SHOTLEY-BRIDGE, a small town, in the township of Benfieldside, chapelry of Medomsley, parish of Lanchester, W. division of Chester ward, N. division of the county of Durham, about 14 miles (S. W.) from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This place is on the road from Durham, by Lanchester, to Hexham, and is situated in the romantic vale of the Derwent, over which here is a stone bridge of one arch, uniting the county with Northumberland. It is surrounded by ranges of hills between 700 and 900 feet in height; and the views in the neighbourhood, especially that from the bridge, are very beautiful: the road to Newcastle extends for a distance of 12 miles along the banks of the river, and embraces many charming prospects. Shotley-Bridge was formerly celebrated for a manufactory of swords, the art of working steel having been brought from Germany by a colony of sword-cutlers, whose descendants may yet be traced here, and continue to make a few knife-blades and other articles. It has rapidly increased in size within these few years, and has now a convenient hotel, several neat villas, and a number of good houses and shops, having grown into some repute from the salubrity of the air, and the discovery of saline and chalybeate springs. The spring anciently called "Hally Well," now Shotley Spa, was at a distant period noted for its efficacy in the cure of scrofulous complaints; it fell, however, into disuse, and for a long time no benefit was derived from it, till a prevailing tradition lately induced Jonathan Richardson, Esq., to commence a search upon the spot where it was supposed to exist. The search was successful. Appropriate buildings, a wellroom, baths, &c, have been erected in the rustic style; and Mr. Richardson has opened carriage-drives and promenades upon his estate. There are two paper-mills in operation: a market for corn is held weekly, and a fair for cattle every half year. The powers of the county debt-court of Shotley-Bridge, established in 1847, extend over the parishes of Shotley and Edmondbyers, and part of those of Lanchester, and Bywell St. Peter. A church has been erected under the auspices of the Bishop of Durham.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.