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Growth Of A Village

The Industrial Revolution in the 19th century brought about changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and transport.  This influenced almost every aspect of daily life.

The rural landscape of Coxhoe ‘underwent tumultuous change to serve the needs of industrialization and coalmining’. (Edwards 2004)  Link to map of 1857?

Coxhoe Mill

Photograph of Coxhoe Mill Farm by Harry Holder

In 1801 Coxhoe was a small rural hamlet with only 27 houses and 171 people.  A turn-pike road ran through the village from Stockton to Durham and travel would be by foot or horse and cart.  Farming was the most important source of employment. 
When the Coxhoe Hall estate was offered for sale in 1824 it was described as having “three farms with water, corn and bone mills, labourer’s cottages and a poor-house for the maintenance of its own poor”.

By the middle of the 19th century the Industrial Revolution was in full flow with the invention of steam powered machines, manufacturing industries expanding rapidly and the world’s first public railway opened in 1825…. 

… there was an urgent need for the raw materials which Coxhoe could provide – Coal, Limestone and Clay.

Clarence Railway Station

Clarence Railway crossing
photograph donated by Colin Sinderson

In 1827 Bell’s Pit opened at Park Hill.
By 1834 a branch of the Clarence Railway ran to Coxhoe North.

1835    Coxhoe Colliery
1837    West Hetton
1838    Cornforth Colliery (Coxhoe Bridge Drift)
1839    Clarence Hetton Colliery (Clay Hole)
1840   Bowburn Colliery

Bridge Railway Station

Coxhoe Bridge Station
© Photograph Library Beamish Museum

These encouraged further expansion of the village and more collieries were sunk.

The majority of the collieries were quickly exhausted, Coxhoe Colliery being the last to close in 1879.

In 1839 a branch of the Great North of England, Clarence and Hartlepool Junction Railway opened at the southern end of the village. 

Very few villages can boast of having two railways.

By 1841 the houses in the village had increased to 816 and the population had risen to 3904 due to the huge influx of coal miners and their families from near and far …. the small rural village had become a booming industrial community.

Steetly Kiln
Early Steetly Kiln. Photo
From Ronnie Taylor Collection

Quarrying expanded to meet the demand for limestone.  
Coxhoe Bank Quarry increased production under different owners and was purchased by the Steetley Company in 1906.  It closed in 1966

Raisby Quarry opened in 1845 and is still in existence today.

Raisby Kiln Workers
Local men working in the Raisby kilns.
Photo From Ronnie Taylor

The quarrying industry has employed many Coxhoe people.

By 1851 the population had increased to 3576.  This was undoubtedly Coxhoe’s heyday.  Industries also included an Iron Foundry, Coke and Gas Works, Potteries and Brickworks.

Brick and tile works were scattered around the village including Field’s Brickworks at Cow Close, West Hetton Brickworks opposite the ‘Kicking Cuddy Inn’ and in 1850 Ralph Carnaby owned a brickworks at Coxhoe Pottery just south of Ox Close.

Potteries had been in existence since early times producing clay pipes, basic pots of brown earthenware, chimney pots and drainpipes.

Early housing was around the Four Mile Bridge, Blackgate, The Pottery and Coxhoe Square areas.

Coal owners erected homes quickly for the families moving into the village.  They were usually near to the mines and built from stone plastered with lime and with slate roofs…these included New Row, Red Row, Blue Row, Prospect Place, West Hetton houses near to the Clay Hole Colliery.

Joint Stock Row took its name from the Joint Stock Company who formed the colliery.  It included 70 terraced houses and a pub.

“I was taken as a baby to Joint Stocks, Coxhoe as my father was a quarryman….We had no running water…this was obtained from a windmill field…we had the railway crossings outside our house at Joint Stocks, leading stone from one part of the Quarry to another…” Doris Taylor (nee Marr)

Long Row
Photo From Harry Holder Collection

Long Row, shown in the photograph, was built in 1840 and demolished in 1971

“there had sprung into being a large village or town, with a population almost exclusively of the collier people,beer-shop people and small shopkeepers”
Quotation about Coxhoe from “Much Maligned” by Lawrence Scollen

New commercial premises were developed around the West Hetton Houses area which is shown on the map.

