Keys to the Past

Local History

Headlam (County Durham)

Headlam lies to the west of Darlington, just to the north of Gainford. It was once part of the large parish of Gainford, but is now a parish in its own right. The earliest evidence for occupation in the parish dates to the Neolithic period- around 4000BC to 2300BC. A Stone hammer of this date was found here in 1905. Such hammers may have partly been used to clear trees from the land before it was ploughed for farming. Several other fragments of flint tools of prehistoric date have been found elsewhere in the parish.

Despite these very early remains, there is little else of historic or archaeological importance in the parish until the medieval period. This is a little surprising, as the Roman fort and small town at Piercebridge is only a few miles to the south-east.

Headlam was not the only village in the parish- nearby Langton was first recorded as 'Langadun' in 1050. Langton and Headlam have both shrunk in size- though at both sites the earthwork remains of early buildings can still be seen. However, some remains of the medieval period survive better- the {ruins of a building D1618} in Headlam may be all that survives of a medieval chapel- the village did not have a parish church as it was part of Gainford parish.

More importantly was {Headlam Hall D12910}, which was first built in the 16th century by the Brocket family, although there was probably an earlier building at the site. The remainder of the house is of 18th century date and a north-east wing was added in1912. The building is now a hotel.

Reference number:D6818
Event(s):Heart of Teesdale Project Heritage Audit; North of England Civic Trust

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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.