Parish of Dinsdale

The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 3, Stockton and Darlington Wards. Originally published by Nichols and Son, London, 1823.

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Robert Surtees, 'Parish of Dinsdale', in The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 3, Stockton and Darlington Wards, (London, 1823) pp. 230-242. British History Online [accessed 28 May 2024].

Robert Surtees. "Parish of Dinsdale", in The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 3, Stockton and Darlington Wards, (London, 1823) 230-242. British History Online, accessed May 28, 2024,

Surtees, Robert. "Parish of Dinsdale", The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 3, Stockton and Darlington Wards, (London, 1823). 230-242. British History Online. Web. 28 May 2024,

In this section


The portion of Stockton Ward which it remains to describe, includes some of the most beautiful scenery on the Lower Tees. From Hurworth to Nesham the river twice forms a broad silvery canal, then shooting swiftly Southwards, sweeps round the soft green plain of Sockburn, and, turning again to the North, washes the quiet fields and wooded banks of Dinsdale; and, once more making a deep reach beneath the village of Middleton, glides softly away past Middleton-hall to Worsall-ford, where its romantic character terminates.

Two families of ancient gentry, and the little female monastery of Nesham, possessed the whole of this green peninsula. The minute parochial divisions of the district prove its early settlement and cultivation. No fairer spot could attract the notice of a Norman soldier, and nowhere were his descendants more likely to transmit their possessions in deep hereditary peace. The knights of the Tees might mingle in the border warfare; but the bugle-horn of an assailant would seldom startle the inmates of their quiet halls. Their mansions stood without tower or peel. Dinsdale had only its fosse; and Sockburn on its level lawn was guarded only by the circling sweep of the Tees.

The sale of the estates to wealthy families, already possessed of hereditary seats, has occasioned, within the last century, the desertion of these ancient halls and quiet fields, which now breathe a spirit of even deeper retirement.

The Parish of Dinsdale (fn. 1) does not extend across the peninsula; but lying in length from North to South, is bounded by a portion of Haughton, towards Sadberge, on the North, by Middleton St. George (fn. 2) and by the river on the East, by Sockburn on the South, and by Nesham in the Parish of Hurworth on the West.

The ancient owners of Dinsdale took local name, not from the place itself, but in a manner somewhat singular from the river on whose banks they held their inheritance. Yet the name was not adopted without some fluctuation. Siward, the founder of the line, who may be referred to the age of the Norman Princes, bore no second name. His son was William Fitz-Siward, and Ralph, the son of William, was stlyed at various times, and it should seem indifferently, Ralph Fitz-William, Ralph de Dittensale (fn. 3), or, in very barbarous Latin, Ralph de Super Teysam, Surteys, an appellation which, changing with the very orthography of the river itself, has slided into the modern familiar name of Surtees. The Durham Escheats ascend no higher than Edward II.; but the Black Book of the Exchequer records the Northumbrian lordship of William Fitz-Siward, in the reign of the Second Henry. Gosforth, and half of Mileton, held by the service of one knight's fee (fn. 4). The gift of the Churches of Dinsdale and Rounton to the Convent of Durham by Ralph Fitz-William, and the fruitless attempt of his grandson to resume the donation (fn. 5), afford complete and curious evidence of the immediate subsequent descents. From hence the Northumbrian Escheats trace a bare descending line (for no family has had less pains bestowed on their genealogy) through a second William and Walter to Nicholas, who appears in no very creditable situation in Kellaw's Register (fn. 6). He was father of Sir Thomas Surteys, Seneschal of Durham in 1341, and of Goceline, who, from whatever source, seems to have been possessed of an estate equal to that of his brother (fn. 7). A second Sir Thomas, heir to both his father and uncle (fn. 8) (and Sheriff of Northumberland 47 Edw. III. and 2 Rich. II.), was father of Sir Alexander, who founded St. Mary's Chantry in the Church of Dinsdale (fn. 9), and gave lands for the support of Pounteys-bridge (fn. 9). The son, an infant at his father's death of twenty weeks (fn. 10), was the third Sir Thomas Surteys, Sheriff of Northumberland 10 Hen. V. and, as it should seem, a personage of great gravity and decorum; for, during Henry's campaigns in France, Sir Thomas's neighbours, whose youthful blood or more active spirits carried them to the wars of France, committed their wives to the custody of the knight of Dinsdale. A curious indenture in the Treasury states in effect, that, whereas Sir William Claxton is minded to go for the wars in France, Sir Thomas Surteys has agreed to receive the Dame Elizabeth, wife of Sir William, into his house of Dinsdale for the space of one year, to be well and honourably entertained, with her waiting maid and page (being of decent and sober behaviour); and for this Sir William covenants to pay ten marks. At Sadberge, 25 April 1416 (fn. 11).

Sir Thomas, the custodier of his neighbours' wives, and the last of his line who attained knightly degree, died at York, and rests in the church of St. Nicholas, Walmgate. From him proceeded lineally four Esquires, all of the same prevailing Christian name. The last of these died without issue, and intestate, and his decease let in the operation of a point of law (possibly neither foreseen nor understood by the parties interested) which tore the family estate in pieces, deprived the undoubted heir of blood of his paternal inheritance, and extinguished for ever the name of Surtees in Dinsdale. Thomas Surtees, penultimus, married Elizabeth Conyers, and had issue Thomas, who succeeded him, and Catharine, who became the wife of John Place, Esq. By a second wife, Thomas the father had issue an only son, Marmaduke. Now the common law, founded on some remote feudal principle (fn. 12), has decreed that the half blood shall not inherit, and that the inheritance shall sooner go to uncle, cousin, or to the most remote collateral descendant of the whole blood. On the death, then, of Thomas Surtees, ultimus, the right of succession vested in his sister Catharine Place, to the exclusion of the half brother Marmaduke, who, however, it can on no principle be denied, was the true heir of the family, that is, of his own father. Instances of the operation of this law in so extreme a case were not probably very usual; both parties sued out their livery, Catharine, as sister and heir of the whole blood to her brother; and Marmaduke to all such lands as he was entitled to as son and heir of the elder Thomas. A long and pertinacious contest at law ensued. Thomas the younger died in 1511; and it was not till 1552 that the suit was decided by an agreement 5 Oct. 6 Edw. VI. “betwixt Sir Robert Brandling, of Newcastell-upon-Tyne, Knighte, and Anne his wife, Thomas Blaxton, of Blaxton, in the countie of Durham, Esquier, and Elizabeth his wife, daughters and heirs of one Katheryne Wyclyffe, decessed, syster and heire of the hole blood to one Thomas Surteys, late of Didynsall, Esquier, decessed, and Francis Wyclyffe, Gentleman (fn. 13), one other of the heyrs of the said Katheryne, that is to say, son of Dorothe, daughter of Katheryne, of that oon p'tie; and Marmaduke Surtes, Esquier, brother of the halfe blode to ye forsayd Thomas Surteys and Katheryne Wyclyffe, of that other p'tie.” By this convention Marmaduke released to the heirs of the whole blood all title in the manor-house of Dinsdale, and in the manors of Dinsdale and Stodoo, Ponteys Mill, and Fisgarth, lands in Darlington, Caldecotes, and Gateshead, and in the manors of Felling and Gosforth, and accepted, in bar of all further claim on the inheritance, the manor of Over Middleton and half the manor of Morton (fn. 14). In Thomas Surtees (grandson of Marmaduke), who died in Newcastle in 1629, the male line was extinguished. Of the extended possessions of his ancestors, he retained only the half manor of Morton; yet his inventory and his burial prove that his circumstances were far removed from poverty (fn. 15). The ancient blood of Surtees is widely scattered through his three coheirs, married to Ridell, Swinburne, and Tempest.

