A History of the County of Durham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1928.
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The ancient parish of St. Oswald (fn. 1) lay around three sides of the city of Durham and occupied all the right bank of the Wear, the boundary following the course of the river from Blackdene Burn southwards as far as Pelaw Wood Beck, from the top of which it mounted the moor, skirted Shirburn House and then, after making a great loop eastwards, regained the Wear. It thus included the modern districts of Finchale, Framwellgate and Framwellgate Moor, Broom, Neville's Cross, Crossgate, Old and New Elvet, Old Durham, Shincliffe, Croxdale and Sunderland Bridge. At an early date part of the parish was assigned to the chapelry of St. Margaret, which obtained parochial rights in the 15th century. From this time St. Oswald's included the settlements (fn. 2) of Old Durham, Houghall, Burn Hall, Relley, Broom, Shincliffe, Butterby, Croxdale and Sunderland Bridge, while St. Margaret's served Crossgate, Neville's Cross, the Bellasis, Framwellgate, Sidgate and Crookhall, Aykley Heads, Framwellgate Moor, Dryburn, Windy Hills, Hag House, Cater House, Newton by Durham, Frankland and Harber House. With the growth of population, (fn. 3) however, the arrangement has undergone considerable change. (fn. 4)
The civil parishes have experienced some modification under the provisions of the Local Government Act of 1894. (fn. 5) Neville's Cross was then formed from Crossgate and Framwellgate from the portion of Framwellgate within the borough of Durham. In 1895 a part of the civil parish of Bearpark was attached to the parish of St. Oswald, while ten years later the boundary of the borough was extended to in clude part of the civil parish of Framwellgate Moor. As constituted in 1898 the civil parish of Framwellgate contained 148 acres, Framwellgate Moor 3,801 acres, Neville's Cross 429 acres, Crossgate 74 acres, Elvet 256 acres, Shincliffe 1,377 acres, Sunderland Bridge 1,438 acres, Broom 1,076 acres and St. Oswald itself 2,227 acres.
The Priory of Durham in the 14th century had a house at Elvet-hall or Hallgarth, from which Hallgarth Street takes its name, (fn. 6) where distinguished guests were sometimes entertained. (fn. 7) In the hall in 1371 there were hangings one showing armed men and another of green with a blue leopard, while in the chamber were costly beds with covers adorned with lilies, roses, butterflies, leopards and eagles. (fn. 8) There is some reason for thinking that the Hallgarth was kept in the actual possession of the Priory until the Dissolution, but from this time onwards it became merely two farm houses usually occupied by foremen or 'hinds.' (fn. 9)
Just south of Maiden Castle Wood is the Shincliffe road, its junction with Hallgarth Street being marked by Philipson's Cross, of unknown origin. The conical hill called Mountjoy has at least a legendary history, for it was from this point that the weary monks first beheld the resting place they sought for the body of St. Cuthbert. The Great High Wood on the hill to the south and east of Mountjoy is perhaps the 'East Wood or St. Cuthbert's Place' (fn. 10) mentioned in 1442, the Little High Wood being perhaps the West Wood mentioned at the same date. Charlay's Cross, (fn. 11) at the junction of the Bishop Auckland road, Church Street and Quarryheads Lane, is connected with the close called Charlay in 1442, (fn. 12) when mention is also made of Fourudhclose or Welleshead, Dedrygh, Dedryghbanks, Swallowhopp, Allers, le Peth and the ditch called Langmardyke. Palmer's close, (fn. 13) between Charlay's Cross and the river, was called 'Palman closse' in 1541, when mention is also made of Kirkecroft and of the Smithyhaughs (fn. 14) which have been used as a racecourse since 1733. (fn. 15)
In spite of modern building developments, St. Oswald's church still stands on the outskirts of Elvet. St. Oswald's Well (fn. 16) lies between the river 'Bank' and the east end of the church, and a pathway leads through the churchyard to Elvet Bank and its picturesque slope to the river below. Much of the land between the Wear and the road has been cut up for allotment gardens.
The Prebend's Bridge (fn. 17) gives access to this district from the Promontory of Durham, and it was thus possible to build the Grammar School here when it was moved from its old site near Palace Green in 1842. (fn. 18) The modern school lies on a part of the ground called Bellasis, the house of that name being arranged for the use of the headmaster. (fn. 19) The name of Bellasis is still applied to certain closes, (fn. 20) on one of which the Observatory of the University of Durham was built in 1841.
Another part of the school buildings seems to lie on the site of 'the little tenement or grange' of the Almoner's Barns (fn. 21) or 'Ambling Barns' as they were styled in 1754. (fn. 22) Perhaps somewhere here was 'Bowes close' sold in 1628 by Robert Hutton to Richard Wilkinson, (fn. 23) the owner, in January 1635–6. (fn. 24) The property descended in the family of Wilkinson and was held by Mr. Thomas Wilkinson shortly before 1857. (fn. 25) Close to Ambling Barns was the Grove, where Stephen George Kemble, the actor, and brother of Mrs. Siddons, died in 1822. (fn. 26)
North of the Grove, houses become frequent and South Street, parallel to the river, leads to Framwellgate Bridge. (fn. 27)
Leland, writing of Durham in the first half of the 16th century, describes how 'the suburbe over Framagatebridg hath 3. partes, the Southe streate on the left hand, the crosse streate on the midle toward Akeland, and the 3. on the right hand, bering the name of Framagate, and leding to Chester and to New-Castelle.' (fn. 28) The chapel of St. Margaret stands in the angle formed by the junction of South Street with Crossgate. A map of 1754 shows houses all along the south side of Crossgate and the north side of its branch Allergate, but only one block of houses on the intervening space where the workhouse now stands.
