathe-turned baluster shafts, similar in type to those at Jarrow and Monkwearmouth, have also been found. All these fragments are now preserved in the church at the west end of the south aisle.
The tower is an addition of the 12th century, and a south aisle appears to have been added in the 13th century, the west window and the piscina being of that date, though the arcade has disappeared. Originally the arcade would no doubt be pierced through the older wall, but it has been replaced by later work of poor and thin detail which may belong to the end of the 16th or beginning of the 17th century. The round arches of the north arcade and the chancel are apparently of 12th-century date, but the piers and responds are considerably later, and appear to be reconstructions of the 15th century. Probably the north aisle was added a little later than the tower and the chancel rebuilt on a larger scale at the same time, the arches being broken through the north wall and the old chancel arch reconstructed. The present chancel is a rebuilding of 1806. The porch is of uncertain date, but may have been erected when the south arcade was reconstructed. Sir Stephen Glynne, who visited the church in 1843, described the windows as then having nearly all lost their tracery and the interior as being spoiled by 'hideous coats of whitewash alternating with lampblack' which barbarously disfigured the arches and walls. (fn. 153) The church was restored in 1884–5 and again in 1889–91, when all the old wooden windows were removed, the floor lowered 3 ft. to its original level and the nave reseated. In 1898 the chancel was restored and the ancient altar stone replaced.
The chancel is built of square coursed stones, and without buttresses or other architectural features. The east window is a recent one of three trefoiled lights, and there is a three-light segmental-headed window in each of the side walls. The roof is covered with green slates with iron gutters and is lower, but of steeper pitch, than that over the nave and aisles. In the middle of the south wall outside is built an old carved stone with the figure of St. George and the dragon. It is now partly obscured by the ivy with which the wall is almost entirely covered.
The aisle walls are of rubble masonry and the tower is faced with square coursed stones averaging 15 in. by 9 in., some of the quoins, however, being of much larger size, two measuring 5 ft. 9 in. in length and a third 6 ft. The nave and aisles are under one wide low-pitched leaded roof, the walls terminating in straight parapets. The porch has a gabled roof covered with red pantiles.
The masonry of the pre-Conquest nave has been left bare inside and several original features remain. In the east wall the archivolt of the chancel arch is still in position immediately above the later opening. Ten voussoirs remain in position, the arch showing on both sides to nave and chancel. Above this again is a triangular-headed opening similar in type to those in the tower at Norton Church, the head formed of two slabs laid against each other in the usual manner and the jambs consisting of four stones on each side. A length of about 8 ft. of the original walling remains at each end of the north arcade, the aisle not being carried westward the full length of the nave, and the eastern end having a long respond. Above the arcade in the portion of wall between the arches a narrow window opening, not quite 9 in. wide externally, was discovered when the plaster was stripped off. Its head and internal splay had been destroyed when the arcade was inserted, and the opening is now built up and shows only from the aisle. The sill and the west jamb and one stone of the east jamb alone are in position. In the west wall a portion of a chamfered string-course of early section consisting of three stones remains on the north side of the tower arch, and another portion of a similar string occurs at the east end of the north wall, but is now hidden by the organ.
The semicircular chancel arch consists of three chamfered orders springing from half-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases. The two arches of the north arcade are similar and spring from an octagonal pier and half-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases, the outer order projecting in front of the pier on each side, giving it the appearance of a hood mould. The south arcade consists of four badly-shaped pointed arches of two hollow-chamfered orders springing from octagonal piers and from corresponding responds, all with moulded capitals and bases. The wall above was reduced to 20 in. in thickness at the time of the reconstruction of the arcade, thus giving a slightly increased width to the nave, and the detail is all poor and thin. The position of the original wall, 3 ft. thick, is visible at the west end, where it has been cut away.
A series of nine stone corbels carved with heads, of 12th-century date, runs along the wall of the north arcade facing the aisle, but the old roof has gone and the aisle walls probably retain little of the original masonry except perhaps at the west end, where a small square-headed window remains high up in the wall. The two north windows are of the same date as the chancel, but at the east end is a three-light square-headed 15th-century opening. The east end of the aisle is now used as a vestry. Above the south arcade facing the aisle is another series of plain corbels below the present roof, perhaps of 13th-century date, and in the south wall, in the usual position, is an early piscina with pointed recess, the bowl being in the thickness of the wall. The west window is a 13th-century lancet with head in two stones. The hood mould has a large nail-head ornament and flower terminations, and the sill is 8 ft. above the floor inside. Below the window are portions of two mediaeval grave slabs built into the wall, and, higher up, a stone found in 1884–5, bearing a portion of an inscription in incised Lombardic letters: 'Hic jacet … jacet in tu … fai . . . .'
The porch is built of rubble masonry, but is almost entirely covered with ivy. There is a descent of three steps to the nave, and the outer archway is a segmental one of two hollow-chamfered orders continued to the ground. The inner doorway is of similar section, but the arch is pointed. There is a stone seat on each side, and built into the walls are six early corbels with carved heads, three on each side.
