Parish of Hunstanworth

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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Robert Surtees, 'Parish of Hunstanworth', in The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 2, Chester Ward, (London, 1820) pp. 365-367. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

Robert Surtees. "Parish of Hunstanworth", in The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 2, Chester Ward, (London, 1820) 365-367. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

Surtees, Robert. "Parish of Hunstanworth", The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 2, Chester Ward, (London, 1820). 365-367. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,

In this section


The Parish of Hunstanworth (fn. 1) is bounded by the Darwent on the North, dividing it from Blanchland in Northumberland, by the imaginary line drawn betwixt Durham and Northumberland on the North-West, by the parish of Stanhope on the South-West and South, and by Edmundbyers on the East. The Parish forms only one Constablery.

Under Boldon Book, “Robert Corbet held Hunstanworth by forest service, as is expressed in his charter of inheritance.

“The Hospital of St. Giles holds a certain parcel of ground lately disforested, and a pasture for breeding cattle, near the boundary of Walter de Bolebec.

“The land of Blauncheland, which was Alan Marescall's, pays half a mark.”

Robert Corbet settled his whole estate of Hunstanworth on pious purposes, but in different parcels. To St. Giles of Kepyer he gave, 1. his land betwixt Knokedeneburn and Derwent (the assart probably and pasture mentioned in Boldon Buke); and 2. with consent of his daughter and heir Sibilla, the whole vill of Hunstanworth. But he granted his Church of Hunstanworth (of which he was probably the founder) to the House of Durham. Two centuries later the Prior and Convent exchanged their Church of St. James of Hunstanworth, the advbwson, glebe, and universal circumstances, with the house of Kepyer, for a rentcharge of 13s. 4d. out of the grange of Caldecote, and for the tithes of half the demesne lands of the manor of South Shirburn. The reason of the exchange is stated to be, that the Prior and Convent were impropriators of Pittington, and that the Church of Hunstanworth was contiguous to the place called Knokedene, belonging to the Hospital of Kepyer (fn. 2).

The following demise is preserved on account of the accurate description of boundaries, which vary very little from those of Mr. Ord's estate :—24 April 1439, Richard Bukley, Clerk, Master of the Hospital of Kepyer, and the brethren of the same place, to Alexander Beckfield and Mary his wife, demise for forty years, under 40s. rent, “the vill of Hunstanworth, with all its pastures and profits, by these boundaries—from the foot of Boltesburn, ascending that water to its head, and so from the head of that water as far as the head of Knewkden Burn, and so descending by that water as far as Eweshopeburn, and so proceeding as far as the water of Darwent, and descending by the Darwent to the foot of Boltesburn.” (fn. 3)

The estate rested in the house of Kepyer till the dissolution. It afterwards seems to have been granted, not with the mass of the Kepyer estates to Cockburn, of Black Ormiston, (who sold to Heath), but to that William Lord Paget (fn. 4) (the low-born founder of the gallant house of Beaudesert), who had his full share of the sudden rises and reverses which attended the turbulent æra of the Reformation. In 1545 Sir William Paget had licence to grant his demesne or manor of Hunstanworth, parcel of the dissolved house of Kepyer, the tenement called Townefield, and the parcel called Slemedowes, and a rent-charge of 6s. 8d. issuing out of the Rectory, to William Egliston, yeoman; and in Egliston's descendants the estate remained (fn. 5) till it was alienated about 1689 to John Ord, Gent. (fn. 6) of Newcastle, ancestor of John Ord, Esq. (fn. 6) whose nephew Robert Capper, Esq. of Garston, co. Herts, is the present proprietor.

The whole property did not centre in one branch of the family of Egleston; for some of their cadets retained an interest here after the sale to Ord. In 1685 the freeholders within the Constablery were Joseph Egleston, Gent. (in Northumberland); Thomas Wilkinson, of Alice-hill; John Proud, of Maiden-Rideing; William Bowman, John Hixon, John Pickering, William Egleston, of Hunstanworth.

The Church is a neat small structure, almost entirely rebuilt about forty years since.

List of Curates.

Hunstanworth Perpetual Curacy.—Hospital of Kepyer Patron olim, now Capper, Esq.—Not in charge.—Pays no first fruits nor tenths.—Episc. Proc. when the Bishop visits, 3s. 4d.—Dedication to St. James.

