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Help and advice for West Rainton

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West Rainton

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"This parish, comprising the townships of Cocken, Moorhouse, and West Rainton, was formed from the parish of Houghton-le-Spring by an Order in Council dated 15th May 1838, and constituted a separate and distinct parish. "Cocken Township comprises an area of 437 acres, and its ratable value is £689. Moorhouse is a small township, comprising an area of 277 acres, and its ratable value is £2184. Rainton (West) Township comprises an area of 1776 acres, and its ratable value is £15,077." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

West Rainton Parishes



Cocken Township

"The population in 1801 was 17; in 1811, 59; in 1821, 59; in 1831, 71; in 1841, 65; in 1851, 96; in 1861, 77; in 1871, 104; in 1881, 184; and in 1891, 176 souls."
"The number of inhabitants in 1801 was 435; in 1811, 629; in 1821, in consequence of the extension of coal-mines, 1160; in 1831, 1184; in 1841, 1054; in 1851, 1509; in 1861, 1447; in 1871, 2237; in 1881, 2888; and in 1891, 2793."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the West Rainton area or see them printed on a map.


Church History

"The Church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a fine stone building, in the French Gothic style, erected in 1864, on the site formerly occupied by a small chapel, built in 1825. The church consists of nave, aisles, and chancel, with a tower and spire at the north-west angle. The total cost of the church itself was £6000. The tower and spire, which is 130 feet high, was added in 1877, and was the gift of Sir George Elliot, in memory of his daughter. The church stands well from the road, within a spacious burial-ground, and will seat 500. The living is a rectory, valued at £405, in the gift of the Bishop of Durham, and in the incumbency of the Rev. George Dale Copeland, B.D."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

There is a picture (14 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Cuthbert, East Rainton; supplied by George Bell.

There is a picture (41 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Mary, West Rainton; supplied by Richard Hird.


Church Records

The Parish Registers for the period 1825-1987 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/WR).

Marriage indexes for 1827-1837 (12 kbytes) from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1827-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

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

  • East Rainton 1866-1972 (EP/ER).
  • Moorsley 1947-1950 (EP/Mly).

Description and Travel

"Cocken Township is about five miles north-north-east of Durham, where the river Wear forms a most beautiful curve, and almost encloses Cocken Hall. AEllafus, a priest, gave Cocken to the prior and monks of Durham, who afterwards exchanged it for land in Wolviston, and it subsequently passed to the priors of Finchale, under whom the Kibblesworth, Birtley, and Lumleys held land.
"The village of West Rainton is about four miles north-east of Durham, and formerly contained an ancient chapel with chantry dedicated to the Virgin Mary; some of the old stones may be seen in the different buildings in the village. The Old Hall, situated in the centre of the village, was built about 1690, by Sir Jno. Buck, now in a state of dilapidation, and let in tenements occupied by pitmen. There is a library, reading, and news-room here. There are two batteries of the Second Durham Artillery Volunteers, having a drill-hall here, built by the Marquess of Londonderry in 1880, the headquarters being at Seaham Harbour.
"Leamside is a village in this township, about half-a-mile west of West Rainton, where the station on the Durham and Newcastle branch of the North-Eastern Railway is situated.
"Middle Rainton is another village in this parish, situated half-a-mile north-east, on the high road from Durham to Sunderland. Rainton Gate and Pit House Lane are hamlets in this township."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

There is a description of the new parish and township of East Rainton within the ancient parish of West Rainton.

You can see pictures of West Rainton which are provided by:



Ask for a calculation of the distance from West Rainton to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.

Historical Geography

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