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Spennymoor

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  County Durham  /  Spennymoor
Spennymoor is a town in County Durham, England. It stands above the Wear Valley approximately seven miles south of Durham. The town was founded over 160 years ago. The Town Council area, which includes the villages of Kirk Merrington, Middlestone Moor, Byers Green and Tudhoe, has a population of approximately 20,000.HistoryEarliest DaysThe land on which Spennymoor now stands was once a vast expanse of moorland covered with thorn and whin bushes . The origin of the name remains somewhat uncertain – some believe it to be derived from the Latin "Spina" which means a thorn and Mor which was the Anglo-Saxon word for a moor. C.E. Jackson, in his "Place Names of Durham, 1916", suggests a Scandinavian "Spaan" meaning shingle-hut and Anglo-Saxon combination involving "mar" – Spennymoor being the moor called after the shingle-hut erected thereon. Neither Britons nor Romans cultivated the moor, but on the site of Binchester, a village five miles to the south-west, the Romans built a camp around which grew up the settlement of Vinovium. The name Binchester is the usual Saxon corruption or adaptation of the Roman site name.This fortress must have been of great strength, for it stood on a height above the River Wear; many coins, urns, altars and pieces of Roman pottery have been found, as well as the remains of a hypocaust of the heating system. Later, Binchester became one of the "vills" of the Earl of Northumberland who held it until 1420 when it passed to the Nevilles who finally forfeited it with other lands in 1569. As is to be expected, the moor itself offers little of historical interest but it is linked with the records of Kirk Merrington, Whitworth Old Park, Binchester, Byers Green and Tudhoe, all of which form a part of the early days of Spennymoor. All these villages had common rights on the moor but, as it became denuded by increasing flocks, some of the local people were induced to relinquish their rights and so, gradually, the common became the property of just one owner – Merrington Priory. The Manor of Merrington belonged successively to the priors, monks and dean and chapter of Durham Cathedral.
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