From the end of Crossgate the road leads across the Browney to Brancepeth. The land between the river and end of Margery Lane is dotted with modern villas, and suburban roads now cross the site of the battle of Neville's Cross. Both Scots and English were drawn up in line on Bearpark (fn. 29) Moor, between the city and the manor-house. Much of the fighting centred on the Red Hills, enclosed land belonging to the Priory (fn. 30) and now cut through by the railway line. The Prior and some of his monks took their stand 'a litle distant from a pece of ground called ye flashe above a close lying hard by north Chilton poole and on ye north side of ye hedge where ye maydes bower had wont to be.' (fn. 31) Here they displayed St. Cuthbert's corporax case and prayed for an English victory. (fn. 32) The Scots were routed by Ralph Lord Nevill and his fellows, King David was badly wounded in the face, and according to tradition he fled down to the Browney and hid under a narrow stone bridge near Aldin Grange, but was there betrayed by his shadow on the water. (fn. 33) However this may be, the King was taken captive by John de Copeland, a Northumberland esquire and husband of one of the heirs of Crook Hall. (fn. 34) In commemoration of his victory Lord Nevill set up the cross whence the district takes its name. (fn. 35) This monument was broken down one night in 1589 (fn. 36) by 'some lewde and contemptuous wicked persons,' but the stump remained in its old position until 1903, when it was moved to a new mound a few yards distant.
Milburngate, at right angles to Crossgate, was of great importance in the middle ages (fn. 37) as being an urban portion of the road to Newcastle and the North. The road, though paved as early as 1413, (fn. 38) was narrow and inconvenient, and in or about 1847 (fn. 39) the present North Road was opened, with the result that an entirely new settlement came into being in this direction. (fn. 40) Piper's close and White's close have all been built over, but Shaw Wood under Western Hill still lies as it was when granted by the Bishop to the burgesses of Durham in the 17th century. (fn. 41) Just east of Shaw Wood is the County Hospital, opened in 1853, and a little to the west a ditch forms the parish boundary, and is all that is left of the Mill Burn which divided the Prior's borough of Crossgate from Framwellgate, the bishop's borough. (fn. 42)
Framwellgate, though on the main road to the north, struck a 19th-century observer as squalid and mean. (fn. 43) In the mid-18th century the land between the road and the Wear was laid out in gardens and closes, one of which must have been that Bishops Mead let to the tenants of Framwellgate as a garden in the 15th century. In 1754 (fn. 44) the Castle Chare was a country lane, and the North Eastern Railway station, opened in 1856, stands on what was then market gardens. (fn. 45) The ground west of the station was given to the city as a public park by Mr. W. Lloyd Wharton about 1860 (fn. 46) and bears his name.
Framwellgate runs northwards for about half a mile and then abruptly branches north-east and north-west. The north-western road is the main highway to the north and until the inclosure of Framwellgate Moor in 1800 (fn. 47) was an open track, as Leland described it, 'partely by a litle corne ground, but mostly by mountainiouse pasture and sum mores and firres.' (fn. 48) On the western side of this road and at some little distance from the city once stood the hospital of St. Leonard on the ground called Spittleflat. (fn. 49) Little is known of this leper hospital, but it was probably that at which St. Godric's sister died in the late 12th century and it was certainly in existence in 1292. (fn. 50) Though an entry made in January 1404–5 seems to imply that the plot occupied by the patients had not been long vacant, (fn. 51) there is reason to suppose that the 14 acres (fn. 52) known as Spittleflat were granted out by the bishop at a much earlier date. Land in the neighbourhood of Framwellgate was devised by John Bille to Maud his daughter in 1346 (fn. 53) and she inherited the rest of his land on his death in or about January 1356–7. (fn. 54) Maud married as her first husband one of the Yorkshire family of Thwing and had by him a son John on whom she settled lands in Durham and Whitton Gilbert in 1374. (fn. 55) Her second husband, William Jalker, had died in the previous year (fn. 56) and Maud's settlement provided for the contingent remainder of her lands to William and John Jalker, her younger sons. (fn. 57) John de Thwing died in possession of the 14 acres called Spittalflat in or about 1394 (fn. 58) and William Jalker succeeded him. The land passed by marriage to Agnes wife of William Billingham and was acquired by Robert Jackson before 1437. (fn. 59) He then conveyed Spittleflat to trustees, and there is no evidence that it descended to his kinsman and heir John Rassh. (fn. 60) In 1563 Christina Rawlinge died in possession, her heirs being her daughters, Alice wife of Robert Farrers and Elizabeth wife of William Heighington. (fn. 61) Its history in the 17th and 18th centuries is obscure, but in 1840 it was the property of Mr. Francis Johnson. (fn. 62)
Just south of Spittleflat is Chapelflat, where the church of St. Cuthbert now stands. (fn. 63) Here once stood the chapel of St. Leonard, its position, long conjectural, being established by the map of 1595 (fn. 64) and by the fact that the close was long used as a burial place for the criminals executed at Gibbet-Knowle hard by. (fn. 65)
Gibbet-Knowle, so called in 1397, (fn. 66) was copyhold land and was held in 1515 by John, Lord Lumley. (fn. 67) Gallowsflat was probably also in this neighbourhood; it was exchequer land and was held with three acres called Sourmilkden. (fn. 68) Dryburn is immediately north of Gibbet-Knowle, and in the 16th century executions are usually said to have been carried out there. It was not only the ordinary criminal who suffered here, for in May 1590 four men—Duke, Hyll, Hogge and Holyday—were hanged and quartered here as 'semynaryes, Papysts, Tretors and rebels to hyr Magestye.' (fn. 69)
The name Dryburn is now confined to the residence of Mrs. Charles Waring Darwin. On the east side of the main road and almost opposite Dryburn is Aykley Heads, the property of Capt. C. F. Dixon-Johnson. (fn. 70) The estate once formed part of the manor of Crook Hall, (fn. 71) within its bounds being the spring whence the city obtained its first water supply by grant of Thomas Billingham in 1450. (fn. 72) The meadow whence it sprang was called the Framwell meadowes or Conduit heads until at least 1676, (fn. 73) when watercourses in the meadows belonged to the two ancient water corn-mills at Crook Hall. (fn. 74)
Crook Hall itself is reached by following the more easterly road (fn. 75) that branches from the top of Framwellgate. The Rev. James Raine, antiquary and topographer, lived here, and here he died in 1858. (fn. 76) The old quarry to the west of the house was being worked in the late 17th century (fn. 77) and in 1748 mention is made of the Crow Orchard, Dovecoat Flats, Dog Close and Marlin's Field. (fn. 78) The shafts of the Durham Main Colliery have now been sunk in the fields north of the house, but a tract of woodland still remains, and by its name of Hopper's Wood commemorates an 18th-century owner.
