Stanhope, County Durham

Stanhope /ˈstænəp/ is a market town[1] and civil parish in the County Durham district, in the ceremonial county of Durham, England. It lies on the River Wear between Eastgate and Frosterley, in the north-east of Weardale. The main A689 road over the Pennines is crossed by the B6278 between Barnard Castle and Shotley Bridge. In 2001 Stanhope had a population of 1,633,[2] in 2019 an estimate of 1,627, and a figure of 1,602 in the 2011 census for the ONS built-up-area which includes Crawleyside.[3] In 2011 the parish population was 4,581.[4]

Town and civil parish
Stanhope Castle - - 398857.jpg
Stanhope Castle
Stanhope is located in County Durham
Location within County Durham
Area98.68 sq mi (255.6 km2)
Population1,633 (2001 census)
• Density17/sq mi (6.6/km2)
OS grid referenceNY995395
Civil parish
  • Stanhope
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBishop Auckland
Postcode districtDL13
Dialling code01388
FireCounty Durham and Darlington
AmbulanceNorth East
UK Parliament
List of places
County Durham
54°44′50″N 2°00′22″W / 54.7471°N 2.006°W / 54.7471; -2.006Coordinates: 54°44′50″N 2°00′22″W / 54.7471°N 2.006°W / 54.7471; -2.006

Civil parishEdit

Civil parish
Stanhope Castle
Primary councilCounty Durham
RegionNorth East England
SettlementsStanhope, Bollihope, Bridge End, Brotherlee, Copthill, Cornriggs, Cowshill, Crawleyside, Daddry Shield, East Blackdene, Eastgate, Frosterley, Hill End, Ireshopeburn, Killhope, Lanehead, Lintzgarth, New House, Rookhope, Shittlehope, St John's Chapel, Unthank, Wearhead, West Blackdene, Westgate and White Kirkley
 • Total256 km2 (99 sq mi)
 • Total4,581
 • Density18/km2 (46/sq mi)

The civil parish includes the settlements of Cornriggs, Cowshill, Daddry Shield, Eastgate, Frosterley, Ireshopeburn, Lanehead, St John's Chapel, Wearhead and Westgate, all on the A689 road, and also Bollihope, Bridge End, Brotherlee, Copthill, Crawleyside, East Blackdene, Hill End, Lintzgarth, New House, Rookhope and West Blackdene. Other places it includes are Killhope, Shittlehope, Unthank and White Kirkley. This gives it the largest parish area in England, at 221 km2.[5] It has some land in common with the neighbouring Wolsingham civil parish. On 31 December 1894 "Stanhope Urban" parish was formed from part of Stanhope parish, but on 1 April 1937 it was merged back. On 1 April 1946, 2,396 acres (969.6 ha) were transferred to the parish from Wolsingham.[6]


Stanhope is surrounded by moorland in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – the second largest of a current 40 such areas in England and Wales. Features of interest include:

  • A petrified tree stump standing in the churchyard was found with two others, one of which features in the Great North Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne.[7]
  • The Durham Dales Centre incorporates a tea room, tourist information and craft shops.
  • Stanhope Bridge, a scheduled monument, was built in the 15th century and widened in 1792.[8][9]
  • The ford has a stepping-stone bridge for pedestrians.
  • The 18th-century Stanhope Castle in the town centre stands on the possible site of a medieval castle. It was built in 1798 by Cuthbert Rippon, MP for Gateshead.[10]
  • The town has one of only two heated open-air swimming pools in the North East.

Stanhope was at the centre of the Weardale campaign (1327), when Sir James Douglas of Scotland invaded England and faced Edward III and Roger Mortimer, earl of March. A series of skirmishes took place on the valley floor and in Stanhope Park.

The parish church dedicated to St Thomas is mostly from the 12th–13th centuries, with restoration in 1663 and 1867.[11][12] The earliest known Rector was Richardus in 1200. Joseph Butler, later Bishop of Bristol, was Rector in 1725.[13]

Stanhope Castle may be on the site of a motte and bailey castle according to some evidence from the 1790s. Furthermore, Bishop Anthony Bek granted land "to the west side of Stanhope castle". The present castle was built for Cuthbert Rippon (1744-1801) in 1798 with additions in 1823 by his son, also Cuthbert (1797–1867) and Member of Parliament for Gateshead. Ignatius Bonomi (1787–1870) was the architect. In 1941 the castle was adapted by the Home Office as a school for boys and remained so until 1980, where it was converted into apartments.[14][15][16] Part of the gardens lie to the north of the castle across the main road, including the park wall and gazebo.[17]

Stanhope Agricultural Show is held on the second weekend of September each year.[18] It has been held annually since 1834, except in world-war years, the 2001 United Kingdom foot-and-mouth outbreak foot and mouth crisis, and times of bad weather.

Weardale RailwayEdit

Stanhope is the current terminus of the Weardale Railway, a heritage line operating mainly at weekends from Bishop Auckland, with stations at Frosterley, Wolsingham and Witton-le-Wear.[19] Stanhope Station stood in for the fictional Partlington Station in an episode of the criminal drama series Vera.

Notable residentsEdit

In order of birth:


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Stanhope Town Hall - Durham County Council". Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Wear Valley Settlement Summary Sheets" (PDF). Durham County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Stanhope". City Population De. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  4. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 December 2005. Retrieved 23 November 2005.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Stanhope CP/AP through time". A Vision of Britain through Time. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  7. ^ "The North Pennines, What's Special?". Retrieved 25 February 2023.
  8. ^ "Stanhope Bridge over River Wear". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  9. ^ "Bridge history". Retrieved 20 October 2019.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Stanhope Castle, Illustrated site". Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  11. ^ Historic England. "CHURCH OF ST THOMAS, Stanhope (1231701)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  12. ^ Egglestone, William Morley (1878). Stanhope Memorials of Bishop Butler. pp. 6–10.
  13. ^ Hutchinson, William (1823). The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham. Vol. 3. p. 353.
  14. ^ Hutchinson, William (1823). The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham. Vol. 3. pp. 351–52.
  15. ^ Historic England. "STANHOPE CASTLE, Stanhope (1231718)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  16. ^ "Stanhope Castle, Fortified, Rebuilt, Repurposed". Retrieved 26 February 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Historic England. "WALL ON NORTH EAST SIDE OF CASTLE GARDEN, AND GAZEBO ATTACHED, Stanhope (1278798)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Stanhope Show, Agriculture". Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  19. ^ "Weardale Railway". Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  20. ^ W. Greenwell, 1894. "Antiquities of the Bronze Age found in the Heathery Burn Cave, County Durham", Archaeologia (2nd Series, 4), pp. 87–114.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Stanhope, County Durham at Wikimedia Commons