Keys to the Past

Local History

Sacriston (County Durham)

The village at Sacriston grew into its current form as a mining village; the Victorian terraces where the miner's lived can still be seen. However, before its development as a pit village the name for this area was 'Sacristonheugh'. In 1312, the village of Sacriston was first recorded as 'Segrystenhogh' meaning spur of land (heugh) belonging to the Sacristan. The Sacristan (or Sacrist) was the 'keeper of sacred things' at Durham Cathedral. The remains of the manor house can still be seen. The oldest parts of the building are 13th century in date and lie to the north end of the building, where a doorway of this date can be seen. There are also remains of a stone vaulted room. Other remains include an old stone staircase, a 15th century window and the remains of a garderobe - a kind of simple medieval toilet.

Going back even further there are hints of an Anglo-Saxon settlement nearby. A small gold pendant of 7th century date has been found (it is usually known as the Sacriston Pendant). It is unusual for a piece such as this to be found so far north. It is now on display in the Bowes Museum.

The village has a number of buildings that contain war memorials, a building that was once a war memorial in its own right, and a village memorial. Fulforth Community Centre was built in 2009/10 with the area in front of the building being pedestrianised as part of a town regeneration scheme. The pedestrianised area was formerly the site of Sacriston Memorial Institute, a large building with a clock on top that was built as a First World War memorial and meeting place. Foundation stones from the original building are now incorporated in seating areas around the pedestrianised area in front of the Community Centre and a clock sculpture perhaps harks back to the presence of a clock on the original building in this location.

A memorial cross is also located outside of the Community Centre but this was relocated here in 2010 from its original position in a memorial garden further up the road that was demolished to make way for a supermarket car park. Other relocated memorials include WW1 plaques from St. Peter's Church (now closed) which were moved to the Community Centre and the Working Men's Club, and a WW1 memorial window from the church that is now in Hartlepool Museum and Art Gallery as a prime example of designer Philip Bennison's stained glass work.

Reference number:D6871
Event(s):The identification of Historic Landscapes in Durham Project; Chris Blandford Associates

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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.