Sunniside Local History Society

Streetgate and Beyond


An early reference to Streetgate is connected with the lease of Coalmines at Cross Moor in the manor of Whickham dated May 20th 1570. Lamesley parish register dates from 1603, at which time the place was called Street Yeate and then as Street Yate up to the early 18th century, consisting of about 22 cottages. The 1858 Ordnance Survey map shows about 16 cottages clustered around what was once a green, centred where the public house is now, through which the Gateshead to Wolsingham road passed. Outside this cluster, a little to the west, are the pair of railway cottages and Ivy cottages. From 1908 to 1914 Shepton Cottages, Bewley Cottages and a number of substantial houses were built which gave a new lease of life to the village.

In 1914 John and Bella Lister retired from Grange Farm Whickham, to Grange House Streetgate. In the early 1920's Mrs Margaret Robinson kept a shop in her back room of Napier House, she made toffee apples and sold them to day trippers at Washingwell Wood. The Nursery at Cheviot View was started by Alf Douglas in 1940 who had formerly worked at Marley Hill Colliery, but was brought up at the Lingyfine garden. Ivy Cottages stood where the glasshouses are now. There were four stone cottages in the short row in 1858 but by the late 1930's only two were left. In the 1920's the Chambers family lived here and kept a few goats. Mr Chambers was almost blind and carried a basket around the neighbourhood selling tea, biscuits and yeast. This was in connection with the Braille Association, he also had a brother who was a piano tuner. Mrs Evelyn Hall has run Cheviot Nurseries ever since the early 1970's.

Joseph Harrison (1876-1954) lived at Seaton and worked on the Tanfield Railway. In 1891 he was the Switch Lad at the bottom of Bakers Bank and lived in as a boarder with Ed Shotton a Platelayer, at the Railway Cottage Fuger Bar. Joe was a prominent member of Sunniside Methodist chapel and could spin a good yarn, especially to the young folk. His wife Betty (nee Wallace) baked tasty teacakes and sold them in her sweet shop at Seaton in the 1930's.

Dr Thomas Nicholson Wilthew lived at 'Hillcrest' up until 1922 when he moved to Ravensworth Road Dunston. He had a day surgery at Whickham in 1914 and another at Swalwell in 1934. Haydon house was built for Mr & Mrs Edward Reed, parents of Reed Brothers, Motor Bus Proprietors. Edward, an Engineman at Marley Hill Colliery, died at Streetgate in 1915.

Rose Villa is a modernised stone cottage, which in the mid 19th century was part of a row of three cottages. The cottage was partly rebuilt about 1870 on the end of a row of four cottages. In the early 1920's Lily Place lived there, her family worked on the railway. Ponticherry is named as such on the 1858 Ordnance Survey map and the name also applied to a strip of land adjoining the pair of cottages. An older house used to stand on this site. Some think the name is derived from Pondicherry, a coastal town in southwest India which the British took over from the French as traders in 1761. In 1841 William Thirlaway was at Streetgate Farm, his sons John, and Thomas stayed until about 1860 when James Swan (1820-1889) came from Lingyfield. His father James Swan (1786 -1862) was the Farmer at Ravensworth Hill Head in the 1830's and 40's, and his brother Robert (1808- 1879) was Farmer at Old Ravensworth. The Swans came from Earsdon near Seaton Delaval and the family have remained at Streetgate up to the present time. The farm covered 110 acres but 7 acres were lost to industry when Watergate Colliery was built. It seems that prior to the First World War there was a clause in the farm tenancy agreement that a certain amount of corn had to be grown to provide pheasants from the estate woodlands with food and shelter. Errington Swan (1893-1967) regularly took battens of straw by horse and cart to the Teams Glassworks in the 1920's, the straw being used for packing. During haymaking time he set off about six in the morning to take refreshment to his father James Errington Swan (he was the Farmer at Ouzelaw in the late 1890's) who had been cutting hay with a scythe since early dawn. Errington then returned to the farmhouse for his own breakfast before making his way to school. The farm produced eight to ten ricks of oats and wheat, and in the 1940's Thompson of Lanchester and Parky Bates of Iveston came with their machines to thresh the corn. About nine people were needed for the operation and local Farmers helped each other out. In the late 1940's the farm had fifteen dairy cows and Bobby Swan was one of the last of the local Farmers to go round with a horse drawn milk float. The float which carried a drum had a step up at the rear, customers came out with a jug and Bobby filled it by pouring from a measure. The farmhouse was renovated in 1991 and the byres, stables, and poultry houses were removed to make way for residential development, (Street-gate Park).

