Wp/nth/Coonty Durham

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The Coounty Palatine o Durham or Coonty Durham or nobbut Durham (/ˈdʌrəm/) is a coonty i the north ov England. It is the only English county whese common name is prefixed wi "County", as is mair familiar iv Ireland, reyther nor bein suffixed wi "shire".

The coonty is named efter its coonty town, the City o Durham, at lies i the middle o the county. Coonty Durham reaches frae the North Sea coast up inte the Pennines, separated frae Northumberland te the north by the River Tyne and the Derwent and frae the North Riding o Yorkshire by the River Tees frev its source tiv its mooth.

Knawn as "the Land o the Prince Bishops", Durham hes history forged by the troubles o the Middle Ages afore it becam reshaped by the industrial rivolution. The coonty was a coonty palatine under the rule o the Bishop o Durham frae the Middle Ages until the palatine jurisdiction was merged wi the Croon in 1836.

The coonty is heavily urbanised on the coast, in particular aroond the mooths o the Rivers Tyne, Wear and Tees. The biggest towns is the City o Sunderland at the mooth o the Wear, Gatesheed and Sooth Shields on the Tyne and Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington on the Tees.

Durham's grawth wes driven by coal minin, iron minin and the industry they browt. Frev ancient times, "sea coal" hes been collected where it is weshed up on the sea coast,[1] but mair importantly i modern times coal mines wes dug through the rich seams aneath the coounty. Sin mining declined i the 1980s, Coonty Durham hes been promoted mair as a tourist destination.[2]



Early mediæval period[edit]

Escomb's 7th century church

The lands o County Durham wes pairt o the Kingdom o Northumbria frev its foondation until the Viking incursions. At the height o Northumbrian power it becaom a centre o lairnin and ecclesiastical development, in particular at the Monasteries o Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, whese remains survives. The 7th century church at Escomb remains a complete example ov a church frae the high days o Northumbria.

In 866 Ivar the Boneless captured York and reduced the Northumbrian kingdom te nobbut Durham and Northumberland. The lands north o the Tees wes ootside the immediate control o the Norse Kings o York, and place-name evidence suggests that County Durham wasn't settled by Scandinavians te the extent that Yorkshire was.

File:Pectoral Cross o St Cuthbert.svg

The lands that becam County Durham wes originally a liberty under the control o the Bishops o Durham. The liberty wes knawn variously as the "Liberty o Durham", "Liberty o St Cuthbert's Land" "The lands o St. Cuthbert atween Tyne an Tees" or "The Liberty o Haliwerfolc".[3]

The bishops' special jurisdiction wes based on claims that King Ecgfrith o the Northumbrians hed granted a substantial territory te St Cuthbert on his election te the see o Lindisfarne in 684. In aboot 883, a cathedral hoosin the saint's remains wes established at Chester-le-Street and Guthfrith, the Norse King o York granted the community o St Cuthbert the area atween the Tyne and the Wear. In 995 the see wes moved again te the mair defensive position o Durham.

A Norman army captured the City o Durham in 1069. There wes a rebellion again the new Norman earl, Robert de Comines, at wes killed. Hooiver, County Durham largely missed the Harryin o the North at wes designed te subjugate sic rebellions.[4] The best remains o the Norman period is fund i Durham Cathedral and i Durham Castle, an in a few parish churches an aa, sic as at Pittington and Norton near Stockton.

