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Lanchester, Durham

Historical Description

Lanchester, a village, a township, and a parish in the county of Durham. The village stands on Smallhope Burn, and on a branch of the N.E.R., near a Roman station, 7½ miles WNW of Durham; consists largely of building material taken from the Roman station; was formerly a place of greater importance than at present; is a- seat of petty sessions and a polling-place; and has a head post office, a station on the railway, and a police station. The Roman station was on an eminence a little to the W; stood on Watling Street, near the junction with Wreken Dyke; formed a parallelogram of 183 yards from N to S, and 143 from E to W; was surrounded by a vallum of ashlar work, from 8 to 12 feet high, in regular courses, with stones 12 feet long and 9 inches thick; had a deep fosse on the W side of the vallum and slopes on the other sides; appears to have been defended at the angles by round towers; is supposed by some antiquaries to have been the Eperakon of Ptolemy-by others to have been the Longovicum of the Notitia; has yielded a number of Roman altars, Roman coins, and other Roman relics; was in a remarkably fine state of preservation till 1851. when considerable portions of it were destroyed for sake of the stone; and is still one of the most interesting antiquities of its class in England. The township has an area of 15, 588 acres; population, 5358. The parish contains also the townships of Greencroft, Iveston, and Langley. The manor belongs to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Little' Greencroft Hall, Woodlands Hall, and Colepike Hall are chief residences. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Durham; net value, £320 with residence. Patron, the Lord Chancellor. The church was originally Norman; retains some Norman portions; is chiefly Early English, with insertions or additions of later date; includes in its masonry stones taken from the Roman station; has a tower, whose lowest stage is a good specimen of Decorated English; was made collegiate by Bishop Beek in 1283; and contains oak stalls, hagiological sculptures, a chalice found in 1571 in the Roman station, a monument to Dean Anstell of 1461, and several brasses. There are Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels, and a workhouse. There are also extensive timber yards and steam saw mills. Baker, the historian of St John's College, Cambridge, was a native.

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 parishLanchester All Saints 
Poor Law unionLanchester 

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Lanchester from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Lanchester 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:

CountyCounty Durham
RegionNorth East
Postal districtDH7
Post TownDurham