History of Penshaw

Local landmarks and their History

All Saints

Church Introduction


The Church of All Saints, Penshaw, was built in 1746 as a Chapel-of-Ease to Houghton le Spring. The Reverend Richard Stonehewer, Rector of Houghton-le-Spring for 42 years, founded the Perpetual Curacy of Penshaw in 1746 but it was not until 1838 that Penshaw became a parish in its own right.

All Saints

Church Alterations


The C Hodgson-Fowler alterations of 1876-77 added a porch to the south wall. The window being added later as the interior was deemed too dark. The vestry used to be situated in the northwest corner, a new vestry was added during these alterations, and is now situated in the northeast corner of the building.

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Church Fixtures


The Bell was manufactured by Lester and Pack (London) in 1765. A new mechanism is awaited so that the Bell Pullman can be-re-attached and the bell used once again to call the faithful to worship.

The Organ was built by Harrison & Harrison (Durham) and installed in 1883. During November & December 2008 the Organ was dismantled, cleaned repaired and partially overhauled by Harrison & Harrison.

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Church Churchyard


The Churchyard is now closed to burials, with some exceptions. The care and maintenance was handed to the City of Sunderland’s Parks and Open Spaces Department on 19th December 1991. To the north east of the church, a Garden of Remembrance was established in 1992, in which are interred the cremated remains of parishioners.

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Church Parish


All Saints is not now the Parish church. The parish of Penshaw was amalgamated with the parishes of Shiney Row and Herrington in 2001 and in 2003 the parish was renamed The Parish of Herrington, Penshaw & Shiney Row. There are two other churches within the Parish - St Oswald at Shiney Row and St Aidan’s at Herrington.

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Church Registers


The registers of the Chapelry of Penshaw begin in 1754 and covered the entire Chapelry. The first entry for the baptisms was for Isabel Ranson; the first wedding was between Thomas Laverick and Jane Taylor and the first burial in the churchyard was that of John Brown. All Records from 1754 to 1986 can be found at Durham Record Office – and a list of those documents can be viewed on-line at: www.durhamrecordoffice.oro.uk/recordQffice/re(iister.nsf/7da41dh4

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Church Notable Members


One of the notable members of the parish was Sir George Elliot who was born in Shiney Row; he was MP for North Durham from 1868 -1874 and again from 1878 - 1885. He was created a Baronet in 1874. He began his working life as a trapper boy at Whitefield Pit and later gaining fame by being responsible for laying of the transatlantic cable.

Sir George was decorated for services rendered by the King of Portugal. He married Margaret Green of Shiney Row in 1836. He died in 1904 and is buried in the family vault at the old Hillside Cemetery at Houghton le Spring.

A large memorial to this outstanding, blunt and forthright man, whose drive and enterprise brought fame to this area as well as to him, is in the churchyard in Penshaw, near the Rectory wall.


With acknowledgements to Dawn Cummings and www.houghtonlespring.org.uk