From the road by Crook Hall footpaths lead across the fields to Frankland, where the Bishops of Durham had their park. Long before 1840 the land was inclosed and farmholds created, (fn. 79) but as late as 1848 an appointment was made to the sinecure office of parker or keeper of the park of Frankland near Durham with Middlewood and Ryton. (fn. 80)
The North Eastern Railway line separates Frankland Park from Newton Hall. There was a capital messuage here in 1465. (fn. 81) Newton Hall, which was pulled down in 1926, stood on high ground about a mile and a half to the north of Durham, and was a dignified Georgian house of two stories and an attic, built of brick with stone dressings. The date 1751 which occurred on the spout heads apparently indicated the year of its erection. The front faced west and was about 90 ft. in length, the middle part being emphasised by four Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature above the second story, the swelled frieze of which was richly carved. The windows had all stone architraves and keystones and retained their barred sashes. The house was L shaped on plan, the shorter wing facing south on to a large garden inclosed by brick walls. The stables and outbuildings were on the north side ranged round a courtyard. The house fell into a state of semi-dilapidation; it was used for barracks during the Great War and afterwards demolished.
Between Newton Hall (fn. 82) and the main north road is the Framwellgate Colliery, in connexion with which modern hamlets have sprung into being at Framwellgate Moor just north of Dryburn and at Pity Me further along the road. Pity Me, the more northerly of these hamlets, is said to take its name from the mediaeval 'Petit Mere,' and there is still a large pond and a marshy tract south of the settlement. Framwellgate Moor is of more importance and boasts the church of St. Cuthbert, opened in 1862, and chapels of the Wesleyan, United and Primitive Methodist bodies, the last two opened respectively in 1869 and 1870, as well as a public elementary school. The land on which this colony has sprung was originally part of the Cater House estate, the farm known by that name lying immediately north-west of the village. Cater House was described in 1857 as 'an ancient single tenement shaded by a row of tall sycamores' (fn. 83) and an extent of 1597 makes mention of a kitchen and cowhouse and closes called Benterstills, Maggfield and Well close. (fn. 84) In the 16th century the land north of Cater House was largely uninclosed moor and Cater House itself was only a part of the holding of Hag House, north-east of Pity Me. (fn. 85)
North-east of Hag House are the Finchale and Redhouse Woods, running down to the Wear. Beyond the woods the river makes a bend from north-west to south-east, and in the corner thus created stand the ruins of Finchale Priory. In the 12th century all Framwellgate Moor was a hunting ground for the Bishops of Durham and Finchale was little more than a thicket of undergrowth. The banks of the Wear are still heavily wooded on either side.
Few traces of the Benedictine priory of Finchale remain. It was founded in 1196 on the site of the hermitage of St. Godric, who, after a chequered career, settled about 1110 in the valley of the Wear a mile above Finchale. (fn. 86) Some five years later the Saint moved to the site of the present ruins, where in his hermitage he died in 1170. (fn. 87) Here he built the little chapel of St. Mary, of timber and brushwood, and adjoining it the house in which he lived. (fn. 88) As his sanctity became known a larger chapel of stone, dedicated to the honour of St. John Baptist, was built by the faithful for his use, the two chapels being connected by a covered way of branches and thatch. On the south side of St. John's Chapel were two wooden huts for his food and other possessions. (fn. 89) After Godric's death his hermitage was acquired by the priory of Durham, and in 1196 Bishop Pudsey established there a small priory as a cell of Durham, which was later increased in size.
All that remains of St. Godric's hermitage are the foundations of the chapel of St. John Baptist, which were recently found within the presbytery of the 13th-century church. The chapel was a small rectangular building, 15 ft. 6 in. wide by 33 ft. 6 in. long internally. Its east wall was some 20 ft. west of the east wall of the presbytery, and its south wall lay partly under the south wall of the presbytery and quire. The north wall, which at its east end contains the base of an aumbry showing 12th-century tooling, is well within the presbytery and quire, while the west wall was apparently destroyed when the new quire stalls were set up here, but the core of the foundations remains. From its position it would appear that the chapel was left standing until the eastern part of the new church round it was completed. St. Godric was carried to this chapel when he was dying, and in it he was buried. A grave has been found in the position described by Reginald of Durham, which there can be little doubt was that in which the body of the Saint lay. The sides of the grave were lined with rough masonry, and within it was a stone coffin rounded at the head and square at the foot, shaped within for the body of a man 5 ft. 2 in. in height and 16 in. in width at the shoulders, tapering to 7 in. at the foot; proportions which would fit the descriptions of the Saint, who was of small stature. The lid of the coffin has gone, but the places for the iron cramps securing it remain. The coffin, when found, contained only rubbish and a piece of highly polished Frosterley marble, which probably formed a part of the slab covering the 'tumba.' The relics of the Saint, it would seem, disappeared at the uppression of the monastery. (fn. 90)
When Finchale was converted from a hermitage into a monastery, about 1196, accommodation had to be found for the monks who were sent there from Durham, and this, it is suggested by Mr. Peers, was provided by some buildings recently cleared to the east of the church.