The machinery o govrenment itsel wes slaw tiv extend itsel te Northren England abuin the Tees, at lay ootside o the shire system o the English Kingdom. These lands wes under constant threat o rebellion frae displaced English thanes or ov invasion frae Scotland. In the twelfth century a shire or coonty o Northumberland wes formed encompassin the lands atween the Teed an Tees, but the authority o the sheriff o Northumberland and his officials wes disputed by the bishops. The croon still regairded Durham as parit o Northumberland until the late thirteenth century. Durham separated frae Northumberland i 1293 when the bishop and his steward failed tiv attend proceedins o quo warranto organised by the justices o Northumberland. The bishops' case wes heard i parliament, where he stated that Durham lay ootside the boondaries ov ony English shire and that "frae time immemorial it had been widely knawn that the sheriff o Northumberland wasn't sheriff o Durham nor entered within that liberty as sheriff. . . nor made there proclamations or attachments".[5] The airguments appear te hae been accepted, acause by the fowerteenth century Durham wes accepted as a liberty at received royal mandates direct. It wes effectively a private shire, wi the bishop appointin his awn sheriff.[3] The area eventually becam knawn as the "Coonty Palatine o Durham".

The division o the coonty inte the fower wards, Chester-le-Street, Darlington, Easington and Stockton existed i the 13th century, ilk ward hevin its awn coroner and a three-weekly court correspondin te the hundred court i soothren counties. The diocese extended ower Coonty Durham and Northumberland, and wes divided inte the archdeaconries o Durham and Northumberland.

The term palatinus is applied te the bishop in 1293, and frae the 13th century onwards the bishops frequently claimed the same reets in their lands as the king enjoyed iv his kingdom.

The palatinate in the Middle Ages[edit]

Arms o the Bishops o Durham

The coonty claimed a number o smaa exclaves i Northumberland where the Bishop exercised jurisdiction by virtue o the connection o the parishes i question wi the former see o Lindisfarne; Bedlingtonshire, Islandshire[6] and Norhamshire[7] i Northumberland. It claimed Craikshire i the North Riding o Yorkshire an aa, an estate granted te Bishop Wilfred i the late 7th century.

Until the 15th century the maist important administrative officer i the palatinate wes the Steward. Other officers wes the sheriff, the coroners, the Chamberlain and the Chancellor. The palatine exchequer wes organised i the 12th century. The palatine assembly represented the hale county, and dealt chiefly wi fiscal questions. The bishops cooncil, consistin o the clergy, the sheriff and the barons, regulated the judicial affairs, and later created Court o Chancery for the Coonty.

The Prior o Durham ranked first amang the bishop's barons. He hed his awn court, and aamaist exclusive jurisdiction ower his men. There wes ten palatinate barons i the 12th century, the maist important bein the Hyltons o Hylton Castle, the Bulmers o Brancepeth, the Conyers o Sockburne, the Hansards ov Evenwood, and the Lumleys o Lumley Castle. The Nevilles awned large estates i the coonty. Raby Castle, their principal seat, was rebeelt by John Neville, 3rd Baron Neville de Raby in 1377.

King Edward I's quo warranto proceedins o 1293 showed twelve lords enjoyin mair or less extensive franchises under the bishop. The repeated efforts o the Croon te check the pooers o the palatinate bishops culminated i 1536 i the Act o Resumption, at deprived the bishop o the pooer te pardon offences again the law or tiv appoint judicial officers. Mairower, indictments and legal processes wes i futur te run i the name o the king, and offences te be described as again the peace o the king, reyther nor that o the bishop. I 1596 restrictions wes imposed on the pooers o the chancery.

Durin the Wars of the Roses, Henry VI passed through Durham.

  1. England’s Northeast Mediaeval Coal and Industry: Newcastle and the North East 1100AD - 1500AD
  2. Durham County Council - History and Heritage of County Durham. Retrieved 30 November 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jean Scammell, The Origin and Limitations o the Liberty o Durham in The English Historical Review, Vol. 81, No. 320. (Jul., 1966), pp. 449-473.
  4. Douglas, D.C. William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England
  5. C. M. Fraser, Edward I of England and the Regalian Franchise of Durham in Speculum, Vol. 31, No. 2. (Apr., 1956), pp. 329-342
  6. Vision of Britain - Islandshire (historic map). Retrieved 1 December 2007.
  7. Vision of Britain - Norhamshire (historic map). Retrieved 1 December 2007.