Parish of Edmundbyers

The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 2, Chester Ward. Originally published by Nichols and Son, London, 1820.

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'Parish of Edmundbyers', in The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 2, Chester Ward, (London, 1820) pp. 363-364. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

In this section


This Parish is bounded by Muggleswick on the South and East, by the Darwent on the North, and by Hunstanworth West.

Under Boldon Book, Alan Bruntoft holds Edmundbires for his service in the forest, as is expressed in his charter. The whole estate before the period of Hatfield's Survey had accrued (under various grants mentioned in the sequel) to the Church of Durham. “The Prior holds the vill of Edmundbires, sometime of Alan Bruntop, by forest service, as is expressed in Alan's charter.”

Two charters of the same Alan Bruntoft occur in the Treasury.

I. Sciant, &c. quod ego Alanus Bruncoste, dedi, &c. Magro Arnaldo de Auelent pro homagio et servitio suo et pro sexdecim marcis argenti quas mihi. dedit in mea magna necessitate, totam terram meam quam habeo ad Pethuneshak (fn. 1), juxta Edmundesbyres, reddendo inde annuatim unum bisantium vel duos solidos, salva communi pasture predicte ville de Edmundesbyres.

The second charter is. merely a grant from Alan to Ralph Bruncoste of three acres within Edmundbyres, which Aldred the miller held, paying half a pound of cumin. Both these parcels came to the Church of Durham, and the whole estate was acquired under the following charters:

Omnibus, &c. Joh'es Gylett de Eggesclyff. Sciatis me dedisse, &c. Hug. Priori Dunelm. &c. totam t'ciam p'tem ville de Edmundbyris, cũ t'cia p'te advocac'ois Ecclesie ejusd. ville et cum t'cia p'te molendini de eadem et cũ õib[us] villanis meis, que õia emi p' quad'ginta marcis argenti a Joh'e fil. Alani de Hedlum. Hiis T. Dñis Marmeduc' fil. Galfr., Thorn. de Herington, Rob. fil. Ade, Rog. de Eapplinden, militib[us], Dño Petro de Brandon, Rob. de Bruninghill, Gilfr. de Eggesclyf, Rad. de Blackwel, Joh'e ffarnacris, Luca de Esingden, Dño Walt'ro de Lodew'rth, mil., Rog. de Aldakeris, Gilb. de Fery, Joh. Pinsard, Joh. de Brafferton, Galfr. de Henneknol, Joh. de Holmsyde, Joh'e de Lithgraynes, Ric. de Hepedon, Rob. de Ely, et multis aliis. Orig. 4a 5 Special.

II. Sciant, &c. quod ego Joh'es de Cotum Capellan. dedi, &c. Priori et Conv. Ecclesie Dunelm. manerium meum de Edmundbyres cum advocacione Ecclesiæ dicti manerii, vizt quicquid habui in dicto manerio, &c. Hiis T. Dñis Will'o de Wessington, Jordano de Dalden, Hug. Bulmer, Thoma Surtays, militib[us], Joh'e de Alaynschells, Hugone de Scouland, Will'o de Silkesworth, Will'o de Knycheley, et aliis. Apud Edmundbyres die dominic. in vigil. Assump. B. M. Virginis, A. D. 1328. Ibid.

At present the whole Parish is held by lease under the Dean and Chapter.

The village of Edmundbyers consists of thatched cottages scattered round a small green on the descent of a hill washed by the Birdenhope beck, which falls to the Derwent.

On the Feldon-beck, which falls into the Baronhope or Birdenhope, one of the earliest smelting-mills for fusing of lead-ore was established by the Blacket family, in the reign of Charles II.

The Rectory of Edmondbyers passed to the Church of Durham, together with the manor, by the charters already recited.

The Church is a mean structure, consisting of a nave and chancel, the latter supported on short buttresses. There is a good Parsonage-house, which has been extremely improved by the present incumbent.

A Terrier delivered in 1788 states the glebe, &c. to consist of a parsonage-house, stable, barn, and byer, all under one roof; a small garth hetwixt the Rectory and the Churchyard, one end abutting on the street, and the other adjoining the glebe, which contains three inclosed pieces of pasture or meadow, the whole about twelve acres, abutting on the Church-yard on three sides, and on the common to the West; rent 3l. per annum. A pasture of six acres lately enclosed from the common, abutting on the common West, on John Wand's land East and North, and on Messrs. Parker and Stephenson's South; rent 10l. 16s. 6d. A modus of 5s. is paid from every farm for hay; all other tithes are paid in kind. The whole value of the glebe, tithes, and profits, comm. annis, is 65l. per annum. Two other Terriers have been delivered, in 1792 and 1806. The value of the Rectory has been considerably improved by the late enclosures.