These buildings, in which three slightly different dates can be discerned, were probably pulled down in monastic times. Mr. Peers, who supervised the work of clearing the ruins, states that they exhibit 'the plan of a normal domestic house of the better class with a hall (about 40 ft. by 25 ft.), having at its north end a two-story building which on the analogy of other houses of this type has consisted of a solar over a cellar. The hall shows remains of its hearth and stone bases on either side on which stood wooden posts carrying the superstructure; part of the west door into the screens remains at the lower end of the hall, but the rest, including the domestic offices which normally occupy such a position, was destroyed at the building of the north-east wing of the prior's quarters. To this simple rectangular building has been added a large room to the north (46 ft. by 20 ft.), with a fireplace in its east wall, and along its south side a corridor lighted from the south by small splayed windows, leading to a large garde-robe pit at the east. Against the south side of the garde-robe building there is built a rectangular room entered from the north-west, showing remains of similar windows, and having along its west side a covered walk, which may be of later date. Both the garde-robe and the room south of it have been enlarged eastwards, and though no evidence of a stair remains, it seems probable that these buildings had an upper story. Southward from here there exists a short length of foundation which seems to be of the same period, and suggests the former existence of another room.'
This group of buildings seems to have been built as a temporary expedient to give enough accommodation for the monks until more ample buildings were ready. It may be supposed, Mr. Peers suggests, that the upper story of the eastern block next to the garde-robe supplied the place of the dorter, the hall served for meals, and the large north room for the daily labor et lectio. The ground floor of the eastern block probably served as the chapter house, and the chapel of St. John Baptist as the monastic church.
About 1237 (fn. 91) the monastic church and buildings, of which the ruins still survive, were begun on artificially levelled ground near the river, and were completed about 1277. The original cruciform church (fn. 92) consisted of a quire (87 ft. by 23 ft. 3 in.), with north and south aisles, a low central tower surmounted by a spire at the crossing, north and south transepts (each 34 ft. by 22 ft. 6 in.), with a chapel projecting eastward from the north transept (27 ft. by 14 ft.), and nave (75 ft. 6 in. by 23 ft.), with north and south aisles of four bays. This church was possibly found to be unnecessarily large for the number of inmates, and the cost of maintenance burdensome, or perhaps it may have been damaged during one of the Scottish raids; in either event it was reduced in size about 1364–7. (fn. 93) This reduction was effected by the removal of the chapel on the eastern side of the north transept and of the aisles of the quire and nave, the arcades being walled up and windows inserted in the walling. The south aisle of the nave, however, was transformed into the north walk of the cloister, while the original north walk was added to the cloister garth. No further structural alteration of importance seems to have been made before the suppression of the house in 1536, when the buildings were dismantled and allowed to fall into ruin. The central tower, which terminated just above the roof line of the church, and the spire were standing in 1655, but had disappeared by 1728. Much of the masonry, including the eastern arch of the tower and the three east lancets of the quire, have fallen since 1728. (fn. 94)
The presbytery projected by one bay beyond the east ends of the original aisles, and was originally lighted from the east by three tall lancets and by single lancets in the north and south walls. The jamb shafts of these windows have gone, but the stiff-leaved capitals, except those of the south window, still remain. A twostory building, which was erected in the 14th century against the eastern part of the north wall of the presbytery, blocked the lancet window here. To compensate for the loss of light so caused, the lancet in the south wall was replaced by a 14th-century three-light window, now without a head. In order to make room for this window, two of the four sedilia which were originally in the south wall were built up. The two remaining retain their moulded arches and stiff-leaved capitals. To the east of the sedilia is a double piscina with moulded arches and stiff-leaved capitals. Both the piscina and sedilia seem unduly high, owing to the present ground level being 2 ft. below the original floor. On the north side is a square aumbry with a groove for a shelf and a rebate for doors. Apparently it is not in its original position. The 13th-century blocked arcades formerly opening into the aisles have moulded arches and round pillars and half-round responds with bell-shaped capitals, those of the eastern responds and of the first pillar on the north side being carved with foliage and fruit. The arches of the north arcade are fairly complete, but the two eastern arches on the south side have disappeared, while the western is broken at the crown. The infilling wall has, fortunately, protected the carved capitals and other details. The geometrical ornament painted in red, yellow and black is well preserved on the west respond and west pillar on this side, and gives evidence of a wall between the pillars as a back to the quire stalls. Above the arcades the walling has fallen. In each of the blocked arches windows were inserted in 1364–7. The western window on the north side is complete with three trefoiled lights and reticulated tracery. The tracery of the other windows has disappeared. It is evident that when the 14th-century alterations were being made the north wall was showing signs of weakness, and was then strengthened by three deep buttresses, only the western of which is now perfect.
Recent excavations show that the quire stalls extended 26 ft. east of the crossing, and the lectern stood 28 ft. eastward of the stalls. The presbytery, which was 2 ft. 6 in. above the quire, was reached by five steps, the top step being 31 ft. from the east wall. The high altar, dedicated in honour of St. John Baptist, stood against a wooden screen 12 ft. 6 in. from the east wall.
The central tower was supported by four great circular piers (8 ft. in diameter). The north-west, which contains a newel stair to the upper part of the tower, is broken away at the top, but the others are complete with their moulded capitals and bases, the bases of the west piers being of slightly later date than those in the east. The vault over the crossing and the four crossing arches have fallen. The western piers were originally intended to stand free, but as the work progressed the responds of the eastern arches of the nave arcade were set some 12 ft. westward of the tower piers and the intervening space was filled by a solid wall. There is no evidence of a stone pulpitum, but chases in the base of the eastern piers of the crossing point to a wooden screen here. There was probably another wooden screen with a central doorway across the western tower arch. From the evidence of a piscina in the eastern respond wall of the south arcade of the nave, this screen and the altar, possibly the Rood altar, on the south side of its central doorway, which the piscina served, stood on a platform 2 ft. above the nave floor.
