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St George's church and churchyard, Harraton

Parish Church of Harraton
Harraton is located in Tyne and Wear
 Harraton shown within Tyne and Wear
Population 2,878 
OS grid reference NZ29475479
Unitary authority Tyne & Wear
Ceremonial county Tyne & Wear
Region North East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HARRATON
Postcode district NE38
Dialling code 0191
Police Northumbria
Fire Tyne and Wear
Ambulance North East
EU Parliament North East England
UK Parliament Sunderland
List of places
Tyne and Wear

Coordinates: 54°52′52″N 1°32′02″W / 54.881°N 1.534°W / 54.881; -1.534

Harraton is a township in Chester-le-Street parish, and a sub-district in Chester-le-Street district, Durham. The township lies on the river Wear, and on the North-eastern railway; now a cyclist/footpath, 3 miles north-east of Chester-le-Street; includes the villages of Chaters-Hough, Fatfield, and Pictree; and forms part of the chapelry of Birtley.[1]


The manor belonged to the Earl of Durham; and had his seat, Lambton Castle, on an eminence adjacent to the Wear. There is a chapel-school of the Established church, and chapels for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists. The sub-district contains Washington parish, and six townships and a chapelry of Chester-le-Street parish.[1]

The parish church of Harraton is called Fatfield St George for historical reasons.[2] The church was built in 1879 on land given by the Earl of Durham.


Coal was extensively worked; but the majority of the coal pits are exhausted.[1]

Row Pit, Harraton Colliery was the scene of a fatal explosion on Monday, 30 June 1817. Some miners were sent ot work in an area of the colliery which was not free from firedamp and the men were expressly ordered to use safety lamps. One man, John Moody, ignored this instruction and was observed using a candle.[3] The overman ordered Moody to extinguish the candle, which he did. Shortly afterwards Moody was again found using a candle and reprimanded. He extinguished the candle and lit his lamp. The overman had just left him when the explosion occurred.[4] 38 of the 41 men underground were killed, including a grandfather, his two sons and seven grandsons.[4]

Two days later eight workmen descended Nova Scotia Pit, part of the same colliery. When they did not return another party went down but were forced back by chokedamp. Late on the following day six bodies were recovered and there was "little hope of recovery for the other two".[4] All eight were recorded as being buried on 5 July.[5]