"This parish anciently comprised the townships of Birtley, Chester-le-Street, Edmondsley, Lamesley, Lambton, Lumley, Great and Little Plawsworth, Pelton, and Waldridge. At various periods parishes have been formed from this extensive parish, which now only embraces the townships of Chester-le-Street, Plawsworth, and Waldridge. Under an Act 34 George III,. 1794, a general enclosure of the common lands took place. At this time the commons of Chester South Moor, West Moor, Plawsworth Moor, Edmondsley Moor, Whitehall Moor, and pelton Moor, containing 1500 acres were divided according to the holding of the ancient estate, sixpence an acre being reserved to the See of Durham for ever. The manor remained with the see till within recent times, and included Boldon, Cleadon, Whitburn, and the copyholds of the parish of Chester.

"Chester-le-Street conatins 2534 acres, and its ratable value is £28,715.

"Plawsworth Township, partly in the parish of Sacriston, comprises an area of 1224 acres, its ratable value being £6053.

"Waldridge Township has an area of 732 acres, and its ratable value is £5319."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]



Birtley Crematorium has an online book of remembrance indexed by Day and Month only.

Now a researcher who goes by the name of Tickettyboo has provided a name index to use in conjunction with the council pages.

Please note that books of remembrance do not record everyone cremated in the crematorium - just those whose relatives have paid to have the name listed.




"Its population in 1801 was 1661; in 1811, 1726; in 1821, 1892; in 1831, 1910; in 1841, 2599; in 1851, 2580; in 1861, 3013; in 1871, 4205; in 1881, 6911; and in 1891, 8623."

Plawsworth Township

"In 1801 the population of this township was 177; in 1811, 225; in 1821, 227; in 1831, 249; in 1841, 266; in 1851, 286; in 1861, 681; in 1871, 717; in 1881, 990; and in 1891, 1055."

Waldridge Township

"Its population in 1801 was 83; in 1811, 77; in 1821, 125; in 1831, 104; in 1841, 432; in 1851, 747; in 1861, 945; in 1871, 892; in 1881, 1428; and in 1891, was 1961."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]


Church History

"THE CHURCH, dedicated to St. Mary and St. Cuthbert, stands on the site of the original wooden church, which was built by the monks who fled from Lindisfarne, with the body of St. Cuthbert, and settled at Chester-le-Street, in the year 883. This wooden church remained until the time of Egelric, the fourth Bishop of Durham (1042-1056), who replaced it with one of stone. On the removal of the bishopric of Chester-le-Street to Durham in 995, this church became a parochial rectory, and so it remained until Bishop Beck, in 1286, made it collegiate, consisting of a dean, seven prebendaries, five chaplains, three deacons, and other ministers. At the Reformation a great change took place; a visitation was made by order of King Henry VIII., and in the first of Edward VI., this establishment, with those of Lanchester, Bishop Auckland, Darlington, and other places was dissolved and the large revenues appropriated by the crown. Whether any portion of the church built by Egelric still exists is not absolutely certain; it is, however, considered most probable that some parts of the north and south walls of the chancel may be safely ascribed to that date. The church is believed to have originally consisted of a long chancel and nave, with a central tower within the church, the building having been brought to its present form by several subsequent additions. These include the two western bays of the nave and the lowest stages of the tower, the date of which is ascribed to the beginning of the thirteenth century; the octagonal upper stage and the tall spire, forming a structure of great beauty, were added probably in 1409, when the three old bells were presented.

"There were formerly two chantries in this church, but the names of the founders are not known; the one dedicated to St. Mary was of the yearly value of £5, 8s. 10d., the other, to St. George, was worth £5, 3s. In the Lincoln valuation of the 20th Edward I., 1291, the income of this establishment was given at £146, 13s. 4d., but in the 20th Henry VIII., it had fallen to £77, 12s. 8d. The living is now a rectory, of the gross yearly value of £5209, in the patronage of Lady Ann T. N. Blunt, and Charles H. Jolliffe, Esq., and held by the Rev. Canon William O. Blunt, M.A."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

There is a picture (97 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Mary and St. Cuthbert, Chester-le-Street; supplied by Bill Henderson.

