Keys to the Past

Local History

Summerhouse (County Durham)

The small village of Summerhouse lies to the north-east of Gainford, not far from Darlington.

The earliest occupation in this area dates to the Mesolithic period. Two fragments of worked flint of this date have been found. They may have been used by the small bands of settlers, who would have survived hunting wild animals and gathering wild plants. Their lifestyle would have come to an end in the Neolithic, when farming began to be practiced. However, the presence of part of a stone Neolithic arrowhead shows that hunting must have continued to provide food. Other flint fragments, found at {Hopewell D922} may also be off this date.

During prehistory the main type of house would probably have been simple, circular round houses. By the Iron Age, groups of these small buildings would often be surrounded by ditches or palisades. It is possible that the rectangular cropmark enclosure which can be seen on aerial photographs of this area may be all that survives of one of these ditches.

The Romans arrived in the County Durham in the 1st century AD. The main Roman road north, Dere Street, ran not far to the east of Summerhouse. This ran from the fort at Piercebridge up to Hadrian's Wall.

The village of Summerhouse probably dates to the medieval period. The village plan, rows of houses around the village green, is typical of medieval villages of this period.

Reference number:D6893
Event(s):Heart of Teesdale Project Heritage Audit; North of England Civic Trust

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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.