The estates were now vested, after a contest of forty years, in the heirs of the whole blood; for Catharine, the original claimant, and her son Barnard Place, were dead, and the inheritance vested in his two sisters, Anne Brandling and Elizabeth Blakiston, and in Francis Wyclyffe, the son of a third sister, deceased, in three equal shares; but Sir Robert Brandling, the rich merchant of Newcastle, who had probably found both counsel and money to support the suit, secured to himself in fee (by the indenture of 1551) the goodly manors of Gosforth and Felling, to the exclusion of the other coheirs; and though he had no surviving issue by Dame Anne, transmitted these estates to his brother's children, whose descendants still hold them (fn. 16). Dinsdale, then, was divided in three shares, in Brandling, Blakiston, and Wyclyffe. But Barnard Place, only son of John Place, Esq. by his second wife Catharine Surtees, had executed a grant of the estate after his own decease to Christopher, William, Robert, John the elder, and John the younger, all younger sons of his half brother Rowland Place, of Halnaby, for term of their lives successively, and to the longer liver (fn. 17). Christopher, who thus became entitled to a life estate in the whole, had also, it seems, acquired a third of the reversion in fee (subject to these life estates) from Francis Wyclyffe; and an award which settled the proportions of the estate was executed betwixt Place, Brandling, and Blakiston in 1553 (fn. 18). Christopher Place, of Halnaby, Esq. left four daughters his coheirs; but his nephew Christopher (son of Robert) was his heir male; and to this younger Christopher in 1571 Dorothy Boynton and Elizabeth Forster, two of the daughters and coheirs of his uncle, conveyed a third part of the manor of Dinsdale (fn. 19). William Blakiston, Esq. granted another third of the manor to the same Christopher, by Ind. 6 Sept. 38 Eliz. (fn. 20); and the remaining third was acquired from Robert Brandling, Esq. (grand-nephew of Sir Robert) 13 Oct. 39 Eliz. (fn. 21) The whole manor was thus vested in Place. In 1615 Christopher Place, Esq. settled the estate on the marriage of his son, of the same name, with Mary Constable. The elder Christopher died in 1623, and the son survived him only four weeks. In 1717 Rowland Place, great-grandson of the younger Christopher, died unmarried, and left four sisters (fn. 22) his coheirs, who inherited lands in Dinsdale, Over Dinsdale (fn. 23), Middleton-Row, Sadberge, and Sockburn. 25 March 1719, Catharine, Elizabeth, and Anne Place, three of the sisters, granted three parts of the manor of Dinsdale, and of lands in Nether Dinsdale, Middleton-on-Row, and Sadberge, and a third part of Over Dinsdale, to Cuthbert Routh, Esq. (fn. 24) who, in 1722, acquired the remaining fourth of the estates from William Waines, Gent. and his wife Mary, the other coheir (fn. 25). By Judith, daughter of Sir Mark Milbanke, of Halnaby, Cuthbert Routh left four daughters, Judith, wife of George Baker, of Elemore, Esq.; Elizabeth, wife of James Bland, of Hurworth, Esq.; and Jane (fn. 26) and Dorothy Routh, to whom he devised (fn. 27) his estates in equal shares. In 1770 the four coheiresses joined in the sale of the manor of Dinsdale, lands in Middleton-on-Row, and the Salmon Fishery in the Tees, to Major-General John Lambton, of Lambton, Esq. for 15,000l. John George Lambton, Esq. M. P. is the present owner of these estates.

The manor-house of Dinsdale stands warm and low, within a bowshot of the river. The outer fosse includes an area of two acres, and on the North and West a considerable breastwork of earth has been thrown up within the ditch. An inner moat girdles the immediate site of the hall. Some remains of buildings just within the outer Southern fosse, and two venerable elms, seem to point out the chief approach from the South. The structure itself, now a substantial farmhouse, retains in its thick walls and solid masonry traces of the residence of the Places, if not of their predecessors. The rooms are low, with heavy beams and rafters, and an old oak staircase still retains its prudential wicket. The stone which Hutchinson mentions as sculptured with the arms of Surtees evidently bears the arms of Place, and is very exactly that piece of work which “was made for Mr. Christopher Place, of Dinsdale, in 1638, by his own direction (fn. 28).”

The Places, it has been seen, held the estate by purchase; but they eagerly affected a descent in blood from the ancient owners of Dinsdale, and they placed the arms of Surtees on their gateway, and quartered them on their shield till the very Heralds acquiesced in the justice of the claim. The pertinacity with which the pretension was pressed and carried is curious.


No 1. “This is the right cote in the Oulde Visitation (1575) (fn. 29).”

No 2. “This cote was brought and shown at the Visitation, but was not allowed, nor could not shew no right for the quarterings, 1615.”

No 3. “This made by Mr. Place's direction, &c. 1638.”

