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Hollinside and the Harding Family

by J.F. Robinson

THIS old manor house, or Border peel, or whatever may have been its original purpose, has been attracting considerable attention among antiquaries and archaeologists of late. I have noted frequent mention of it in the local papers, and not long ago I saw that Mr. Maberley Philips was asking, at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries, for information about it. It is perhaps not much that the present writer can add to the various notices that have appeared about it at different times ; but probably something may be effected if an attempt is made to gather together the scant pieces of information that may be found scattered here and there. For part of his information he is indebted to his friend, Mr. J. W. Fawcett, of. Satley, near Darlington.

The earliest mention of Hollinside that the writer is acquainted with, is, that it was held in 1317 by one Thomas de Hollinside. This Thomas de Hollinside conveyed it on the 13th day of March, 1318, to William de Boynton of Newcastle and Isolda his wife, with all the demesne lands and free service of his tenants, a water mill called Clockemthems (now known as Clogburn or Clockburn), and his fishery in the Derwent. This mill was probably at the foot of the burn, close to the Derwent side. Fifteen years later, it is found to be in the possession of the Burtons or Burdens, and was by them held in capite by homage, fealty, and suit of court, and by the rendering of 6s. 8d. in silver at the exchequer. This family becoming extinct in the male issue, the estate passed by the marriage of Agnes, daughter and heiress of Hugh Burton or Burden, with a member of the Redheugh family, into that family.

In the time of Bishop Hatfield's Survey, 1377-1380, it was the property of Hugh de Redheugh, who held it and one hundred acres of land for the annual sum of 6s. 8d.

Between 1388 and 1416 it had become the property of the Massams, but after this time it must have again passed to the Redheughs, as it passed about this time to the Hardings. by the marriage of a daughter of the Redheughs to Roger Harding, a son of Sampson Harding, a burgess of Newcastle. In 1448 it was in the possession of Ralph Harding, son and heir of Richard Harding; and in 1493 there was a Richard Hardynge, Esq., of Holyngside. On Tuesday, 9th of August, 1575, "Ralph Hardyng of Holyngside" filed his pedigree in Flower's Visitation at Durham., In 1615 "Ralph Hardin of Hollinsyde" registered his pedigree before Robert Malthy, sheriffe bayley, vide St. George's Visitation.

The next particular mention of the family I find is in 1621, when Ralph Harding, gentleman (on whose estates Katherine Radcliffe, a rich spinster of Mulgrave Castle, had heavy mortgages), settled his lands - Hollingside, Riding House, and Riding Field - on his kinsman and male heir, Robert Harding of Whickham, who undertook to satisfy his debts and provide for the maintenance of the two aged sisters of the settler. There are no Hardings in Dugdale's Visitation in 1666; I suppose, being on the "decline," they did not care to file their pedigree. From this time the fortunes of the Hardings would seem to have continued on the wane, for in the year 1730 the estate passed by foreclosure of mortgage into the hands of George Bowes, Esq., of Gibside, of which estate it now forms a part.

The Harding family was from Beadnell, near North Sunderland, in Northumberland. One of their ancestors, Henry Harding, is said to have fought before King Robert Bruce at Perth, in 1312, with one William Seyntlaw, and established, by right of conquest, his title to the family arms-a shield of gules with three golden greyhounds. In reference to this coat of arms of the family, there is a story in the Derwent Valley that there was formerly a slab above the large mantel, which is still in position in the eastern part of the ruins, and that this slab was carried away by night by a Mr. Massey (a relative of the Harding family by his wife, who was a descendant), then employed at the Winlaton Mill Iron Works, and that it was buried for some time in a garden at Winlaton Mill. Within the memory of the writer there was a public house at Winlaton Mill kept by one Fanny Harding, (see note 1) whose husband hag evidently been a Harding, but whether this Fanny Harding was the widow of one Dick Harding or not, the writer does not know. This much he knows, that it is not improbable that she was, as he has a distinct remembrance of this old Dick Harding, as he was familiarly called, laying claim, in conversation, to the mineral royalties under the Hollingside estates, since he said that when the lands were forfeited to George Bowes, of Gibside, the royalties of coal and other minerals were not at the same time transferred. This Dick Harding may have been, for anything the writer knows, the same who removed and buried the slab with the family arms. Whether any of the Harding family are at Winlaton Mill now or not, the writer cannot say, but within his remembrance there were several of them.

One of the Beadnell Hardings was a person of some note in the middle ages. This was John Hardyng (born 1378), the author of what are called Hardyng's Chronicles. He was Lord of the East March of England (see note 2), he fought with Sir Henry Percy, or Harry Hotspur, at Homildon Hill and Cokelew, and was at one time Constable of Warkworth Castle. He was afterwards on the continent, and wrote an account of the march which preceded the battle of Agincourt. His Chronicle was first printed in 1543. It was republished by the London booksellers in 1812, with a preface by Henry Elles, Esq. Harding died about 1468 or 1470.