  • Richard de Baldock, 1322.
  • Richard Stephenson, 1577 (fn. 7).
  • Thomas Becke, 1645.
  • John Forest, 15 Jan. 1667.
  • Andrew Rudd, 21 June 1696.
  • Thomas Jones.
  • Andrew Naughley, A.M. (a Scotch Degree,) 1724.
  • Thomas Hudson, cl. pres. by Robert Ord, Esq. Chief Baron in Scotland, 21 Sept. 1758.—Close.

From the Register:

27 Jan. 1645. This day the greate storme bracke which had begun eight weeks before.

25 June 1678. Buried—Ann wife of John Robinson, John Ritson an infant, and Ann daughter of Robert Egleston, killed by a thunderbolt 23 June.

4 Nov. 1709. Ann daughter, of James Colling, who was eighteen years of age, and never chewed bread; of stature not above a three years' old child, the thickest part of her arms and legs not exceeding the thickness of a man's thumb.

Knewkden, so called possibly from its crooked dene or gill, rather than from the neuK or corner of land formed by its junction with the Darwent, is named amongst other general words in the Crown grant to Cockburn of Ormiston, “Knuckden Ridlamhope.” Cockburn (sicut alias) sold to Heath; and Sir John Forster, Knt. Warden of the Marches, died in 1602 seized of Knuckden, Ridlamhope, and Haddirburne, in the county of Durham (fn. 8), acquired of John Heath, Esq. and parcel of the Hospital of Kepyer (fn. 9). Sir Claud Forster, of Bambrough and of Blanchland, grandson of Sir John, died in 1623, seized of lands in Knuckden, Bucksholte, Allansheles, and Dairy-howse (fn. 9). Some of these were however derived maternally, for Bucksholt is included in King Henry's grant (4 July, 37 Hen. VIII.) to Bellow and Broxholm, of Dairehouse or Alansheeles, parcel of the monastery of Blanchland, with all that common of pasture stretching by moss and moor over Deadfreres, Dawdringhop, and Bolteslaw, the tenements called Espes and Aeden and Bucksholt. William Farewell, Gent. who died 34 Eliz. held the same premises; his daughter married Cuthbert Radclyffe (fn. 10), in her right of Blanchland; and Jane Radclyffe, their only issue, was the wife of Nicholas Forster, father of Sir Claud (fn. 11) Dame Elizabeth Forster held the same estates in widow right in 1646 (fn. 12). I can trace the descent no lower.

Pedigree of Egleston, Hunstanworth.


* Robert Egleston, of Townefield, within ye parishe of Hunstanworth, to be buried in ye chancel. My son Alexr shall have his mother's belte, with ye head and appendices of sylver and gylt, duryng his lyfe, and ye same to go to ye eldest of ye name.

† Alexander Egleston, &c. “first I bequeth for repairing of ye church, and for takeing down the West gavell and building it anew, and making an arch upon ye topp of it, for hanging the bell in on the outside; alsoe for taking down ye South window and the South side, soe farr as it is not sound, and makeing a large new window; also for sleating the quire and mending it, 10l.” His inventory includes “one muskett and horseman's piece, xs.”

20 Dec. 1686, Joseph Eagleston, of Blanchland, Gent. devises the Townefield, and the royalties of the manor of Hunstanworth (except the tithes and the closes called Wagtail Hall and the East Close,) to John Mowbray, of Durham, and John Ord, of Newcastle, Gents. on trust to sell, and pay debts, &c. The said tithes of the parish of Hunstansworth, and the two closes before named to his wife Isabella for life; remainder to his son Alexander Eagleston. Pr. 1692. Seal a spread eagle.

‡ Witton Gilbert Register.

*** Inq. p.m. Alex. Egleston, 12 Jan. 6 Jac. 1608, obiit seisit. de un. tenem. jacen. in villa seu hamleto de Hunstanworth, ac de Rectoria de H. et de omnibus terris glebis decimis et oblationibus eid. pertin. ac de un. terr. vocat. le Townefield, quae omnia fuerunt parcel nuper Hosp. S. Egidii de Kepyer, ac de un. redd. xiid. de ten. in H. in occup. Will. Bulmer: omnia prcdicta præter reddit. predict. tenentur de Rege, per 200m part. feodi unius militis Rectoria et decimæ val. 6s. 8d. per an. et le Townefield, 13s. 4d.

