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Stamfordham (St. Mary)

STAMFORDHAM (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Castle ward, N. E. division of Tindale ward, S. division of Northumberland, 12½ miles (W. N. W.) from Newcastle-upon-Tyne; containing 1777 inhabitants. This parish is the finest champaign part of Tindale ward, and is about 5½ miles in length from east to west, and 4½ in breadth from north to south. It comprises the townships of Bitchfield, Black Heddon, Cheeseburn-Grange, Fenwick, Hawkwell, Heugh, Ingoe, Kearsley, East and West Matfen, Nesbit, Ouston, Ryall, and Walridge. The district is well cultivated; and contains abundant seams of coal and limestone, both of which are wrought, the latter for agricultural purposes. The village, situated in the township of Heugh, is principally of modern erection, and consists chiefly of one long broad street; in the centre is a covered market-cross, erected in 1736, by Sir John Swinburne, Bart., for a market, now discontinued. A fair is held for cattle and pigs, on the second Thursday in April; and there are statute-fairs on the Thursday before Old May-day, on November 14th, and the last Thursday in February. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £14. 18. 1½., and in the patronage of the Crown, with a net income of £574. The church, erected about the 13th century, is in the early English style, and stands west of the market-cross; the chancel was built by the Fenwicks, of Fenwick Tower, and contains several monumental inscriptions to that ancient family and the Swinburnes. At Ryall is a chapel of ease; and a church has been just consecrated at Matfen. There is a place of worship in the village for Presbyterians, at Matfen one for Wesleyans, and at Cheeseburn-Grange one for Roman Catholics. A free school was founded in 1663, by Sir Thomas Widdrington, Knt., who endowed it with seventysix acres of land, now producing about £160 per annum.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.