Lambton (County Durham)
The village of Lambton lies just to the east of Chester-le-Street close to the A19. The village of Lambton was first recorded in 1421. The name comes from the Old English words for 'the farm where the lambs are kept'.
The village stands close to Lambton Castle which was constructed on the site of the former Harraton Hall, and designed by Ignatius Bonomi for 'Radical Jack' Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, "Radical Jack" the force behind the reform Act of 1832 and "father" of the unified Canadian state. Its features include towers and turrets, a buttressed hall and curtain walls set amid sweeping lawns. The original castle was dismantled in 1797, and the existing building constructed in 1833. Parts of the design may have been influenced by nearby Brancepeth Castle, and on the octagonal Guy's Tower at Warwick Castle. Underlying coal seams threatened the castle with collapse, and various shoring works took place. In 1865 part of the castle was dismantled and replaced by a great hall and various other additions, but this became unmanageable, and in 1932 many of the additions were demolished. The castle was surrounded by Lambton Park which covers nearly five acres of land. As well as open fields, there are several plantations of trees. Lambton Hall, the home of the Lambton family was demolished sometime before 1787. The ruins of the brewery were turned into two cottages known as Brewery Cottages.
Local legend tells of the Lambton Worm (or dragon) which was slain by a bygone Lambton heir, after he took advice from a local witch. The witch then cursed him because he refused to kill the first living thing he met after his victory and it is said that all subsequent Lambtons will die a violent death because of this curse.
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