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Help and advice for Norton

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"This parish, which comprises the manor of Blakiston, but forms only one township, is bounded on the north-east and north by Billingham parish, on the north-west by Grindon, on the west by Redmarshall, and on the south and east by Stockton. Its area is 4614 acres, and the annual value of the property assessed to the county rate in 1893 was £30,000.

"The village of Norton occupies a pleasant situation on the road between Stockton and Sunderland, about two miles north of the former place. At the north end is a spacious green, surrounded by houses, and an avenue of fine trees runs the length of the village. In consequence of its healthful situation, Norton has long been a favourite place of residence with many professional gentlemen and merchants of Stockton, &c.

"The iron works, situated close by the station, established in 1855 by the West Hartlepool Iron Company, and affording employment to nearly 1500 hands, were laid out in 1877."

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



The monumental inscriptions in the churchyard of St. Mary have been transcribed, indexed and published by the Cleveland Family History Society.



"The population in 1801 was 965; in 1811, 1053; in 1821, 1186; in 1831, in consequence of the employment of a number of labourers on the railway works, it was 1486; in 1841, 1623; in 1851, 1725; in 1861, 2317; in 1871, 2842; in 1881, 3195; and in 1891, 3789."

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

The 1851 Census Index (booklet 16) published by the Cleveland Family History Society may be of value to researchers interested in this parish.


Church History

"The Church - This ancient and venerable edifice, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, stands on a slight elevation near the village to the north. It is a cruciform structure, consisting of nave, transept - from the intersection of which springs the central tower - aisles, and chancel. The parts of the original building still remaining are said to belong to pre-Conquest or Saxon times, and the date of their erection is uncertain. These are the north and part of the south transepts, and the tower; but the massive piers and semicircular arches by which the latter is supported seem strongly to indicate an early Norman origin. The nave as it now stands was built during the Norman Transitional period, which prevailed from 1145 to 1190.

"The church has passed through many periods of restoration, the principal one being in the year 1876, carried out with questionable taste in the Tudor Gothic style. All the stained glass in the church is of modern date and of more than average excellence; the windows in the south wall of the chancel, representing incidents in the life of Bernard Gilpin, vicar of Norton, 1554, are of especial interest and value. Norton is the mother-church of the adjacent town of Stockton-on-Tees, and in 1237, when a chapel was erected at Stockton, the parishioners were permitted to have therein baptism, burial and all other ecclesiastical rights, but were still required to visit the mother-church at Norton on the feast of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin (the 15th of August) bringing with them their offerings."

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

There is a picture (57 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Mary, Norton; supplied by Kenneth Sherwood.

There is a larger picture (113 kbytes) of the Parish church of St. Mary; supplied by Kenneth Sherwood.

There is a site dedicated to St. Mary's Parish Church.


Church Records

"The parish register commences in 1574." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

The Parish Registers for the period 1574-1989 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Nor).

The Marriages (1754-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

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

  • Norton, St. Michael 1913-1975 (EP/Nor.SM).

Description and Travel

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Historical Geography

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