Above are two pictures of St Michael & All Angels Church. The one to the left is taken around 1960's and the one to the right is a very early view with a date unknown.
Pictured above is the doorway of St Michael & All Angels Church, Houghton Le Spring, The Statue of Christ which can be found within the church and also the Cenotaph which is located in the grounds of St Michaels.
Pictured above is the outside of St Michael & All Angels Church, Houghton Le Spring and Newbottle Street.
Pictured above are two further photographs of St Michael & All Angels Church. The right hand picture shows the Golden Lion Public House in the corner which is where the Friends hold their meetings each month.
Pictured above are two views of the War memorial which is located in the grounds of St Michael & All Angels Church.
Pictured left above is Newbottle Street & pictured right is Church Street, Houghton Le Spring.
Pictured above left is a view of Newbottle Street and pictured right is Sunderland Street around 1916.
THE WHITE LION
A view above is the White Lion around 1932. The White Lion still stands today.
Landlords of the White Lion found to date are:-
1861 - Mary Harrison
1871 - Joseph Johnson
1881 - Samuel Smythe
SAMUEL SMYTHE - 1834 - 1887
Samuel Smythe was born circa 1834 in Ireland. His headstone lies on the outskirts of the plateau. His stone simply states Affectionate Remembrance of Samuel Smythe who died October 25th 1887
. The other side of the stone is in rememberance of his infant child Isabella Smythe who died September 2nd 1878 aged 7 months.
Pictured above is how the Rectory Park looked in days gone by. The newly formed group The Friends of Houghton Le Spring Rectory Park are now trying to restore the park to its former glory.
Two views of the Market Place, Houghton Le Spring around 1890's.
Above is a copied newspaper cutting recently loaned to the group. The top picture shows the outside of Hillside Cemetery and also Houghton Cut. The bottom picture shows the Broadway. Can anyone put any dates to these pictures??
THE GOLDEN LION INN
Until recently The Friends held their monthly meetings at the Golden Lion Pub on the corner of Sunderland Street. This is the reason why some research has been carried out. Unfortunately a short while ago the Golden Lion was sold and is now an Italian Restaurant
The Golden Lion Public House or the Golden Lion Inn as it was known in the past is believed to have been built around 300/400 years ago. It is an old building comprising of a bar, snug and back room. In the past it is believed to have been used as a Coaching Inn as its position was on the main road through Houghton Le Spring to Sunderland and Durham.
It is believed that the Golden Lion Inn was originally owned by the Rector of Houghton Le Spring. Using records such as Trade Directories and Census Returns the following information has been obtained regarding past landlords/licensed victualltors.
In 1841 a Thomas Surtees was the landlord/inn keeper. He resided there with his wife Ann, son William aged 2 and Mary aged 1. Thomas remained at the Golden Lion in 1851 but his wife is shown as Isabella. There ware three children Mary Ann aged 11, Sarah aged 6 and Isabella aged 1. Research has shown a death for an Ann Surtees in 1842 and the remarriage of a Thomas Surtees in 1844. In 1861 Thomas is still residing at the Golden Lion with his wife Isabella, Sarah aged 16 and Isabella aged 11. Sadly an entry in the burial records for Sarah Surtees coincides with her date of birth etc leading us to believe that she died and was buried at Hillside aged 26 in 1874.
By 1871 Mark Jobling was in residence and is listed as a Commercial Traveller/Licensed Victuallar. He lives there with his wife and 4 children.
Trade Directory of 1890 shows George Harding as Inn Keeper but by 1891 Hugh Sydney Hall and his family had taken over. The Trade Directory of 1894 confirms that Hugh Hall is still in occupation but by 1901 there had been a further change and Robert C Crofton was now landlord. This is confirmed once again in the 1902 Trade Directory.
The last record available at present is that of 1911 when Thomas Gittens native of Denbyshire and his family were in occupation.
Pictured left above is an old picture of the Golden Lion (picture was supplied by the current Landlord of the Golden Lion. Pictured right above is how the Golden Lion looks today.
The Poor Law Union In Houghton Le Spring came into existence on 20th January 1837 which covered 16 parishes including Hetton Le Hole and Painshaw, East & West Rainton, East & West Herrington, Great Eppleton, Silksworth and the East Parish of Bishopwearmouth. A Parliamentary report recorded a workhouse in Houghton le Spring in 1777 for up to 16 inmates. In 1824 a work house was erected on the east side of Sunderland Street for up to 20 inmates.
