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Family History

Find your roots in the North East of England

There is a growing interest in family history. Many people around the UK and indeed the world can trace their family origins to the North East of England.

Researching your family history starts, of course, with collecting as much information as you can from living relatives, and building up a family tree starting from yourself and immediate family. Include birth or baptism dates, marriages and details of deaths or burials.

If you have family roots in the North East of England, we hope this page will help you take your search a stage further. And once you have done your research you will probably wish to visit places associated with your family history, including parish churches. If your family place names are not found in this Spirit in Stone website, try looking at www.achurchnearyou.com.

A big part of your research will be to explore Parish registers. Many registers have been microfilmed and several have been transcribed and indexed. Information about the family history records in Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn and Durham County Record Office, include Church of England parish registers dating back to the 16th century and nonconformist church registers, plus links to all the main sources used by family historians, including wills, census and birth, marriage and death records.

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    St Thomas the Apostles Church
    Church
    Stanhope

    Historic St Thomas’ Church and fossil tree is in Stanhope, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

    Church External
    Church
    Chillingham

    The Church was founded in the 12th century and retains some of the Norman stonework. The South Chapel of Our Lady contains the 15th century tomb of Sir Ralph Grey and his wife Elizabeth.

    Sunderland Minster
    Church
    Sunderland

    A beautiful serene example of an ancient church surviving in a modern age with something for everyone to enjoy and nice friendly staff who are more than happy to help.

    St Mary Magdalene at Trimdon
    Church
    Durham

    Built in 1155 we have a Norman chancel with an unusual horseshoe arch.

    Exterior of St Oswald's
    Church
    Durham

    Site of Christian worship for over 1,000 years. Present church dates from c.1180. Notable stained glass, woodwork, sculpture, bells.

    Exterior of St George's in Jesmond
    Church
    Jesmond

    St. George’s, Jesmond, a Grade I listed nineteenth century church is ‘one of the outstanding ecclesiastical buildings in the north of England’.

    Holy Trinity at Matfen
    Churchyard/Burial Ground
    Matfen

    A beautiful 19th-century church with a fine spire, a lovely atmosphere and a beautiful churchyard.

    Exterior of St Marys, Long Newton
    Church
    Stockton on Tees

    St.Mary’s was built in 1856, on the site of several earlier churches, by the Londonderry family who lived at nearby Wynyard Hall. See how a 150 year old church can be made user friendly.

    Listed 18th Century Tombstone
    Church
    Lowick

    Visitors, sometime from as far away as Australia and the USA have described the church in the visitors book as ‘impressive’ and ‘lovely; they admire the particular peaceful quality of the building.

    High House Chapel and Museum
    Church
    Bishop Auckland

    High House Chapel is the oldest purpose built Methodist Chapel in continuous weekly use since it was built in 1760.

    St Edwin's Church
    Church
    Darlington

    This beautiful 12th century church (with 14th century spire) stands high above the River Tees. Coniscliffe means King’s Cliff; Edwin was first Christian King of Northumbria.

    St James
    Church
    Benwell

    Opened in 1833, designed by celebrated Newcastle architect John Dobson, the church has many historical and architectural features of interest. Its graveyard contains many significant memorials.

    South Aisle Porch and Tower
    Church
    Morpeth

    Ancient Parish Church, over 700 years old, set in a peaceful churchyard with a glorious fourteenth century Tree of Jesse window.

    Exterior of St Edmunds
    Church
    Gateshead

    St Edmund's is a rare example of a 13th century pilgrim's chapel and is also the home of a new gallery, Sanctuary Artspace.

    Exterior of All Saints, Lanchester
    Church
    Lanchester

    Founded 1147. Roman pillars and altar. Mediaeval glass & misericords. Squinch arch. Locomotive pioneer. Mice galore and much more!

    Spire at Holy Cross Church
    Church
    Ryton

    Built in 1220 in ‘Early English’ style with an impressive spire added 1360. Fine Victorian re-ordering 1886.

    St Marys Church at Staindrop
    Church
    Darlington

    Originally Saxon, though much that remains today is 13thC rebuilding. Also rebuilt in the 19thC. Of note are two fragments of two Saxon cross shafts and fragments of medieval cross slabs. Also the gravestone of Thomas Bewick, wood engraver.

    The Tower
    Church
    Berwick-upon-Tweed

    Ancroft Church is dedicated to St Anne, the mother of Mary, so the granny of Jesus. Follow the trail quiz and climb to the top of the tower to see the sea.

    St Andrews Church in Corbridge
    Church
    Corbridge
    Important Saxon Church. Impressive 13thC remains - particularly east end lancet windows. Roman arch to baptistery. 14thC Vicar's Pele, built of Roman stones, in churchyard - needed because of Scots raids from 1296.
    Exterior of Easington Parish Church
    Church
    Easington

    Twelfth Century Grade I listed building with a historic place in the Durham Diocesan history.

