Keys to the Past

Local History

Shadforth (County Durham)

Shadforth was first recorded in the Boldon Book in 1183 as 'Shaldeford' which translates to shallow ford; a nearby stream is locally known as' The Shald'.

Two probable Bronze Age sites can be found within one mile of the village whilst Iron Age earthworks are located locally.

A Saxon settlement dates from the 7th century but the present site of the village was not settled until 1080. One mile from Shadforth lies Ludworth village where important Medieval remains have been discovered. The ruins of Ludworth Tower can still be seen. In 1422 Bishop Langley gave Thomas Holden permission to built battlements onto his manor house. Only a few fragments of this building now survive as most of it collapsed in 1890. Traces of a fireplace and a staircase can still be seen. The building was originally 3 stories high and surrounded by a bank and a ditch, but they are no longer visible. Various banks around the tower cover fallen walls and foundations.

Local legend states that 'Witch Hill' is so-called because witches were burnt there. Similarly, 'Signing Bank' is believed to take its name from the sign of the cross that pilgrims would make as they came into view of Durham Cathedral for the first time.

During the First World War many inhabitants of the main settlements of the parish went off to the continent to serve their country and sadly many of them were killed. A number of memorials can be found around the parish that commemorate the actions of these individuals. The parish church in Shadforth contains a number of memorials in the form of plaques, ornaments and rolls of honour relating to each of the World Wars; a memorial cross commemorates those of Ludworth who served, whilst an obelisk and various memorials in a Working Men's Club and Methodist church are dedicated to men of Sherburn Hill.

Reference number:D6878
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.