After all, the rejected coat of 1615 was allowed by Sir William Dugdale in 1666; and so the Places carried their point.

Routh deserted the old moated hall, and built himself a new brick-house near the Fishdam. This has been taken down, and a good farmhold occupies the site.

A portion of the Dinsdale estate was alienated by Mr. Routh's coheirs to George Hoar, Esq. whose son, William Hoar, of Durham, Esq. is the present proprietor. This property is described as lying in the townships of Dinsdale and Middleton.

Pedigree of Surtees, of Dinsdale.

Arms: Ermine, on a canton Gules an orle Or.



* By whom she had issue Robert Matfen, merchant, whose will (in which he notices his father-in-law Thomas Surtees) bears date 18 Feb. 1607; and two daughters, Katherine, wife of Hugh Selbie, and Margaret, wife of John Milbanke.

† See Pedigree of Swinburn, vol. I. p. 67.

‡ See Pedigree of Ridell, vol. II. p. 128.

§ See Pedigree of Tempest, vol. II. p. 275.

Pedigree of Place, of Dinsdale, co. Pal. and of Halnaby, in Yorkshire.

Arms, as entered at Dugdale's Visitation, Ao 1666: 1. Per pale Or and Gules, a lion passant guardant counterchanged, Place. 2. Azure, on a chief Argent three chaplets Gules, Place. 3. Gules, three chevronels Or, . . . . . . . 4. Ermine, on a canton Gules an orle Or, Surtees. 5. Argent, a fess between six fleurs-de-lis Sable, Halnaby. 6. As the first.

On an escutcheon of pretence Azure three griffins passant in pale Or, Wise.


* St. Crux, York, Par. Reg.


Syth Place, bapt. 1562. Martyn Place, bapt. 1562.

*** The dates, if not otherwise expressed, are from Dinsdale Par. Reg.

† St. Crux, York, Par. Reg.

‡ Hurworth Par. Reg.

* Priscilla Place, widow of Rowland Place, of Dinsdale, Esq.—My three youngest daughters, Catharine, Elizabeth, Anne; my son-in-law William Wawne and his wife Mary; grand-daughter Hannah Clutterbuck; her mother Priscilla, deceased; my Aunt Bridget, widow of Lord Cadogan; brothers Sir James Brooke, Thomas and Henry Brooke, Thomas and Henry Brooke; cousin Eleanor Shafto; niece, Anne Perrott; sister Honora Pratt; to William Bethell, Esq.; to Mr. Wolryche. Proved at York, 1721.

In St. Olave's Church, Marygate Without Bootham Bar, in the middle aisle on coarse flat stones: “Here lyeth the body of Rowland Place, Esq. of Dinsdaile, in the county of Durham, obiit 1717, and in the 30th year of his age. Here also lyeth the body of Francis Place, Esq. of Dinsdale, in the county of Durham, who departed this life ye 21st of Sept', in the year 1728, and in the 72d year of his age. Here also lyeth the body of Ann Place, wife of the foresaid Francis Place, who died December the 21st, 1732, in the 70th year of her age.”

Of Francis Place I cannot give a better account than is to be found in Walpole (fn. 30).

Mr. Francis Place (whom Walpole by a slight error calls a Gentleman of Yorkshire) had a turn to most of the beautiful arts. He painted, designed, and etched; Vertue had heard, that he learned the latter of Hollar, and has preserved a letter that he received from Mr. Place in answer to his enquiries into that fact, of whom he relates on his own knowledge, many particulars which Vertue had inserted in his life of that artist, but denies his having been instructed by him.

Francis Place (fn. 31), a younger son of Rowland Place, of Dinsdale, Esq. was placed as clerk to an attorney in London, where he continued till 1665; in which year, going accidentally into a shop, the officers came to shut up the house, on its having the plague in it. This occasioned his leaving London, and gave him an opportunity of quitting a profession that was contrary to his inclination, and of following the roving life he loved, and the arts for which he had talents. Ra. Thoresby, in his Ducatus Leodiensis (fn. 32), often mentions Mr. Place with great encomiums, and specifies various presents that he made to his museum. He tells us, too, that Mr. Place discovered an earth for, and a method of making porcelain, which he put in practice at the manor-house of York, of which manufacture he gave Thoresby a fine mug (fn. 33). (This pottery cost him much money: he attempted it solely from a turn to experiment, but one Clifton, of Pontefract, took the hint from him, and made a fortune by it.) From the same account we learn, that Mr. Place discovered Porphyry at Mount Sorrel, in Leicestershire, of which he had a piece to grind colours on. This author specifies views of Tinmouth-castle and light-house, the cathedral of York, churches and prospects of Leeds, drawn and etched; and a mezzotinto of Henry Gyles, the glass-painter, executed by Mr. Place. He also scraped three plates of John Moyser, Esq. of Beverley, his particular friend; of Thomas Comber, Dean of Durham; and of Bishop Crewe; the last is finely executed. Many sketches of castles and views which he took in Wales, and of various other places in England, Scotland, and Ireland, several of them well finished, are extant, and have been engraved: a view of Scarborough was drawn as late as the year 1715. His prints are very scarce. He seldom resided in London, and drew only for his amusement, seldom completing what he undertook; and in his rambles painting, drawing, and engraving occasionally. In the reign of Charles II. he was offered a pension of 500l. a year to draw the royal navy, but declined accepting it, as he could not endure confinement or dependence. In Thoresby's Leeds are some churches drawn by Place, also several views in Drake's Eboracum (fn. 34). Ames mentions a print by him, which I have, of Rich. Thompson, from a painting of Zoust; it is boldly done: another is of Sterne (fn. 35), Archbishop of York (fn. 36). He did some plates of birds, viz. seven from the drawings of Barlow, and the figures for Godartius's Book of Insects. He scraped a fine mezzotinto of his friend and relation Philip Woolrich (fn. 37), also another of Cha. I. after Vandyke. He died in 1728 (fn. 38), and his widow, by whom he had a daughter, married to Wadham Wyndham, Esq. quitting the manor-house in York, disposed of his paintings, among which were an admired piece of fowls, others of flowers and fish (fn. 39), unfinished. Mr. Scott, of Crown Court, has a piece of gooseberries on a very dark ground, a style which Mr. Place often used, and a jug of his earthen-ware. There are two heads of Mr. Place extant; one by himself, the face only finished, and another by Murray; “also another in Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting.” There is a good painting in oil of his at Middleton St. George, of a setting-dog and partridge.

