Bishop Auckland  County Durham


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Bishop Auckland like this:

BISHOP-AUCKLAND, a town, a township, and a subdistrict, in the district of Auckland, Durham. The town stands on an eminence about 140 feet high, between the rivers Wear and Gaunless, near their point of confluence, and adjacent to the Weardale railway, 10¾ miles NNW of Darlington. It took its name from the vicinity of the Bishop of Durham's palace, conjoined with ancient abundance of oak woods; and it was formerly a borough by prescription. ...

It has pleasant environs; and is well-built and neat. It has a post office‡ under Darlington, a railway station, two banking offices, two chief inns, a spacious town hall, a church, seven non-established chapels, a grammar school, two other endowed schools, a workhouse, and alms-houses; is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place; and publishes two weekly newspapers. The town hall stands in the centre of the town, adjoining the church; was built in 1862, at a cost of about £8,500; has a groined principal entrance, surmounted by a neat stone balcony; is crowned by angle-roofs with iron pallisading, and with a spire 100 feet high; and contains a large music-hall, and offices for the Board of Health. The church is modern, and ranks as a chapel to the charge of Auckland-St. Andrew. A Wesleyan chapel, in modified Italian style, was built in 1866. The other non-established chapels are for Independents, Presbyterians, Quakers, two Methodist bodies, and Roman Catholics. The grammar school was founded by James I., and has £38 from endowment; and one of the other endowed schools was founded by Bishop Barrington, and has £367. The episcopal palace stands on the NE side of the town, in a fine park of 800 acres, on the river Gaunless, with charming views; was built by Bishop Cousins, on the site of a previous one by Bishop Beck; underwent restoration and extension, with fine entrance Gothic gateway and screen, by Bishop Barrington, after designs by Wyatt; and contains several valuable old paintings, by the Italian masters. Newtoncap bridge, in the vicinity, over the river Wear, was built in 1390, and has two arches, the one circular and 101 feet in span, the other pointed and 91 feet in span. A weekly market is held in the town on Thursday, and fairs on Holy Thursday and the following day, on 1 June, and on the Thursday before 11 Oct. Pop., 6,480. Houses, 1,186.-The township includes most of the town, extends into the country, and is in the parish of St. Andrew-Auckland. Acres, 1,919. Real property, £18,061,-of which £2,300 are in mines. Pop., 7,279. Houses, 1,333. Coal and limestone are worked, and cotton manufactures are carried on. Extensive engineering and edge-tool works were established in 1862, and have branches at Bedburn.-The subdistrict comprises twenty-three townships and a parochial chapelry. Acres, 23,545. Pop., 34,878. Houses, 6,612.

Bishop Auckland through time

Bishop Auckland is now part of Wear Valley district. Click here for graphs and data of how Wear Valley has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Bishop Auckland itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Bishop Auckland, in Wear Valley and County Durham | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 27th November 2021

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