The tower is externally of two stages marked by a chamfered set-back, and terminates in a straight moulded parapet, probably of 18th or early 19th-century date, with nondescript corner ornaments. The lower stage is lighted on the south and west by two narrow lancet openings, the jambs and heads chamfered externally. The north side is blank, and on the east the tower is open to the nave by a semicircular arch of a single order with a roll moulding on each angle and flat soffit. The arch springs at a height of 10 ft. from chamfered imposts and angle shafts with cushion capitals and moulded bases. The opening is an insertion in the west wall of the ancient nave. The lofty upper stage has a lancet on the south side in the lower part, the belfry window above being a small square-headed opening not centrally placed, and the whole of the north side is blank. The west belfry window is a tall narrow square-headed opening, and that on the east a lancet. The tower is without buttresses or vice, and the floor is 18 in. above that of the nave.
There are two fonts; the older one, which is no longer used and stands at the west end of the south aisle, is of 12th-century date, cut from a single block of stone, with a shaft at each angle with cushion capital. The four sides are quite plain. This font stood in the churchyard till a comparatively recent date. The other is a very beautiful example of 15th-century work, and consists of an octagonal bowl 2 ft. 6 in. in diameter standing on a shaft and pedestal of the same form, all elaborately carved. The carving on the eight sides of the bowl is as follows: east side, two figures, one holding a book in his right hand and a club in his left, and the other a book and three loaves or stones (? SS. Philip and James); south, two figures, one, much mutilated, holding a staff (?) in his right hand and a book in his left, and the other a book in the right hand and in the left a boat (?); west, the Resurrection, with the emblems of the Passion on either side; north, two figures, one with a spear and a book, and the other a book and a saw (? SS. Simon and Jude). The other sides bear the emblems of the four Evangelists. The carvings on the shaft are: east, a crowned queen holding a book and palm branch in her hands, and through the breast, from right to left, a sword (? St. Euphemia); south-east, a pope with the triple crown and double patriarchal cross in his left hand (St. Gregory the Great); south, a crowned queen holding a book and a pair of pincers (St. Lucy); south-west, an abbot with pastoral staff and book, and over his arm a maniple; west, an abbess in coif and wimple, holding crozier and book standing upon a dragon (St. Elizabeth); north-west, a bishop in pontificals with crozier and chain and fetter-lock (St. Leonard); north, a crowned queen, sitting, with a book in her left hand and the model of a church in her right (St. Barbara); and, north-east, an abbess, holding book and key (St. Petronilla). Round the bottom of the bowl are eight demi-angels holding shields, and round the base of the shaft, at the angles, four tonsured and four untonsured heads, between which are four-leaved flowers of various patterns. (fn. 154)
The pulpit dates from 1889, and all the fittings are modern.
A stained-glass window and oak tablet form a memorial to the twenty-one men from this parish who fell in the Great War.
There is a ring of three bells, inscribed 'R. Watson, plumber, Newcastle, 1826.'
The plate consists of a chalice of 1571 with the maker's mark HW between a pellet and star; a paten, without date letter, but with the Newcastle mark and initials DL, inscribed 'Hart Church 29 Novr 1813'; a paten of 1784–5, made by John Huitson, London, inscribed 'Presented to Hart Church by the Revd Edward Moises, A.M. Vicar. Easter 1844'; and a chalice of 1842–3 with the same inscription. There is also a plated flagon. (fn. 155)
The registers begin in 1577.
In the foundation charters of Guisborough Priory, granted by Robert de Brus, the earliest probably belonging to the year 1119, the church of Hart is mentioned among other endowments. (fn. 156) In the later confirmations of these charters Hart is regularly named. The invocation of the church is first mentioned in a charter of c. 1194, in which it is called the church of the Blessed Mary at Hart. (fn. 157) Nevertheless the church is now, and long has been, under the invocation of St. Mary Magdalene.
In 1288 Bishop Bek granted a licence to Prior William de Middlesburg and the canons of Guisborough to impropriate the vicarage of Hart during Prior William's life, so long as the vicarage was duly served by two honest and discreet canons. (fn. 158) On the death of William the vicarage was to be regarded as vacant, and if the monastery did not present to it the power to do so lapsed to the bishop. (fn. 159) In 1308 Bishop Bek further granted to the monastery the permanent right to the impropriation. The church of Hart and chapel of Hartlepool were to be served by a canon, with an allowance from the revenues of the church, and not by a secular priest, as had been hitherto the case. (fn. 160) In 1311 Bishop Kellaw confirmed the grants of Bishop Bek so long as the vicarage was served by two canons. (fn. 161)
To the west of Hart churchyard are the remains of a building of the late 14th or early 15th century, which is believed to have been the residence of the canons. (fn. 162)
On the dissolution of Guisborough Monastery in 1539 the patronage of the living passed to the Crown, with which it remained till 1888, when Bishop Lightfoot received it in exchange for Satley church. (fn. 163) The present patron is the Bishop of Durham.