Alansheeles. In 1338 John de Alaynsheles held a messuage and a hundred acres of arable and meadow ground in Alaynsheles, by homage, fealty, 6s. 8d. rent, and suit of court thrice in the year, value 60s. [and a messuage and oxgang in Fishburne, of John de Fisheburn, by homage, fealty, and a pair of spurs, and five messuages in the South Bailey, of Philip de la Lay, by a pound of cumin (fn. 13). William de Alaynsheles (son and heir, aged 30 in 1338,) died in 1364 seized of the manor of Alaynsheles, and of a messuage and thirty acres in Roughside, held of the Prior by a pound of cumin seed (fn. 14). Alice, daughter and heir of William, aged 20 in 1364, was the wife of Richard de Laton in 1401. The manor and the lands in Roughside were vested in Thomas Hunter and Margaret his wife, next of blood to William de Alaynsheles. The Inquisitions trace the line of the old owners no lower. In 1425 Ralph Earl of Westmoreland held a messuage and 100 acres in Alaynsheles (fn. 15), and Joan Countess of Westmoreland died seized of the same estate in 1440, leaving Richard Earl of Salisbury, her son and heir (fn. 16), Blanchland Abbey had afterwards lands here. See Knewkden antea.


  • 1. The name seems obviously compounded of the proper name of a Saxon or Danish owner, and Worth, villa, prædium, &c.
  • 2. Ind. of Exchange, die dom. in octab. Epiph. 1352. Confirmation of Exchange (which presupposes a deed anterior to the last-named) by Bishop Bury, 7 id. Feb. 1335. Orig. D. and C. Treas.
  • 3. Ind. enrolled, Rot. Nevill, B. B. N° 3. in dorso.
  • 4. Mr. Paget was son of one of the Serjeants-at-mace of the city of London, and rose to the peerage through the swiftly consecutive steps of—Secretary to Bishop Gardiner, Clerk of the Signet, Clerk of the Parliament and of the Privy Council, Ambassador to France, Principal Secretary of State, and Comptroller of the Household. He was one of the Executors of King Henry's will. Under the short tyranny of Northumberland Lord Paget fell from his high estate, and was divested of the Garter on pretence of inability to prove a gentleman's descent in blood for three generations. Queen Mary restored his honours; and though a Roman Catholic, he retained the favour of Elizabeth. Henry, his eldest son and successor, was a gallant tiller and dancer in the Court of the Maiden Queen. His two brothers, Thomas Lord Paget and Charles Paget, were implicated in the intrigues in favour of the old religion and the Scottish Queen, and were driven into exile. The family was restored by King James.
  • 5. See Pedigree of Egleston.
  • 6. The Pedigree of Ord (of Fenham) may be seen in Nichols's Leicestershire, p. 614. Robert Ord, Esq. Lord Chief Baron of Scotland, grandson of John Ord (in the text named), was owner of Hunstanworth, which his son John Ord, Esq., Master in Chancery, devised to his nephew Robert Capper, Esq. of Garston, co. Herts, Esq. the present proprietor. See Clutterbuck's Herts, vol. I. p. 336.
  • 7. Die Sabb. 1 Sept. 1593. Offic. contra Alex. Egliston Proprietar. Eccles. de Hunstanworth. He ought to find a Curate there, and now there is none—dicto die comparuit, &c. et fatebatur, &c. Dominus monuit ad providend. Curatum infra quinden.
  • 8. These descriptions are never very particular. Ridlamhope is in Northumberland.
  • 9. Mickleton's MSS. vol. LV. p. 120–127.
  • 10. Fine, Cuthbert (son and heir of Anthony Radcliffe, of Blanchland,) and Margery (Farewell) his wife, to John and Reginald Carnaby, of two messuages, two cottages, four tofts, two orchards, one hundred acres of arable, forty meadow, sixty pasture, ten of woodlands, two hundred moor, and two hundred furze, in Knuckden, Bucksholt, and Allensheales. Mickleton, XXXIII. 59.
  • 11. See Pedigree of Radclyffe, vol. I. p. 32.
  • 12. In the Inq. on the death of Sir Claud she is stiled Baronetissa.
  • 13. Inq. die L. prox. p. F. Corp. Xti 6 Bury.
  • 14. Inq. 19 Hatfield.
  • 15. Inq. 20 Langley.
  • 16. Inq. 3 Nevill.