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Help and advice for Durham

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"The City of Durham is distant 256 miles N.N.W. from London; 132 S.S.E. of Edinburgh; 67 N.N.W. of York; 15 south of Newcastle; 48 south of Alnwick; 67 E.S.E. of Carlisle; and 13 S.E. from Sunderland. It contains seven parishes, the townships of Crossgate, Elvet (part of), the extra-parochial places, with the rights of townships, of Castle Precincts, Bailey North, Bailey South, Durham College, Gilligate, Magdalen Place, and St. Nicholas, and a barony and a borough. Its population in 1891 was 14,863, of which 7110 were males and 7753 females. There were 2625 inhabited houses, 199 uninhabited, and 7 in course of building. The parliamentary electorate numbers 2420, of which 373 are freemen; and the ratable value of the borough is £47,991. "This ancient city, the capital of the County Palatine, see of a bishop and the seat of a university, is situated amidst most beautiful surroundings nearly in the centre of the County. From all the neighbouring points of view, the appearance of this interesting city, is striking and unique. The older portion of the city occupies a high rocky peninsula, formed by the river Wear; and its situation and figure is so peculiar - in connection also with its historical associations - as to have occasioned its being emphatically called the "English Zion." " [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

Durham Parishes

"St. Margaret's and St. Oswald's are parishes formed at an early date, the former from St. Oswald's, and St. Oswald's from St. Giles or St. Nicholas, but neither exercise the township rights enjoyed by the mother parishes. St. Cuthbert is of quite modern foundation."


Church Records

For Anglican church records see individual Parishes.


Description and Travel

"Durham College, including the Cathedral, is like the Bailies, and contains 28 acres, with a ratable value of £1049, and a population of 91 in 1871; 66 in 1881; and 107 in 1891.
"The Castle, 9 acres in area, ratable value of £816, and a population of 29 in 1871; 33 in 1881; and in 1892 there were 35 souls.
"Magdalen Place, another extra-parochial place, although for all practical purposes it has ceased to be a parish, is still recognised as separate, the inhabitants having no parochial rights in any other church, and are without a church. The ruined chapel of St. Mary Magdalen stands on the north side of Gilesgate, near to the old railway station. This was the chapel of the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, which stood near it, and included in-brethren and out-brethren and also sisters. It has not been used for services since the Restoration, though there have been interments in the cemetery, which has now been closed for many years. The area of Magdalen Place is 27 acres, its ratable value is £453, and its population in 1871 was 16; in 1881, 27; and in 1891 there were only 16.
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894

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Historical Geography

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