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MARKET TOWNS OF DURHAM (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Staindrop in 1837

Staindrop is in Darlington ward, 247 miles from London, about 7 miles to the right of the Glasgow and Carlisle mail-road, and about 19 miles from Durham. The parish contains 14,990 acres, and had, in 1831, 2,395 inhabitants (besides some few who were included in the return from another parish) ; it comprehends six townships and part of a seventh. The township of Staindrop contains 1,810 acres, and had in 1831 a population of 1,478. Staindrop is an ancient town situated in a beautiful vale, and was originally a royal demesne. Many of the houses are well built and chiefly form one wide street ranging east and west. Staindrop Beck runs at the east end of the town.

The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is near the Beck; it is an ancient fabric, consisting of a nave, side aisles, and chancel, with an embattled tower at the west end. The tower opens to the nave and south aisle ; it is very plain. The church has some portions of early English character : the chancel has some good stone stalls and a fine monument in the Decorated English style : there is also in the church a rich monument of later date, to the memory of Ralph Nevill, earl of Westmoreland, and his wives. The church was formerly collegiate : the dwelling-place of the collegiate clergy and other beneficiaries was on the north side of the church. The revenues of the college were, at the dissolution, £170, 4 shillings and 6 pence a year gross revenue, or £126, 5 shillings and 10 pence clear. The market, which has been revived after long discontinuance, is on Saturday, for provisions : there is very little or no corn sold.

The living is a vicarage united to the neighbouring rectory of Cockfield ; their joint yearly value is £354 with a glebe house ; they are in the gift of the duke of Cleveland. There are congregations of Methodists and Independents at Staindrop. There were in the township of Staindrop in 1833 two infant or dame schools, with 40 children ; seven day, or boarding and day-schools, with about 180 children, and three Sunday-schools with 230 children. The rest of the parish contained two day-schools (one partly supported by the duke of Bedford), containing nearly 60 children.

Close to Staindrop is Raby Castle, the seat of the duke of Cleveland. The castle is on the east side of the park, which is very extensive. The principal part of the building was erected by John Nevill, earl of Westmoreland, in the fourteenth century ; one part is even more ancient. Many alterations have been made in the castle by subsequent possessors, but they have not materially affected its outward form, the general effect of which, from its extent, grandeur, and preservation, is very imposing. Its situation is fine: it occupies a rising ground, with a rocky foundation, and is inclosed with an embrasured wall and parapet. In this outer wall there is only one entrance, a gateway defended by two square towers. Several of the smaller apartments have been hollowed out in the walls, which are of great solidity and strength. This castle was the residence of the powerful family of the Nevills, earls of Westmoreland ; but on the rebellion raised by the last of that family against Elizabeth his estates were forfeited. They afterwards came by purchase to Sir Harry Vane, from whom they have descended to the present owner. Many parts of the pleasure-grounds command extensive and beautiful views.