The north transept was lighted by three lancets in the north wall and two in the west, but the north wall has now fallen. At the south end of the east wall is a pointed arch, blocked in the 14th century, which led into the north aisle of the quire. It is of two chamfered orders springing on the north side from a semicircular respond with moulded capital, and on the south from a moulded capital formed on the circumference of the great north-west pier. In the blocking of this arch was a twolight window, under which was an altar, probably that of St. Cuthbert. To the north of this window is a wider and lower pointed arch of slightly later date, also blocked, which opened into the rectangular chapel destroyed in the 14th century. This, according to the arguments of Mr. Peers, was the chapel of St. Godric. Its foundations, recently exposed, show that it existed before the monastic church was planned, with which it is out of line. Mr. Peers suggests that it represents the wooden chapel of St. Mary built by St. Godric, which, in that case, must have been rebuilt in stone between the date of St. Godric's death and the building of the monastic church. The chapel was lengthened westward in the 13th century to join the north transept, into which it opened by the blocked arch above referred to. If this theory is correct, the altar of St. Mary was probably moved for a time to the presbytery and later to the south transept, while the altar of St. Godric was set up in the chapel. (fn. 95) When the chapel was destroyed in the 14th century the altar of St. Godric was placed beneath the twolight window in the wall blocking the arch opening into the chapel, where evidence of it may still be seen. Between the two altars was a doorway leading to the monks' cemetery.
The south transept, which seems to have formed the Lady Chapel, was lighted from the east by a large five-light window of about 1300, the lower part of which only survives. Below it are the remains of an altar, which may be identified as that of St. Mary, and beside it on the south is a 14th-century piscina. The block of masonry in which the piscina is set carried the night stair to the dorter, (fn. 96) the doorway to which was originally at the south-east of the transept, but was at some time blocked and a new doorway made in the middle of the south wall. This latter doorway apparently gave access to a wooden gallery at the south end of the transept. The square-headed doorway inserted in the south-west corner leads to the cloister. The day stair was apparently disused before the dissolution of the monastery, and possibly the night stair took its place. A 14th-century window was inserted in the wall blocking the arch from the transept to the south aisle of the quire, the lower part of which only remains. Below this window, from the evidence of a trefoiled piscina, now without a bowl, and an image bracket, there was an altar, the dedication of which is unknown. A 14th-century pointed doorway has been inserted in the blocked arch leading into the south aisle of the nave, and south of it another pointed doorway to the cloister, over which, above the level of the cloister roof, are the remains of a lancet window.
The nave arcades, of four bays, are of similar detail to those of the quire. The walls blocking the arches on the north side have three-light traceried windows of the 14th century in the three easternmost bays, and a doorway in the western bay, over which is a 14th-century twolight window. In the west wall is a pointed doorway of three moulded orders, the two outer of which were supported by detached shafts with bell capitals, while the inner order is composed of a large roll interrupted only by a capital of similar character. An external stringcourse is carried across the wall above the doorway; over the string-course are the remains of three lancets.
The cloister was originally a square of 75 ft. with arcades towards the garth, but its length from north to south was extended when, as already stated, the south aisle of the nave became the north cloister walk. The eastern part of the old aisle wall still survives, and at the east end of it is a doorway with a two-centred drop arch of two chamfered orders dying into plain jambs. Opposite the first bay of the nave arcade is a segmental-headed window of the 14th century with fragments of tracery, and a moulded jamb farther west probably indicates the remains of a similar window. A keel moulded respond facing the eastern pier of the nave arcade doubtless received the ribs of the aisle vaulting. The western part of this wall is destroyed. Some of the bases of the cloister arcade remain in the south walk, but in the east and probably the west walks the arcades were replaced by buttressed walls having traceried windows in each bay. Work on these windows was apparently being carried out in 1495–6, at which date the roofs seem to have been covered with slates. (fn. 97)
The chapter house is a rectangular building (21 ft. by 23 ft.) of the latter part of the 13th century, and immediately adjoins the south transept. It is now in a ruinous condition. In the west wall is a plain doorway from the cloister, of two moulded orders with foliated capitals. On either side of the doorway is a window of two chamfered orders, much decayed. There were originally three lancet windows in the east wall, but in the 15th century the middle light behind the prior's seat was blocked and two-light windows substituted for the others. The stone seats remain against the north, south and east walls, and the prior's seat in the middle of the east wall has stone arms on each side.
The dorter range, which occupies the remainder of the eastern side of the cloister, consists on the ground floor of three barrelvaulted apartments, with a passage to the infirmary or prior's lodging. The upper story was occupied by the monastic dorter, some 80 ft. long. In the south gable was a window, and in the west wall a blocked doorway leading to the day stair, which, as already stated, was abandoned. A doorway to the south of the east wall led to the rere dorter (30 ft. by 18 ft.), which lay to the south-east of the dorter. It apparently had no system of flushing.
