Keys to the Past

Local History

Walworth (County Durham)

Walworth is a scattered village in gentle countryside to the north-west of Darlington.


There is no evidence for prehistoric occupation in the area although undoubtedly there would have been inhabitants in the area. The earliest settlers would have arrived in the Mesolithic period; this was before farming, and they would have collected food by hunting animals and gathering wild plants. Farming arrived in the area in the Neolithic period and by the Iron Age there were probably several small farmsteads surrounded by ditches and palisades.

The Romans arrived in County Durham in the 1st century AD. They built a number of forts in an attempt to control the local population. The forts were connected by a road leading north towards Hadrian's Wall, The road, known as Dere Street, is believed to run through the area, passing through Walworth Gate, although no actual archaeological evidence for this has been found.

In the medieval period a castle was built in Walworth. The building that can be seen here now was built on the ruins of a previous castle by Thomas Jennison, who had purchased the estate in the late 16th century. It was originally built around three sides of a square, though the front has now been blocked by a further row of buildings. Most of the building dates to the late 16th century, though some parts, such as the southwest tower are earlier. The building is now a hotel, and 17th century painted glass from the castle is now in the Bowes Museum. It is thought that King James VI of Scotland stayed here in the way to his coronation as King of England in 1603.

Traces of the medieval village are still to be seen north of the castle, in the fields immediately east and west of North Farm. The surface area is very disturbed, and ditches and short banks divide the area into small enclosures. Two rows of building foundations can be seen as well as other isolated remains. The chapel of the village of Walworth was built around 1180. It is has become part of a farmbuilding. Although, the building has been much altered, the remains of a medieval (1066 to 1540) door and window can still be seen

Reference number:D6900

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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.