Stodhoo, or Stodday, a farmhold to the North of Dinsdale. In 1511 Thomas Surtees, Esq. died seised of two parts of the manor of Stodhoo (the third was in dower), and the same manor is stated to be held of the Baron of Graystoke by fealty and 2s. 6d. (fn. 40) a tenure which seems to separate it both from Dinsdale and Over-Middleton. On the division of the estates (fn. 41), this manor fell to the heirs-general, Brandling, Blaxton, and Wyclyffe, to whom Marmaduke Surtees covenanted to assure “the manor of Stodoo, and all the appurtenances, within the felde, circuyt, bounde, and limitts of Stodoo; one parcell of ground lying without the severall closes of Stodoo, wherein the tenants and inhabitants of Over-Myddelton hath used to have enter-common, excepted and foreprised.”

In 1606 John Warde acquired of Robert Brandling, Esq. a messuage, toft, and garden, twelve acres of meadow, and forty of pasture in Stodhoo (fn. 42). The same John Warde died in 1632, seised of the same parcels, being a fourth of the manor of Stodoo, leaving his grand-daughters, Frances, aged fifteen, wife of Francis Anderson, and Anne Warde, aged eleven, his coheirs (fn. 43). This estate lately belonged to — Jurdison, and is now the property of Mr. Henry Chapman.

The only freeholders in Dinsdale Parish in 1684 were, Rowland Place, Esq. Sir William Blacket, Baronet, and — Ramsay, Alderman of Newcastle.

The present proprietors are, J. G. Lambton, Esq. M. P.; William Hoar, Esq.; Elisha Cocks, Esq. (fn. 44); Mr. Henry Chapman (Stodday); Mr. Robert Botcherby, of Darlington (fn. 45); and — Scurfield, of Stockton (fn. 46).

The Church and Rectory.

Ralph Surteys, the elder, (in the Charter of Donation stpled Ralph of Detensale,) gave, with consent of Beatrix his wife, and Richard his son and heir, the Church of Detensale, with its lands and rights of pasture, to St. Cuthbert, and Hugh Bishop of Durham (fn. 47), and his successors, in pure and perpetual almoigne, to provide lights for the shrine (fn. 48) of St. Cuthbert. Ralph and Richard offered up their donation (propriis manibus obtulimus) on the altar of St. Cuthbert, and Beatrix at the altar of the Virgin in the Galilee (fn. 49).

Ralph Surteys, grandson of the donor, on the death of Richard de Castro Bernardi in 1252, appealed against the Convent's right of patronage, and claimed to present his priest; but on Inquisition held before the Chapter of Darlington, and on inspection of his ancestor's charter, withdrew his appeal, and confirmed in the fullest manner the rights of the Prior and Convent (fn. 50).

Bishop Philip granted the Church of Deteneshale, with the Chapel of Pountays, to William Briton, Clerk, (who appears in the list of Rectors,) charged with an annual pension of three marks to the Prior and Convent of Durham (fn. 51).

In 1332 the Sacrist of Durham recovered a pension of forty shillings against Robert de Calne, Rector of Dinsdale (fn. 52).

In 1466 the Archdeacon's Official held an Inquest in the Church of Dinsdale, de valore Beneficii.

Fructus annui ipsius Ecclesiæ extendunt ad viiil. iiiis. communibus annis, unde in gleba cum mansione et aliis suis pertin. liiiis. iiiid. Item, in decimis agnor. et lanæ xxxvis. Item, in lacticiniis viis. Item, in decimis fœni vis. viiid. Item, in decimis pomor. et pyror. iis. Item, in decimis lini et cannabi iis. Item, in decimis columbar. iis. Item, in decimis quadragesimal. iis. iiiid. Item, in oblationibus iiis. Item, in decimis porcell. aucar. et gallin. iis. Item, in decimis apum (fn. 53) xvid. Item, in decimis molendini xiiis. iiiid. Item, in redditu pro ii bovatis terræ in Midelton Superiori xs. Item, in decimis garbarum de ead. annuat. xviiid. Item, in decimis de campo de Stodhow iiis.

The Inquest proceeds to state, that the Church of Dinsdale was formerly subject to a pension of five pounds (quinque libras solidorum (fn. 54) ) to the Church of Durham, and that such pension was recovered before Edmund Howard, the Bishop's Official, against Adam Harwald, incumbent, in the Galilee in 1364; yet the said pension was mitigated to ten shillings on account of the exile revenues of the benefice (fn. 55). That Master Thomas Duffeld, predecessor of the present Master Thomas, paid the same ten shillings, as did Master Adam Morland, Priest, after him, and that the revenues (proventus) of the living are very able to discharge the said pension. Moreover the Archdeacon of Durham has two shillings for synodals; and in bread, wine, and wax, 11s. per. ann.

The Church consists of a nave, chancel, and South aile. The East window has three lights under a pointed arch. There has been a handsome pointed window at the East end of the South aile, but its interior work and tracery are destroyed. The other lights are irregular.

The South aile is formed by one octagonal pillar supporting pointed-arches. In the floor is the fragment of a sepulchral stone, with part of a sword and cross (fn. 56). The perfect monumental-stone represented in the margin (fn. 57), lies near the North-west angle of the nave. Both of these may be referred to the family of Surtees, and one of them not improbably to Sir Alexander Surteys, who augmented St. Mary's Chantry in 1379.

A stone-coffin forms the threshold of the South porch.

Monumental Inscriptions.

There are only two modern monumental inscriptions.

On a brass plate fixed to the pillar of the South aile:


Mary Wivill, deceased, late wife of Thomas Wivill, of Spenithorne, and daughter of Christopher Place, of Dinsdale, Esq. did provide six pounds yearly for ever, towards the relief of the poor inhabitants of the parish of Dinsdale, to be paid by equal portions upon the 23d of December, and 23d of June, in manner following, viz. three pounds ten shillings yerely during the life of Thomas Wivill aforesaid, and of her niece, now living in Winston; and after the decease of the said niece, ten shillings more; and after the decease of the said Thomas Wivill, two pounds more; making in all six pounds, issuing and to issue out of certain lands belonging to the said Thomas Wivill: and by his deed granted to Rowland Place, of Dinsdale, Esq. Robert Place, of Dinsdale, Gent. William Killinghall, of Low-Middleton, Esq. and John Garnet, of Egscliffe, Gent. and their heirs for ever, for the uses abovesaid, to be paid and distributed by the Parson, Churchwardens, and Overseers of the Poor of the said Parish henceforth for ever. Which said deed is in the custody of the said feoffees, or some of them. The said Mary Wyvill died the 24th of June 1668, and lies buried in the chancel in Spenithorne Church.