In 1911 Nicholas Marr aged 15yrs, a Pony Driver at Andrews House pit, was killed whilst riding on top of a set of wagons laden with coal and going down Bakers Bank. His head hit Swans bridge and he fell onto the railway line. He normally travelled to work from his parents home in Whitehall road Gateshead by push bike, and had no authority to be riding on the trucks. The Bank Riders at this period were John Eltringham and Joe Harrison, they had warned people not to ride on trucks, but it went on just the same. Another fatality occurred on May 7th 1909 when Mrs Jane Courtley aged 23yrs. of the Teams, was killed by a coal wagon at the bottom of the bank near Watergate. She had rode down on a set of wagons and was crushed as she got off. It was most unusual for a women to risk life and limb in this way.


About 1856 Robert Stott, Tailor and Publican, moved from the Public House at Low Streetgate to open up the Union Inn, which he renamed 'The Rose & Thistle' in 1868 (pictured above). His sons George and Billy were both Butchers, and premises for their trade was beside the Pub. Billy took over the Pub in 1880 and renamed it 'The Rose Shamrock & Thistle', known by some as the Middle House or the Halfway House. Billy's wife Lizzie had the licence in 1902, she eventually retired to Fuger Bar Tollhouse. Tom Storey was the Publican in 1910, the house was considerably enlarged in the 1960's and in 1987 was renamed 'The Rose'.

Near the Pub was a Cartwrights shop where Thomas Liddell (1766-1849) worked, (pictured above with his children). Edmund Robson worked here from 1841 to 1865, followed by his son John up to around 1878. Tom Liddle then took over but died early in life. His son John (1875 -1939) was an Apprentice Joiner in 1891 and was assisted in the shop by George Hogg, Joiner and Cartwright. John became a travelling Draper after the First World War, and was in partnership with his brother-in-law Will Fenwick, John lived in Allendale house in 1921.

Some of the Young family of Streetgate were craftsmen, Will Young was Farrier and Cattle Doctor in 1851 as well as being a Butcher, he later styled himself as a Veterinary Surgeon. Of his three sons, Tom was a Joiner and Cartwright at Street-gate, Anthony became an artificial limb maker for Newcastle Infirmary, and William worked first as a Butcher and then as a Farrier at Streetgate up until the 1880's. Charles Young, (not one of the Lamesley Young's) worked as a Freestone Quarryman in the nearby quarries from 1855 to 1881.

Will Fenwick lived at 'Westview' and was a travelling Draper in 1910, though earlier in life he worked with his father at Marley Hill Colliery. He was born at Streetgate in 1872 the son of Luke Fenwick, who was Toll Collector at Fuger Bar in 1872. Will was one of the stalwarts at Sunniside Methodist Chapel, he was Lay Preacher, Superintendent, Class Leader, and Society Steward over a period of many years. In 1937 he was serving on the Management Committee of Whickham Cottage Memorial Hospital. Near 'Glencoe' there stood a pair of old stone cottages with pantile roofs. A cart track led up to their back yards from the Turnpike Road. They became known as Railway Cottages for being the abode of Railway Workers over the years, Tom Shanks a bankrider lived here in 1931. The last Railwaymen to live there were the Leybournes, brothers Jimmy, Billy, Robin and Joe, they all worked for the North Eastern Railway and their father Bob was Gatekeeper at Pennyfine Road at the time of the First World War. The cottages were vacated about 1938 and became ruinous. Other men who worked on this length of the Tanfield Line were Jimmy Bell, John Humphrey, Bill Askew, and George Place in the second half of the 19th century. Will Harrison, born 1904, and brought up first at Marley Hill Colliery then at Sunniside, began work on the N.E.R. Tanfield Branch in 1918. At the age of 19yrs (the official minimum age was 20) he became a Bank Rider, (also called a Wagon-Rider or a Set-Rider). Whilst travelling up and down the incline he had to be on the look out for anything amiss and see that everything was functioning well. If something serious did go wrong he had to jump off the leading wagon and pull the rapper (signal) wire which ran alongside of the line, to warn the Brakesman.

