Keys to the Past

Local History

Annfield Plain (County Durham)

The area that is now the village of Annfield Plain was originally part of Lanchester Common. Most of the land was rough pasture or woodland. Very little is known about this area in the prehistoric, Roman and medieval periods. A number of cropmarks have been recorded in the area, but their date and purpose are not known. Later building and industrial development has undoubtedly destroyed a lot of earlier remains.

The earliest buildings in the area were probably those of sheep farmers from the 1500 and 1600s. Mining was established from the late 1600s and became the main industry in the area, with many shallow mines being dug. The growth of mining led the laying of the Stanhope and Tyne Railway in 1834, which allowed the transportation of coal. A large set of limekilns was also built at this time, close to the railway lines. The limestone arrived by rail and was fuelled by local coal.

The village name, was originally Anfield, but it was later changed to Anfield Plane following the building of the railway on 'the Plane' between Annfield Plain, Oxhill and Stanley. In 1856 the spelling was changed to the 'Annfield Plain', and it was around this time that the first houses were built (60 houses for miners at the Pontop Colliery). In the mid 1800s more and deeper mines were built, including the South Derwent Colliery in 1872.

During the 19th century the village grew in size, and many new buildings and businesses were established including a brewery, a mill, a candle factory, a school, a Church of England church and Primitive Methodist and Methodist chapels. The old Stanhope and Tyne railway was remembered in a 19th century pub of the same name, which stood by the level crossing over the Old Stanhope and Tyne railway.

Reference number:D6638

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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.