Arms: 1. Gules, three chevronels interlaced in base vaire, a chief Or, Wyvill. 2. Sable, three pick-axes Argent, a crescent for difference, Pigott. 3. Azure, on a chief indented Or, Fitz-Randolph of Spemthorne. 4. Azure, a bend Or, over all a label of three points Argent, Scroope of Masham.—Impaling, 1. Per pale Or and Gules, a lion passant guardant counterchanged, Playce. 2. Argent, a fess between six fleur-de-lis Sable, Halnaby. 3. Ermine, on a canton Gules an orle Or, Surtees. 4. Gules, three chevronels Or, . . . . . .

Crest: On a wreath a wivern Argent, spouting from his mouth flames of fire proper.

On a mural tablet of marble in the chancel:

Near this place lyeth
the body of Cuthbert Routh, Esq.
late of Dinsdale,
who departed this life April 27, 1752,
in the fifty-ninth year of his age,
and left by Judith his wife,
daughter of Sir Mark Milbank, Knt.
Four daughters,
Judith, Elizabeth, Jane, and Dorothy.

Succession of Rectors.

Dinsdale Rectory.—A discharged living in the Deanery of Stockton.—The Dean and Chapter of Durham Patrons.—Tenths, 4l. 11s.d.; Episc. Proc. 3s. 8d.; Proc. Dec. et Cap. 6s. 8d.—Dedication to St. John.

  • William Briton, 1196.
  • Nicholas Briton, 1239.
  • Hugh de Castro Bernardi, ob. 1251.
  • Lucas de Perers (fn. 58), 1320.
  • Robert de Calne (fn. 59), 1332.
  • Adam de Hardwold, 1345.
  • Peter Morland, 1351.
  • Thomas Roland, 1362.
  • Richard Talbot, 1366.
  • Richard Gardner, 1408.
  • John de Burton.
  • Roger Walkclin, 1419.
  • William Newall, 1420.
  • Ralph Byrde, 1427.
  • William Fawkes, 1430.
  • John Skargill, 1432.
  • George Wapplyngton, 1437.
  • Thomas Driffield, 1442.
  • Adam Morland (fn. 60), 1454.
  • Thomas Davill, 1455, p. res. Morland.
  • William Bell.
  • John Surtees, 1498.
  • George Reyde, 1529, p. m. Surtees.
  • Rowland Clerke, 1561, p. m. Reyde.
  • Thomas Blaxton, 1571, p. m. Clerke.
  • Robert Printise, 1588.
  • John Martin, 1598.
  • John Rand, A. M. 1627.
  • George Shawe, A. M. 1633.
  • Marmaduke Wetherell (fn. 61), 1661.
  • Richard Scruton (fn. 62), 1690.
  • Richard Nicholson, 1693.
  • William Noble, A. B. (fn. 63) 1723.
  • William Addison, A. B. 1747, p. m. Noble.
  • William Addison, A. B. 1772, p. res. Addison.
  • Percival Frye, A. M. Oriel Coll. Oxon. 1812, p. in. Addison.

The parsonage-house stands warm and sheltered, but without any glebe near it, or even within the Parish, except the garden and church-yard. The remainder of the glebe consists of a small close in Middleton-one-Row, and about sixty-nine acres in Hurworth-moor (fn. 64). The Rector is generally entitled to tithes, except that a modus of 1s. 8d. is paid for land at Hungerele, said to have been parcel of the possessions of Nesham Abbey.

The following will of an old Vicar of Dinsdale contains so much genuine painting of the rural Incumbent's life, that I am tempted to make large extracts:

In Dei nomine, Amen, the xx day of Aprill 1559, I George Reyd, Parson of Dinsdall, holl of mynde and of good memorye, &c. I bequethe my sowle unto Almightye Gode, to our blessed Ladye Sainte Marye, and to all ye hollye Companye of heven, and my bodye to be buried within ye Quere of Dinsdell aforesaid. Item, I bequethe to ye reparation of ye church of Dinsdall, xs. Item, I will that everie preste beinge present at my buryall shall have vid. ye curate viiid. everye prieste-clerke iiiid. and everye scholer 1d. Item, I geve xs. to be distributed emonge ye poore people dwellinge in ye townes of Hurworthe, Nesham, Mydleton-one-Rowe, and Mydleton-George. Item, I give to ye mendynge to that parte of Crofte-bridge which is towards ye Busshipbrige, xs. Item, I gyve to every one of my god-children, xiid. Item, to Robert Place his wife one bee-hyve, and all my trowes and morters. Item, to Will (fn. 62) Place, Robert Place, John Place thelder, John Place ye younger, Anthonie Place, Elizabethe Tempest, and Isabyll Wandisford, everye one of them iiis. iiiid. Item, I gyve to Robert Place, and to John Place thelder, my musterd-stones between them. Item, to John Place thelder, a verges-barrell, a b'rgette, a hyve of bees, and a tynne-bottell. Item, unto John Place ye younger, a hyve of bees. Item, I gyve unto Chr Place, sonn of Robert Place aforesaid, my counter, my gallowe tree of iron, with four crookes of iron belonginge to ye same. Item, to George Warde, of Hurworth, a bee-hyve, a velvett-capp, a worsed jakket, my best hose, a sherte, my best doublet, a parre, a roosting-iron, a scomere, a grater, a long cheste, and a brydle. Item, to Jormayne Warde, my mare. Item, to John Ward, sonn of George Ward, I gyve viii shepe. Item, to Agnes Ward and Cycill Ward, doughters to George Ward, a cawdrone, a rekine crooke, a maskefatt, a gylefatt, all my ayle-pootes, all my pewder dishes and doblers, a brasse pott, with ye brasse kylpps. Item, to Agnes West, a bede that I lye in, two shetts for a bed, one black cowe, an ambry, my best hatt, and my short blewe gowne. Item, to Agnes Sober, a bed standynge in ye aple-chamber, a bed-coveringe, a mather, a paire of shetts, with all paynted clothes. Item, to Lawrence Jackson and hys wyfe all my webbes of hardyne and lynne; and I gyve unto ye said Laurence his wife my best syde gowne save one. Item, to Elizabethe Person, ye bed that she lyeth in, ye best bed-coveringe, a mather, two coverletts, two sherts, a lytle chist, a paire of bed-stockes which is in ye priest's chamber, a spynnynge-wheile, ye cardes, and all that belongeth to ye same wheile. Item, I gyve to Thomas West ye bed that he lyeth in, and one garded cowe. Item, I gyve to Agnes Reed an ambry and my best gowne. Item, to Robert Warde, a leather doblet, a shert, and a paire of hose. Item, I gyve to Christofer Warde, a clothe jacket, a worsted doblet with freshen sleves, a paire of hose, and a shert; and to hys wyfe I gyve a sylver spon and a hyve of bees. Item, to John Ward, George Warde's brother, all ye rest of my sherts. Item, to Person's wyfe, 3s. 4d. Item, whereas Mrs. Place, of Halnabie, dothe owe unto me the some of xxviiil. &c. [he leaves the same in equal shares] to Robert Ward, Christofer Ward, John Warde, Agnes Sober, Thomas West, Elizabeth Persone, Agnes Reid, daughter to Percevell Reid, John Ward, Agnes Ward, and Cycell Ward, ye children of George Ward. Item, I wyll, that emongs ye sayd persones shall be equallye devidide thes percelles of howssolde stufe followinge, that ys to saye: one cheise-presse, two axes, two spaydes, one grape for wallinge, fourteene trifles, ten sawen bordes, two heckles, two iron forkes, one kyrne, and six stooles. Item, I gyve unto Bryane Pallmes, gentleman; George Warde, yeoman; everye of them, vis. viiid. whom I make executours of this my last wyll and testament. In wyttnes wherof I have to thys presents subscribed my name, ther beinge wyttnes Robert Hall, Scholl Mr of Derlington; George Palmes, Richard Ackrige, Rychard Awcklande, with others mor.

