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Seaham

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  County Durham  /  Seaham
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Seaham, formerly Seaham Harbour, is a small town in County Durham, situated 6mi south of Sunderland and 13mi east of Durham. It has a small parish church, St Mary the Virgin, with a late 7th century Anglo Saxon nave resembling the church at Escomb in many respects. St Mary the Virgin is one of the 20 oldest surviving churches in the UK. Seaham is currently twinned with the German town of Gerlingen.HistoryThe original village of Seaham has all but vanished; it lay between St Mary's Church and Seaham Hall . Until the early years of the 19th century, Seaham was a small rural agricultural farming community whose only claim to fame was that the local landowner's daughter, Anne Isabella Milbanke, was married at Seaham Hall to Lord Byron, on 2 January 1815. Byron began writing his Hebrew Melodies at Seaham and they were published in April 1815. It would seem that Byron was bored in wintry Seaham, though the sea enthralled him. As he wrote in a letter to a friend:The marriage was short-lived, but long enough to have been a drain on the Milbanke estate. The area's fortunes changed when the Milbankes sold out to 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, who built a harbour, in 1828, to facilitate transport of goods from locally encouraged industries . However, this harbour later proved inadequate to deal with the millions of tonnes of coal and the 6th Marquess commissioned engineers Patrick Meik and Charles Meik to reclaim land and extend and deepen the dock. It was officially opened in 1905. The harbour is of particular interest because it consists of a series of interconnecting locks, rather than the more typical two wall construction.
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