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"This ancient parish includes the townships of Cold Hesleden, Dalton, and Murton. Previous to 1843 it also embraced the township of Dawdon, which in that year was constituted a distinct parish, called Seaham Harbour. "Cold Hesleden Township comprises an area of 1031 acres, and its ratable value is £6010. "Dalton-le-Dale Township has an area of 797 acres, and its ratable value £4373. "Murton, or Murton East, Township contains an area of 1446 acres, and the ratable value is £15,646. [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]


Cold Hesleden Township

"Its population in 1801 was 48; in 1811, 31; in 1821, 55; in 1831, 112; in 1841, 83; in 1851, 117; in 1861, 89; in 1871, 99; in 1881, 108; and in 1891, 682 souls."
"The number of inhabitants in 1801 was 40; in 1811, 52; in 1821, 49; in 1831, 73; in 1841, 88; in 1851, 83; in 1861, 102; in 1871, 128; in 1881, 118; and in 1891, 134 souls."

Murton Township

"The population in 1801 was 75; in 1811, 71; in 1821, 72; in 1831, 98; in 1841, 521; in 1851, 1387; in 1861, 2104; in 1871, 3017; in 1881, 4710; and in 1891, 5052."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

Church History


"The Church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a small edifice, consisting of nave and chancel, without aisles or tower, entered by a south porch under an obtuse-pointed arch. "It is," says Billings, "of Late Norman origin; but in the very earliest stage of its construction, the style of architecture changed, and excepting an ornamental circular-headed doorway on the north side (now walled up), and a circular chancel arch (without ornament), the whole building is of the succeeding style, with single-lancet windows, showing a trefoil head on their broad internal splays, the same as at Lanchester. Like that church, Dalton has three lancets at the east end." Dalton church, in 1363, paid 3s. 4d. for smoke-pennies towards the support and the structure of Durham Cathedral. This was formerly the burial place of the Bowes and Collingwoods. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the Liber Regis at £6, 7s.; gross income, £534. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Durham; Rev. Udney Jno. Thomas Allen, M.A., vicar.
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]


"The Church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is a good stone building in the Gothic style, consisting of nave and chancel, with north and south transepts, and south porch. There are sittings for about 450 persons. This church was erected in 1875, to meet the wants of an increasing population. A burial-ground is attached to the church. Rev. Udney John Thomas Allen, M.A., vicar. The vicar and curate of this church also officiate at the old parish church at Dalton-le-Dale."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

Church Records

"The parish register only dates from 1653." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

The Parish Registers for the period 1646-1967 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL EP/DD).

Marriage indexes for 1653-1837 (18 kbytes) from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1653-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

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

  • Dawdon 1912-1990 (EP/Daw).
  • Seaham Harbour 1841-1980 (EP/SeaH).

Description and Travel

"The village of New Hesleden is situated on the high road, about a mile south of Dalton-le-Dale, and consists principally of miners' dwellings. One of the principal pumping-stations belonging to the Sunderland and South Shields Water Company is situated here.
"The hamlet of Cold Hesleden lies to the south of Dalton, near the coast.
"The village of Dalton-le-Dale is about one mile from the sea, and six and a half miles south of Sunderland. It is pleasantly situated on the side of a rivulet which runs through a deep and romantic valley.
"The village of Murton Colliery is about six miles east of Durham, and seven miles south of Sunderland. It is a very large mining centre, containing upwards of 1000 houses. The water for domestic purposes is supplied by the colliery. The Wesleyans, Primitives, United Methodists, Lay Church, and Bible Christians have places of worship here. Murton Colliery was commenced in 1838, and after tremendous difficulties, was sunk to the Hutton seam, a depth of 246 fathoms.
"The village of Murton is situated about a mile west of the colliery, and is sometime designated Murton-in-the-Whins. Murton railway station, about half-a-mile west of the village, on Sunderland and Hartlepool branch of the North-Eastern Railway, is also the junction for Durham."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

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Historical Geography

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