Keys to the Past

Local History

Staindrop (County Durham)

Staindrop is an attractive village with stone houses standing around a village green, very close to Raby Castle.

Little is known about the prehistory of the area, although a number of flint tools have been found around Sink House. A Neolithic stone axe was also found in the village. This may have been used by early farmers to clear their fields before ploughing.

The village of Staindrop was first recorded in 1031, when it was given to the monks of Durham Cathedral by King Cnut. It was first mentioned in 1050 as 'Standropa' and derives from the Old English, 'Saen-throp', which translates to stoney village.

Staindrop was a busy Medieval village but presently the only standing remains of this period are at St. Mary's church. The church of St. Mary was originally founded in the late Anglo-Saxon period. The church is still used and contains some fragments of Anglo-Saxon carved stones. An Anglo-Saxon sundial is built into the chancel. Traces of the original nave of 10th or 11th century date can be seen. In the medieval period the church was attached to a college. A small monastery, of a type known as a college, was founded here in 1408 by Ralph, Earl of Westmorland. Although the site stood to the north of the church, no remains can be seen. The church now has a tall tower. Inside, a screen in front of the chancel dates to before the Reformation, it is the only one surviving in Durham.

The village developed under the influence of the Neville family and the Vane family, whose main house was Raby Castle, just to the north of the village. The Lords of Raby were buried in splendid tombs in this church. The Neville's in the south-west corner of the church and the Vane's in the north-west. The Neville's lost Raby castle following their support for the Rising of the North in 1569.

Two important medieval buildings stand in the village. Old Lodge was once an outpost of Raby Castle. Little is known of the history of the building, but its style is that of the late 14th century. It is L-shaped in plan and has three stories. The remains of a dry stone wall can be traced around the base of the mound in places. The building was restored c.1894 and most of the windows and doors are of that date. Snotterton Hall was the site of the old fortified manor house of Snotterton. It was mostly taken down in 1831 and rebuilt as a farmhouse. The original building had probably been built in the 15th century. Traces of the old building can be seen in a stone window in the southeastern corner of the courtyard. The remaining buildings of the village are of the 17th (the Manor House and Deanery), 18th (Church Bridge, the Vicarage and village cottages), and 19th centuries (the village pump, Alms houses, cottages, and the Methodist Chapel).

Staindrop's contribution to the First World War effort can be traced through the memorials of the village; the majority of which can be found within St. Mary's Church. Plaques and a book of remembrance commemorate those of the village who served and fell in the conflict whilst additional plaques and a roll of honour provide details of those who served during WW2. Elsewhere in the village a memorial reading room was added upstairs within Scarth Hall, originally built as the Village Hall in 1875.

Reference number:D6888

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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.