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Help and advice for Wolsingham

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"Wolsingham Parish, which comprised the township or quarters of Town, East, South, and Park Quarters, with the manors or estates of Helm Park, Thornley, Bladley, Newland, and Harelaw, is bounded on the north and east by Thornley and Tow Law, on the west by Frosterley, and on the south by Hamsterley parish. Its area is 21,000 acres, and ratable value £33,499. It is partly traversed by the outcrop or boundary of the coalfield, and consequently borders on the great lead-mining district of Durham, Northumberland, and Cumberland. "Wolsingham Town is charmingly situated on the north bank of the river, surrounded by hilly and picturesque scenery, through which the rivers Wear and Waskerley flow. It is fast becoming a place of summer resort, and well repays the visitor by its numerous and pleasant walks. It is about 16 miles west from Durham, 23 miles south-south-west from Newcastle, about 10 miles north-west from Bishop Auckland, and 260 miles north-north-west from London. The town is fairly well laid out, lighted with gas, and supplied with excellent water - the latter by the Weardale and Shildon Water Company, and the former by the Wolsingham Gas Company. There were formerly eight annual fairs, held as follows - on the 12th of May and St. Matthew's Day, September 21; the Tuesdays before the 1st and 31st of March, and before the 12th of May; the 15th of September; the 2nd and 29th October; and the 23d November, for cattle &c. The only cattle fair now held is on the same day as the Wear Valley Agricultural Society holds its annual show. The other fairs are of the past. In 1892 the county show was held here very successfully. The bridge, which was here crosses the Wear, was rebuilt in 1892. The old one, which was built in 1772, replaced one that was washed away by the flood of the previous year. The town is entered from the east by a bridge over the Waskerley. "Frosterley Parish was formed May 1866, partly from Wolsingham and partly from Stanhope parish, having an area of 6120 acres. Frosterley is a township, manor and village; and at the period of the compilation of Boldon Book, was held by Ralph Cant. The village of Frosterley stands on the north bank of the river, surrounded by beautiful scenery. It is on the turnpike between Wolsingham and Stanhope, three miles west of the former and two south-east of the latter. Chapel Close is known as the site of and ancient chapel, the remains of which have entirely disappeared. Like its neighbouring villages, the inhabitants of Frosterley are chiefly employed in the quarries with which the district abounds." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]



"The population in 1801 was 1834; in 1811, 1983; in 1821, 2197; in 1831, 2239; in 1841, 2086; in 1851, 4885; in 1881, 2501; and in 1891, 2600 souls."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]


"It contained in 1801, 604 inhabitants; in 1821, 763; in 1831, 847; in 1841, 854; and in 1851, 988."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894

Church History


"The Parish Church, anciently dedicated to St. Mary and St. Stephen, but now known as St. Matthew's, is a handsome edifice, which was entirely rebuilt in 1848, with the exception of the lower stage of the tower, which dates from the late twelfth century, being of the Norman Transition style. The rest of the church is in the Early English style, and comprises nave, with north and south aisles, chancel, and tower."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

There is a picture (11 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Mary and St. Stephen,Wolsingham; supplied by George Bell.


There is a picture  of  St Michael and All Angels; supplied by George Bell.

"The Church, situated within a burial-ground, on rising ground on the south side of the village, is a good stone structure, in the Early Decorated style. It consists of nave, with north aisle, chancel, and square tower at the west end, surmounted by an elegant octagonal spire. The internal aspect is very good. The church is dedicated to St. Michael and will seat 230."

Church Records


"The parish register dates from 1655." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

The Parish Registers for the period 1631-1965 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL.

The Marriages (1653-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index


The Parish Registers for the period 1866-1976 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Fr).

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

  • Thornley 1848-1964 (EP/Th).
  • Tow Law 1875-1969 (EP/TL).

There is a small file of 22 baptisms. Wolsingham and Weardale Baptisms. The source was Durham Record Office document DRO D/Ph35/1-2 which is described as Wolsingham and Weardale Baptisms - denomination unknown.

Description and Travel

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

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Historical Geography

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


Military Records

Rolls of Honour for: -