The Brakesman stood in a cabin at the top of the incline, a set of trucks full of coal at the top were coupled to one end of a thick hawser, whilst at the bottom a set of empty trucks were coupled to the other end. The hawser ran around a large wheel located under the sleepers at the top of the incline. The principle being, that the weight of the full trucks going down the incline pulled the empty ones up, this was known as gravity haulage. There was a danger of the trucks going too fast, they also had to stop in the appropriate place top and bottom of the incline. This was the brakesman's job, by means of a lever he applied pressure to the pivot wheel under the sleepers, this controlled the descending speed of the 'set' and stopped it gradually. The Bank Riders job was to sit on the front of the set and disconnect the hawser, a hazardous job, especially in icy conditions. He had to pull out a pin, and with a hammer strike the large washer holding the hawser coupling in place. This would free the hawser and allow the 'set' to run on and stop at the buffers end of the track, or more usually up against other trucks. The Set Rider had to quite literally jump clear of the moving trucks before they hit the buffers, in bad weather conditions he could have easily slipped and fell under the trucks. Some did fall and suffer all manner of injuries, but on the Tanfield Line, none fatal.

On going down the road to the 'Marquis' we pass the scene of the murder of Joseph Leybourne aged 47yrs of Streetgate, and a farm worker at Fen House Marley Hill. His body was found beside the road just below Swan's stackyard in the early hours of Tuesday morning August 29th 1865, his head having been battered by a stone. He had been to a dance in connection with the local Flower Show, held in a marquee next to the 'Marquis'. He left the dance just after midnight and went into the Pub for a drink in the tap room. Here he was involved in an incident which led to ill feeling and the Pub was cleared by the Landlord. Mr Leybourne left the Pub by himself about 0200, his body was discovered an hour later.

The Earl of Ravensworth, a Justice of the Peace, was 'hopping mad' that such a thing could happen in his 'patch' and he sacked his workmen who had attended the dance, he also stopped the Flower Show from being held again. Despite a thorough investigation led by Superintendent Squire, the murderer was never brought to justice. Mr Leybourne and his wife Catherine had come to Streetgate from Winlaton in 1848, they had two daughters and a son. Catherine stayed on at Streetgate as a widow.


The 'Marquis of Granby' (pictured above with Publicans Arthur & Doris Scorer c1938) is named after John Manners (1721-1770), a popular hero of the Seven Year War, 1756-1763, in which Britain was an ally of Frederick of Prussia against France, Austria, and Sweden. Set in the wall at the front of the house is a stone lintel from an earlier house marked 17R T H83 and is probably to Robert Thirlaway and his wife Hannah of Streetgate Lane, they both rest in Whickham Church-yard. Bill Dobson kept a Public House here in 1841 and in 1856 it was known as the 'Granby Arms'. In the 1860's Bill Laidman, known as Bill o' the Bank, was the publican. He also worked as the Brakesman for the railway at Sunniside. The pub was rebuilt about 1900 by Isaac Bewley of Dunston. Adjoining the Pub on the low side was a row of three houses (pictured above right) which were demolished in the late 1930's. Richard Shorten his wife Sarah and their children lived in one of the houses, they had travelled up from Norfolk to find work. Richard was a veteran of the Crimea War and when suffering from terrible frostbite, he had been nursed by Florence Nightingale. It was ironic that Richard died in 1900 of influenza at the age of 68 years, still employed at Marley Hill Cokeworks). There was also another row of four cottages, demolished about 1914 and a cottage stood between the two rows and to the rear. Altogether, they were known as Streetgate Lane or Low Streetgate. Here in the 1840's lived Bob Fenwick a Shoemaker, George Lamb a Grocer and his son-in-law John Talbot a House Carpenter, (he moved to West Pennyfine in 1867). Also living their was Francis Thynne a Schoolmaster and former Mariner, Bob Stott a Tailor who later became the Publican at the 'Rose Shamrock & Thistle'. Bob Patterson a Brickmaker lived there in 1851 but soon moved to Marley Hill Colliery to run the Firebrick works up until the 1880's.

