Keys to the Past

Local History

Fishburn (County Durham)

The small village of Fishburn lies a couple of miles to the north of Sedgefield, and about the same distance to Trimdon. The village itself lies on the small limestone hill to the north of the River Skerne. The river forms the southern boundary of the parish.

The village is first recorded in the medieval period, when it was called 'Fissebourne'. The name probably came from the Old English for 'fish burn/stream'. This suggests that there was probably a village here since the late Anglo-Saxon period. As is often the case the village gave its name to the family of the Lords of Manor. The family was first recorded in 1084, when Ranulf de Fissebourne was recorded in a document mentioning a chapel at nearby Hardwick.

By 1821 there were over 50 houses in the parish. In 1846 the Methodist Chapel was opened (it finally shut down in the 1930s and is now a shop). Fishburn Hall may have had its origins in the 1300s, was originally the home of the Lords of the Manor. However, by the 19th century it had become a boy's school. By the early 20th century the house was used as a store for agricultural produce. It fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1953. An old mill stood on the eastern edge of the village. A mill was first mentioned in the Boldon Book and it may have been on the same site as this later building. It was finally demolished in 1933. A windmill also stood in the village, but it was demolished by the 1880s.

Until the arrival of the coal industry in the early 20th century the area was a quiet, farming area. The village began to grow in size and in 1911 the first colliery houses were built. In 1912 further houses were built at Park View and Maughan Terrace. In the early 20th century the village included the main street, Front Street, several farmhouses, a church, a village school and Fishburn Hall. A welfare hall for miners was built in the 1920s and became the mains social centre for the village, until the Working Men's Club was opened in 1961.

During the First World War there was a landing ground at Catley Hill (also known as Trimdon Landing Ground). This was one of a number of landing grounds around County Durham that were used utilised by aircraft of 36 Squadron from 1916 to 1918. Commemorative plaques can be found in the timber church of St. Catherine's dedicated to those of the parish who fought, served and died in each of the World Wars.

Reference number:D6795
Event(s):The identification of Historic Landscapes in Durham Project; Chris Blandford Associates

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Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.