Item, I wyll furthermore, that suche howssold stufe of myne as is not sett in, be layde on a heape together, and equallye parted emonge ye persones aforenamede, that is to saye: Robert Warde, Chr Warde, John Warde, Agnes Sober, Thos. West, Eliz. Persone, Agnes Reed, doughter of Percevell Reed, John Ward, Agnes Ward, and Cycell Warde.

St. Mary's Chantry in the Church of Dinsdale, is said to have been founded for the repose of William Briton and his wife Alice. Afterwards, in 1379, Alexander Surteys gave to Thomas de Moulton and Richard de Laton, Chaplains, and their successors, “in augmentationem sustentationis,” ten marks annually, issuing out of all his lands in Midelton, Pountays, Morton nigh Halughton, Cotom-mondevyll, and Sadberge; to celebrate mass for ever in the Church of Dinsdale for the souls of Sir Thomas Surtees, Knt. and all the ancestors of Alexander, and of all the faithful departed; and charged with the payment of one annual mark out of the said ten marks, towards the repair of Pountays Bridge.

Several institutions appear to the Chantry of St. Mary, of which the Prior and Convent were Patrons. Christofer Carnarde, the last incumbent (fn. 65), had a pension of 2l. 10s. which was paid in 1553.

There is no charitable benefaction belonging to Dinsdale excepting the rent-charge of 6l. per ann. commemorated in the monumental inscription of Mary Wivill.

The Sulphur Well was accidentally discovered in 1789 by labourers employed by the late Mr. Lambton in searching for coal. The men had bored to the depth of seventy-two feet, chiefly through red rock and whinstone, when the spring burst forth with a tremendous smoke and sulphureous stench. The remarkable qualities of the water attracted the attention of the labourers, who dug a hole in the channel of the spring for the purpose of bathing, and one of them, who had long been afflicted with chronic rheumatism, was perfectly cured by the bath and drinking the water. Though under no medical rule or regulation, the extraordinary effects of the water, particularly in chronic rheumatism and cutaneous disorders, added daily to its celebrity. A cold bath was built in 1797, and a warm bath has since been added. The Dinsdale Spa has gradually become a place of great resort, and the little village of Middleton, a quarter of a mile below the Bath, has been sometimes crowded with visitors (fn. 66). From experiments a wine-quart of the water contains carbonate of lime 2 grains, sulphate of lime 25 grains, carbonic acid gas 2 cubic inches, azotic gas 1.50, sulphurated hydrogen gas, which contains 2½ grains of sulphur, 8.32. The large quantity of hepatic air is most remarkable, and probably exceeds the proportion in any medicated water of which the analysis is before the public. The separation of sulphur is so copious, that large quantities may be collected out of the channel of the spring. The water is clear and sparkling at the well-head, but gradually becomes opaque as the sulphur separates from the gas. Like most hepatic waters, it leaves a slight sweetness on the palate. The stream, which issues through a very small bore, flows twelve gallons in a minute; neither weather nor season make any observable alteration in quality or quantity. On applying the bulb of the thermometer to the stream as it breaks into day, the quicksilver stands at 52, eight degrees above the temperature of the neighbouring springs.

About two miles up the river are the remains of an old Bath; the water is slightly hepatic and saline (fn. 67).


