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Help and advice for Merrington

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"This parish formerly included the townships of Merrington, Ferryhill, Hett, and Chilton; but on the formation of the parochial chapelry of Ferryhill, Chilton was included in its district, and Hett was constituted part of the chapelry district of Croxdale. Under the provisions of the Act 9 Geo. IV., for the better division of counties, the townships of Merrington and Chilton were transferred from the south-east to the north-west division of Darlington Ward, and Ferryhill and Hett were incorporated with Durham Ward. In April 1845 the township of Middlestone was transferred from the parish of St. Andrew's Auckland to that of Merrington. The parish is at present bounded on the north and north-west by the township of Tudhoe, in the parish of that name, and the chapelry of Whitworth; on the west by the township of Westerton, in the chapelry of Coundon; on the south by the township of Windlestone, in the same chapelry; and on the east by the townships of Chilton and Ferryhill. The parish is intersected by a high ridge of hills ranging from east to west.

"Merrington Township contains an area of 1961 acres and the value of property fixed for the county rate, in 1853, was £5765.

"The village of Merrington is situated on the ridge of a lofty eminence, which commands a view of one of the most beautiful and extensive landscapes in the county, comprising the village of Westerton, the vale of the Wear, with its elegant scenery near Bishop Auckland and Witton; the castle of Brancepeth, Cockfield Fell, Ushaw College, the city of Durham, and a great part of Cleveland. Before the battle of Neville's Cross the English forces were encamped here. The Weardale Water Co. provide a supply of water, which was previously much needed.

"Merrington Lane is a village on the northern boundary of this township, near the Ferryhill and Spennymoor railway line. Here is an old established iron foundry.

"Middlestone, a township in Merrington parish, the property of the Dean and Chapter of Durham, comprises 893 acres; and the property is valued fr the county rate at £11,377. Leasingthorne Colliery in this township wa sunk in 1835, and is now worked by Messrs. Bolckow, Vaughan, and Co. The output amounts to 700 tons per day, employing in all about 800 men and boys. There are 60 copper ovens here. This township comprises the villages of Middlestone, Leasingthorne, and Middlestone Moor, its inhabitants being employed in the coal mining.

"The village of Middlestone is situated on the road between Bishop Auckland and Merrington, about two and a half miles east-north-east from the former place, and comprises a few farm-houses, an inn, and several cottages.

"Leasingthorne is a colliery village, owing its origin to the opening of the colliery. It is situated on rising ground three miles east from Bishop Auckland, and one mile south of Merrington.

"Middlestone Moor, on the Auckland and Spennymoor Road, three and a half miles from the former, is also a colliery village. Here are a chapel-of-ease, Board school, and three chapels."

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




"The number of inhabitants in 1801 was 228; in 1811, 242; in 1821, 290; in 1831, 339; in 1841, 431; in 1851, 504; in 1861, 913; in 1871, 1313; in 1881, 1663; and in 1891, 2128 souls."

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


"The population in 1801 was 78; in 1811, 88; in 1821, 117; in 1831, 92; in 1841, 113; in 1851, 451; in 1861, 359; in 1871, 482; in 1881, 1733; and in 1891 was 1941."

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

The 1851 Census Index (booklet 120) published by the Cleveland Family History Society may be of value to researchers interested in this parish.


Church History

"The Church is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, and stands upon the site of a former very ancient one. The present church, which was entirely rebuilt in 1851, is a copy of the former one, in the Norman style, consisting of nave, long low-roofed chancel, north transept, and massive square tower, at the intersection of the transept, 72 feet high. The cost of rebuilding was about £1400, which was defrayed by the Dean and Chapter. The living is a vicarage in the deanery of Auckland, and is a peculiar belonging to the Dean and Chapter, valued in the Liber Regis at £14, 4s. 9d. In 1846 it was endowed with the tithes of Merrington, amounting to £88. 18s., and the present value is about £400, including 15 acres of glebe. Rev. Richard Coulton, vicar."

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

There is a picture (11 kbytes) of the parish church of St. John the Evangelist, Merrington; supplied by George Bell.

There is a better picture (34 kbytes) of the parish church of St. John the Evangelist, Kirk Merrington; supplied by Richard Hird.

There is a picture (34 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Aiden, Chilton; supplied by Bill Henderson.


Church Records

"The parish register commences in 1578." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

The Parish Registers for the period 1579-1967 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Mer).

Marriage indexes for 1579-1837 (62 kbytes) from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1579-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

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

  • Chilton, St. Aidan 1925-1989 (EP/Ch).
  • Chilton, St. Oswald 1878-1894 (EP/Ch.SO).
  • Ferryhill 1848-1913 (EP/Fer).

Description and Travel

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Historical Geography

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