List of Rectors.

Edmondbyers Rectory.—Dean and Chapter Patrons.—Tenths 13s.d.—Episc. Proc. 2s.—Synod 2s.—Dedication to St. Edmund.

  • Richard de Kirkeby, occurs 1275.
  • Lawrence, 1333.
  • John de Bamburgh, 1348.
  • John de Seham, 1357.
  • Thomas de Gathril, 1392, p. m. Seham.
  • Thomas Annesley.
  • William Hyndeley, alias de Lamesley, 1399, p. m. Annesley.
  • William de Malteby, 1401.
  • John de Hexham, 1401, p. res. Malteby.
  • Henry Hinton, 1402, p. res. Hexham.
  • Robert Aukland, 1411, p. m. Hinton.
  • Robert Baker, 1419, p. m. Aukland.
  • Richard Walworth, 1421.
  • William Denton, 1456.
  • John Wouldhave, 1468, p. res. Denton.
  • Will. Fabyane, 1504, p. res. Wouldhave.
  • Robert Spragane, 1508, p. res. Fabyane.
  • John Foster, 17 Dec. 1557.
  • Thomas Benson, cl. 6 Feb. 1570.
  • John Greenwell, A. B. 20 March 1575, p. m. Benson.
  • Mark Leonard, A. B. 22 June 1609, p. m. Greenwell.
  • Michael Walton, A. M. 21 July 1628, p. res. Leonard.
  • John Durie, A. M. 2 July 1629, p. m. Walton (fn. 2).

The incumbents from this period are the same with those of Muggleswick.

In 1661 old John Durie the Rector petitioned the Dean and Chapter to hold a court at Edmondbyers for the correction of abuses “in non-attendance of divine service neglected for private meetings and conventicles, ill observance of boundaries and commons, and for the restoration of a road which late belonged to the parsonage-house for use of the sheep grazing the church-yard and a close adjoining (fn. 3).

The following lively painting is by Mickleton:

Io. Dury, 1642. Tunc postea, tempore usurpac'ois fuerunt Predicatores seu dicentes, etiam sæpe in uno eodemq. die predicantes contra ac contradicentes unus alteri in religione, Anabaptistæ, Independentes, Tremulatores, Millenarii, ac . . . quorum principalis fuit Thomas Tillum primus docens Anabaptismata in hiis borialibus partibus et Boyer qui hic aliquibus annis vixit Presbyterianus.

It may be no breach of charity to presume that these preachings and counter-preachings had their effect in ripening “The Anabaptist and Presbyterian Plot hatched in Muggleswick,” relative to which some further evidences will be found in the Addenda.

Roughside, though included in one township with Cold Rowley, is in the parish of Edmondbyers. The Ords held property here for several descents (fn. 4).

Extract from the will of Ann Baxter of West Roughside, widow, dated 7 Jan. 1743, proved 4 May 1745:

Imprimis, I give and bequeath for the use of the poor of the parish of Edmondbyers, the sum of fifteen pounds of good and lawful money of Great Brittain for ever. Which said sum I do order to be put out to usury by the most substantial inhabitants of the sd parish; and the use thereof to be distributed to the most needfull poor within the said parish, upon my tomb-stone, yearly upon Christmas Day for ever, by my cousin Cuthbert Ord and Thomas Ord, them and their heirs and successors for ever. Only Cuthbert Whitfield and George Whitfield excluded the benefit of the said charity money.

Carta Baldewini filii Radulphi de Vaccaria de Pethuneshac.

Universis, &c. Baldewinus filius Radulphi et Alicia uxor sua Salutem: Noveritis, &c. nos quietè clamasse et in plena Curia Dunelmensi abjurasse, R. Rectori et fratribus de Scyreburn totum jus, &c. in vaccaria de Pethuneshac, de quo eos implacitavimus occasione dotis per literas Regis, A° regni R. Henrici duodmo pro viginti solidis, &c. T. Magro Steph'o de Lucy tunc Custode Ep'at. Dunelm., Jordano Hayrun, Walt'ro Dandri, Will'o de Hessewell, Galfrido de Parco, Nigello de Rungetun, Ada de Scadeleya, Ada de Merleya, Will'o de Medmesleya, Will'o de Ebbecest'r, et aliis. Mickleton's MSS. vol. I.


  • 1. Hodie Pedumsake.
  • 2. See the Muggleswick Petition in the Addenda.
  • 3. Hunter's MSS. D. and C. Library.
  • 4. 15 May 1647, will of Cuthbert Ord, of Roughside; children Cuthbert, Catharine, Elizabeth; their uncle Thomas Wilkinson, guardian.