  • 1. The parish was co-extensive with the manor; but there are at present some portions which do not belong to Mr. Lambton: it still forms only one Constablery.
  • 2. “Limites Parochiæ de Dinsdale versus Middleton George, 1594. These bounders begin at Countesworth, and from thence extend and go directly as the Queen's high street goes to Sadbury-fielde side, so as all on the East side is of the parish of Middleton George, and all on the West side of the parish of Dinsdale. On which West side of the said way, ye Ox-close lyeth; as also a parcell of ground lying towards Morton-fielde, betwixt ye Ox-close and Sadbury-field, containing about forty acres, and was about fifty-four years ago in tillage, and about that time laid to pasture, with Middleton-moor adjoyninge to it on the East side of ye said highway, the tithes whereof belong to Dinsdale.” Liber Causar. The line of division is exactly the old road from Pounteys-bridge to Sadberge.
  • 3. See the various Charters in the Appendix. The ancient arms of Surtees, the Ermine coat, with the canton and golden orle, however primitive a bearing it may appear, was perhaps not the earliest armorial ensign used by the family; for Ralph Surtees exhibits on his seal, in the thirteenth century, a salmon, in allusion probably to his rights of fishery in the Tees. The same Ralph Fitz-William appears in his larger seal as an armed knight on horseback, with a sweeping foot-cloth, sigillum Ranulfi Filii willielmi, but with no armorial device on the shield. The usual coat first appears on the beautiful signet of the elder Sir Thomas Surteys, Seneschal of Durham, in 1331. (See Plate IX. No 24.) Of this there are three varieties in the Treasury, one differenced with the label of an eldest son.
  • 4. Liber Niger Scaccarii.
  • 5. See the Church, and the Charters in the Appendix.
  • 6. “Negotium pro divortio inter Nicholaum Surteys et Isabellam uxorem ejus, sororem Thomæ de Fishburne, militis.”
  • 7. Inq. p. m. Goceline Surteys, 22 Hatf. The manor of the Rydding; Burdon-house; lands in Bermeton, Butterwick, Edmansley, Darlington, Quicham, Long-Newton, Hertburn, Nether Middleton, Trefford, Newham, Caldecotes, in Sadberge; divers burgages in Gateshead; and parcels of land in Whitworth, Walworth, Thikley, Laton, Edmansley, &c. It is difficult to account for the possession of these very heterogeneous parcels vested in a younger brother, except by supposing them purchases. Four oxgangs in Nesham are expressly said to be a mortgage from Thomas, son of Adam de Nesham, for twenty marks. Thomas Surteys, son of Thomas, &c. next of kin.
  • 8. The family estate, which seemed at this time to be at its best, consisted of the manor of North Gosforth, in Northumberland; the manors of Dinsdale, Morton, and Middleton-one-Row; lands in Cotom, Mondevyle, Newbiggin, Sadberge, Hertburn, Long-Newton, and Darlington; the manor of Fellyng; the Ryddyng, near Lanchester; Knycheley, and numerous burgages in Gateshead. Most of these estates were evidently purchases: Gosforth, perhaps, alone, and Dinsdale, were the ancient fee of William Fitz-Siward; the first held immediately under the Crown, and the latter under the lords of Barnard Castle.
  • 9. See the Church and Pounteys.
  • 10. The oppressive effects of the feudal law of Wardship is well known, and frequents attempts were made to elude its operation. In addition to the pious deeds named in the text, Sir Alexander Surteys on his death-bed executed a conveyance in trust of all his estates, with the intention of leaving his infant son in the guardianship of his nearest relatives; but the conveyance was set aside, as made in collusion and with intent to defraud the Bishop, who granted the wardship to Thomas Popeley, Esq. and he certainly did the heir neither dishonour nor disparagement when he matched him to the daughter of Sir William Eure, of Witton.
  • 11. A similar Indenture appears with Sir William Bulmer for the benefit of his lady. I trust Sir Thomas did not come within the scope of Sir John Swallow's reflection, “Deliver me from such a friend that stays behind with my wife when I gird on my sword to go abroad.” Sir Martin Marall.
  • 12. This principle seems to be, that it was intended to preserve, as far as possible, every inheritance in the lineal blood of the person originally enfeoffed. Now, as of many inheritances it might in lapse of time be difficult to trace the origin, or to ascertain by which blood it came, he or she who was of the whole blood to the last person seised, that is, who was descended from all the same ancestors, had the best chance to be a lineal heir of the first grantee. And this is allowed; but surely the operation of this law, even on these very feudal principles, becomes absurd when applied to exclude a brother from an inheritance notoriously derived from the common father, which in this instance, might be traced through sixteen ascending generations to the first feoffee. This was surely destroying the feudal fabric which the principle of the law was intended to protect. See the whole subject of the Half-Blood, Blackstone, vol. II. p. 223, &c. Blackstone's defence of the principle of exclusion is ingenious; but he confesses that the practice is overstrained, when a man has two sons by different venters, and the estate on his death descends to the eldest, who dies without issue; in which case the younger son cannot inherit because he is not of the whole blood to the proprietor; for it is in this case, he adds, demonstrable, that “the half-brother must be of the blood of the first purchaser, who was either the father, or some of the father's ancestors.” I verily believe, after all, that the original custom was only to exclude an uterine brother from the inheritance descending à parte paterna, or vice versa; though in the end all the half-blood was included in the course of exclusion, with the exception, however, of titles of honour, and of the Crown, the highest honour.
  • 13. Roll in Chancery at Durham.
  • 14. The heirs of the whole blood also confirmed a settlement of lands in Middleton, made by Marmaduke Surtees to his daughter, Jane Hall. A settlement of the remaining moiety of Morton, made to the same Jane Hall and her then husband, Richard Thadye; a sale of the lands in Denton to Anthony Brakenburg, and of certain parcels in Sadberge to John Eden. See Middleton and Morton. Marmaduke, who lived to extreme old age, survived all his opponents, and saw Dinsdale translated into a branch of the Place family, totally unconnected with the blood of its ancient owners. One might suppose that Middleton, divided only by a hedge or lane from his old lost inheritance, could be no very pleasant residence; yet his daughter appears as a gossip at the christenings of the Places.
  • 15. See the Pedigree and Evidences.
  • 16. See Felling, and Pedigree of Brandling, vol. II. p. 90.
