ancient village founded in Norman times, possessed
a market charter granted in AD 1312. In the early
19th century it was a very important coach centre
with the "Expedition" running daily to Leeds.
From 1828 the town
flourished by manufacturing agricultural
requirements, like saddlery and straw hats. Flour
milling and shoemaking were also carried on.
The medieval Church is a well known landmark with
its tall tower. A woodworker named Robert Barker
did much to enhance the interior with woodwork
done in a classical style and magnificently
The former Rectory is an interesting 18th century
building and has been converted by the local
Community Association for community use and is
renamed Ceddesfield Hall.
One of the main attractions in the village is the
racecourse used for National Hunt racing and is
the only one in County Durham.
The converted hotel at Hardwick Hall, which was
originally built by J. Bardon in 1748, has on its
doorstep the beautiful Hardwick Country Park which
helps to serve the Borough's needs for countryside
leisure activities. Good shops, clubs, sports
facilities and the "village green" help to make
Sedgefield a very attractive place.
Other places within the Borough include:
Bishops Middleham once belonged to the
Bishops of Durham during the Middle Ages, and
today its inhabitants are involved in quarrying
and agriculture. It is an attractive village with
the interesting 13th century Church of St.
Michael. It is also the burial place of County
Historian, Robert Surtees of Mainsforth Hall.
Bradbury is a small agricultural village
which lies to the west of Sedgefield. It is
interesting to note that the marshy land near the
village is of glacial origin.
Butterwick, once a medieval village, is a
dairy farming area, lying south east of the River
Chilton has a medieval history dating from
before 1388. The later main development was based
on the Chilton and Mainsforth Collieries which are
now closed. Although mining has declined, Chilton
is still a busy village with a new Industrial
Cornforth is situated north east of
Ferryhill and the main source of employment was
the former Thrislington Colliery. During the 19th
century the main industries were paper mills,
brick works and agriculture. Now, limestone
quarries provide the main source of wealth.
Ferryhill, an industrial town of some
11,600 inhabitants, is greatly influenced by its
situation between the old Great North Road and the
main north-south railway line. Road improvements
carried out n 1920 did much to increase the
importance of the town. Ferryhill was a thriving
village in medieval times and also had close
connections with the Monastery at Durham. Some
coal mining was carried out from the 12th century
up to the 19th century and from then on other
major undertakings were carried out. An old grey
stone in the wall near the site of Cleves Cross
Farm is said to commemorate the slaying of the
last wild boar of Brancepeth by Sir Roger de
Ferie. Ferryhill in ancient times was known as
Ferry, the second part of the name referring to
the mile long hill (400 feet above sea level)
where can be found the Town Hall, Market Place,
many shops and some small hotels and inns.
Fishburn, up until the first World War, was
an agricultural village but the opening of the
colliery in 1913 led to a transformation in the
character of the village. This change was further
reinforced by the establishment of the Cokeworks
in 1954. Both are now closed and modern housing
estates surround the old village.
Mainforth Village lies between Bishop
Middleham and Chilton, where Chilton Colliery was
formerly the main place of employment. The name
derives from Main Fort which suggests either Roman
or Danish occupation.
Mordon is a small village and in medieval
times was part of the See of Durham. The rich
farming land stands at a high altitude and is also
situated near marsh and moor.
Trimdon has some 5,000 inhabitants who live
in Old Trimdon, Trimdon Grange and Trimdon
Colliery. Old Trimdon is a place of considerable
antiquity because there is evidence of Bronze Age
discoveries. In 1020 it was visited by King Canute
and in 1146 the Church was given to Guisborough
Priory. The parish was purchased by the Roper
family during the reign of Henry VIII after the
Dissolution. The wide street crosses Garmondsway
Common and contains 18th and 19th century houses.
The opening of Trimdon Colliery brought prosperity
to the village in the 19th century but this is now
closed and the area reclaimed.
Windlestone and Rushyford is situated
on the old Great North Road and has the attractive
and much patronised Eden Arms Hotel which has
served travellers over many centuries. Windlestone
Parish includes the hall and the park, which were
in the hands of the Eden family from the time of
Queen Elizabeth I. In 1920 the hall became the
Wayfarers Benevolent Association Headquarters and
has been used as a POW camp and a refuge centre,
and is now a residential school used by Durham
Newton Aycliffe - The name "Newton
Aycliffe" was derived from the oak trees which
grew in forests in early times (Acle and Yackley
were the old names). Newton Aycliffe was the first
New Town in the North of England. It was
designated on 19th April 1947 on a site of 865
acres, with a target population of 10,000. The
town's prime purpose was to provide housing and
amenities for the works on the industrial estate
being developed on the site of the former Aycliffe
Royal Ordnance Factory. The Target population for
the town has been amended on several occasions.
Its current population is around 28,500.
This is one of the most beautiful villages
within the Sedgefield Borough.
It has a population of under 1,000 and a well
kept and attractive village green that is
surrounded by interesting old houses.
It is from this village that the New Town
takes its name.
Aycliffe Village Green -
photo Sedgefield Borough Council
Spennymoor - The name 'Spennymoor' was
derived from two words, the Latin - Spina (Thorn)
and the Saxon - Mor (Moorland), which provided
An important Roman Military settlement called
Vinovium (Binchester) built midway between
Piercebridge and Corbridge, formed the first
community in the Borough.
During the Middle Ages the Spennymoor area was the
property of the Earls of Northumberland and later
possessed by the Nevilles who, in 1569, forfeited
their land to the Crown because of the failure of
the Rising of the North. By 1862 the Borough had
become the property of the Church and was
controlled by Bishop Van Mildert of Durham. The
moor was the common centre which linked Kirk
Merrington, Whitworth, Old Park, Binchester, Byers
Green and Tudhoe, and provided free grazing for
all cattle in the Borough.
Spennymoor suffered under Norman Rule when the
Conqueror laid waste the whole of the North of
England. Wild animals roamed about the moor and
outlaws terrorised the inhabitants. In the 13th
century, Merrington Priory acquired all the
grazing rights from the surrounding villages. the
Charter of 1279 mentions Tudhoe and Spennymoor. At
this time, the Scots were constantly attacking and
robbing the inhabitants. In 1346, Merrington
Church and Village, and Croxdale, were closely
associated with the Battle of Neville's Cross.
1616 marked the commencement of coal mining and
this was the beginning of a new outlook and later
prosperity in Spennymoor. During the 1800's,
Spennymoor continued to prosper. New collieries
opened at Whitworth and an Iron Foundry at Tudhoe.
Housing was speedily improved but 1879 saw the end
of industrial progress and a terrible colliery
disaster at Tudhoe added to the problems.
Of course, the town is
now thoroughly up-to-date as this photograph
of the Leisure Centre shows.
Shildon - The first railway town, is a
friendly place, steeped in railway history, and
can claim to have sent forth the first passenger
train to be hauled by a steam engine. The earliest
community probably existed in Roman times but
there is also definite evidence of people living
in Shildon in the 10th century. In Anglo Saxon
times, there was mention of Shildon in the years
AD821 and 990 when it was associated with South
Church, Bishop Auckland. Shildon remained under
the protection of the Church from 1085 until the
dissolution in 1547. In 1862, Shildon commenced to
build wagons when the new engine works at
Darlington were opened. Shildon's connections with
the railway continued until 1984 when the Wagon
Works were closed. Timothy Hackworth's cottages
and the renovated Soho Engine Sheds are now
museums and open to the public.