Keys to the Past

Local History

South Church (County Durham)

The village of Auckland St. Andrew, or South Church, as it is now usually called, is situated on the river Gaunless, which is at this place crossed by a stone bridge of one arch, and is one mile south from Bishop Auckland.

The most important monument in the area is the Church of St Andrew. It was probably of Anglo-Saxon origin and there are still the remains of a number of Anglo-Saxon stone carvings. These were found during building work on the church in 1891. These fragments include the remains of at least one carved stone cross. The cross can still be seen in the north-west corner of the church nave. Parts of a human figure can be seen carved onto the stone. It probably dates to the late 8th or early 9th century. Parts of a grave cover and grave stone of similar date can be seen nearby.


Near to the church stands the house of the college of Priests who were based at St Andrew's church. The building was first built in the 13th century, but was altered in the 14th century. Excavations in 1980 revealed medieval wall foundations at the south of the west range of East Deanery Farm. This building is possibly the oldest inhabited building in County Durham and represents one of a few secular college buildings to still be standing in County Durham.

South Church had several outlying settlements, including Henknowle. However, this medieval village has now disappeared. All that survives are the cropmarks of the houses, which can still be seen on aerial photographs of the area.

Reference number:D6886

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Disclaimer -

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.