The Hardings would seem to have been of a neighbourly, social disposition, and of respectable -connection. A pedigree of them may be seen in Surtees' History of Durham. From this we learn that some of them connected themselves in marriage with their neighbouring landed proprietors. A marriage took place with one of the Harrisons, of Byermoor. And on the 12th June, 1728, Susanna, daughter of one of the Hardings of Hollingside, married a Matthew Handcock, of High Friarside, and it is not impossible that through this marriage the present writer may be a descendant of the Hardings. After the Hollinside estate passed from the Hardings to the Bowes family, either the Hardings still continued to have some claims on the estate, or they were kindly treated by the new possessors, as in the cash books of the Gibside estate are to be found many entries of payments of money to the Harding family. The writer is in possession of more than one account in the original documents of transactions between George Bowes, of Gibside, and Richard Harding. One or two of them are sufficiently interesting to be worthy of quoting:-

                              Richard Hardin.
        1743 - June 14 - For Corn to this day  -    -  £1  5  6
               Cow's Grass from 31st May to Christmas   1  5  0
        1742 - Fire Coal        do.           do        0 15  6
                                                       £3  6  0
                   June 14, 1743 - Received in full.
       George Bowes, Esq., Dr. to Richard Hardin;, for Shooting;
                                Birds of Prey.
        1749 - To Shooting 30 Crows at 2d. each     -  £0  5  0
               To Shooting 11 Magpies at   do.      -   0  1 10
               To Shooting 5 Buzzards at   do.      -

Here the interesting document breaks off without letting us know the price of "Shooting Buzzards."

                              Richard Hardin.
        1745 and '46 -  Grass      -   -   -    -   -  £1 17  6
                        Fire Coal  -   -   -    -   -  
                        Hay        -   -   -    -   -   0  9  0
                        A Year's Rent at Birdhill    -  2  0  0
        1746 - July 25  Received in part for Cow's Grass,
                        year 1745                       0 12  1½

So here we have transactions about cow's grass, and hay, and coal, between Richard Harding and George Bowes, at a time when the country would be in a state of alarm and uncertainty whether the sovereign of this country should be a Stuart or a Hanoverian.

The Harding family has thus gradually become lost as to name and fame, since it is very improbable that any of them now survive about Winlaton Mill, whither they seem to have betaken them. selves to work for their livings at the new iron mills which had been commenced there by Sir Ambrose Crowley, or the "Sir John Anvil" of the Spectator a few years before, they lost their hold of their family acres, which they had been possessed of for more than three centuries.

Hardings who were at various times Mayors of Newcastle :-

In 1396-7.8-9, Sampson Harding; in 1441, 1444, 1446, 1447, and 1449, William Harding; in 1497, Robert Harding.

Hardings who were Members of Parliament for Newcastle -

In 7th year of Richard II., 1385, Sampson Harding; and in 1386 and 1387; and again in 1389 and 1398. In the reign of Henry VI., in 1434, 1448, and 1458, William Harding.

Hardings who were Sheriffs of Newcastle :-

In 1439, William Harding; in 1473, 1482, and 1491, Robert Harding.

Hardings who were Knights of the Shire for Northumberland:-

In the 18th year of the reign of Richard II., Sampson Harding; in the 1st and 5th Henry IV., and the 2nd of Henry V., the same.

From William Lorraine, by Johanna his wife, descended Edward, who married Elizabeth, daughter of John Harding, Esq., of Hollingside, and who died in the reign of Richard III. He was succeeded by his son Robert, who married Margaret, daughter of Robert Bowes, Esq., of the county of Durham. He was murdered near his own mansion by the mosstroopers, through his manly attempts to bring them to justice, in memory of which a stone pillar was erected.

The following letter to the writer is from a descendant of the Harding family:-

12 Hengell Terrace,
January 22, 1891.


Dear Sir - In returning your papers, allow me to again thank you for the pleasure of their perusal, and for the kindly interest you seem to take in the Harding family. With respect to the Hardings that Mr. Fawcett mentions, I know nothing. If they did belong to our family, it must have been long ago. Robert Harding, that kept the Golden Lion inn, was my grandfather. He died October, 1829, aged 78 years. Richard' Harding (or Dick Harding, as he was called), was my-father. He died in 1845. My grandfather had a brother called Richard, who had a brewery at Shield Row. He died in 1806, aged 56 years. He had a son, Ralph, who lived at Burnopfield, but he died in 1811, aged 26 years. These are all the family I know of. Born at Winlaton Mill, in 1814, I remember the Handcock family well. They were very intimate with my father and grandfather. I am now 76 years of age. I had two brothers, named Richard and Robert, and a sister named Fanny, but they are all dead, and I am the last of the Winlaton Mill family; but the name is likely to live, as I have four sons and two daughters.

Before I was in my teens, the old ruins of Hollinside had trees growing on the walls, and a lot of great trees growing at the south front (most of these latter are removed now), the only memento of a once powerful family. In conclusion, let me say, in the words of the immortal bard:

"There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Neglected, all the voyage of their lives
Is bound in shallows and in miseries."

The Hardings have missed the flood, and have been stranded ever since.

Yours truly,

Note 1. Widow of Robert Harding, Golden Lion, Winlaton Mill. R.H. was living in 1828.

Note 2 It was Hotspur who was Lord of the East March, and Hardyng was a pageboy in the Earl's household. Hotspur was killed in 1403, when Hardyng was 26 years old,