Living in one of the cottages in 1851 were two poor women lately arrived from Ireland, Bridget Neves a straw bonnet maker and her mother Jane McAfrey widow of a linen weaver, I wonder how they got on? The houses came to be occupied in the main by railway workers and later by Cokeyard workers. Fuger probably derives its name from William de Fugers who belonged to a Breton family from Fougeres and did homage and service to the Bishop of Durham in 1269 for 68 acres near Whickham. In 1352 the Lady of Ravenshelm held a messuage called Fuger House and 60 acres by fealty and two arrows. Under Bishop Hatfield's survey of Durham the Earl of Northumberland held Fuger House with 100 acres by charter, Knights service and 10/- rent. In 1429 Roger Thornton, Merchant of Newcastle, held Fuger Field and 30 acres at Rydding, by grant of John, Duke of Bedford. In 1451 Roger Thornton the elder died, seized of the waste called Fuger Field containing 80 acres and held from the Bishop of Durham for 10/- rent. In 1471 Roger Thornton the younger held the same estate. His daughter Elizabeth inherited it and married into the Lumleys. In 1511 Richard, Lord Lumley died, seized of Fuger Field. At the beginning of the 17th century Richard Jackson, Yeoman of Whickman, acted as a sub contracting Overman at pits near Fuger Houses for Lord Lumley's tenant Farmers. About twenty Pitmen lived at Fuger Houses during the first quarter of the 17th century, working the top seam, as soon as this was worked out they moved on. In 1697, John Hedworth, Farmer, lived at Fuger House. George Baker, the son of Albany Baker who was Surveyor of the Tanfield wagonway for George Liddell of Ravensworth, died here in 1757 aged 37yrs. In 1727 the mines at Fuger Field came under the influence of the Grand Allies. In 1755 George Rawling took a boring 240yds southeast from Fuger House down to depth of 33 fathoms for the Earl of Scarborough. At three fathoms from the surface the Hutton seam, six and a half feet thick was met and described as loose coal with a band of metal through it. At 29 fathoms the Beaumont or Harvey seam was found to be two and a half feet thick.

In the latter half of the 19th century Fuger had the farm-house and about six cottages. William Dunn farmed 70 acres at Fuger from 1834 to 1865. He also farmed 42 acres at Shaftoes Southfield and 62 acres at South Washingwells and Graingers Field. In 1841 four hinds (two men and two women) lived in with his family at the farmhouse, but as his children (he had ten) got older, a lot of work was done by them. He had dairy cows and a lad from the farm delivered milk in the locality. Samuel Blenkinsop of Lobley Hill Farm was the tenant at Fuger in the late 1860's. About 1875 some of the farmland was taken over by Tom Hall of Marshall Lands and the rest by James Swan of Streetgate. The byers and gin-gan were demolished, leaving only the farm house standing. Two Masons moved into the house, Christopher Graham in 1871 and then Bill Rutledge in 1880. In front of the Farm was an orchard covering about an acre and with a small pond. On two sides the ground fell away steeply to Washingwell Dene and perhaps the siting was chosen partly for defensive reasons. The old houses at Coxclose, Gibside, and Hollinside, are similarly placed.


William Charlton and his wife Elizabeth ran a Market Garden at Fuger from the 1830's to 1865 and then by their daughter Ann up until 1887. John Baxter took over the garden up until his death in 1910.

On the other side of the bridge stood the Tollgate cottage (pictured above with Annie Stott) where a gate or bar was placed across the road until the toll was abolished in the mid 1870's. The trustees of the turnpike let the gates out yearly to the highest bidder. In 1864 Fuger was valued at œ176 while the Crookgate bar was œ256. Mary Sinclair was the keeper at Fuger in 1841, her father Tom Sinclair was a Grocer at Crookgate.

