Keys to the Past

Local History

Lartington (County Durham)

Lartington is a cosy little village about 3 miles from Barnard Castle. It shelters behind a wood to its north. The B6277 skirts the southern boundary of Lartington Park and the Hall which was built during the reign of Charles I.

The earliest remains from the parish date to prehistory. A number of prehistoric flints have been found close to Towler Hill, not far from the river. These are microliths of Mesolithic date. They probably mark the site of a temporary camp used by early hunters passing through the area going to or from the high moorlands of the North Pennines, where they may have hunted wild animals during the summer. More permanent settlements may be indicated by the presence of cup marks carved onto a large slab of rock at Lartington Rigg. These probably date to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age period - they may have had some religious purpose and could also have marked the boundary between agricultural land and open moorland. A Bronze Age (2300BC to 800BC) spearhead was found in 1994 during building work at the Old Smithy in Lartington. It is not known where it originally came from, but it was probably found in the surrounding area.

The Romans arrived in this area in the 1st century and built forts at Bowes and Greta Bridge, and there may have been an important crossing point on the Tees at Barnard Castle. However, there is no evidence that the they moved much further up Teesdale. No remains of this period have been found at Lartington.

Again there is little known about the village in the Anglo-Saxon period, although the village name is of Old English origin suggesting that there must have been a settlement here by the 8th or 9th centuries AD. The village itself was recorded in the Domesday Book. A chantry to Our Lady is also recorded as having stood in the village, probably founded by the Fitzhugh family.

To the south of the village lies Lartington Hall and its surrounding parkland. The landscaped park stands to the east of Lartington Hall. Much of the village was built as an estate village for the hall. It is mainly open parkland with scattered groups of trees. The garden is surrounded by a wall with a circular ornamental bastion at the south-east corner. The north wall is decorated with a series of urns and statues. The gardens were laid out by architect Joseph Hansom of 'Hansom cab' fame.

Built originally in 1635, Lartington Hall is a Grade II* listed country house. For over 300 years it was the ancestral home of one of the north's most wealthy Catholic families, who added a fine chapel and a ballroom.

The chapel was replaced by a church dedicated to St. Laurence, though this has now been turned into a private house. This was not the only place of worship in the village. There was a Wesleyan congregation here from 1912. They first worshipped in a loft and then a temporary hut was used for Methodist worship. A Wesleyan Church was finally built in 1923. Quakers also met in the house known as the Nook.

Although the area remained as a farming village it could not avoid the Industrial Revolution. A large aqueduct was built in 1863 to carry the Lartington Beck over a railway cutting through which the South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway ran. The line ran from Barnard Castle over Stainmore to Tebay. Nearby, Deepdale Viaduct was built to carry the railway line from Barnard Castle to Penrith. It has now been demolished.

Today the village contains many attractive houses, many stand around the village green which is shaded by trees. This area was a traditional village green in medieval times and was later planted with Great Wellingtonia and dams were built in order to create a village pond.

A rifle range that crosses Deepdale Beck along the southernmost edge of the parish first appears on maps of the late 19th century and stays in use for a number of decades. It is likely that this was used during the First World War as a military training site associated with the Deerbolt Camp immediately south in the parish of Startforth.

Reference number:D6854
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.