In 1291 the church of Hart, with the vicarage, was valued at £40. (fn. 164) In 1535 the total value of the vicarage of Hart was estimated at £12. (fn. 165) In 1539–40 the rectory of Hart, with the chapelry of Hartlepool and the tithe of fish, brought in £22. (fn. 166) In 1577–88 the vicarage of Hart was worth £11 17s., but a 17th-century note states that its value had risen to £60. (fn. 167)
Robert de Brus I seems to have granted to the monastery of Tynemouth two tithe sheaves from the demesne lands of Hartness. He granted the church of Hart to the monastery of Guisborough (see above), and these two contradictory grants caused a long dispute between the two monasteries. In 1146–51 an agreement was made that Tynemouth should have the two tithe sheaves from the ancient demesne land and from any new land that might be taken into the demesne, while Guisborough should have all the tithes from lands which were or in future should be held in bondage. (fn. 168) This agreement was superseded by another in 1212, which gave to Tynemouth the tithes of Hart and Stranton, the tithes of Owton in Stranton parish (q.v.), the corn tithes of Elwick township, and the small tithes of the demesne lands of Elwick. All the other tithes in the two parishes belonged to Guisborough. (fn. 169) In 1291 the portion of the monks of Tynemouth in the church of Hart was £10. (fn. 170) In February 1573–4 the tithe sheaves of Elwick belonging to the monastery of Tynemouth were leased to Thomas Pearson, (fn. 171) and in 1627 Sir Ralph Delavale kt. paid £4 for ½ year's rent to the Crown for the tithes of Elwick. (fn. 172) The tithes of corn of Elwick were in lease, apart from the other tithes of Hart, to William Tunstall for £29 in 1644, (fn. 173) and they were sold on 29 April 1664 by Susan Luling of London, niece and heir of William Fisher, deceased, to Margaret Barker of London. (fn. 174) They cannot be traced further.
In 1541 part of the tithes of Hart were leased to Thomas Legh. (fn. 175) In 1587 the great tithes of Hart were leased for twenty-one years to Christopher Freeman, (fn. 176) and in 1605 they were granted to Henry Stanley and others, who conveyed them in January 1605–6 to John Lord Lumley. The rectory has since descended with the manor of Hart. (fn. 177) The tithes of hay from the 'Broad Meadows' and small tithes called brevings were paid to the vicar. (fn. 178)
The annual Crown rent of £22 from the rectory of Hart formed part of the provision for Queen Henrietta Maria on 14 March 1626. (fn. 179)
In 1644 all the tithes of Hart were leased to Richard Malam for £200 per annum. (fn. 180) In 1770 the manor of Hart was free from all tithes except a third of the lamb and wool tithes, which were paid to the vicar. (fn. 181) In 1857 the vicar received tithes from the farms called the Three Thorps. (fn. 182)
The chapel of St. Helen lay on the outskirts of the town of Hartlepool, in the north-west corner of one of the common fields called Farwell Field; the chapel itself was built upon Hart Warren. In 1816 the only traces of it were the name of a well in the field, St. Helen's Well, and a mound where hewn stones were sometimes found. (fn. 183) In 1845 the place was excavated, not by antiquaries, but by builders in search of stones. The remains of a tiny chapel were discovered, the architecture of which, as far as it could be traced, indicated that it was built in the 12th century. A large stone coffin containing a skeleton was also found, but no attempt was made to preserve these remains. (fn. 184)
The chapel was probably built by William de Brus (c. 1194–1215), who gave to the monastery of Guisborough his chapel of St. Helen, Hartlepool, on the warren at Hart for the support of a light on the high altar. (fn. 185) Two charters to Fountains Abbey, apparently belonging to the 13th century, mention land in Hartlepool near St. Helen's Church. (fn. 186) The 'vicus Sanctae Helenae' is mentioned in 1299. (fn. 187) In 1314 a general sentence of excommunication was pronounced against those who detained legacies and other things bequeathed to the chapel of St. Helen in the vill of Hartlepool. (fn. 188)
Ralph de Whitewell, a bastard, left instructions in his will that his messuage in Hartlepool should be sold and the money used as long as it lasted for a stipend to a chaplain in St. Helen's chapel to pray for him. This bequest was ignored by Bishop Beaumont, but recognized by Bishop Bury on 3 April 1336. (fn. 189) In 1548 the chapel had one bell and a silver chalice. (fn. 190)
There was a chapel in the manor of Hart in which Robert de Clifford founded a chantry before 1344, with an endowment of £6 yearly. (fn. 191) In 1436 this chapel is mentioned among the appurtenances of the manor of Hart. (fn. 192)
For the Fulthorpe educational charity, founded in 1707 by will of the Rev. Christopher Fulthorpe, see article on schools. (fn. 193)
John Farmer, by his will proved at Durham, 3 January 1879, bequeathed £100, the income to be divided among the widows and orphans of fishermen lately residing in the township of Seaton. The legacy, with accumulations, is represented by £199 6s. 10d. India 3 per cent. stock, with the official trustees, producing £5 19s. 4d. yearly.
Thomas Barraclough, by his will, 27 May 1916, bequeathed £300, the income to be divided among deserving widows and spinsters over 60 years of age, resident in the parish of Holy Trinity, Seaton Carew. The legacy was invested in £315 15s. 10d. 5 per cent. War Stock, with the official trustees, producing £15 15s. 10d. yearly.