"This parish, which contains the ancient townships or quarters of Swalwell and Whickham, and part of Fellside, is bounded on the north by the Tyne, on the west by the parishes of Winlaton and Stella, on the south-west and south by Lamesley and Marley Hill, and on the east by Dunston. The ancient parish also included Lowside or Dunston, which was formed into a distinct parish in 1872, and that part of Fellside which includes the villages of Marley Hill and Sunniside, which now form part of the township of Marley Hill.

"Whickham Township, which embraces the whole of the above mentioned places, has an area of 5993 acres, with a ratable value of £38,614.

"Fellside Quarter contains Gibside estate and several small hamlets. Its area and ratable value are included in the parish returns."

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



"The population in 1801 was 3659; in 1811, 3746; in 1821, 3713; in 1831, 3848; in 1841, 4319; in 1851, 5565; in 1861, 5921; in 1871, 6483; in 1881, 7951; and in 1891, 9143."

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


Church History

"The Church, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, is an ancient edifice, which was completely restored in 1862, and to which was added a second north aisle, and a chancel aisle or organ chamber, at a total cost of £2800. The original portions of the building still remaining are of the Late Norman period, and consist of the chancel-arch, nave arcades, square western tower of two stages, and part of the south walls of the chancel and south aisle. The tower, which was probably embattled in the fifteenth century, contains six bells. Prior to 1657, there must have been only one bell; but in that year two additional bells were placed, bearing the inscription, "William Bellany, 1657 ;" the three other bells, with the illuminated clock, were presented by the friends and tenantry of the late Ralph Carr Ellison, Esq., of Dunston, as a tribute to his memory, and were placed in position, March 1888. All the seats are free, and will accommodate about 570 persons. The living is a rectory, valued in the Liber Regis at £20, 8s. 11 1/2d. (gross income, £747), in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor. The Rev. Canon Henry Byne Carr, rector."

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

There is a picture (93 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Cuthbert, Marley Hill; supplied by Richard Hird.


Church Records

"The register dates from 1575." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

The Parish Registers for the period 1576-1983 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Whm).

Marriage indexes for

from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

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

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

  • Dunston, Christ Church 1872-1976 (EP/Dun.CC).
  • Dunston, St. Nicholas 1929-1978 (EP/Dun.SN).
  • Swalwell 1905-1989 (EP/Swa).

Description & Travel

 "The hamlet of Fellside is about five and a half miles south-west of Newcastle, and is partly in the parish of Marley Hill.

"Gibside is situated on the river Derwent, six miles south-west of Gateshead. It is difficult to convey any adequate idea of the beautiful and magnificent scenery of this place ... The Hall is delightfully situated on the Derwent, in a retired situation, and is in that style of architecture which prevailed about the commencement of the seventeenth century.

"From an early period, coal-mining has formed a chief item of industry in this parish, and we find as early as 1333, Bishop Bury granted leases for the mines to Sir Thomas Gray and John Pulhore, rector of Whickham. The upper seams in many places have been almost entirely worked out, and disused shafts are numerous throughout the parish. There are now two collieries working, the Axwell and Swalwell.

"The village of Whickham is about 3 1/2 miles west from Gateshead, and occupies the crest of an eminence which commands a beautiful prospect of the vale of the Tyne from Newburn to Newcastle. Besides the usual village tenements, which are well built and substantial, there are many genteel residences, and in the neighbourhood are several fine mansions, situated I the midst of well-wooded grounds. Near the village is a stratum of burnt earth, consisting chiefly of clay and stone, which, tradition says, was caused by the English army setting fire to their camp, previous to their hasty retreat, when the Scottish forces crossed the Tyne from Newburn in 1640. The burning camp communicated with a seam of coal, which is said to have burnt for several years with great fury.

"Swalwell is a populous village situated in the valley near the junction of the Tyne and Derwent, about half-a-mile north of Whickham and four miles west of Gateshead."

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

You can see pictures of Whickham which are provided by:





Gateshead Libraries local history project with lots of local-history information and photographs from Gateshead and the villages in the Gateshead MBC area. These include a page for Whickham.

There is a page on the 20th Century History of Whickham.

There are pages from the early 20th century relating to:

There is a page created by the late Tony Brown about the Ironmasters of the Derwent Valley.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NZ206611 (Lat/Lon: 54.944055, -1.679964), Whickham which are provided by:


Military Records

"Officers and Men from the Gateshead Area who gained Honours during the Great War 1914-1918". This has 374 names. Gateshead Library have photographs of all of them and can supply copies.

In addition there are the following pages:listing WWI Rolls of Honour for the following townships-