Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for HARTLEPOOL

HARTLEPOOL, a seaport town, a parish, and a subdistrict in Stockton district, Durham. The town stands on a headland, nearly insulated by the German ocean, 4 miles N by W of the month of the river Tees, 12 NE by N of Stockton, and 18 ESE of Durham. A small bay, or pool, of its own name, is on its S side; and an inlet from this strikes westward, up the course of a brook, -separates it from West Hartlepool, -forms the entrance to the harbour, -and is crossed, near the month, by a ferry, approached on the S by an iron tunnel for foot passengers. A railway goes westward into junction with the Northeastern at Ferryhill; another goes South-South-eastward in the direction of Stockton; and both have ramifications and connexions which give communication with all important parts of both the coast and the interior. The name seems properly to be, or formerly was, Hart-le-pol, and originated with the Normans. Bede calls the place Heart-ea, signifying "Hart-water, " and Henry of Huntington calls it Hart's Isle; and both these names, as well as Hart-le-pol, appear to allude to the headland as originally a forest abounding in deer, and washed by the contiguous pool or small bay. The town's seal represents a stag in a pool. Huge antlers and enormous fossil trees have frequently been found in the adjacent sands; and, at the forming of drains in the town in 1848, stags' antlers, deer's teeth, human bones, and portions of trees were discovered. An abbey was founded here, in 640, by St. Bega; was presided over by St. Hilda; and was destroyed in 800, by the Danes. A town, adjacent to the abbey, was founded or rebuilt, between 830 and 845, by one of the bishops of Lindisfarne; and was designed to belong for ever to the bishops. Robert de Brus, son of Robert who came over with the Con. queror, and ancestor of the royal Bruces of Scotland, obtained the town and the circumjacent manor. The har bour seems to have been then regarded as important and, in 1171, it was the landing place of a fleet under the Earl of Bar, with a contingent of Flemings, to assist William the Lion in invading England. It was the only ancient port of the palatinate of Durham; and here Bishop Pudsey prepared the splendid galley in which he purposed to accompany Richard I. to the Crusades. The town was made a borough by King John in 1200; and it was strongly fortified, and provided with a haven of 12 acres, in 1245-95. The wall around it was strengthened by bastions, a breastwork, and a parapet; the haven was defended by ten towers; the chief land gate was probably protected by moat and drawbridge; and the other gates were constructed in the strong manner usual in the military architecture of the period, and defended by turrets. Some remains of the walls still exist; but the haven has been disused. The manor, with the town, passed from the Bruces to the Cliffords, when the former claimed the crown of Scotland; and it went by sale, first in the 16th century, to the Lumleys, next in 1770 to the Pococks. The town was plundered, in 1312, by Sir James Douglas; was plundered again, in 1315, by the Scots; was taken, in 1569, by the rebel Earls in the rising of the North; was seized, in 1644, by the Scots, and held by them till 1647; and was relieved, in the latter year, by a parliamentarian garrison. The port, in 1680, was made subordinate to Stockton; and, from 1725 till 1832, it declined down to the condition of little better than a fishing village; but, about the latter year, it underwent a sudden resuscitation; and thence till now, it has progressed rapidly to the prominence and prosperity of a great seat of commerce. A remarkable thunderstorm, one of the most terrific ever known in England, broke over it in July 1856; when rain fell in quantity to make a local deluge, and the electric fluid darted about like clusters of magnificent rockets. The headland on which the town stands is one of the most prominent features on the coast of Durham. The rock is magnesian limestone, hard, buff coloured, and crystalline. The nexus of the headland with the mainland is a narrow isthmus on the NW. The shore side, to the N of the town, has cliffs about 40 feet high, and extends thence in shoals and spits of sand. The cliffs have been abraded by the action of the billows; and are formed into caverns, piazzas, and grotesque arches, called "the fairy coves, " and affording romantic and pleasant retreats at low water. The town moor, inward from the cliffs, is a favourite resort of the townspeople, and commands a fine sea-view, northward to Suter Point, and Southward to the hills of Yorkshire. Remains of a breast work, demi-bastions, walls, and a tower gateway, are on the moor and the shore side. The South wall, 9 feet thick, forms a walk 18 feet high, and is pierced with an arch 8 feet wide, communicating between High street and the beach, and strengthened by an angular bastion. Nine guns and an Armstrong 68 pounder, are mounted here in batteries. Two chalybeate springs are near the Water gate. The town comprises a principal street, a parallel street, and several transverse streets; and it has necessarily undergone a change of appearance corresponding with the great recent progress of its commercial prosperity. Many of the private Houses are handsome. St. Hilda's church stands on a height at the SE of the town, commanding an extensive sea view; was founded before the time of Richard I.; retains a grand Norman doorway, now covered in by a porch; is mainly early English, of the latter part of the 13th century; lost the greater part of its chancel in 1724; consists now chiefly of nave and aisles, -the nave 85 feet long and 44 feet wide, with clerestory of arcade triplets; has a massive western tower, 78 feet high, with very large and bold flying buttresses; had formerly three chantries; presents a rugged, stormbeaten, and highly imposing appearance; contains two