Keys to the Past

Local History

Stainmore (County Durham)

Stainmore is at the highest point of one of the most important passes over the Pennines, joining Yorkshire and Durham with Lancashire and Cumbria. This pass has long been seen as a crucial communication route. Certainly the Romans swiftly built a series of forts to protect this transport link. Military camps stood at Greta Bridge, Bowes (Lavatrae) and even on the very top of the pass itself, where the earthwork remains of the defences can still be seen.

In 954 it was the site of an important battle between the army of Eric Bloodaxe, the Viking king of Northumbria, who ruled his kingdom from York, and an group of Vikings from Dublin under their leader Maccus. It is in records of this battle that we first have historic records of the pass. First mentioned as Stanmoir c 990 and Stanmore in 1348, the name is derived from Old English stan and mor, referring to the many boulders and exposures of the limestone and other rocks

The high, rough nature of the surrounding area has meant that the area has traditionally been one of sheep farming, with the occasional lead mine and quarry in the 19th century



Reference number:D6889

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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.