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Durham St Oswald

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Durham St Oswald Parishes



Elvet Township, Borough, and Barony

"In 1801 the population was 1827; in 1811, 2115; in 1821, 2621; in 1831, 2916; in 1841, 3344; in 1851, 4207; in 1861, 4140; in 1871, 4340; in 1881, 6293; and in 1891 there were 5590 souls."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

Church History

"St. Oswald's Church occupies an elevated position, at the top of Church Street. It is surrounded by a large burial ground, and commands a fine view of "the sunny gardens and houses of the Bailey on the opposite side, clustered at the feet of the reverend abbaye which rises proudly behind them." A church was founded here before the Conquest, but the present structure cannot lay claim to so high an antiquity. The present church is principally of three dates, the earliest portion being the eastern part of the arcade formed by the pillars and arches of the nave, which were probably built about the year 1190, in the episcopate of Bishop Pudsey, a great patron of architecture. The alterations which were considered necessary a few years ago, owing to the failure of its foundations by the workings of a colliery, have destroyed many fine features, and deprived it of much of its ancient character. It consists of nave, aisles, chancel, and tower, the latter being in the Perpendicular style. There are sittings for 600, which were entirely new when the whole of the interior underwent restoration in1883. The church was repewed at the time of the recent alterations, and the nave partially filled with seats. The living, which is a vicarage, valued in the Liber Regis at £16, is a peculiar belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Durham, but does not pay any procurations to their official, or to the archdeacon. Rev. A. W. Headlam, M.A., vicar."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

There is a picture (71 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Oswald, Durham; supplied by Paul R. Joiner.


Church Records

The Parish Registers for the period 1538-1973 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Du.SO).

Baptism and/or marriage registers for the period 1538-1751 are indexed in the International Genealogical Index, a copy of which is available at the County Record Office.

Marriages for the period 1538-1751 are indexed in Boyd's Marriage Index.

Marriage indexes for 1538-1734 and 1735-1837 from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1538-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

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

  • Bearpark 1879-1976 (EP/BP).
  • Durham, St. Francis 1963-1964 (EP/Du.SF).
  • Durham, St. John 1913-1976 (EP/Du.SJ).
  • Shincliffe 1826-1991 (EP/Shi).

Description and Travel

"Elvet Township, Borough, and Barony is the most extensive of the townships (in Durham), comprising the south-eastern suburbs of Durham, the race-course, St. Oswald's Church, the new railway station for Sunderland, county gaol, and Old and New Elvet. Its area prior to 1886 was 3800 acres. In that year Finchale Abbey farm of 250 acres was severed from it and transferred to Framwellgate township, leaving an area of 3550 acres, with a ratable value of £23,658 in 1892."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

There is a description of the following new parish within the ancient parish of St. Oswald: -

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Historical Geography

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