The new Houghton Le Spring Union took over and adapted the originating workhouse in Sunderland Street but in 1864 a new workhouse situated in William Street was erected. The design by Matthew Thompson was a T-shaped main block with male accommodation to the west and female to the east. There were rooms for the aged at the front part of the building and for children and able-bodied at the rear. The master’s quarters were at the far western end of the building adjacent to the workhouse’s main entrance which was located unusually at the rear of the building. The kitchen and the dining hall were in the rear wing of the main block.
In 1891 new offices and a board room were erected with the old board room being converted into lunatic wards including a padded room.
The workhouse has long since been demolished but existed in Houghton Le Spring for many years. It housed hundereds of inmates over the years and had several masters.
Using the records available the following Masters have been noted:-
1841-1861 - Henry Fairbairn (Buried at Hillside)
1871-1881 - Thomas Hope
1891-1903 - Edward Forster (Buried at Hillside)
Pictured above a map circa 1913 showing where the Workhouse was situated.
Warden Law is a small village on the outskirts of Houghton Le Spring. In years gone by the Hetton Colliery Railway ran from Hetton to Sunderland by crossing over the top of Warden Law. It was one the highest points in the area. It was also home to some of the farming community and also those who worked on the railways. Indeed our secretary's grandmother lived for many years at Warden Law with her family until she married and moved to a nearby village.
Pictured above are the platelayers sitting outside the 'bait' cabin. The gentleman pictured to the right in the back row is believed to be John Atkinson our secretary's great grandfather. He lived at Warden Law and also worked on the railway. His first wife Mary Hannah Atkinson (nee Finch) is buried at Hillside.
If you have any information regarding Warden Law or its occupants the group would love to hear from you.
On a bright spring evening some of the Friends set off to find the ruins of Cocken Hall, once the home of William Standish Standish. After parking the cars and walking along the road the group soon found what they believed to be the entrance of the estate for Cocken Hall. They went through the entrance and through the field to where the ruins are. A once grand establishment destroyed by fire reduced to ruins. An large outline of ruins no more than 2 feet high marks the area of where the house once stood. Below are some pictures of what the group found.
Pictured above left are the Friends at the original entrance to Cocken Hall.
Pictured above are several pictures showing the ruins of Cocken Hall.
Pictured below are some old photographs of Cocken Hall and how it used to look together with a picture of some DLI Soldiers who were stationed there during the war.
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY MEMBERS, FRIENDS AND READERS
Jacob Gibson is interred on the lower level of Hillside. The group are informed that he was a tailor & draper in Sunderland Street. He is believed to have owned a large amount of property in Houghton Le Spring namely a house in Pit House Lane, 4 houses in Sunderland Street, 3 fields (Longfield, Longriggs & Little Far Field), Nesham Hall and for a short while the Black Lion Public House. As Jacob was the son of a miner his descendants are a mystified as to how he came by his wealth but rumour states that his wife Margaret Alderson brought money to the marriage. Another theory is that a young Gibson girl was knocked down and killed by a truck at one of the Leamside Pits and the money was obtained by way of compensation.............Submitted by Allison Wright
Elizabeth Ann Hall
The Friends were recently contacted by Sue Collinge who submitted the following article to them. Elizabeth Ann Hall is buried on the lower level of Hillside.
During the 19th and early 20th century my family had a long history of living in County Durham and Northumberland. My grandfather moved down to the Midlands in the 1930s to find work and the family has been here ever since. Nevertheless to go back ‘up north’ feels like going home and I’m very grateful to the Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery for all their hard work in looking after and restoring this valuable burial ground. Thank you.
The story behind a headstone.
Elizabeth Ann Hall (circa 1834/5 – 26 December 1877)
Elizabeth Ann was my great great grandmother. She was buried in Houghton Hillside Cemetery in the same grave as two of her children, Mary and James. The headstone reads:
In affectionate remembrance of Mary Maria beloved daughter of James & Elizabeth Ann Hall of Houghton Le Spring who died July 9th 1867 age 8 years. Also James Hall son of the above who died July 12th 1877 age 3 years also Elizabeth Ann Hall of White House mother of the above who died December 26th 1877 age 42 years.
Elizabeth’s story – a brief summary.
Elizabeth’s maiden name was Morgan. We first find her on the 1841 census, aged 6, when she and her family were living in Brandon, Co Durham, which makes her birth date around 1834/5.
The family were close to Joseph and Mary Davison who lived in Market Place, Houghton Le Spring. Elizabeth lived with them during her teenage years so it’s probable that Mary Davison was her older sister.
She married James Hall of Hexham, on 13 March 1859 by licence in The Parish Church, Houghton le Spring. Heavily pregnant at the time, her daughter Mary Maria was born just a month later.