Below the Tollhouse was a cottage beside the railway occupied by railway workers, Bob Swinburne in the 1840's and after -wards by his son George. Edward Shotton lived here from 1880-1910, then James English moved in from Granby Terrace. He and his son Tom were Bankriders. When James died in 1924 Tom moved with his family to Swalwell to work on the railway at Derwenthaugh. Robin Leybourne, railway labourer, moved in after the English's left. The old Tollhouse was demolished in the late 1930's.

Two estate cottages stand on the end of Fuger Field by the path leading up to Hill Head. The one at the top end, nearest the wood, was the abode of one of the Under-Keepers or Game Watchers. Henry Layton was here in 1865 and Bob Milburn in 1891. In recent years the cottages have been extended and like most of the other lodges on the estate had originally only two rooms, separated by an entrance lobby. The lodges were built by estate workmen and the materials used were of good quality, but for living space they were rather penny pinching. Here was underlined the difference as regards to wealth between master and servant, the Lord in his palatial castle and the servant in his cottage. Watergate Lodge nestles up against the bankside and peeps out above the wall and gates. It was the least used of all the entrances to the estate and the drive went up to High Boggle-hole. At the bottom of Watergate bank, beside the bridge, was a boundary stone set in the wall. On one face was inscribed W.L.B. (Whickham Local Board) and on the other D.8 Clst (District of Chester-le-Street)? In 1993 a bus crashed into and demolished this part of the wall and the wall was re-built without the boundary stone. Upstream from the bridge, on the right hand side, was the tiny cottage of Watergate. Cuthbert Newton lived at Water Yate in 1719. In 1841 Mrs Catherine Hutchison lived with her daughter at Watergate. Catherine died here in 1866 aged 90yrs. By 1894 the place had been demolished, it had stood in a field (called the New Field in 1800 when it formed the western extremity of the Farnacres estate, owned by the Liddells), wedged inbetween the road and the wagonway embank-ment, and was buried by waste from Watergate pit. The heap hereabouts began smouldering in 1991, giving off noxious fumes (once a common occurence throughout the Durham coalfield) and after buying the land from British Coal, Gateshead Council, with the aid of a œ1.1 million government grant, began reclaiming the derelict land by first putting out the fire in 1993. As part of this reclamation the field between Fuger and the pit was opencasted in 1995 to remove the remaining pillars of the Hutton seam. The Watergate Colliery (pictured above) royalty stretched for 2 miles from the Black burn in Washingwell wood to Mitcheson's Gill in the south and being about a mile in width, it included Ravens-worth Park and castle. The top seams had been extensively wrought in the 17th and 18th centuries. A wagonway was laid from Ravensworth Park farm (High Stables) through Robins wood to meet up with the Team Colliery wagon-way at Tileshed wood. In 1620 Thomas Liddell worked coal pits in Horsemouth wood beside the Blackburn.

In 1901 Charles Perkins and Partners wanted to work the Park coal and permission to do so raised the question about how good the underlying foundations of the castle were. An exploratory shaft had been sunk in 1884 at the joint expense of the Earl of Ravensworth and Messrs Perkins in the work-shops yard of the castle. David Robson, the Viewer of Teams Colliery was in charge of the sinking. Priestman Collieries Ltd. took over the leases of Axwell Park, Bagnalls and Whickham Bank Collieries in 1902 and as part of their expansionist policy, sunk Watergate pit in 1923. Stephen Varty came from Billy Row Crook, to help sink the shafts, during which time he lodged at the Bridle Path Public House. Later he brought his family to live at the Watergate estate. Along with starting the Colliery Messrs Priestmans bought farmland in the area. In 1917 they bought 46 acres at Whickham Grange from Cuthbert and Alice Hunter, 47 acres at High Glebe Whickham, 192 acres at Marshall Lands, 33 acres at Washingwell Wood, 5 acres at Bucks Hill Plantation, the orchard at Fuger, and 58 acres at Greens Farm from Lord Ravensworth in 1924, 90 acres at Washingwells Farm from A.W. Reichwald and Alfred Graden in 1924, 113 acres at Ravensworth Park Farm and 100 acres at Banesley Lane from Harriet Gray in 1938, and 108 acres at Old Ravensworth from William Wilson in 1938. The Company built 146 Colliery houses at the Watergate estate Broomlane, to house their workmen, many of whom came from Chester Moor and Waldridge Fell where Priestmans had Collieries. The six Aged Miners Homes off Broom Lane and standing near the site of Southfield Farm, were built in memory of Peter Lee the Durham Miners leader, and opened on the 27th January 1940. Stones were laid by Major Jack Priestman M.C. on behalf of Priestman Collieries, Tom Ridpath Colliery Agent, A.L.Ford manager of Watergate pit, Jethro Longridge, Engineer, Doctor Edward Davison Smith, Henry Bolton on behalf of Blaydon Co-op, Tom Fawcett on behalf of Swalwell Co-op, John Sloan on behalf of Whickham Social Club, W.T.Stutton on behalf of the Blaydon branch of Northern Colliery Officials, H.L.Bell on behalf of Watergate Colliery Mechanics, J.Watson on behalf of Watergate Colliery Deputies, and J.Williams on behalf of Watergate Colliery Lodge Durham Miners Association. The homes were built at a cost of œ2,300, miners at the Colliery had contributed a penny a week to the scheme since the mine opened. Bill Kelly, Checkweighman and Secretary to the Miners Lodge, was presented with a gold watch for his contribution to the successful outcome of the sceme by Mr J.Hook, Chairman of the Committee. Priestman Collieries Ltd. donated the land and an ongoing allowance of six tons of coal per year to each of the tenants.

