Whellan's Directory, 1856


Whellans Directory, 1856, Darlington Ward – South East Division
This extensive parish, the most northerly one in the southeast division of Darlington Ward, comprises the townships or constableries of Aycliffe. Brafferton, Preston-le-Skerne, and Woodham. It is bounded on the north by Merrington and Bishop Middleham, on the south-west by St. Andrew's Auckland, on the west by Heighington, on the south by Haughton-le-Skerne, on the south-east by Bishopton, and on the east by Sedgefield and Great Stainton.
GREAT AYCLIFFE township is supposed to have derived its name from its ancient oak woods. It contains 2,134 acres, and the amount of property assessed for the county-rate in 1853, was £3,978 155. 8d. The population in 1801 was 610; in 1811, 633; in 1821 807; in 1831, 937; in 1841, 823; and in 1851, 812 souls. The Stockton and Darlington,-the Stockton, Hartlepool, and Clarence,-and the York, Newcastle. and. Berwick Railways pass through this township. The station of the latter is a little east of the village. Great Aycliffe, as well as School Aycliffe, in the parish of Heighing­ton, was one of those mortgaged by Bishop Aldune to the Earls of Northumberland. Simeon of Durham informs us, that it was restored to the see at the time of Canute's pilgrimage; but the registers of the church state that Scot, the son of Alstane, at a later date gave Aycliffe to St. Cuthbert. Bishop Flambard received a confirmatory grant of Aycliffe from the crown, specifying that it was one of those places that the people of Northumberland bad injuriously claimed against St. Cuthbert and the see. In 1379, 1388, and 1484, the monks of Durham were licensed by Bishops Hatfield, Fordham, and Dudley, to acquire lands in this parish, in consequence of which the dean and chapter are now proprietors of nearly all the land in Great Aycliffe, which they let 0n 21 years' leases, renewable every seven years. The Earl of Eldon, ­Addison, Esq.; John Harrison, Esq.; Samuel Swire, Esq.; Stephen Burdon, Esq.; and Benton Ord, Esq.; J. J. Metcalf, and Mr. Daniel Mumby are also landowners.
The Village of Great Aycliffe is pleasantly situated five miles north of Darlington, on the west bank of the Skerne, which here gives motion to two corn mills. It comprises four inns and public-houses, several workshops, and the customary tradesmen's shops. The Skerne frequently overflows its banks in this neighbourhood, and inundates the adjoining meadows. Linen was formerly manufactured to some extent in this village, but it was discontinued about the year 1837; and the principal trade of the place now consists in lime burning, which is extensively carried on by Mr. George Chapman and .Mr. Stephenson.
The Church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is situated  on a hill west of the village, and forms a striking object in the scenery of the neighbourhood. It consists of a nave with side aisles, a chancel, tower, and southern entrance porch. It is an ancient edifice, but was considerably repaired in 1835, when u gallery was erected by subscription. The greater portion of the interior was newly plastered in 1852, and the south porch re-erected. The pews are of the date 1600, and are well designed seats, with balustraded back. In the chancel there is an effigy of a knight, with his hands clasped on his breast, his sword sheathed, a plain shield on his left arm and a dog at his feet; and within the altar rails is a flat slab, on which are sculptured two crosses. In the porch beneath the tower are the fragments of two curious

Saxon crosses which formerly stood in the churchyard. One of them is richly sculptured and bears a representation of the Crucifixion. The parish register commences in 1560. The living formerly a rectory but now a vicarage is a peculiar belonging to the Dean and chapter of Durham, valued in the Liber Regis at £20; gross income £282. The great tithes ofAyc1iffe are assigned to the  third stall in Durham Cathedral; and those of Preston-le­-Skerne, Ketton ,and Ricknall, to the eight stall.. The dean and chapter have granted in augmentation of the endowment, a house, a garden. and two pieces of  land, annexed £10 ;  Brafferton tithes (previously belonging to the third stall) £60; annual value, £70. Rev. John Davie Eade, M.A., vicar; Rev. William Eade, M.A., curate.
Here is a Methodist Chapel, a . suitable building, erected in 1837.
Heworth is an estate in this township, consisting at present of a single farm, situated on the main road, about a mile to the north of Aycliffe. At the time of the compilation of Boldon Book, it was held by William Brus, by foreign service and 15s. rent. It afterwards passed to the lIotons of Herdwyk, who conveyed a portion of the vill to trustees for the Priory of Durham. The remainder was transferred by marriage to the Hebbornes. This property was subsequently held by the Sa1vins, Byerleys, Millbankes, and Watsons, and now belongs to Samuel Swire, Esq.
Charities.-William Bell, by will, dated December 28th, 1800, bequeathed £100 to the vicar and churchwardens of Aycliife, to be by them invested in government securities, and the annual dividend paid to the village school­master. The dividend at present produced from stock in the new four-percents is £3 18s. 2d, which, after deducting necessary expenses, is paid to the master, and in consideration of which, he instructs eight children, nominated by the vicar and churchwardens, in reading, writing, and accounts, at 3d, per week each, which is less than half the ordinary charge. The school-house WAS built by subscription, and possesses no other endowment. It was enlarged in 183. ,-Thomas Gibson, by will, February 3rd, 1702, gave to the poor of the township of Great Aycliife his close, called the Millholme, then of the annual value of 40s and of which the lease from the dean and chapter was to be from time to time renewed by the vicar, who should distribute the rent thereof in white bread to the said poor every Lord’s day at the commu­nion table. After deducting the necessary expenses for rent and renewals, the remainder is expended weekly in the purchase of eighteen penny white loaves, which are given by one, two, or three loaves each, to poor old persons attending divine service.



