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Darlington, Durham

Historical Description

Darlington, a market and union town, a municipal and parliamentary borough, a township, a parish, and a ward in the county of Durham. The town stands on a declivity i-loping to the river Skerne, adjacent to the York and Newcastle railway, near the boundary with Yorkshire, 18¼ miles by road, and 23½ by railway S of Durham, and has various railways running from it in different directions. It is 232 miles from London. It dates from remote times, figures in the history of St Cuth-bert, and had long a residence of the Bishops of Durham, which was built about 1162, and in which the Princess Margaret lodged in 1504 on her way to Scotland. It began to develop after the construction in 1825 of the Stockton and Darlington railway, the first railway in England on which locomotive engines were employed, and was incorporated in 1867. The town is exceedingly well drained, well lighted, and has a good supply of water from works belonging to the corporation. A covered market on a fine plan was built in 1864. and an extensive cattle market in 1878. A drinking fountain in granite and bronze was erected in 1859. St Cuthbert's Church was founded by William de Carilef, bishop of Durham about 1080, and remodelled about 1160 by Bishop Pudsey; is a spacious cruciform structure, partly Norman and Early English, with a central tower with spire 180 feet high; was formerly collegiate, with four chantries, and has carved stone stalls, and highly-finished western door. It was enlarged and thoroughly restored in 1862-65 by Sir G. Gilbert Scott at a cost of nearly £10,000, and was entirely re-seated in 1885. There are also Holy Trinity, St John's, St Paul's, St James', St Luke's, and St Hilda churches. A Congregational chapel was built in 1862, a Presbyterian chapel in 1865. and each has a tower and spire. The Roman Catholics have two chapels and two nunneries. There are also Baptist, Wesleyan, Free Methodist, and Primitive Methodist chapels, and a Society of Friends meeting-house. There are two cemeteries, opened in 1858 and 1877. A grammar school founded in the time of Elizabeth has about —£270 from endowment, and several scholarships and exhibitions; it was re-organized by the Endowed School Commissioners in 1874, and rebuilt in 1876. There is a girls' high school, a training college for schoolmistresses, and a school of art, and there are numerous charities. There is a literary and scientific institution, with a large room for lectures, and a free public library. There is also a mechanics' institute, with a lecture room and library. Public baths were erected in 1850; a public park, comprising about 20 acres, was opened in 1853, and enlarged in 1881 by the addition of 24 acres. The workhouse was reconstructed from the bishop's palace, which had fallen into neglect. The town has a head post office, four banks, is a seat of sessions, and publishes several daily and weekly newspapers. Weekly markets are held on Monday, and fairs on the first Monday of March, Easter Monday, Whit Monday, the second Monday after Whit Monday, 10 Nov., and the second Monday after that date. There are worsted mills, tanneries, iron, steel, and brass foundries, wire works, breweries, and extensive locomotive works, and much trade is done by railway transit in connection with the mining districts of South Durham, West Durham, and Cleveland. The town gave the title of Earl to the Duke of Cleveland, and sends one member to Parliament. Area, 3602 acres; population of the parliamentary borough, 38,033.

The township has an area of 3368 acres; population, 35,899. The municipal borough has an area of 3945 acres; population, 38,060; it has a separate commission of the peace. The parish contains likewise the townships of Blackwell, Cockerton, and Archdeacon-Newton. Blackwell is the seat of the Havelock-Allan family. Bushell Hill commands a view to York minster. A medicinal spring is in the vicinity of the town, and salt springs are at Hell Kettles. The livings of Cuthbert, Holy Trinity, St James, St Luke, and St Paul, are vicarages in the diocese of Durham, as are the other churches mentioned above. Gross value of St Cuthbert, £238 with residence. Patron, Lord Bernard. Gross value of Holy Trinity, £300 with residences. Patron, the Archdeacon of Durham. Value of the others respectively, £300, £245, and £300 with residences. Patrons, the Crown and Bishop of Durham alternately, except St Hilda's, which is in the gift of the Bishop alone. Besides the churches there are several mission rooms.

Darlington gives its name to one of the four wards into which the county of Durham is divided. The ward commences 2 miles east of the town, goes northward to the vicinity of Durham, is bounded along the south and the south-west by the river Tees, and extends westward to the boundaries with Westmorland and Cumberland. Acreage, 295,571.

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 
Ecclesiastical parishDarlington St. Cuthbert 
Poor Law unionStockton-upon-Tees 

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

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Darlington from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Darlington are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

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

RegionNorth East
Postal districtDL1
Post TownDarlington