The frater range, rebuilt about 1320, occupies the south side of the cloister, with a narrow passage on its east side between it and the dorter range. The undercroft, which was probably used as a cellar, is entered from the north-east, and is lighted from the south. Its vault is divided into twelve quadripartite compartments, supported in the middle by a row of five octagonal pillars with plain chamfered bases, but no capitals. The frater (40 ft. by 23 ft.) is approached by a flight of steps from the cloister, to which entrance is obtained through a pointed doorway with richly moulded jambs and head, at the west end of the north wall. It was originally lighted by five lancets each in the north and south walls, those on the north side being placed high in order to clear the cloister roof. In the 14th century the north-west lancet was replaced by a trefoiled light with flowing tracery. Down the middle of the frater was a line of wooden posts supporting an upper floor, which was probably an addition. At the south-west angle is a room in which are the remains of a fireplace, the chimney of which blocks a three-light window in the west gable. The low upper story had on both sides small square-headed windows of two lights, some of which, now without mullions, still remain. This upper room may have corresponded to the 'loft' at the west of the frater at Durham where the monks ordinarily had their meals. There is now no western range of claustral buildings except at the north end, where there is a building with a vaulted undercroft, which may have been the guest house or perhaps the cellarer's quarters. The vaulting of the undercroft, now broken through, is supported by plain heavy ribs which spring from an octagonal pier in the centre of the room. An original pointed doorway on the east, now blocked, led to the cloister, and there was another squareheaded doorway in the north wall, apparently of later date. The upper story was reached by a stair at the south-east, and was lighted by a 14th-century square-headed window of two lights on the north and by three singlelight windows, all now more or less destroyed. There is evidence of other buildings on this side of the cloister which have now gone.
The prior's lodging forms a group of buildings east of the dorter range and south of the church, in a position ordinarily occupied by the monastic infirmary. These buildings are of two stories, the lower or basement being storerooms, and the upper the living rooms of the prior and his household. The principal range, including the hall and the prior's camera, with its chapel at the south-east, are of the latter part of the 13th century, while the buildings at the west end are 15th-century and those on the north-east are 14th-century additions.
The walls of the prior's hall (44 ft. by 20 ft.) (fn. 98) have largely fallen, but still retain on the south the remains of a range of three two-light transomed windows inserted in 1459–60, and a pointed doorway at the west end of this wall. At the eastern part of the north wall are the remains of a wide fireplace, the masonry of which forms a considerable external projection. This fireplace was apparently made in 1459–60, when a bay window was built on the east side of it, two buttresses added, and new hangings were provided. (fn. 99) Further alterations were made in 1464. (fn. 100) The entrances at the lower end of the hall opening to the screens had formerly been approached by external steps, but at this date the north-west doorway was blocked and replaced by another in the west wall which led to a passage running westward to the cloister. On the west side of the prior's hall were the pantry, buttery and kitchen, with a lobby and serving hatch and remains of several fireplaces and ovens. The larder and poultry were probably below the dorter. On the east of the hall was the prior's camera or great chamber (48 ft. by 20 ft.), the principal entrance to which was through the prior's hall, but in the 15th century a stair from the undercroft was added in the north-east corner. In the south wall was a fireplace, which was built up in the 15th century, when a new fireplace was made in the north wall. Three two-light windows were at the same period inserted on the south side, and a bay window thrown out on the west end of the north wall (fn. 101) and some panelling, probably for a canopied seat by the fire, erected on the east side of it. The east window at the same time received new tracery.
The prior's chapel (26 ft. by 10 ft.) is entered from the prior's chamber on the north by a 15th-century doorway, replacing an earlier doorway farther to the east. A ruined doorway in the south wall led to a chamber, now destroyed, which apparently, according to a 15th-century inventory, contained six beds. The chapel is lighted by a 15th-century squareheaded window of three cinquefoiled lights in the east wall, at the east end of both the north and south walls is a 14th-century squareheaded window of two trefoiled lights, and in the west wall are the remains of another window. At the west end was a gallery, reached by a stair in the north-west angle.
On the north of the great chamber is a twostoried building, which can perhaps be identified with the Douglas Tower mentioned in 1460–1 and 1467–8. (fn. 102) The ground story, possibly the prior's lower study, has a barrel vault, and is separated from the main building by a passage, through which it is entered. The upper story was the prior's study, which was entered from the great chamber by a door in the south wall. It was lighted from the east by two small windows, apparently later insertions, and from the north by a fine 15th-century oriel window and what appears to be a small window, now blocked, placed lower in the wall. In the north-east corner is a garde-robe, and in the west wall is a fireplace. A stair in the south-west corner led to the roof, and against the north wall of the great chamber are the remains of an external stair which, before the previously mentioned stair was made, gave access to the study.
The 15th-century buildings to the east of the prior's lodging were probably the bakehouse and brewhouse. In the vicinity of the prior's chamber, but in a position not exactly known, was the camera ludencium, or 'le player chambre,' (fn. 103) apparently a recreation room for the monks from Durham, who stayed on leave at Finchale according to regulations made in 1408. There is reference also to the camera hospitii, (fn. 104) or guest house chamber, probably near the prior's lodging, but its exact position is also unknown.
To the west of the priory buildings are vestiges of the west gate mentioned in 1490 (fn. 105) and other outlying structures, and the farmhouse on the north of the church incorporates part of the priory mill.
The priory was made accessible from the left bank of the Wear by a ford which Bishop Skirlaw, according to tradition, replaced by a bridge. (fn. 106) Leland describes it as 'of 2 Arches, or rather one Arche withe a Pillor in the middle of it,' and says that it fell down some two or three years before his visit 'for lake of Reparations in tyme.' (fn. 107)
North of Finchale the Wear makes yet another sudden turn, and a tongue of land lies low between the river on the south and east and the Black Dene Burn on the north. Harbourhouse Park occupies most of the neck of this peninsula, Harbour House itself lying beyond a field to the north. Its secluded position, surrounded by streams and woods on every side, made it an admirable centre for the Jesuit priests, who carried on their mission in the 16th and early 17th centuries. The Forcers, its owners, were Roman Catholic recusants, and at one time a regular college was established, Father Ralph Corby being among those who lived there. (fn. 108) The tolerance of the neighbourhood, remarked on by Defoe in 1723, (fn. 109) made it possible for various members of the Forcer family to be buried in the chapel attached to the house. (fn. 110)
West of Harbour House and beyond the railway line the land rises to the moor, inclosed and yet bare, with its bleak colliery villages new or half deserted. Much of this country lay within the Prior's hunting ground of Bear Park. Most of the park is within the parish of Witton Gilbert, but a detached portion of the modern civil parish is in St. Oswald's, and contains the hamlet of Relley, once a grange of Durham Priory. (fn. 111) A quarter of a mile to the east the River Browney winds gradually southward, and is joined at Langley Bridge by the River Deerness. On the Browney the monks of Durham had a water mill used for fulling in the 15th and early 16th centuries. (fn. 112) Nothing is known of the origin of the name Spyttllerhaugh, given to a field near Relley bridge in 1536, (fn. 113) but traces of earthworks were still visible here in 1840, and it has been conjectured that the close was the site of the early Brunspittle. (fn. 114)
The hamlet of Baxter Wood, (fn. 115) a little north of Relley, is in Broom, and so outside the Priory lands. It takes its name from the Bacstane Ford, near which Pudsey founded the house of Austin Canons at New Place, so soon crushed by the Benedictines of Durham. No trace of this house remains, but a hamlet (fn. 116) was in existence here in the 17th century, and Peter Smart, prebendary of the 6th stall and vehement Puritan, is said to have died here in or about 1625. (fn. 117)
Aldin Grange, some distance north-west of Baxter Wood, has been associated with owners of a very different political complexion, for it was the house of the nonjuring family of Bedford. (fn. 118) The property is leasehold, under the Dean and Chapter, as successors of Durham Priory, and great alterations were made both to the house and grounds early in the 19th century. (fn. 119) To the west of the house and beyond the railway line Aldin Grange Terrace and the church of St. Edmund have sprung into being as a result of the neighbouring colliery of Bearpark, so that Aldin Grange is still connected with that coal getting that made it a valuable possession to Durham Priory in the 15th century. (fn. 120)
Tracks and rough roads lead across the moor to Broom, (fn. 121) with its rows of colliery houses, its chapel, and mission church of St. Katherine. Broom Hall lies in the fields at some distance north-west of the village. There was a capital messuage here in 1358, when the house was divided between the coheirs, Alan de Marton and Margaret, his wife, having the chamber on the east of the great hall, while that on the west was assigned to Richard and Emma de Aldwood. (fn. 122)
South of Broom Hall the land falls towards the River Deerness, which divides St. Oswald's from the parish of Brancepeth. From the ford at Langley Bridge southward the River Browney forms the parish boundary, with a few unimportant deviations, until that stream joins the Wear. The Browney winds considerably, its last and largest bend enclosing Burn Hall on all but its eastern side. The present house was the residence of the late Mr. Henry Salvin, and was sold in 1926, two years after his death, to St. Joseph's Society for Foreign Missions, who have established a boys' school there. It was built in 1825 (fn. 123) on higher ground about 300 yds. from the older house where Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born in 1809. (fn. 124) It is not certain whether this house was identical with the house having a great chamber hung with red and green, owned by William Claxton at his death in c. 1566. (fn. 125) South-east of Burn Hall and just without the limits of the park is Herd's House, mentioned as 'Hurdhous' in 1589. (fn. 126) Low Burnhall lies close to the Wear; it is now occupied as a farm. In 1430 there was a hermitage at Burn, (fn. 127) near the quarry of the lord of the manor, but its exact position has now been lost.
The north road skirts the park of Burn Hall on the east and, after crossing Browney Bridge and some low-lying land, reaches Sunderland Bridge over the Wear. This bridge is mentioned in 1346, a skirmish being fought here in the morning of 17 October before the battle was joined at Neville's Cross. (fn. 128) Leland rode by 'Sunderland Bridges' when he came to Durham in or about 1536. 'There,' he says, 'Wear is divided into two arms and after shortly meeting maketh an isle; the first bridge as I came over was but of one arch, the other of three.' (fn. 129) In 1578 it was said that the Wear had changed its course, and that unless something was done it would 'leave the saide brydge upon drye land upon the southe syde of the said water.' (fn. 130) The bridge was partly rebuilt in 1769. (fn. 131)
The villages of Sunderland Bridge and of Croxdale form practically one settlement, (fn. 132) though the name Croxdale is now confined to the railway station and to the hamlet south of the London and North Eastern main line. The colliery led to the opening of a Primitive Methodist chapel here in 1877, and of a Wesleyan chapel (1897) and a reading room. The village of Sunderland Bridge lies on the ridge of a steep hill above the Wear and is built along a short lane at right angles to the highway, the church of St. Bartholomew lying at the corner. In less than a quarter of a mile the village street turns abruptly south, to Hett, its eastern course being stopped by the deep and wooded heugh which encloses the South Park of Croxdale Hall, the main approach to which is through a strip of park lying between the village and the Wear. Croxdale Hall has been in the possession of the Salvins since the 15th century, and is now the residence of Lieut.-Col. Herman C. J. Salvin. Lady Oxford in 1745 thought it 'a very pretty place by the Wear side, with good gardens,' and added that these were 'remarkable for early fruit.' (fn. 133) Neither the house nor its chapel of St. Herbert is of any great antiquity, but close by is the ancient parochial chapel. This chapel is retained by the Salvins, who gave in exchange the land on which the present church of St. Bartholomew is built. North of Croxdale Hall and beyond a further stretch of park is Croxdale Wood, on the edge of which is Croxdale Wood House, the residence of Mr. Lewis Ingham. The high ground about the house slopes rapidly down to the Wear, and to a tract of low-lying ground within a loop of the stream. The old manor-house of Butterby lies close to the river side. There is no church at Butterby, (fn. 134) hence in the local slang a man is said 'to go to church at Butterby' when he neglects to attend church. Despite the isolated position of Butterby, shut in by river and by wood, it was much frequented in the 18th century by patients who came to drink of the 'vitrioline spaw.' These medical waters were described by Dr. Wilson in 1675, (fn. 135) but the spring has now been lost in consequence of mining operations in the neighbourhood.
