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First documented in the Boldon Book as Heleie, “Alain de Chilton, holds Heley, as is contained in his charter, for Cornforth...”. The village is also listed in Bishops Hatfield’s survey (1381) as Heley, "...being held by John de Chilton". The place name probably means “the high clearing”.
- Greenwell, William (1852). Boldon buke : a survey of the possessions of the see of Durham, made by order of Bishop Hugh Pudsey. Durham: Surtees Society. pp. 32, 66. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- Greenwell, William. Bishop Hatfield's survey, a record of the possessions of the see of Durham. Durham: Surtees Society. p. 124. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- Watts, Victor (2002). A dictionary of County Durham place-names. Nottingham: English Place-Name Society. p. 57. ISBN 0904889653.
- The Times. 1917-12-19. p. 3.
- Hatch, F. H. (1920). The iron and steel industry of the United Kingdom under war conditions. London: harrison. p. 53. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
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