Iron and Bronze Age Horden
2,000BC to 75AD: No evidence of these periods has been found in Horden apart from a few pieces of handmade pottery. Although there have been significant finds in nearby areas which suggest there must have been some activity in Horden. Perhaps evidence has been destroyed by industrial development, coastal erosion or still remains to be found.
75AD to 410AD: A cluster of Roman finds near Blackhills Gill indicates that there was some kind of settlement. This area is presently under pasture.
5th Century to 18th Century
Throughout Horden there is evidence of ‘rigg and furrow’ in some fields; i.e. the mediaeval way of ploughing.
From the 11th century onwards northern England was dominated by wars with Scotland; which was almost continuous until the 14th century and following this small scale raids were common until the 16th century. Many fortifications were built; the foundations of a Pele Tower (fortified building) were found at Eden Hill in the 1950s
Concerning the deserted Village site to the east of Horden Hall Estate known as Yoden; the latest report to Peterlee Town Council, published in December 2004 concludes:
- There is no evidence to suggest that this is the ancient village of Yoden and it is almost certainly that of mediaeval Horden. It is suggested in the report that there has been some confusion by earlier historians.
- It is very unlikely that this is the site of a pre-Norman conquest (1066) Saxon village; any settlement of that period is more likely to have been on the site of Horden Hall or immediately surrounding Horden Hall.
- The site is clearly that of a deserted mediaeval village with some characteristics of a planned village of the later Middle Ages and is estimated to have been inhabited from approximately 1335 to 1430.
Horden Hall was built in the mid 1600s by Sir John Conyers and is now a Grade 2 listed building and described as a small manor house. It is built on the site of buildings of much greater antiquity; as far back as 1200 a Keep stood on this site and in the late 800s there is mention of Horden Hall being bought from King Guthred and given to the Church of St Cuthbert by Ethred the Abbot. The present Horden Hall has a 12th century coat of arms above a fireplace which is the seal of Galfrid de Hordene, who was the nephew of the Bishop of Durham; Rannulph Flambard. This coat of arms or Seal of the First Lord of the Manor; has been adopted as the badge of Horden Rugby Club. In later years a family called Fitzmarmaduke became owners of the manor; one of whom married Isabella de Brus, sister to Robert Bruce. Some of the Fitzmarmadukes are buried in Easington Village Church.
I8th and 19th Century
During this time as recorded in the newspaper the ‘Northern Daily Mail’ of December 9th 1930. (This was an article recording the 30th anniversary of the foundation of Horden Colliery):
“For these 2 centuries there were a couple of farmsteads isolated in a wild tract of woodland; maintaining a small and prosperous agricultural community.”
Horden Hall and Cotsford Grange Farm were the only buildings shown on maps of this time in the place we now call Horden. Cotsford Grange Farmhouse was built in the early 1800s and is now a Grade 2 listed building. The buildings stand at the bottom of Cotsford Lane and are surrounded by housing.
The name of Lime Kiln Gill tells us that a lime kiln must have been there. The lime would have been used for improving agricultural land and in the production of mortar. This practice was widespread at this time.
As the coal-mines in West Durham were becoming ‘worked out’ other sources were looked for and under East Durham rich seams of coal were identified.
Horden was identified as one of the areas to construct a coalmine. This would entail:
1. Sinking shafts and building pithead workings
2. Constructing transport links
3. Provision of homes and amenities for workers and their families
For nearly 90 years the history of Horden revolved around coal mining and associated industries. Family, social and working life was shaped by the development of the colliery and in the end, its closure.
This information was taken from many sources. Special thanks to (in alphabetical order) Denis Allison, Anne Crute and Susan Skirving.