James and Elizabeth began their married life living with the Davison’s at Market Place and continued to live with (or near) them over the next few years moving with them to Nesham Place and later, by 1871, living in Mount Pleasant.
Sadly, during this time their eldest daughter, Mary Maria died, as is shown on the gravestone, and was buried in Houghton Hillside Cemetery. Her death certificate records her as dying from inflammatory fever.
White House Farm
In late1876/early 1877 James and Elizabeth with their growing family of 5 boys and 2 girls
moved to White House Farm, Copt Hill, Houghton Le Spring where family members farmed for the next 40-50 years. Sadly, their son James, aged 3 years, died in July 1877 and Elizabeth died of Phthisis (tuberculosis) in December. She was 42. And so Elizabeth and her two children, Mary and James are all buried in the same grave in Houghton Hillside Cemetery.
My great great grandfather, James, continued to farm at White House until his death, aged 73 years, in 1904 when his son, Joseph Davison Hall took over the farm. James’ daughter, Mary Elizabeth, my great grandmother moved away from Houghton on her marriage to Robert Middleton of Shincliffe but sadly she died of tuberculosis, aged 28 years.
The search goes on
I’m looking for more of my ancestors, some of whom may be buried in Hillside.
James Hall, of White House Farm, died 29 May 1904 aged 73 years (my gg grandfather)
William Percival Hall of White House, died 5 August 1886 aged 20 years (son)
Percival Hall of White House Farm, died 18 May 1892, aged 74 years (brother of James)
Robert John Hall of 29 Mount Pleasant, Houghton died 4 Sept 1912 aged 36 years (son)
Joseph Davison Hall of 64 Sunderland St, Houghton died 3 August 1936 (son). He farmed at White House from 1904 until, I believe, the late 1920s.
As yet I cannot trace James and Elizabeth’s remaining two children: Edwin (born 1868) and Sarah Jane (born 1872). Research is ongoing.
If you have any information on any of the above then I’d be delighted to hear from you via the Friends of Houghton Hillside cemetery. I have so much more information I could share and I’m always looking for new information myself.
Robert & Mahala Swales
Recently the Friends discovered the headstone belonging to Robert & Mahala Swales. The stone which is in very good condition has been placed on the plateau for visitors to see. Shortly after its discovery they were contacted by a descendant of Robert and Mahala, who supplied the following background information regarding the couple.
Robert Swales was part of the large Swales family who were potters and pot hawkers and came originally from Burton in Lonsdale. Robert arrived in Houghton from Stockton but his immediate family lived at Aycliffe. He was born at Hawsker and baptised at Whitby in 1812. Mahala (1) was baptised at Driffield in 1812, a daughter of Maria and Jacob Scott. She married Robert Swales at Stockton in 1833. Robert and Mahala (1) came to Houghton sometime before the 1841 Census. Mahala (2) Swales was born in 1847 at Houghton. At some point Robert and Mahala (1) started the shop in Newbottle Street but I can't find out when. My grandfather said that when his mother, Mahala (2), was small her parents left her in Houghton with other family members and went off to collect and sell more pots so they were obviously firmly based in the area then. (Census 1841 puts them in Newbottle Street Census 1951 Robinson Lane, Newbottle, Census 1861 Grey Horse Lane, Houghton le Spring Census 1871 Newbottle Lane, Houghton le Spring and Census 1881 Newbottle Street, Houghton le Spring and there they seem to have remained. It looks as though the shop was started between 1851 and 1861 before which I think they had a warehouse in the area.
The Greenhows came to Houghton from Penrith via Bishopwearmouth and Hetton le Hole and were originally butchers. William Greenhow who married Mahala (2) Swales was a cartwright on his marriage to Mahala Swales and the marriage took place in Bishopwearmouth in 1876. The couple lived at 26 Newbottle Street with Mahala's mother, Mahala (1).
Unfortunately I have forgotten when the shop closed but someone might remember. After William Greenhow married Mahala Swales he helped to run the shop and on her death and that of her mother he ran it until my grandfather, Robert Greenhow, took it over. Then my Uncle Robert Swales Greenhow ran it until it closed. In my grandfather's and uncle's day it was a china and hardware shop.
Pictured above is a photograph of the Greenhow Hardware store, Houghton Le Spring
Pictured above is Mahala Greenhow (nee Swales)
If anyone has any further information/photographs regarding either the Greenhow's or Swales this would be greatly appreciated by our reader and details can be passed to her by us.
Joseph & Mary Jane Wanless
The following was supplied by Mrs Kathleen Tiernan who the group recently met when she visited Hillside in search of her grandparents grave.