POST OFFICE, AYCLIFFE: Daniel Munby, postmaster.-Lettcrs arrive from Darlington at about 10 a.m and are despatched thereto at 3 20 p.m.


Adamson William, veterinary surgeon

Harrison R. school master

Alderson Mary Ann Ellen, milliner and dress maker

Johnson Jane, read and biscuit baker

Best Thomas, platelayer

Marley Miss Lucy

Coulson J. tanner

Mole Thomas, police constable

Dobson R. hay dealer

Munby Joseph, watch maker

Eade Rev. J. D., M.A., Vicarage

Richmond William, gardener

Eade Rev. William, M.A., curate

Robinson G. stone mason

Gill J. miller

Sheriff William, school master

Hadrick Henry, miller (John & H. Hadrick)

Stonehouse C. miller

Harland J. cattle dealer

Swire Samuel, Esq. Aycliffe House



Page 349

Academies and Schools



Atkinson Ann

Burnup Ralph

Brecken T.

Harrison Richard

Carter John (and wood merchant)

Farmery James (and draper and druggist)


Croft Ralph

Hutchinson James

Lockey Robert (and horse shoer)

Wilkinson Cuthbert

White John (and draper)

Robinson T.


Hotels, Inns, and Taverns

Boot and Shoe Makers.

Carter Charles, Hill House

Bay Horse, M. Atkinson

Barker Thomas

Chapman George (and lime burner)

Travellers Rest

Dobson Robert

Clement Wm. Wood Farm

Green Dragon, Charles Bell

Hutchinson James

Downes Thomas

Gretna Green Wedding, Sarah Munby, Traveller’s Rest

Hutchinson Robert

Elcoat Richard

North Briton Hotel, Daniel Munby

Kent George

Harland J.

Royal Telegraph, Ralph Walker

Lax John

Hill John

Lime Burners

Wilkinson Thomas

Hughff W.

Chapman George (& farmer)


Milburn William

Stephenson M.

Davison J.

Ord Benton


Kent B.

Robinson T. P.

Dixon Thomas

Wood D.

Searle W.

Mills John (merchant tailor)


Stainsby F



Stephenson M.



Vickers John, New House



BRAFFERTON is a township and village, the principal proprietors of which are Sir C. Hardinge, Bart., and the trustees of the late A. Wilkinson, Esq. The area of the township is 2,400 acres, and the property was valued for the county rate in 1853 at £2,845. The number of inhabitants in 1801 was 212; in 1811, 204; in 1821, 263; in 1831, 247; in 1841, 211; and in 1851, 206 souls. The York, Newcastle, and Berwick Railway extends into this township for upwards of a mile. Lands were formerly held here by the families of Chauncellor and Brafferton, and afterwards by the Eures, Forsters, Killinghalls, Aslakbys, Wrenns, and Millbankes. The present proprietors are the gentlemen above mentioned. The manor of Ketton, in this township, was granted to the convent of Durham by Bishop Carileph, and it continued in their possession till the Reformation, It was afterwards possessed by the Darcys, Belasyses, and Millbankes, and is now possessed by Frederick Harding Esq.
The Village of Brafferton is on the east side of the Skerne, about a mile south of Aycliffe, and four-and-a-half miles north of Darlington. Here is a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel; and a school-room was erected by subscription in 1823, and endowed with £12 a year by the Diocesan Society,
Ketton House is situated on rising ground above the Skerne, east of the great road, and two miles south of Aycliffe,
Newton Ketton is a leasehold estate, held by Sir C. Hardinge, Bart. To the north-east of this estate there is a singularly-shaped field in which four rivulets have their sources; and, during a great part of the year water may be observed running in four different directions.


