Keys to the Past

Local History

Hurworth (County Durham)

The village of Hurworth lies on the banks of the River Tees, about three miles to the south of Darlington. The earliest settlement from this area may be of prehistoric date. Aerial photographs of the area around Round Hill may be the slight traces of a prehistoric field system, though the dating evidence is not certain.

It is not until the Roman period that we have the first certain evidence of occupation. Aerial photographs show what is probably the corner of a Roman fort. This may have been built to defend the river crossing- other fortified river crossings are known at Greta Bridge and Piercebridge, also on the River Tees. Also in the parish at least three Roman (AD43 to 410) coins issued by the Roman emperor Constantine, who lived in the early to mid 4th century were found here. They had been made in the German town of Trier.

It is not clear what happened in this area during the Anglo-Saxon period. The village had certainly been founded by the late Anglo-Saxon period as the village takes it name from the Old English for 'farmstead enclosed by hurdles'. There was certainly a church here by the 9th century. Fragments of at least two 9th century stone carvings have been found in the churchyard. However, the church itself is purely of medieval date. The church appears to have been altered or rebuilt in the 12th century. The church was altered again in the 15th century, but as the church was almost completely rebuilt in the 1830s all that survives are part of the tower and the columns in the aisle. The stone effigy of Sir Robert Fitz William who died in 1316 can be seen in Huworth church.

The road bridge over the River Tees was probably first built in the 15th century, though it was restored in 1673 and widened in the 18th century. The bridge links the parishes of Hurworth and Croft and crosses the county boundary into North Yorkshire. Before the construction of the Blackwell Bridge in 1832 to replace a ford all traffic entering Darlington from the south crossed this bridge.

In the east end of the village cottages built in 1715 are found. Various other buildings can also be dated to this period, including The Old Hall, Hurworth House School,The Old Parsonage. Eighteenth and nineteenth century houses are situated around the village green. The most famous of these originally belonging to William Emmerson (1701-1782), a famous mathematician.

Those of Hurworth who served in the First World War and WW2 are commemorated on a number of memorials in and around All Saints Church, including a plaque dedicated to members of the congregation, numerous other plaques or pieces of furniture donated by the families of fallen individuals and the village memorial in the churchyard in the form of a cross with polished panels bearing the dedications.

Reference number:D6839

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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.