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Painshaw, Penshaw or Pensher, Durham

Historical Description

Painshaw, Penshaw or Pensher, a village, a township, and an ecclesiastical parish in Houghton-le-Spring parish, Durham. The village stands on an eminence, adjacent to a junction of the Sunderland and Durham railway with a line to South Shields, and near the river Wear, 5½ miles SW by W of Snnderland; takes its name from the words pen, and shaw, signifying " a hill " and " a wood;" consists of two parts, called Old Painshaw and New Painshaw; and has a station at the railway junction. The Victoria Bridge takes the railway over the Wear, in the vicinity of the village; was erected in 1838 at a cost of about £35,000, and measures 710 feet in length, 21 feet in width, and 130 feet in height. The township comprises Shiney Row and part of Cox Green. Acreage, 1084 of land and 12 of tidal water; population, 2918. There is a post, money order, and telegraph office at Sbiney Row, under Fencehouses. The Earl of Durham is lord of the manor and chief landowner. There are collieries, stone quarries, and an iron foundry. An open Doric temple, 100 feet long, 53 feet wide, and 70 feet high, stands on Penshaw Hill; was erected in 1844-45 to the memory of the first Earl of Durham, and commands an extensive panoramic view. The ecclesiastical parish is more extensive than the township, and was constituted in 1830. Population, 3210. There is a parish council consisting of five members. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Durham; net value, £332 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Manchester, The church was built in 1754. There are a Wesleyan chapel and a parish hall (built in 1892) at Painshaw, and Wesleyan, Reformed Wesleyan, and Primitive Methodist chapels, and a reading-room at Shiney Row.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyCounty Durham 
Civil parishHoughton le Spring 
Poor Law unionHoughton-le-Spring 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Painshaw, Penshaw or Pensher from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for County Durham is available to browse.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering county Durham online: