History is fleeting, its here today and gone tomorrow, today news becoming yesterdays ‘history’ in the twinkling of an eye. How far back in time do we go before we establish a point to start from, for any history? The history of Wheatley Hill is no exception to this rule, how far back do we start from? Lets start where we can, as early recorded history of Wheatley Hill is very limited until about 1100 when specific records are available.

            Man’s presence in the North dates from around 5,000BC. When the Romans arrived, they found Britain was a land of tribes and hill forts. The North-East was part of the territory of the Brigantes, a tribe that was led by a woman called Cartimandua. The North-East has always been a battle ground with the various influx of Romans, Viking, Anglo-Saxons, Picts and many assortments of external and internal invaders all making there mark on the landscape in one form or another. Who is to say that Romans, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Picts etc did not at some time march across what we see as Wheatley Hill today, no one knows. Although a Runic ring was found while excavations were being made for the foundations of a house in Wheatley Hill. (Wheatley Hill, Durham. Chance find, 1993. Now in the British Museum. Gilded silver alloy, c. 19 mm diameter; late 8th century. Old English runic inscription: [h]ring ic hatt[æ], ‘I am called a ring’.)

               Before the coal mine era, Wheatley Hill was known first as Quetlaw village and then later as Whitelaw. As there is generally a reason for a name, it is suggested in Sir Timothy Eden's "History of Durham County," that these names were derived from Wheat, (Grain) and White, as the land was often seen covered with a Hoar Frost, and "Law" meaning land.

          Of the original buildings standing at that time only two remain, "The Rock Farm", known at that time as "The Manor House" and "Black House," which still retains the same name. A greyhound was supposed to have been carved on the side of the building at one time, long since worn away. The story goes that the greyhound was carved in memory of a father shooting his three sons all because of loosing money on greyhound racing.




     1180 - HUGO BUREL EXCHANGED LANDS - Windgate, Whetlaw and Smeaton for estate Perci and Mureres, Normandy.(Surtees Vol 1 Page 7)

     1272 - 1328 - QUETLAW GIVEN TO JOHN OF THE PARK, CECILE HIS WIFE AND HEIRS BY ROBERT OF LUMLEY KNT.(Robert Lumley died 1328 so this gift before his death)




     1451 - ROBERT RHODES OWNED QUETLAW. 'seised of the manor of Whetlawe (by charter 6th October 1451) (Surtees)


     1474 Robert Rodes, Esq. (the same who sat in judgement " at the Castell in the Newcastle upon Tyne," and gave wrong sentence against the right of Seynt Cuthbert, whereof he after repented and did seek absolution) died without issue. Whetlawe descended to Alice wife of Richard Bainbrigge the younger and then aged 14, daughter and heir of John Rodes brother of Robert Rodes. (Surtees)



          "This Endentur, mayd the xxviii day of November ye yere of ye reyne of Kyng Edwarde ye IIII ye xix, betwyx Jon Trowloppe, Esquier, hys heirs and assinayes ye one ptye, and Richarde Baynbrig and Alleyss hys wyffe yar heirs and assinays oppone ye oder ptye, weitnessyng yat ye ptyes aboffe sayd has devided all yar londes and tenements, yat ys to say betwyx ye towne and Lordschepe of Thornlawe and ye londes and tenements off ye Graunge-place called Quetlaw."

          The record goes on to state at some length that it is agreed " the dyche shal be castin to Jo'n Trowloppe" at the equal charge of both parties, but shall be afterwards maintained by the owners of Thornlaw; and that the cattle of Whetlaw straying in the grounds of Thornlaw, through the defect of the said fence, shall not be impounded: further, that

          "Yf the forsayd Richarde Bainbrig his heirs or assinays sall fell ony wode growing on the forsayd dyche, yat yen it sall be leeful to ye sayd Jon Trowloppe, &c to amercye yam efter ye quantite of ye defalt mayd. And so ye forsayed Jon Trowloppe hath knolegid ye forsayd Graunge-place caullid Wethlawe to be ye right of ye forsayd Richard Alleysse his wyfe yar heires and assynays for ever."


     1616 Thomas Bainbrigg, Esq. (son and heir of Francis) settled Wheatley-Hill on his eldest son John Bainbrigg and his issue male, with the remainder to his second and third sons Philip and Christopher. (Surtees)


     1616 20th July - Conveyance by Thomas Bainbrigg and Katherine, his wife to John Bainbrigg of the Manor of Wheatley Hill.Witnessed by Ger Draycott, BB, Lance Dawson, Nicholas Hull. (BRA Deposit 984 No 3)


     1621 - JOHN BAINBRIG SOLD W.H. TO SIR T. RIDDELL FOR THE SUM OF 2,700 POUNDS. By indenture of bargain and sale 2nd Aug 1621, John Bainbrigg, Esq. conveyed "the Manor or Lordship of Whetlaw, alias Wheatley-Hill (except a parcel of ground called Greenhill), to Sir Thomas Riddell of Gateshead, Knight, for 2700 pounds. (Surtees)


     1639 Sir Thomas Riddell and Sir William Riddell his son joined in granting the same estate, for 2880 pounds to Lord William Howard of Narward Castle in Cumberland, and to Sir Francis and Sir William Howard of Naward Castle, Knights, two of the sons of Lord William. The purchase was intended to be in trust for Thomas Howard of Tursdale, Esq. the youngest son of Lord William Howard. (Surtees)


     1639 4th December - Conveyance by Sir Thomas Riddell, Sir William Riddell and Katherine, his wife to Lord William Howard, Sir Francis Howard and Sir William Howard of the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 8)


     1642 After the decease of Lord William Howard, Sir Francis Howard of Corby, Knight, and Sir William Howard of Thornthwaite in Westmoreland, Knight, conveyed the manor of Wheatley-Hill to Henry Lord Mobray and Maltravers, Sir William Widdrington, Knt. Gerald Salvin, John Heath, and Richard Kirkbride, Esquires, on trust for Thomas Howard of Tursdale, Esq. and his issue male, with remainder over to several younger branches of Lord William Howard's family. (Surtees)


     1644 Thomas Howard, Esq. was killed in the Royal Service: his only son Thomas Howard of Tursdale the younger had no male issue. (Surtees)


     1644 9th September - The tenants there, Philip Richardson and Geo Meames say that they are so charged with sessments and with carriages and prisoners for Sunderland that they can make no profit*. (M.M.)      * - In the margin :- 'Phil. Richardson, 60l. ; Geo. Weemes, 36 ; Willm. Widdrop, 20 ; Geo. Soulby, 23 ; Mrs. Howard, 12.'


     1645 19th February - Sequestration of Col Howard's lands at Wheatley Hill is directed to John Husband, Nich Hall, Robert Bromley and Robt Rop. (M.M.)


     1659 10th April - Conveyance by Thomas Howard and Dorothy, his wife to Thomas Trollopp of the Manor of Wheatley Hill in order that a common recovery may be executed by John Forcer and Michael Johnson against Thomas Trollopp. (BRA Deposit 984 No 11


     1659 1st September - Lease for six months by Sir Francis Howard (of Corby, Cumberland) and Thomas Howard (of Tursdale, Durham) to Jarrard Salvin (of Croxdale, Durham), John Heath (of Old Durham) and Richard Kirkbride (of Ellerton, Cumberland) of the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 12a)


     1659 2nd September - Conveyance by Sir Francis Howard (of Corby, Cumberland) and Thomas Howard (of Tursdale, Durham) to Jarrard Salvin (of Croxdale, Durham), John Heath (of Old Durham) and Richard Kirkebride (of Ellerton, Cumberland) of the property to the use of William Eure (of the City of Durham) and John Markendale (of Old Park, near Bishop Auckland, Durham) for ninety-nine years and thereafter in accordance with provisions set out. (BRA Deposit 984 No12b and 12c)


     1666 11th February - Assignment by William Eure (of the City of Durham) and John Markendale (of Old Park, near Bishop Auckland, Durham) to William Strother (of Kirknewton, Northumberland) and John Strother (of Grindon Rigg, near Berwick, Northumberland) of the lease on the Manor of Wheatley Hill for the remainder of a term of ninety-nine years. (BRA Deposit 984 No 13)


     1683 15th February - Assignment by Thomas Howard (of Tursdale, Durham), William Strother (of Fowberry, SE of Wooler, Northumberland) and John Strother (of Newcastle on Tyne) to William Wilkinson (of Crossgate, Durham) for the remainder of a term of ninety-nine years of the lease on the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 15)


     1699 13th March - Lease by Thomas Howard to William Wilkinson for the term of the life of Thomas Howard of the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 16)


     1699 4th April - Left hand indenture of fine. Confirmation by Charles Howard of William Wilkinson's possession of one half of the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 17)


     1699 - Recovery by Thomas Wilkinson from William Wilkinson, tenant to the precipe, of one half of the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 18)


     1699 26th June - Lease for one year by Thomas Howard of Framwellgate and Thomas Howard (third son of Sir Francis Howard) of the City of London and William Howard (fourth son of Sir Francis Howard) to William Wilkinson (of Crossgate, Durham) of one half of the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 19a)


     1699 27th June - Release by Thomas Howard of Framwellgate and Thomas Howard of the City of London and William Howard to William Wilkinson of the above property as a security for a loan of £500. (BRA Deposit 984 No 19b)


