History of Sherburn Village

The earliest recording of Sherburn is in the charter of 671, where the settlement is referred to as "Scireburn".

Sherburn was originally a river name of early Anglo-Saxon origin which meant "clear stream" or "bright stream", but after people came to live near the stream they adopted the name for their settlement. Thus Sherburn came to mean "the village on the Sherburn", and later "Sherburn Village". The stream, from which Sherburn takes its name, still flows through the valley below the village to join the Wear at Old Durham.

View of the fields near Sherburn Village

Sherburn Village's roots are deep in the past, When it was first listed in the charter of the year 671 as "Scireburn", it probably consisted of a collection of rough huts, the homes of peasants who cultivated the surrounding land and looked after their animals.

Although no settlements or burials of Neolithic date have been found, the remains of a Bronze Age stone-lined grave was discovered at Sherburn Grange which could have been covered by a simple earth mound. Two stone axes of that period have been found in the Parish, one at Sherburn Hall, now demolished, and the other at Sherburn Hospital. It is believed that these axes may have been used by early farmers in the area to clear trees to make simple fields.

Originally a village relying on farming, the Industrial Revolution had a marked impact on the development of Sherburn. The village rested upon rich deposits and was quickly surrounded by mines. The first pit was sunk in the 1830s. Stone colliery houses were built to house the new workforce and their families, and the village expanded rapidly.

Between 1801 and 1841, the population rose from 252 to 1946 residents, and continued to increase steadily throughout the reminder of the 19th century. The present population is approximately 2434 (as of 2001).

The railway arrived at Sherburn Village in 1844. Branch lines for the transport of coal were constructed from the pits to the main line, which lay to the west of the village. Within a century the pits began to disappear from the vicinity of Sherburn. The Lady Durham pit, which had been sunk in 1873, closed in 1919. The remaining pits had all closed by the end of the 1960s. Because the railway lines no longer served their purpose, they too disappeared.

Sherburn Village underwent a further period of growth at the beginning of the 20th century but by the 1940s the majority of the colliery houses were pulled down to make way for modern houses. Following the decline of its traditional industries, Sherburn Village has also become a dormitory for commuters due to its proximity to the A1(M) and the City of Durham. 

Sherburn Village Parish Council 

Parish Councils came into being in 1895. Originally Sherburn Parish Council’s boundaries took in Sherburn Village, part of Sherburn Hill and Sherburn House but following numerous reorganisations we are now responsible for Sherburn Village and neighbouring farmland only.

Sherburn was known as Sherburn Village for hundreds of years, on 28th September, 1936, the Postmaster General decided to take the Village off the title and just call it Sherburn.

Even though the name was removed, force of habit has kept the name alive in the area. The Parish Council successfully applied to Durham City Council to have its name restored to Sherburn Village as from 1st April, 2006.

Since its inception the Members of Sherburn Parish Council have given their time voluntarily and have worked for the area without any payment.  

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