Archdeacon's Court

by Brian Gargate

The Archdeacon’s Court at Durham was a much dreaded institution where both clergy and laity were wont to make their bow – the former occasionally for neglect of duty and immoral conduct, and the latter for brawling in church, laying violent hands on the parson and like offences.  At Aycliffe in 1732 the curate led such a scandalous life that the people were leaving the church.  On one occasion he went so drunk to church he not could read the lessons properly, and at another time he broke out in fits of laughter during the administration of the Lord’s Supper.
North Country Sketches, Notes Essays and Reviews, p127. George Neasham. 1893.

In Louise Wilson’s ‘Annals of Aycliffe’, in 1732 the new curate of Aycliffe was John Wilkinson.  John had succeeded Robert Carr who had been the curate since 1688.  It seems likely that it was Robert Carr who stood before the Archdeacon’s Court at Durham.  Louise Wilson says he was possibly a local man.  John Wilkinson remained curate until 1754.