There is a picture (12 kbytes) of the parish church of St. George, South Biddick; supplied by George Bell.


Church Records

"The register dates from the year 1582." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

The Parish Registers for the period 1582-1988 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL.

Baptism and/or marriage registers for the period 1582-1827 are indexed in the International Genealogical Index, a copy of which is available at the County Record Office.

Marriages for the period 1582-1826 are indexed in Boyd's Marriage Index.

A Transcript of the Parish Registers for the period 1582-1837 are deposited at the Society of Genealogists

Marriage indexes for

from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1582-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

The following records for churches in the ancient parish of Chester-le-Street are also available at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL:-

  • Birtley 1850-1994 (EP/Bir).
  • Burnmoor 1868-1987 (EP/Bu).
  • Fatfield 1876-1992 (EP/Fa).
  • Pelton 1842-1992 (EP/Pe).

The following records are available for non conformist churches in the parish:-

  • Congregational
    • Chester-le-Street Baptisms, marriages and burials 1860-1902 (C/CS).
    • copies of pre-1837 baptism registers are available (M5/1-5).
  • Methodist
    • Central: baptisms 1950-1972
    • Circuit Registers:-
      • Chester-le-Street: baptisms 1935-1950.
      • (Primitive): baptisms 1859-1950.
      • (Wesleyan): baptisms 1867-1912.
    • Durham Road: baptisms 1939-1979, marriages 1939-1978.
    • Station Road: baptisms 1912-1952, marriages 1910-1979.
  • Roman Catholic
    • Chester-le-Street Baptisms and burials 1881-1955 (RC/CS)

Description & Travel

"The ancient town of Chester-le-Street, whose name causes the mind to revert to the Roman and Saxon periods of our history, is pleasantly situated in a valley to the west of the river Wear, about six miles north of Durham city, nine miles west-south-west from Sunderland, eight miles south from Newcastle, and 263 miles north-north-west from London. Chester-le-Street owes its prosperity chiefly to being the centre of a large mining population, though there are several industries carried on within the town. There is a large jam manufactory, several small engineering works and foundries. The town is supplied with water by the Consett Water Co., and is lighted by gas. The ancient Chester-le-Street football match is still played with much vigour every Shrove Tuesday, between the Up Streeters and Down Streeters. The origin of this ancient custom seems to be enveloped in the mists of the past, as no authentic history of its beginning has been preserved.

"Pelton Fell is a populous colliery village, situated on the hillside, two miles north-west of Chester-le-Street, partly in this and partly in Pelton parish, with which place it is given.

"Chester Moor is another colliery village, pleasantly situated on the Durham road, about two miles south of Chester-le-Street, and four and a half north of Durham.

"Plawsworth Village is near the southern extremity of this parish, and about three and a half miles north of Durham. There is a Primitive Methodist Chapel here, a neat brick building, with seating for 400, which was erected in 1881, at a cost of £500.

"Nettlesworth is a hamlet in this township, but in the parish of Sacriston, about a mile and a half north-west from Plawsworth.

"Wadridge Village occupies a somewhat isolated situation two miles south-south-west from Chester-le-Street. It contains a Mission Chapel, which is served from Chester-le-Street, a pretty structure of stone and wood, erected in 1886, on a site given by Lady Blunt and Mrs. Jolliffe. The Primitive Methodists have a neat stone chapel, which will seat 300. It was built in 1868, at a cost of £320, exclusive of site, which was given by the colliery proprietors. There is also an iron chapel belonging to the New Connexion.

"The Colliery School, built by the colliery owners in 1834, has several times been enlarged, the latest being the addition of an infant school in 1893, which increased the accommodation to 360. It is at present attended by about 300 children.

"The coal in this township is being wrought by Messrs. Thiedemann & Wallis here and at South Moor. There are about 320 men and boys employed, and the daily output is over 700 tins, a third of which is converted into coke on the premises."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

You can see pictures of Chester-le-Street which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Chester-le-Street has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NZ274512 (Lat/Lon: 54.855169, -1.574907), Chester-le-Street which are provided by:


Military Records

"Officers and Men from the Gateshead Area who gained Honours during the Great War 1914-1918". This has 374 names. Gateshead Library have photographs of all of them and can supply copies.