Mr William Whiteley, M.P. for Blaydon and Chairman of the Durham Aged Mine Workers Association presided over the meeting and presented the keys to the first tenants. A luncheon was laid on at Watergate Welfare Hall and later on a tea for guests and members of the scheme. The Colliery at this period employed 850 men and boys.

On Thursday afternoon July 3rd 1947 an explosion of gas killed Henry Morgan a coal hewer. It happened at the coal face in the North District, 3rd West, in the Stone Coal seam, about a mile from the shaft, 60 fathoms below ground. The Undermanager Mr H.W.Storey and some of the Officials decided at once to go inbye and see if they could help, instead of waiting, as was normal practice, for the Fire and Rescue Brigade. The outcome was that they were overcome by gas and got into difficulties. The rescue teams from Elswick, Houghton, and Crook duly arrived led by Superintendent F. Mills. They rescued the men but not before William Hopper, one of the Fore-Overmen, collapsed and died. Doctor Edward Smith, the Colliery Doctor, went below to give assistance while his brother Doctor Wilkie stayed at the First Aid Station on bank. Seven men were sent to Newcastle Infirmary for treatment, Deputy Overmen R.Meek, G.Armstrong, R.Walters, and S.G.Sinclair. Along with Fore Overman A.French, Bargain Man J.W.Thorpe, and H.Storey the Undermanager, they all recovered. Will Winter a Stoneman and Bob Birkett a Deputy were allowed home after treatment at the pit head. Henry Morgan aged 47yrs came from Hartlepool to work in Blaydon Burn pit and lived at Winlaton Mill where he was a founder member of Huntley Wells Social Club. He was Concert Chairman at the time of his death. William Anthony Hopper aged 48yrs was the grandson of Andrew Hopper of Baldwin Flatts Farm at Dunston. He served in the Royal Navy during the First World War, and served as a Special Constable during the 2nd World War. He was an all-round sportsman, playing in his younger days for Ashington F.C. when the Club was a member of League Division three (North), and then was associated with Whickham Park A.F.C. He served as a Governor for both Whickham Cottage Hospital and the R.V.I. at Newcastle. Washingwell Wood was bought by Gateshead M.B.Council in 1977 from the National Coal Board. In the mid 1960's conifers (mainly larch with some pine and spruce) were planted in the upper parts of the wood, but now the wood is being managed to favour native deciduous. It was known as the Bluebell Wood because the wood hyacinth grew in profusion in Spring, as it also did further down the valley in Beggar Wood. But this is not the case now, December 1967 the Council was considering whether to use part of the wood as an infill site for house -hold rubbish, instead, Beggar Wood was chosen for the site. Simon de Esh held from Bishop Bury (1333 - 1345) 26 acres of waste land beyond Whickham wood near to Priesthill, by homage and 10/- rent. Also Priesthill containing 30 acres of the manor of Ravenshelm, by the service of 2 arrows. It is uncertain where Priesthill exactly was. An old bridle road goes from Fuger to Marshall Lands and a few hundred yards along here an old carriage road now a footpath, forks right down to the burn. Near this fork is an old quarry and down by the burn there issues a steady and clear flow of water from a rock fissure. Even during the driest summers, when the burn further up has dried up, this spring continues to flow. A stone flagged bridge crossed the burn at the top end of the wood, and the road continued along to join Broom Lane at Bucks Hill Plantation. On May 13th 1856, Thomas Dodd of Whickham aged 22yrs was accidentally killed by the felling of a tree, which he and his father were cutting in Washingwell Wood. In the late 1950's the Newcastle and District Motor Club held motor cycle trials in the wood. On January 16th 1609 pardon was granted to Lionel Maddison for acquiring Marshall Lands and the Paddocks in Whickham from Richard Hinde. In the same year Lionel obtained a lease to work coal at Marshall Lands and the lease was renewed in 1624 for 15yrs. By 1632 there had been 13 pits sunk here and near Fuger Field, some being wrought out. On September 20th 1632 Nicholas Valentine was slain in the stone quarry at Marshall Lands.