  • 17. Feoffment, with livery, 29 Mar. 34 Hen. VIII. This is the first deed in Mr. Lambton's Abstract of Dinsdale.
  • 18. 4 July, 1 Mary. Award by Serjeant Meynell, Robert Tempest, and Gerard Salvin, Esquires, between Sir Robert Brandling, Thomas Blaxton, Esq. and Christopher Place, Esq. each to have a third of the manor in fee after the determination of the life estates.
  • 19. Grant 12 March, 13 Eliz. Title Deeds of J. G. Lambton, Esq.
  • 20. With warranty against John his father, Thomas his grandfather, Marmaduke and Humphrey, brothers of John; and against Thomas Surtees, of Middleton, John his father, and Marmaduke Surtees his grandfather. Ibid.
  • 21. Title Deeds of J. G. Lambton, Esq.
  • 22. There were five sisters; but Priscilla Clutterbuck died before her brother, leaving a daughter, who was perhaps barred by her mother's settlement.
  • 23. In 1686 Elizabeth Myres and Ambrose Myres sold lands in Over Dinsdale, co. York, to Rowland Place, Esq. for 730l. Title Deeds.
  • 24. 5,070l. purchase.
  • 25. Title Deeds.
  • 26. Jane afterwards became the wife of John Drake Bainbridge, of Durham, Esq. and Dorothy married Francis Chapeau, Esq. Captain 13th Foot. This last-named lady died a few months ago, aged . . . . .
  • 27. Will dated 16 May 1751.
  • 28. This stone, which Hutchinson says had been fixed over the pediment of a gateway then lately destroyed, is now let into the wall on the left of the door of the farm-house. The Gate-house perhaps stood where traces of buildings are noted in the text within the Southern fosse.
  • 29. The chaplets are the true paternal coat; the fesse inter six fleurs-de-lis, I believe to be Halnaby.
  • 30. Catalogue of Engravers, 2d edit. 1786, p. 93.
  • 31. The additions to this article (in Walpole's 2d edit.) are said “to be communicated by a near relation of Mr. Place;” probably George Allan, of Grange, Esq.
  • 32. Pp. 196, 446, 477, 492, 497.
  • 33. “I have a coffee-cup of his ware; it is of grey earth, with streaks of black, and not superior to common earthenware.” Walpole.
  • 34. Particularly two views of the River and City near the Water-tower, and some other general views of the City and Cathedral, Fran. Place, Gen. Ebor. delin. et sculp. These are executed with great spirit and elegance, and contrast strongly with the coarse plates by Haines, Jones, and others, in the same work.
  • 35. This is a half-sheet, and has sometimes sold for 10l. 10s.; Lambert for 5l. 5s.; and Wolrich (in an oval) and Sir Ralph Cole (half sheet) for 2l. 12. 6d. each. N. A.
  • 36. There are also etchings by Place of Sir Ralph Cole, Baronet, of Brancepath, and of General Lambert.
  • 37. Mr. Place was capital in drawing portraits in crayons; Mr. Allan had the original drawing of Mr. Woolrich, and also the mezzotinto print scraped from it, together with that of Charles the First, a piece of Gooseberries, and many other of his crayon drawings.
  • 38. Mr. Place lies buried, with several of his family, in the church of St. Olave Without, Bootham, York: an inscription on a coarse slab gives only names and dates. See the Pedigree. Mr. Place was aged 19 in 1666 (Dugdale's Visit.), and was consequently 81 at his death; he is styled of Dinsdale, Esq. in his epitaph. He resided in the manor-house, in the parish of St. Olave.
  • 39. I remember a beautiful painting of fish, trout, grayling, &c. copied from Place in Miss Linwood's Exhibition. All Place's paintings which I have seen are on a very dark ground, and the natural objects brought forward simply and chastely in strong light, and with a strict attention to nature. The mind of old Francis Place was illumined by many a ray of true genius.
  • 40. Inq. p. m. 3 Ruthall.
  • 41. See Dinsdale.
  • 42. Fine, 3 Jac.
  • 43. Inq. p. m. 8 Car. See Hurworth.
  • 44. Owner of Fighting-cock's-farm.
  • 45. Hungerele.
  • 46. A few closes near Stodday, close to the Stell.
  • 47. The Charter, therefore, bears date before 1195. Prior Germanus, who attests the Rungeton Charter, died 1186.
  • 48. Circa corpus; for the Saint was there bodily.
  • 49. The same Ralph Fitz-William, or de Detenshale, gave the Church of Rungeton, in Yorkshire, to the Convent; a donation which was also given or confirmed by the family of Conyers. See the whole of the Charters in the Appendix.
  • 50. This resignation of right is couched in the amplest and even most abject terms: “pendens jus meum esse nullum saniori ductus consilio, ad cor meum reversus.”
  • 51. 3a 1 Sacristar. See Charter in Appendix.
  • 52. Ibid.
  • 53. This, if literally understood, were a ticklish tithe to meddle withal; but bees were then an object of much more importance in domestic economy. Every rural incumbent, and every yeomanly gentleman who makes a will, mentions his skeps of bees. In Lancashire the depasturing of bees was one article of a solemn concordat betwixt two religious houses; but I do not understand how they made the bees observe the line of demarcation, unless all that is intended be, that they should not carry their hives to pasture beyond the allotted limits.
  • 54. The solidus was an imaginary coin, and it must have been a heart-rending business for the poor vicar, out of his 8l. 3s. to shell down on the Treasury-table 5l. in groats and silver pennies.
  • 55. Propter exilitatem beneficii.
  • 56. If Hutchinson's recollections were correct, this was exactly similar to the perfect stone; both having perhaps been originally placed in the aile, which, I should conjecture, was the site of St. Mary's Chantry.
  • 57. “The slab measures six feet by two fect one inch.” P. F.
  • 58. Rector of Redmarshall.
  • 59. Executor to the will of Sir Thomas Surteys, Knt. 1345; Temp. Chanc. of Durham, 1334—1345; Preb. of Norton, which he exchanged for the Rectory of Wyvelingham juxta Store, Linc. Dioc. 1343.
  • 60. Rector of Redmarshall.
  • 61. Patron the King, the Deanery being vacant. Rector of Middleton St. George.
  • 62. Rector of Middleton.
  • 63. Rector of Middleton.
  • 64. Probably purchased with Queen Anne's Bounty.
  • 65. William Travers, resigns, senectute confractus, 1315. Henry Tailbois, Presbiter, collat. ad Cantar. B. Marie Virginis in Eccles. de Detynsall, p. m. Thomas Dawson, 8 April 1513. Regist. Prioris. I believe the altar of the Chantry to have been in the South aile.
  • 66. There is an ordinary, &c. at Middleton, and several neat lodgings in the village and in adjoining farm-houses, particularly at the Wood-head, immediately above the bath. The beauties of the surrounding district, the vale, the river, the rich Cleveland prospect, and the closing curtain of the Yorkshire hills, have been already described.
  • 67. This account is taken entirely from Dr. Peacock's “Observations on the New Sulphur Baths at Dinsdale,” where the reader may find a much more copious account, with analytical experiments, and several medical cases.