Stillington -From the Archives

From the Archives

From: 'Parishes: Redmarshall', A History of the County of Durham: Volume 3 (1928), pp. 315-321. URL: 

Date accessed: 20 February 2009.

The story of the parish has been as peaceful as befits a retired agricultural community. One of the stories of the early miracles of St. Godric relates the cure of the son of the smith of Stillington. (fn. 4) The rising of 1569 drew five men to join it from Redmarshall and five from Stillington; one from each place was executed. (fn. 5) The Protestation of 1641 was signed in the parish. (fn. 6) Sir Anthony Carlisle was born at Stillington in 1768. He became surgeon to the Westminster Hospital, and was made a knight in 1820. He died in London in 1840. (fn. 7) The parish is composed of three townships: Redmarshall, in which is the church, Carlton, adjacent to the north-east, and Stillington, quite detached, to the north-west. The areas of the three townships are 875, 1,499 and 1,153 acres in the order mentioned. The general surface is flat, but elevated about 150 ft. to 180 ft. above sea level. A brook runs north through the centre of Redmarshall and Carlton to join Whitton Beck near Thorpe Thewles, and here there is a valley. In Stillington the surface is rather more varied, and rises to over 200 ft. above the ordnance datum, several brooks running south-east to join the Bishopton or Whitton Beck, which forms the boundary on that side. Shotton Beck bounds it on the north.
A road from Stockton to Whitton passes north-west near the small village of Redmarshall, placed amid trees. At this point a cross-road leads west to Bishopton and east to Carlton, dividing here to go north to Thorpe Thewles and south and east to Stockton and Norton. The village of Stillington lies on the road from Grindon to Great Stainton. The West Hartlepool branch of the London and North Eastern railway runs eastward through the parish and has stations called Stillington and Redmarshall, the latter being at Carlton Grange. At the eastern boundary it makes a junction with the line from Stockton north to Sunderland.
The soil is clay, suitable for wheat growing; oats, barley and potatoes also are raised. About 1845 the land was thus used (fn. 1) : 2,530 acres of arable, 791 acres of pasture and 16 acres of woodland; now the figures for the parish are (fn. 2) 1,115 acres of arable, 1,981 acres of pasture and 38 acres of woodland. There are isolated plantations in each of the townships. Among 17th-century field names in Stillington are Whitton lands, Margerie garth lands and Boynton lands; the inhabitants had 'beast gates' or common on the moor. (fn. 3) Some chemical works stand by Carlton station.

Among the Durham charters is one by which Walter Bek granted 4 oxgangs of the demesne land in Redmarshall to Adam the Carpenter. (fn. 8) Bishop Robert (1274–83) confirmed it, with reservation of the advowson, to Thomas de Multon, who had inherited it from his brother Edmund, who had purchased the manor from John Bek. (fn. 9) From Thomas de Multon it was purchased by Henry de Lisle, lord of the neighbouring Wynyard. (fn. 10) Alan de Langton of Wynyard had a dispute with the men of Redmarshall in 1307. (fn. 11) He was lord of the place in 1311 (fn. 12) and Henry in 1314. (fn. 13) From that time it descended with Wynyard in the families of Langton, Conyers and Claxton until the partition of the estates after the death of William Claxton in 1597. It was then divided among his three co-heirs, Cassandra wife of Lancelot Claxton, and daughter of his daughter Elizabeth wife of Josias Lambert, Alice wife of Sir William Blakiston, his daughter, and Anne wife of William Jenison, a third daughter. (fn. 14)
Cassandra Lambert subsequently married Francis Morley of Wennington in Lancashire. In 1608 Francis Morley and Cassandra his wife mortgaged or sold their third part of messuages and lands in Redmarshall, Carlton and Stillington to John Girlington, (fn. 15) and in 1610 the three sold the same to Anthony Buckle of Whitton. (fn. 16) In 1616 Christopher Place of Dinsdale and Christopher his son and heir purchased this part. (fn. 17) The elder Christopher died in 1624 holding of the bishop a third part of the manor of Redmarshall with lands and tenements there. (fn. 18) In 1650 it was purchased from Roland Place by Robert or John Bromley, (fn. 19) and from Robert Bromley it passed in 1713 to his grandson Robert Spearman, who in February 1719–20 transferred it to his father, Gilbert Spearman. (fn. 20) The Spearman trustees in 1750 sold it to John Tempest of Wynyard, from whom it has descended to the Marquess of Londonderry, the present lord of this part of the manor. (fn. 21)


About 1200 Robert de Amundeville granted to Ralph de Hamsterley 2 oxgangs of land in STILLINGTON (Stillyngton, xiii cent.) that had belonged to Robert son of Huchtred. (fn. 75) The whole 'manor' was in 1268 acquired by Walter de Merton from Thomas son of Ralph de Amundeville, one of his special friends, and given to Merton College, Oxford, which he founded. (fn. 76) The college possesses deeds relating to the place from 1200 onwards and court rolls of the manor from 1290 to 1396, but the customs of the manor have not been kept up. (fn. 77) William de Hamsterley, who granted certain lands to John his son, released part at least of his holding to the college in 1290. (fn. 78) In 1634 Charles I granted a confirmation of the manor to the warden and scholars of Merton, (fn. 79) and the college retains the estate in Stillington.


In 1366 William de la Pole was found to have held 5 acres of meadow here of the Master of Merton by rendering a rose yearly. (fn. 80) The land descended with the manor of Bradbury to William Earl and afterwards Duke of Suffolk, the 'manor' of Stillington being included in feoffments of his lands in 1430 (fn. 81) and 1431. (fn. 82) Roger Thornton held both it and Bradbury on his death in March 1470–1, (fn. 83) but its later history has not been traced.
Robert Morpeth of Stillington, who died in 1623, had 7 acres of meadow called Ellerbriggs Close and 7 acres of pasture called Whynndy Close in Elstob. (fn. 84) His son Christopher, a benefactor to the parish, died early in 1640–1 holding lands in Stillington, Elstob and Bishopton. (fn. 85) Richard Morpeth, his son and heir, was a Royalist in the Civil War time, and his estate was therefore sequestered in 1644; he had left his house and gone into Cumberland to assist the king's forces. Part of his land in Stillington was held in fee and part on lease from Merton College. He compounded in 1646 by a fine of £100. (fn. 86) His son Robert in 1676 sold his lands to John Spearman. (fn. 87)
The will of John Hartburn of Stillington, 1560, has been printed. (fn. 88) Captain Richard Hartburn, a delinquent and Papist, suffered sequestration of his lands by the Parliament at the same time as his neighbour Richard Morpeth (fn. 89) ; he held the manor on lease from Merton College. He died in 1644, and his widow Dorothy, being a recusant, had two-thirds of her estate sequestered on that account, the other third being allowed her in 1651. The college, however, said that the lease had expired, and put a new tenant in. (fn. 90)
The freeholders in 1684 were Sir Ralph Jennison of Elwick, George Robinson and George Todd. (fn. 91) Elizabeth Todd, as a 'Papist,' registered her leasehold at Stillington in 1717; the value was £23 15s. (fn. 92)


Christopher Morpeth, by will proved at York in 1640, demised a rent-charge of £4, one moiety thereof for the poor of Redmarshall and Carlton and the other moiety for the poor of Stillington. The annuity is paid out of land called Bishopton Field. The distribution is made among poor widows.


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