Byers Green

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Byers Green
Byers Green is located in County Durham
Byers Green
Byers Green
Byers Green shown within County Durham
Population 672 [1]
OS grid reference NZ223340
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district DL16
Dialling code 01388
Police Durham
Fire County Durham and Darlington
Ambulance North East
EU Parliament North East England
UK Parliament
List of places
County Durham
54°42′04″N 1°39′11″W / 54.701°N 1.653°W / 54.701; -1.653Coordinates: 54°42′04″N 1°39′11″W / 54.701°N 1.653°W / 54.701; -1.653

Byers Green is a village in County Durham, in England. It is situated to the north of Bishop Auckland, between Willington and Spennymoor, and a short distance from the River Wear.

Byers Green Hall has been the home of the Trotter family since the 15th century. [2]

Thomas Wright, (1711–1786) a famous 18th-century astronomer, architect and mathematician was born and died here. Wright was educated in King James I Grammar School in Bishop Auckland before being apprenticed to a clockmaker in the town. By 1734, after various adventures, Wright had progressed to making a huge working model of the universe (an orrery) for an aristocratic London patron. This set him on his remarkable career that included the first accurate description of the Milky Way.

Professor Harold Orton, (1898–1975) a noted 20th-century linguist and English dialectologist was also born here. Harold Orton was the son of a schoolmaster at Byers Green and attended King James I Grammar School in Bishop Auckland followed by Merton College, Oxford. His 1933 book The Phonology of a South Durham Dialect, based on the dialect of the area, was re-published by Routledge in 2015.[3]

The village green

Sir Percy Cradock, GCMG, (1923–2010) a senior British civil servant, was born in Byers Green. He was educated at Alderman Wraith Grammar School, Spennymoor followed by St John's College, Cambridge where he read law. Having trained as a barrister Cradock joined the Diplomatic Service and during his career held a number of senior diplomatic posts including Ambassador to China. Later in his career he was labelled by the media as the 'UK's most senior spy' because he chaired the Joint Intelligence Committee (UK) under Margaret Thatcher's government. Cradock died in London on 22 January 2010, aged 86.

It is not known whether there was a village at Byers Green in the Anglo-Saxon period. The village name is quite late; it was first recorded in 1345 as Bires. It is probably the exact equivalent of the modern word 'byres'. The village name thus means '(the green by the) cowsheds'.

Byers Green remained a farming area throughout the medieval period and into the 16th and 17th century. Most people would have worked on the land.


Byers Green station, after closure in May 1965, looking north towards Spennymoor and Ferryhill. Photograph by Ben Brooksbank

Byers Green railway station was opened in 1837 by the Clarence Railway, after it opened its Byers Green branch from Ferryhill in 1837.[4] From 1840 it became a junction station, between the Clarence and the West Durham Railway towards Crook. Passenger services were withdrawn on 4 December 1939, when the passenger service from Ferryhill was cut back to Spennymoor. Goods were handled at Byers Green until 2 June 1958.

Since the line was lifted in the late 1960s, the station buildings have been demolished, but the site is part of the Auckland County walking system


  1. ^ Settlement Summary Sheets.xls Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Trotter of Byers Green Hall".
  3. ^ [ Routledge page for The Phonology of a South Durham Dialect by Harold Orton
  4. ^ "Clarence Railway". Durham History. Retrieved 18 March 2013.

External links[edit]

Media related to Byers Green at Wikimedia Commons