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About 1840, the emerging town of Spennymoor had begun to grow rapidly from its lone farm beginning. The expansion resulted from the mineral wealth of the area which had led to the establishment of an iron and steel works and several coal mines in and around the town. New churches and chapels were needed to cater for the expanding population.
Tudhoe Holy Innocents parish was created in 1860 from parts of Brancepeth St. Brandon, Ferryhill St. Luke's and Merrington St. John the Evangelist parishes. The Anglican Church of Holy Innocents, costing £1,800 and serving Low Spennymoor, Tudhoe Moor, Colliery and Village, was consecrated on May 2nd, 1866 by the Bishop of Durham – the Rt. Revd Charles Baring. In 1980, Holy Innocents sadly closed, due to lack of finance, and was demolished in 1987. Some of the stone went to create an island folly in the newly formed lake at Whitworth Hall while two stained glass windows have been donated to St. David’s Church. Thus, Holy Innocents will continue to live on, albeit greatly diminished, within the fabric of St. David's. For further information visit St. David's Church.
On November 7th, 1880, the Rt. Revd. Joseph Lightfoot opened the 'Iron Church' in Tudhoe Lane as the Chapel of Ease to Holy Innocents. The corrugated iron-clad building was designed to accommodate 280 persons and had cost £620. It was then enlarged twice – in 1882 and 1885 - increasing the capacity to 300 and the final cost to £731. In 1991 – 1992, a major fundraising campaign resulted in the rusting corrugated iron cladding being overlain by pressed steel sheeting, at an overall cost of £37,000. For further information visit St. David's Church.
A catholic parish was established in 1858 and in 1870 Bryan John Salvin of Burn Hall provided the land for the building of the church of St. Charles Borromeo in Tudhoe Village at a cost of £5,000. the bell tower was added in 1882.
Tudhoe Academy was a boarding school for “the sons of Catholic gentlemen or very reputable merchants”, probably set up with the support of the Salvin family. It closed in 1808 when the seminary at Ushaw College was built, but later in the century the site was used for St. Charles’ Church and St. Mary’s Convent Home for girls. The girls left in 1939 and it became an Home for boys from 1939 to 1965. It was demolished and the site sold for housing in 1968 and St. Mary's Grove was built in its place.
Tudhoe Hall Farm was built in approx. 1600, with a Catholic chapel in the loft reputedly used by students from the English Catholic College in Douai (who were sent to live at Tudhoe Academy after Douai was overrun during the reign of terror in France). For further information visit St. Charles' R.C. Church website.
The ancient parish of Whitworth was created from part of the parish of Merrington. Whitworth Church was first mentioned in 1183 in the Bolden Book and was built as a chapel of ease to Kirk Merrington. It was rebuilt in 1808 and renovated again in 1850. It is located within the grounds of Whitworth Park Estate but the church was not for the sole use of the family at Whitworth Hall. It has two 13th century stone effigies of a knight in armour and his lady and was the birthplace and burial place of Robert Shafto (Bonnie Bobby Shafto).
For further information visit Whitworth Church Archaeological Assessment. (copyright Durham Diocesan Board of Finance)
St. Pauls Church was Spennymoor's first church built as a chapel of ease to Whitworth Church and consecrated in 1858. Spennymoor St. Paul's parish was created in 1875 from Whitworth parish. On 25th July 1953 the church was reduced to a ruin by fire and took three years to rebuild at a cost of £26,000. For further information visit St. Paul's Church website.
Tudhoe Grange St. Andrew parish was formed in 1884 from parts of Spennymoor St. Paul and Tudhoe Holy Innocents parishes. St. Andrew's Church was built in the same year by C.H. Fowler at a cost of £3,000, the site was given by the Weardale Iron and Coal Company. It was extended in 1890 and 1895 with a memorial chapel and vestry.
Click on the link to search Spennymoor Town Council's Cemetery Records (this will open a new session)
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