    The Church Tower and Clock
    Church
    Shildon

    Shildon is a Railway Town and Railway Pioneer Timothy Hackworth is buried at Saint John’s.

    Exterior of St James & St Basil
    Art and Architecture
    Fenham

    J’s and B’s is a beautiful Arts and Crafts church built in 1931, open daily for prayer and reflection. 

    St Gregorys Church in Kirknewton
    Church
    Kirknewton

    'More to this church than meets the eye' (Pevsner). A site of Christian worship since the 11th century or earlier, the chancel and south transept date from the late 15th century.

    Church and Graveyard
    Church
    Bishop Middleham

    A beautiful and historic village church.

    Outside St Cuthberts Church in Norham
    Church
    Norham

    Described by Simon Jenkins in his "England's Thousand Best Churches" as a "mini-Durham Cathedral".

    Church and Graveyard
    Church
    Barnard Castle

    A church with links to Richard III, a rare indoor labyrinth and one of the largest fonts in the country.

    Holy Trinity at Horsley
    Church
    Horsley

    Built in 1844 by 2nd Lord Redesdale - architects J & B Green. Important estate church with strong links to the Mitford family.

    St Michaels Church in Alnwick
    Church
    Alnwick

    Spacious perpendicular style church with many medieval features, e.g., Hotspur pillar. 1464 charter of Henry VI that two 'burgesses' of Alnwick rebuilt their church. Patronage of Dukes of Northumberland; Percy connection.

    St Michael & All Angels Church
    Church
    Houghton-le-Spring

    A place of revelation, hope, encounter... Stunning ancient parish church.

    Church Exterior
    Church
    Byrness

    A Chapel of Ease built in 1786. Has a wonderful window commemorating the work people who died while the Catcleugh dam was built from 1894-1905.

    Front of St Mary's at Seaham
    Church
    Seaham

    'One of the finest small churches in the country dating back to the 7th/8th century' according to E. Fernie, 'Anglo Saxon Churches'

    View of St Wilfrid's
    Church
    Kirknewton

    Beautiful light 14th century Grade 1 listed church in which Capability Brown was baptised. This little church consists simply of a nave and chancel, but has striking interior features.

    St Cuthbert's from the South West
    Church
    Bishop Auckland

    This is a charming little church, simple and welcoming, and with a history going back eight hundred years or more.

    St Mary's at Stamfordham
    Churchyard/Burial Ground
    Stamfordham

    A stunning Grade 1 listed church with Saxon origins. Lots of fascinating ancient monuments and a beautiful churchyard.

    St Mary the Virgin Church in Ovingham
    Church
    Ovingham

    Late Saxon West Tower, 12th Century porch, original long lancet windows at east end.

    Porch in bloom
    Church
    Whickham

    St. Mary's has been at the heart of the community for many centuries and is an important historic treasure of Tyneside.

    St Peter's at Monkwearmouth
    Church
    Sunderland

    The monastery and original home of the Venerable Bede, monk and scholar, AD 674.

    St Cuthberts Church in Elsdon
    Churchyard/Burial Ground
    Elsdon

    14th Century church, Roman tombstone, medieval grave covers, exquisite windows, historic churchyard, 18th century carved headstones, two medieval stone coffins.

    Exterior of St Mary & St Cuthbert's
    Church
    Chester-le-Street

    A beautiful 13th Century church with a well preserved Anker's House Museum, it houses a copy of the Lindesfarne Gospels.

    St Paul's Exterior
    Church
    Branxton

    Tranquil ancient sacred space and historically important Flodden Battlefield church.

    Exterior of St Mary's at Etal
    Church
    Etal

    Set in the grounds of Etal Manor, this church (designed by William Butterfield) was built 1856-58 by Lady Augusta FitzClarence as a burial place for her husband Lord Frederick (one of the illegitimate sons of King William IV ).

    Looking North East to St Pauls
    Church
    Jarrow

    Here you can see the 7th Century building where the Saxon monk St. Bede worshiped and the 11th Century Norman tower.

    Outside St Aidans in Bamburgh
    Church
    Bamburgh

    A church was founded on this site in 635 by St Aidan; the site of his death is marked by a shrine within the present church which dates from the end of the 12th century. A squint, a fine reredos, and a memorial to the Victorian heroine are amongst some of the many treasures of this delightful parish church.

    St Mark's Church exterior
    Church
    Allendale Town

    St. Mark’s Church at Ninebanks offers breathtaking views over the remote West Allen valley and a fascinating local history and is on the Isaac’s Tea Trail North Pennines Heritage Walk

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