Byers Green (County Durham)
The parish of Byers Green lies to the west of Spennymoor. The first settlers probably moved into this area in the Mesolithic period, though no remains from this period have been found. A small flint tool has been found, but it is probably of Neolithic date. By the Bronze Age people were certainly living - and dying - in the area. A large stone burial cairn used to stand in the parish, but opencast coal mining has now destroyed it.
The arrival of the Roman period saw few changes in the area - a Roman road ran through the parish, and a fragment of Roman pottery has been found, but beyond that no other remains have been found.
It is not known whether there was a village at Byers Green in the Anglo-Saxon period. The village name is quite late; it was first recorded in 1345 as Bires. It is probably the exact equivalent of the modern word 'byres'. The village name thus means '(the green by the) cowsheds'.
In the medieval period there was a substantial village at Whitworth, though most of it was demolished when Whitworth Park was created in 1420. All that remains is the big house, some other 18th century houses, a church and a 19th century vicarage. Byer's Green remained a farming area throughout the medieval period and into 16th and 17th century. Most people would have worked on the land. However, Byer's Green was also the birthplace of Thomas Wright (1711-1786) a noted architect, astronomer and mathematician. He was one of the first scientists to suggest a theory for the origin of the Milky Way.
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