     1699 - WILLIAM WILKINSON OWNED THE ESTATE. On the 4th Dec 1699, joined with Thomas Howard of the City of London, Gent. and William Howard of Little Corby, co. Cumberland, Gent. (in whom the reversion of a moiety of the estate, expectant on the death of Thomas Howard, Esq. without issue male, was vested) in conveying the manor of Wheatley-Hill to William Wilkinson of Crossgate, Gent. for 1950 pounds. And on the 12th of March the same year, Thomas Howard, Esq. then of Framwellgate, near the City of Durham, Dorothy his wife, and Elizabeth, Mary, and Dorothy, their daughters, joined in a release of all right in Wheatley-Hill to the same William Wilkinson.


     1699 6th December - Lease for one year by Thomas Howard of Framwellgate, Thomas Howard of the City of London and William Howard (of Little Corby, Cumberland) to William Wilkinson of one half of the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 21)


     1700 11th March - Lease for one year by Thomas Howard (of Framwellgate, Durham), Dorothy, his wife and Elizabeth, Mary and Dorothy, his daughters to William Wilkinson (Crossgate, Durham) of the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 22a)


     1700 12th March - Release by Thomas Howard, Dorothy, his wife, and Elizabeth, Mary and Dorothy, his daughters to William Wilkinson of the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 22b)


     1700 20th March - The reversion of the remaining moiety of the estate was vested in Charles Howard of Sunderland near the Bridge, in the County of Durham, Esq.; and he also, by indenture of release, for 500 pounds conveyed his interest to William Wilkinson, who thus united the whole property.


     1700 3rd April - Left and right hand indentures of fine. Confirmation by Thomas Howard, Dorothy, his wife, and Elizabeth, Mary and Dorothy, his daughters of William Wilkinson's possession of the Manor of Wheatley Hill. (BRA Deposit 984 No 22d and 22e)


     1757 2nd July - Thomas Reah of Wheatley Hill, in the parish of Kello, yeoman. Release by David Reah of Sunderland, miller to Thomas Reah at the request of George Reah of Sunderland, miller, Davids youngest son of a wind corn mill in Sunderland, formerly in the possession of Oswald Meggison, together with the close in which it stands and a piece of ground 40 yards long with the houses built thereon (boundaries given); the premises to be held in trust for David Reah for the rest of his life and then in trust for George Reah on the condition that David Reah's wife Ann may occupy the new room, part of the dwelling house, for the rest of her life without rent, and subject to the following payments by George Reah:


          £10 to Cuthbert Reah, David Reah's third son.

          £10 to said Cuthbert's son David, £5 when he becomes an apprentice and £5 when he completes his apprenticeship or the full sum of £10 when he is 21 years old.

          £10 to the said Cuthbert's daughter Ann when she is 21 years old.

          50s. a year to David Reah's son David for 4 years from his fathers death.

          £5 a year and 4 bushels of wheat, or money to the same value, to David Reah's wife Ann for the rest of her life.

     Further grant by David Reah to Thomas Reah of all the household goods, plate, and linen to be held to the use of David Reah and his wife for the rest of their lives and then to the use of George Reah.

     Consideration: 5s. paid by Thomas Reah to David Reah.

     Signed by David Reah and George Reah, three seals. (Greenslade Deeds, 5)


     1768 - School at Old Shotton - House bequeathed by will of Edward Walton of Wheatley Hill in 1768 for the education of 20 poor children. (M.M.)

    1784 - Saint Helen Churchyard Kelloe, Durham, England - Dixon, Elizabeth, d. 15 Dec 1784, age: 40yr, w/o            George, of Wheatley Hill

     1793 - Article from The Newcastle Courant Newspaper.......


Saturday, March 23, 1793


            The committee appointed to receive and examine the several estimates of the Damage occasioned by the tremendous HAIL STORM in July last, in the County of Durham. Sympathizing in the distresses of the unfortunate sufferers; whose Names are hereafter mentioned, earnestly entreat the Donations of the HUMANE and GENEROUS for theIR Relief.

            The LOSS amounts to the enormous Sum of Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty Nine Pounds, Fifteen Shillings and Ten Pence, as will appear by the subsequent Schedule, which without the kind assistance of the AFFLUENT and BENEVOLENT, must inevitably bring ruin on most of the Sufferers and their Families.

            A SUBSCRIPTION is opened, and will continue until the first day of May, and BENEFACTORS will be received at the Durham, Sunderland, Stockton, Darlington and Newcastle Banks, and the Gentlemen of the COMMITTEE and the SECRETARY.