My main thoughts of my grandparents, Mr & Mrs Wanless are ones of happiness. I was one twins and we had 2 cousins and when we visited them they were always happy times. Grandad used to like telling us amusing tales of their life whether it was trips out on a motorbike, incidents down the pit or as a medical orderly in the Army.
At one time my grandparents had a fish & chip sho at Anstey House in the Hall Lane area and I remember my Gran chopping bucketfuls of chips and battering the fish. They always had a good trade. When the dog racing track finished and all the men walked down to Hetton or Durham Road they would call in for their tea or supper.
I recall that the family would gather in their little living room in Edwin Street on New Years Day and we would have a roast chicken which was a big treat and my Gran would make a big bowl of pease pudding. It was a cosy room with the old black open stove, a treadle sewing machine and a thick velour cloth covered the table. We were cramped but we enjoyed it!!
Gran would make rag rugs and do alot of sewing and embroidery for us all. Grandad was very memorable for looking smart when he went out with his spats over his shoes, a watch and chain across his waistcoat and bowler hat - he seemed to know alot of people who always spoke back to him.
They had a long happy life together but now I know a bit more of the family history they had alot of sadness to which I was not aware of when I was younger.
When my Gran was widowed she visited her brother in Leicester and also visited myself in Luton several times. One morning I found that she had died peacefully in her sleep - a wonderful lady who meant alot to me and my own family especially my mother.
I am very happy to know where they are buried at The Old Cemetery. Their 3 daughters are also buried nearby.
One of the daughters buried nearby is Florence Layfield who was accidentally killed in 1934 in a motorcycle accident. Any further details regarding this would be appreciated.
Pictured above are Mr & Mrs Wanless outside their home in Edwin Street, Houghton Le Spring.
John & Frances Frost
The group have recently been contacted by Sanda Bremner one of their 'Friends' in relation to John & Frances Frost. The Frost memorial can be found along the left hand side of the pathway of the extension. John & Frances are Sanda's great great great grandparents. Sanda has shared the following information with us with regard to her ancestors.
John Frost was born around 1828 in Suffolk the son of Edward Frost an agricultural labourer. John married Frances Smith on 5th May 1856 at The Parish Church of Bishopwearmouth. The couple had 3 children, Mary (Sanda's great great grandmother), Elizabeth and Simeon Smith Frost.
Once John had moved to the Houghton Le Spring area himself and his wife lived at East Rainton before moving to Newbottle Street, Houghton Le Spring. Initially he had several jobs which included coachman to Sir George Elliott Bart (also interred at Hillside), a market gardener and fishmonger. These occupations were prior to him taking over the job of horse drawn omnibus proprietor from Amos Fatherley. This was a business John was to own for over 20 years. The buses ran six times daily from The White Lion Hotel in Houghton to The Station in Fence Houses.
It was said that John was one of the 'best known charactures of the district for miles around'.
John died on 18th February 1905 aged 77 years. His obituary read 'At the old cemetery, Sunderland Street, Houghton Le Spring, on Tuesday afternoon, the funeral took place of the late Mr John Frost. The deceased, who was 77 years of age, was one of the best known of Houghtons residents. For over 20 years he owned and drove the 'bus which still plies six times daily from the White Lion Hotel, Houghton to Fence Houses Station. The funeral was largely attended, and the service was fully choral, the deceased having been a regular attender at church'.
Frances out lived John by some 7 years and she was later interred at Hillside Cemetery after having died on 28th August 1912 aged 80 years.
John & Frances son Simeon Smith Frost was also a driver/groom with the omnubus company but sadly he died on 5th November 1898 aged on 31 years. He is buried along with his parents.
Pictured left is the Frost Memorial
Pictured above left is the omnibus driven by John Frost. The picture found to the right is thought to be that of John & Simeon Frost.
John & Frances middle child Elizabeth married James Phillips in 1885. Once of their children Adelaide Ruth Phillips is interred at Hillside and her mourning card is pictured below.
Strangely enough a Fatherley grave can be found adjacent to the Frost memorial.
If you have any further information relating to the Frost family please contact the group and your details will be passed on.
The following photographes were supplied to the Friends by Alan Dixon a recent visitor to Hillside.
More of these photographs can be found in the gallery section of this site.
A SAD AFFAIR
Upon visiting Hillside over the weekend of the 28th August 2010 the friends discovered a young fox lying dead on top of Rector Grey's tomb. It has now been removed but upset the group on its find knowing that it had been deliberately placed there as animals would normally go to ground to die and not lie somewhere in the open such as this.