Cat Peters has reported on Research Day 3: Durham University Library, Palace Green, Thursday 6th April 2016
Three of us were able to make the organised visit to Durham University Library on Thursday, and it was lucky there were so few of us as there weren’t many free spaces in the library for us to sit at.
Some of the documents we requested, which looked relevant from the catalogue search, turned out to be volumes of poetry, and not at all relevant (DUL Add MS.200 and Surtees on the Hiltons).
However, we did find the answer to one of the questions that had been puzzling us from that Francis Whellan book of 1894, that states the bridge/ crossing disappeared by AD 1322.
We had wondered where such an exact date had come from, and luckily we found that South Hylton Local History Society’s South Hylton Recalled… 2003 book, stated that “the earliest reference to the ferry is 1322, when Robert, Baron of Hilton, granted to his Chaplain, William de Hilton, the revenue from the bovis ferry, that is, the ox ferry where heavy cattle could cross, together with various other rights from land in Grindon and Ford. The same Chaplain William was to provide a proper boat for the ferry” (South Hylton Local History Society 2003, 99). It also stated that “as early as the 14th century, the main road from Newcastle to Sunderland and South Shields crossed the river Wear at Hylton” (ibid).
An Act for Improvement, River Wear to South Biddich (1759) was also analysed (DUL SC+04461) included the right “to dig, take up, remove and carry away any Rocks, Stones, Sand, Gravel, Rubbish, or other gross Matter, which shall obstruct, prejudice or hinder, the Navigation of the said Port, Haven and River, and cast, lay, and lodge, the same behind such Pier or Piers, Quay or Quays, Jettee or Jettees, as the said Commissioners, or any Seven or more of them, shall think proper…” (see attached image ending 002)
Many of the other records we found were copies of what had been seen elsewhere unfortunately and so we brought to an end Day 3.