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MARKET TOWNS OF DURHAM (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Wolsingham in 1837

Wolsingham is in Darlington ward, 256 miles from London on the road to Stanhope and Aldstone Moor. The parish comprehends an area of 24,780 acres, and had in 1831, 439 inhabited houses, and a population of 2,239. The town is pleasantly situated on a point of land formed by the confluence of the Wear and the Wescrow, on the the north side of the former river. The church, dedicated to St. Mary and St. Stephen, is on the north side of the town, but has nothing remarkable about it : near it are the remains of a considerable building, supposed by some to have been part of a monastery founded by Henry de Pudsey ; by others to have been an ancient manor-house of the bishops of Durham. The market is on Tuesday, for butcher’s meat, butter, potatoes, and corn. The quantity of corn sold is not great but the prices are commonly as high as any in the county. It is chiefly for the supply of the lead-mine district, which commences between this town and Stanhope. The district is easily recognized by the large parcels of lead lying near the sides of the road, and by the blue unwholesome vapours which proceed from the smelting-houses. The views down the Wear from the hill above Wolsingham are very extensive and much diversified. The living of Wolsingham is a rectory in the gift of the bishop of Durham of the yearly value of £791, with a glebe-house.

There were in Wolsingham parish in 1833 one school, partly supported by endowment, with 52 children ; another, partly supported by charitable contributions, with 28 children ; a third supported by a private benefaction, with 48 children ; these were all day-schools, and there were six other day-schools, with 144 children ; there were also three Sunday-schools, with 130 children. There is a Baptist congregation in the parish. Wolsingham parish is divided into seven ‘quarters,’ or hamlets.