Name of Sufferers                             Of What Place                                   Lost

                                                                                                                        £          s          d

John Farrar                                        Wheatley Hill                                      25        0          0

 George Dixon                                    Wheatley Hill                                      32        0          0


            Gentlemen who are Proprietors of the Lands occupied by the Persons above mentioned, are most respectfully required by the Committee, to signify to Mr. Bone, of Durham, their Secretary, what allowance they have made, or intend to make to their respective Tenants, in order that the Committee may be enabled to make fair and proper distribution among the Sufferers.


Mr Fenwick, Lambton                                   Mr. Woodifield, Winyard

Mr. Featherstonehaugh, ditto                       Mr. Robson, Halnaby

Mr. Mowbray, Sherburn                                Mr. Taylor, Beamish

Mr. Taylor, Ash                                              Mr. Hutchinson, Durham

Mr. Grainger, Heugh                         Mr. Cummins, Ivetley?

Mr. Castle, Durham                                       Mr. Forster, Broomy-whan

Mr. Martindale, Flats                         Mr Sherlock, Raby Castle

Mr. Scarth, Castle Eden

ROBERT BONE, Secretary to the Committee


     1844 31st January - Thornley Parish was formed from the parish of Kelloe, by Order in Council, and includes Wheatley Hill and Wingate Lane, in the township of Wingate, and contains a population of 5000 souls. (Francis Whellan & Co History of Durham-1894)

    1845 28th July (Monday) Article from The Times newspaper -


DURHAM Friday, July 25


Cuthbert Macdonald (24), Cuthbert Pratt (21), and William Baty (30), were severally charged with having, at the parish of Wingate Grange, on the 4th of July inst., feloniously stolen from the person  of Thomas Earnshaw 1l 7s 2l, a knife, and other articles, his property.

Mr. Fenwick appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Granger defended the prisoners.

The facts of the case were shortly these :- The prosecutor, an old man, lives at Wheatley-hill Plantation, near Wingate Grange, and on the night of the 4th of July, between 10 and 11 o'clock, he went into a public-house near Wingate, kept by a person named John Anderson. The three prisoners, with the others, were sitting drinking in the house, and the prosecutor, who seemed also to have imbibed to some extent, after staying some time, proceeded in the direction of his own house. On the road the prisoners came up to him, threw him down, kicked him, and succeeded in robbing him of his money, which consisted of a sovereign, 7s, in silver, and 2d in copper, Earnshaw suffering so serverely from the ill-treatment he received, that he was able to crawl but a short distance towards his house. He lay there, out of doors, all night, and was found the next day by a person passing along. He partly came to himself now and then, but had not sufficient sense and strength to get home unaided.

The prosecutor underwent a long cross-examination, which did not materially alter the purport of this examination in chief, though it showed that he had been at several public-houses in the course of the day, and was of course somewhat intoxicated. When apprehended, Baty said it was a bad jab, and he did not care how soon he was out of the country.

Several persons were called by the defending counsel to show that the old man had drunk too much before the robbery to be able to identify the prisoners. But the defense did not succeed on that ground, the witnesses stating only that he had two or three glasses of beer, as far as they could observe, and that he was sensible when he departed towards home.

The jury remained three hours in deliberation, and finally found all three of the prisoners Guilty.

Pratt asserted after the trial that Macdonald was not present, but that another man, now at Wingate was. The prisoner Macdonald evinced deep grief, and declared his innocence as to the robbery.

The learned judge told him it was for the jury to decide that question. It was not his (the judge's) province now to interfere. He had but to put the law in force. The offence committed was of a very serious kind, and must be severely punished.

The three prisoners were then sentenced, each to be transported for the term of 15 years.


       Mostly Mining - William Moyers

     The History and Antiquities of the County of Palatine of Durham - Robert Surtees

     History of Durham - 1894 - Francis Whellan & Co

     Kelly's Directory of Durham 1914

     Kelly's Directory of Durham and Northumberland 1925

     Kelly's Directory of Durham and Northumberland 1929

     Kelly's Directory of Durham and Northumberland 1890

     Kelly's Directory of Durham 1902

     Kelly's Directory of Durham 1921

     Kelly's Directory of Durham and Northumberland 1934

     Kelly's Directory of Durham and Northumberland 1938

     Durham Directory 1911

     Durham Directory 1912

     Durham Directory 1913

     Durham Directory 1914

     Durham Directory 1916

     School Books at County Records Office

     The London Gazette, Tuesday 18th August 1914

     The London Gazette, Friday 27th November 1914

     British Records Association Deposit 984(Durham University Library - A&SC)

     Mawson's deposits (Durham University Library - A&SC)

     Greenslade deeds (Durham University Library - A&SC)

     A History of The Durham Miners' Association 1870-1904 by Alderman John Wilson, J.P.