Alderson George, cattle dealer

Haddrick, J. & H. mi1lers

Bruce John, blacksmith

Headlam Thomas, cattle dealer

Bruce Ralph, blacksmith

Pattinson Thomas, shoe maker

Cooper John, schoolmaster

Scott Robert, shopkeeper

Crow Jacob, shopkeeper

White Thomas, corn dealer

Dodshon Thomas, cartwright

White Thomas, jun., joiner and teadealer

Page 350


Ord John, Newton Ketton

Best Thomas P.

Paylor G.

Crow George & John (and cattle dealers)

Swainston G.

Dinsdale Thomas

Vickers J.

Dunn Edward, East Ketton               

Waugh Joseph, Newton Ketton

Hopps William



.PRESTON-LE·8KERNE township contains 2,010 acres, principally the pro­perty of the Earl of Eldon: and its annual value is £2,968 19s3d. The population in 1801 was 119; ill 181l, 127; in 1821, 126; in 1831, 176; in 1841, 131; and in 1851, 190 souls. Lands were formerly held here under the Nevilles, by the De la Poles, Roger Thornton of Newcastle, and the Walworths. In 1384, those lands passed to the Claxton family, from whom they were transferred to the Conyers of Horden. They were sold by the latter family, in 1771, to Rowland Burdon, Esq., for £20,000, and a considerable portion of them were afterwards conveyed to Mr. Paul Watson, of Bradbury. Grindon, 0r Howhills, an estate in this township, is bounded on the north by Morden Carrs, in Sedgefield parish, and was held of the Earls of Westmoreland by the Morden family. It is now the property of the Earl of Eldon. The Clarence Railway extends over rather more than two miles in this township.


Broddy John, vict. and smith



Hill Elisba, brick and tile manufacturer, New Moor Tile Works

Brunton Matthew, How Hills

Richardson William


Dobinson Thomas

Robinson James

Anderson Thomas

Howe Henry

Smith William


Hughf W.

Watson William, Grindon


Richardson Thomas

Wood Benjamin


WOODHAM township forms the northern part of Aycliffe parish, and comprises an area of 3,705 acres. It contained in I1801, 166 inhabitants in 1811,165; in 182I, 183; in 1831, 204; in 1841, 207; and in 1851, 209. The value of the property rated in 1853 was £3,883 10s. 1d. Portion of the C1arence; and York, Newcastle, and Berwick railways are in this township. Woodham was held by Thomas de Ackley in 1291, and was subse­quently the property of a. family which bore the local names. It wa.s afterwards possessed by the Ayscoughs and the Jennisons, coming ultimately to the Lambtons, by whom it was sold to the family of the  present proprietor, the Earl of Eldon. John Lawson, Esq., Mr. George Hodgson, of Woodham Burn, and others, are also landowners.
The Village of Woodham is situated on the great North Hand, about eight miles from Darlington; and consists of an inn, a farm house, a blacksmith’s shop, and a few cottages. Tradition informs us that at some remote period, this place was burned down by the Scots, and the foundations of buildings may yet be discovered near the Skerne, which is here crossed by a bridge. Races were formerly held on Woodham Moor.
Nunstainton is a hamlet in this township, six miles north-east of the parish church. It is situated near the Skerne which separates it from Bradbury and the Isle, in Sedgefield parish; and consists of two good farm houses with their offices, and a corn mill.
Ricknall Grange is situated on the Skerne, near Preston, six and a half miles north of Darlington; it comprises three farms and a steam mill, which are leasehold under the See of Durham: Traveller’s Rest a hamlet, partly in this township and partly in that of Great Aycliffe, is situated on the North Road, six miles from Darlington.


Pallister Thomas, blacksmith

Hodgson Geo. (yeoman), Woodham Burn

Robinson R. miller

Raine John, Nunstainton

Smith Robert, vict. & platelayer, Stag Inn, Woodham village

Robson J.

Thompson R bailiff

Swinbank George

Willis C. miller

Turnbull George. Woodham Moor


Walker H.


Walker John, Ricknall Grange


Wilkinson Robert


Wood William, Ricknall Grange