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Middleham, Bishop's (St. Michael)

MIDDLEHAM, BISHOP'S (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Sedgefield, N. E. division of Stockton ward, S. division of the county of Durham; containing, with the townships of Cornforth, Garmondsway-Moor, Mainsforth, and Thrislington, 1434 inhabitants, of whom 511 are in the township of Bishop's-Middleham, 4 miles (N. E.) from Rushyford. This place is of considerable antiquity: its church was given in 1146 to the convent of Durham, by Osbert, nephew of Bishop Ralph Flambard; and soon afterwards, the manor appears to have been conveyed to the see of Durham, the bishops of which resided here, up to the end of the 14th century. Their castle was situated on a lofty brow of limestone, overlooking the marshy level of the Skerne; and the last remaining portion of it, a low oblong arched room, was removed some years since. The parish is in several parts marshy, and there is little wood, except the plantations around the principal houses. The produce of a colliery here is shipped on the Tees; limestone is abundant, and is quarried for building and for manure. The village is on the sides of two hills ascending from a deep vale, through which the road runs. At Cornforth are paper-mills and tile-kilns. A halmote court for the manor is held once in six months, at Middleham, Cornforth, and Sedgefield, in rotation, for the recovery of debts under 40s. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £4. 19. 2., and in the patronage of the Crown; net income £152; impropriators, W. Russell, R. Surtees, and H. Williamson, Esqrs. The great tithes of the township of Bishop's-Middleham have been commuted for £219, and the small tithes for £76. The church, originally a handsome structure in the early English style, and said to have been erected by Bishop Anthony Beck, has been much disfigured by injudicious alterations and repairs; it contains a fine old font of Stanhope marble.

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