ancient stone effigies, and a brass of the time of Elizabeth; and had, in the centre of its chancel, a huge altartomb, now several feet outside of the E wall, bearing the lion of the Bruce. Holy Trinity church was built in 1851; measures 84 feet by 24 in the nave, 36 feet by 22 in the chancel; and has carved stalls and a Caen stone pulpit. There are seven chapels for dissenters, and one for Roman Catholics; and the latter was built in 1851, in similar style to St. Hilda's church. A very ancient cemetery, containing crosses with Saxon or Runic inscriptions, and supposed to have been the cemetery of St. Bega's abbey of 640, was discovered on Cross close, in 1833. A monastery of Greyfriars, probably founded about 1258 by Robert de Bruce, stood on a site near that now occupied by a building called the Friary. That building was erected after the dissolution of monasteries; is of Tudor character; was used, for some time, as a workhouse; and now, after a recent re fitting, is an hospital. The town hall is an edifice of the middle of last century; is used for both borough and county courts; but is now not sufficiently commodious. The athenæum was built in 1851. There are a mechanics institute, a working men's institute, three free schools, and charities £156. The town has a head post office, ‡ a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, and two chief inns; is a bonding port, and a coast guard station; and publishes two weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs are held on 14 May, 22 Aug., 9 Oct., and 27 Nov. Industry is carried on in mills, breweries, iron foundries, a brass foundry, anchor and chain works, a cement manufactory, and a fishery; some support also is drawn from the presence of summer visitors for sea bathing; but the main trade has connection with ship building and the business of the port. The fishermen are a class, retaining old customs, and intermarrying among themselves. Powers for forming a new harbour, at an estimated cost of £209, 000, were obtained in 1831, and were extended in 1837. An old pier is 150 feet long; a new pier runs out from the Heugh, a point on the E of the town, to the length of 650 feet; new docks were formed prior to 1840, at a cost, with the other harbour works, of about £500, 000; a lighthouse was erected on the head of the new pier in 1836, and has a red fixed light 37 feet high; another lighthouse was erected on the Heugh in 1847, at a cost of £3, 200, and has a light on Fresnel's principle, at a height of 84 feet; and a walling of the cliff adjacent to it was done at a cost of £2, 550. Shelter in any weather, together with harbour accommodation, now exists for 500 vessels; and a large timber dock was completed in 1864. The vessels belonging to the port, exclusive of West Hartlepool, at the beginning of 1863, were 7 small sailing vessels, of aggregately 158 tons; 136 large sailing vessels, of aggregately 31, 863 tons; and 2 steam vessels, of jointly 864 tons. The vessels which entered during 1862, inclusive of West Hartlepool, were 19 British vessels, of aggregately 3, 987 tons, from British colonies; 5 foreign vessels, of aggregately 2, 033 tons, from British colonies; 757 British vessels, of aggregately 131, 213 tons, from foreign countries; 1, 240 foreign vessels, of aggregately 142, 598 tons, from foreign countries; 284 British steam vessels, of aggregately 94, 246 tons, from foreign countries; 7 foreign steam vessels, of aggregately 1,821 tons, from foreign countries; 208 sailing vessels, of aggregately 17, 297 tons, coastwise; and 11 steam vessels, of aggregately 1, 339 tons, coastwise. The vessels which cleared, during 1862, were 54 British vessels, of aggregately 9, 891 tons, to British colonies; 2 foreign vessels, of jointly 223 tons, to British colonies; 859 British vessels, of aggregately 159, 517 tons, to foreign countries; 1,832 foreign vessels, of aggregately 211, 990 tons, to foreign countries; 296 British steam vessels, of aggregately 99, 716 tons, to foreign countries; 7 foreign steam vessels, of aggregately 1,821 tons, to foreign countries; 6, 262 sailing vessels, of aggregately 795, 799 tons, coastwise; and 198 steam vessels, of aggregately 41, 284 tons, coastwise. The amount of customs, in 1867, was £18, 120. The chief commerce is in iron, coal, and timber. The town is governed by a mayor, a recorder, and twelve burgesses; and was, conjointly with West Hartlepool, empowered by the reform act of 1867 to send a member to parliament. Romaine was a native. The parish was originally a part of Hart parish. Acres, 990; of which 150 are water. Real property, £28, 666; of which £2, 762 are in gas works. Pop. in 1851, 9, 503; in 1861, 12, 245. Houses, 1, 726. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Durham. Value, £300.* Patron, the Vicar of Hart. The chapelry of Holy Trinity is mainly in Hartlepool parish, but partly in Hart; and was constituted in 1853. Rated property, £4, 800. Pop. in 1861, 5, 638. Houses, 839. Pop. of the Hartlepool portion, 4, 954. Houses, 741. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Durham. Value, £300.* Patron, the Vicar of Hart.—The sub-district is a poor law union, and now practically a district; and it contains the parishes of Hartlepool, Stranton, Greatham, and ElwickHall; and the townships of Hart, Throston, Elwick, Dalton-Piercy, and Thorpe-Bulmer in the parish of Hart. Acres, 26, 369. Poor rates, in 1863, £6, 501. Pop. in 1851, 16, 068; in 1861, 29, 153. Houses, 4, 720. Marriages in 1862, 275; births, 1, 266, -of which 47 were illegitimate; deaths, 651, -of which 351 were at ages under five years, and 3 at ages above 85.


(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a seaport town, a parish, and a subdistrict"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Hartlepool PA/CP       Hartlepool SubD       Stockton PLU/RegD       County Durham AncC
Place: Hartlepool

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