Pictured above Ravensworth Castle Then and Now.

In the latter half of the 18th century George Rawling and his wife Margaret, daughter of Edward Liddell of Ravensworth, lived at Marshall Lands. Their son Thomas (1734-1809) married Elizabeth Maddison of St.James London, in 1775 at Whickham Church. In 1802 their daughter Ann Rawling of Marshall Lands, niece to Tom Maddison of Birtley, married Joseph Dixon, an Iron Merchant at Newcastle. Before the enclosure of Whickham Fell the farm only had 17 acres to the east and 13 acres of old enclosure towards Whaggs corner called Wheat Leas. The farmhouse itself lay on the boundary of part of the Fell. Sir Thomas Henry Liddell of Ravensworth owned the farm in 1798. George Maddison, who lived in a cottage small holding to the north of the farm, took over after the enclosure, then Joseph Hall (1791-1875) became the tenant farmer of 113 acres. His son Tom ran the farm with his sister Mary as Housekeeper up until 1897. John Johnson farmed Marshall Lands prior to the First World War and then John Barron up to 1932 when he moved to Trench Hall to become the Farm Steward. Joseph Tate then took on the farm which by this time was owned by Priestman Collieries Ltd. His son Leslie continued in 1939, and also ran Washingwell Farm. Leslie was one of the first farmers in the area to have a combine harvester. In 1987 Will Oates of Ouston Spring Farms Ltd. bought the 250 acres centred around Marshall Lands and grows oil seed rape and corn. Marshall Lands sits pleasantly by the Black Burn where the valley opens out between the woody confines of Gellesfield and Washingwell. The old farmhouse was renovated in 1992 but still retains a plain 17th century doorway at the front. There was a small orchard at the front where the ground falls away to the burn. About 1900 a new farmhouse was built and the old house became the farm labourers cottage.

To the south, on the opposite side of the burn, lay Hollen-bush which seems to have been annexed with Marshall Lands in the beginning of the 19th century, when Tom Rawlings was the tenant of both holdings. John Hall, son of Ralph Hall of Marley Hill, lived at Hollynbushe, otherwise known as Haydon Close, up to his death in 1574. He had six sons, the three eldest being Ralphe, George, and John. In Ralphe's will of 1581 he asked to be buried at Whickham near his father, also " To provide maintenance for his three youngest brothers, Jeffreye, Nicholas, and Robert, for kepinge them at schole till they were able to help themselves. To his brother George he gave two oxen, if he kept himself of good conversation, to his sister Jane, a velvet dublett, to cosen Raphe Skirtfield, his cros bowe, all his holyday rayment (i.e. his best clothes) to brother John ".

George Hall was outlawed in 1595 for the murder of Ralph Hedworth, Hollenbush was forfeited to the Bishop of Durham. About this time a coal pit was sunk on the estate and was still working in 1606. George's brother, John Hall and wife Margery were at Hollenbush in 1605, Richard Blenkinsopp was here in 1619.