The 1861 census lists butchers, tailors/drapers, blacksmiths, joiners and cabinet makers, watchmakers, pipe maker, brick makers, boot and shoemaker, grocer, draper, dressmaker.

Commercial Road

‘Beer-shops’ were numerous in 1861 – four are listed in Commercial Row, one of which was the Commercial Inn.  An 1858 Trader’s directory lists Robert Siddle as landlord.  

The photograph shows a group outside of the Commercial Inn in 1900’s - Lingford’s shop is adjacent.

Photo courtesy of Julie Cook

Education until 1870 was largely fee paying or through religious establishments and the majority of the population could not read or write.
1828 records show schoolmaster, George Mowbray, living at Coxhoe Pottery. 

The 1861 census records two properties as ‘school rooms’, a number of school teachers and many children recorded as scholars.
Industrialists demanding a better educated workforce led to Forster’s Education Act of 1870.

Coxhoe’s National School opened in 1871. 

Researching information on the memorial stones in St. Mary’s churchyard and the 1861 Census give a glimpse into Coxhoe’s past. 

Where did people come from?  What did they do?

Agricultural workers traced from the churchyard include Anthony Curry, George Heads, George Winwood, George Applegarth, James Ingledew from Coxhoe Square, Thomas Liddle from Paradise Farm and George Hopper who is listed as Farm Hind on the 1861 census.

1828 records show Thomas Bell, farmer at Coxhoe Mill, Wm Emmerson and Joseph Furneis at Hall Farm.

The 1861 census records the Furneis family still farming at Coxhoe – Charles at Coxhoe West Farm employing 4 men and John at East House Farm with five labourers.  These farms can be seen on the map.

Mill workers included William Barr and Robert Barley.


William was our Millers Cart man.  His job would entail delivering flour from Coxhoe Mill to local bakers and perhaps delivering to Coxhoe Bridge Station for transportation onto the rail network.
 Robert was the Millwright – a kind of jack of all trades, who would have the skills to work at   the lathe, anvil or carpenter’s bench, using both wood and metal.

Churchyard memorials tell us that Anthony Curry born at Hill Top, William Davison born at Winlaton , Herman Halliday born at Shield Row and Benjamin Bowerbank born at Graystock, Cumberland had moved to Coxhoe to work in the coal mines.  Benjamin is listed in the 1861 census.

Benjamin Bowerbank
From Ben Bowerbank photo album
Bill Taylor

The Bowerbank name has been linked to mining over many years. The photograph taken in the 1950’s shows Benjamin Bowerbank with his sons Benjamin and Harry.

In 1861 a number of ‘pit boys’ are recorded including John Hair, aged 11 living at Carnaby’s Houses, Henry Miller and Charles Watson both aged 10, at Ox Close.

Workers in the limestone industry were described as ‘stone quarriers’ in 1861.  Quarrymen in the churchyard include Joseph Cooper, William Jackson and John Weir.   They moved to Coxhoe from Allendale-Northumberland, Norfolk, Yorkshire and Co. Down, Ireland.

Bill Taylor, shown working at Steetley Quarry, and John Robert Allen are also interred in St. Mary’s Churchyard.


      John Robert Allen      

Pictures Courtesy Of Barbara Leo

Martin Bell worked as a Stonemason.  He lived at West Parade and died in 1893.   The skills of Stonemasons would be needed to build the houses.

Tom Barker & Family

Courtesy Of Andrew Griffiths

This photographs shows Tom Barker (left side, back row) and his family.  Tom became Fives Champion of the World in a match held at the Railway Hotel, Coxhoe in 1870.  He invested his winnings from the sport in West Hetton Brickworks.   Tom’s descendants still live in the area.

Information researched by members of Coxhoe History Group


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