A ford across the Wear gives access to a bridle road which leads across the old Highfield, (fn. 136) now the golf links, to Houghall and thence to Durham.
The ancient manor-house of Houghall is said to have been built by Prior Hoton (1290–1308), but according to the account rolls of Durham Priory, a new house was built here in 1373. (fn. 137) In the 16th century it was occupied by the family of Booth, lessees of the Dean and Chapter, (fn. 138) and in the Commonwealth it is said to have been occupied by the family of Marshall and Sir Arthur Hazelrigg, (fn. 139) though no evidence of the latter occupation has been found.
The house stands in a low situation about half a mile from the left bank of the Wear 'guarded by a fosse supplied by a small runner which falls from the hill'—the ground rising close to the building on the west and southwest. The present house, which probably stands on the site of one of older date, belongs apparently to the first half of the 17th century, and has been approached by an avenue of trees from High Houghall on the south side, part of which remains. The building itself has been very much modernised, and is now a farm-house. It faces south, and has a wing at the east end running north, in which are two four-light mullioned and transomed windows and a smaller mullioned opening of three lights in the north gable. The house is of two stories, with basement and attics, and the roofs are covered with modern blue slates. On the south front all the windows, with one exception, are modern, and over the doorway is a shield with the arms of Marshall of Selaby (a cheveron between three crescents), who occupied the house during the Commonwealth period. (fn. 140) The interior is without interest, except for the staircase, which is built round a small central square well, and has thick turned balusters and square newels with balls. The building has been extended on the west side, the old part being, perhaps, only a fragment.
The modern settlement of Houghall lies north of the old house, and owes its existence to the coalmine that was once sunk here, but is now disused. A hospital for infectious diseases (fn. 141) has been built among the fields here, and was opened in 1893. The name of Hollinside Wood, west of Houghall, must be connected with the close called Holensfeld in 1551, (fn. 142) and Hollingside itself is mentioned in 1651, together with lands called Award Flatt, the Pooles and Weather Haugh. (fn. 143)
West of Houghall is Elvet Moor, (fn. 144) inclosed in 1772. (fn. 145) Oswald House, as Mount St. Oswald was then called, was built on part of the moor by the family of Wilkinson. (fn. 146) The house was rebuilt shortly before 1834, when the name was changed; (fn. 147) it is now the residence of Mrs. Rogerson, widow of John Edwin Rogerson, M.F.H.
Shincliffe is on the left bank of the Wear, and on the ridge between the river and the Whitwell Beck; it is reached by the road leading south-east from Philipson's Cross. The old village is built along a wide lane running down towards the river, the main road to Sedgefield making a sharp angle to pass down the village street. In 1824 it was said that a garden lay nearly all round the village, (fn. 148) but this has now disappeared. The church of St. Mary lies a little back from the road, and near it is the Wesleyan chapel, built in 1874. Wesley himself preached at Shincliffe in May 1780, when stopping at Mr. Parker's. (fn. 149) The congregation being far too large to get into the house, Wesley stood near the door, and it 'seemed as if the whole village was ready to receive the truth.' (fn. 150) There is also a United Methodist chapel, built in 1875, at the colliery settlement on Bank Top. This colliery is now closed down, and many of the houses are deserted, though a certain number are utilised as Aged Miners' Homes. The grange of Durham Priory lay at the top of the hill, and to the south are the race course, opened in 1895, (fn. 151) and Shincliffe station, on the Newcastle, Leamside and Ferryhill branch of the North Eastern Railway. This station was opened in 1844, and took the place of an earlier station opened in 1839 on the Durham and Sunderland Railway. (fn. 152) All the land to the north of the old village lay in the park of the Priory of Durham; which is first mentioned in the 13th century, (fn. 153) and was inclosed in 1355–6. (fn. 154) The park ran down to the river and bordered the main road near Shincliffe Bridge, for when Prior Richard escaped from the hands of the Bishop's servants on the bridge in 1300, the guards fled, thinking that armed men were concealed in the park. The bridge is first mentioned in the 13th century, when land in Upper Elvet was given for its support. (fn. 155) It was repaired by the Priory in 1361–2, (fn. 156) and John Ogle left 100 silver shillings for its maintenance in March 1372–3. (fn. 157) After inquiry into its condition and revenues (fn. 158) it was entirely rebuilt by Bishop Skirlaw (1388–1405). (fn. 159) A flood in February 1753 swept two of its arches away, but these were repaired, (fn. 160) and it was not until 1824 that the bridge was condemned as narrow and beyond repair. The present bridge was then begun, and opened in September 1826. (fn. 161) Shincliffe Mill, on Old Durham Beck, lay within the Prior's fee and is first mentioned in 1303. (fn. 162) The dam was made in 1367–8, (fn. 163) and in 1458–9 the mill was entirely rebuilt. (fn. 164) Richard Marshall held it on lease from the Dean and Chapter when he died in 1580. (fn. 165) The policy of leasing the mill has been followed to the present day, and Miss Johnson is the present occupier.
North of Old Durham Beck and east of the Wear the land slopes gradually upward to Gilesgate Moor. A single stone is all that remains of the 17th-century manor-house of Old Durham, the successor of the capital messuage that the Rector of St. Nicholas had here in 1268. (fn. 166) The inventory of the goods of Robert Booth, who died here in 1586, speaks of the chapel chamber, the parlour with its pair of virginalls, the 'chambers in the courtyne,' the lower chamber and the little and great chambers. (fn. 167) In the 17th century the Heaths and, later, the Tempests lived here. Both families were Royalist in sympathy. John Tempest (1710–76) left Old Durham for Wynyard, and little was done to the property until 1849, when the Marquess of Londonderry sank a coal pit a little south-east of the house. The house was then dismantled, (fn. 168) and the gardens, attached to a neighbouring inn, became a favourite public resort for summer afternoons.