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Medomsley is a village in County Durham, in England. It is situated to the north-east of Consett, near the village of Ebchester; the River Derwent and the Northumberland border.

Cottages Medomsley - - 346568.jpg

The village has its own cricket club, situated at High Westwood which has been in existence since 1926. Medomsley has a small village shop named Suba Super Market,also referred as 'the top shop' since its located at the top of a small hill.It also has a primary school named Bishop Ian Ramsey C of E Primary School.


Medomsley is first recorded as Medmesley in the Boldon Book (1183). The placename (from Old English) may mean the “middlemost clearing” or “Maethhelm’s clearing”.[1]

The Church, which is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene appears to have been started in the mid 12th century, extended in the late 13th century and, as with many churches, restored in the late 19th century. In the case of St. Mary Magdalene, the church had fallen into a state of disrepair, and from 1877–78 it was vastly restored as a new roof and a north aisle were added, while still retaining many of its historic features.[2]

Like nearby Ebchester, Medomsley's church served many inhabitants of Shotley Bridge for christenings, marriages and burials until the creation of Shotley Bridge in the 19th century. Again this meant that sword-makers of Shotley Bridge were regular visitors of the church for such purposes, and many accounts of such events in their lives can be found in the parish registers.

The antiquarian and physician Christopher Hunter (1675-1757) was born in Medomsley Hall.[3][4]

Coal mining[edit]

There were two collieries near the village. Medomsley Colliery to the south west; Derwent Colliery to the north east. Medomsley Colliery[5] (also known as the Busty pit, and not to be confused with South Medomsley Colliery near Annfield Plain) opened in 1839 and closed in 1972. The Derwent Colliery[6] opened in 1856 and closed in 1964. Both collieries were operated by Edward Richardson & Co. when opened but were later taken over from the 1860s by the Consett Iron Co. Both collieries were eventually nationalised in 1947.

Plans for opencast mining by the National Coal Board were rejected in 1976 by Tony Benn.[7]

There were a number of mining accidents, most notably in 1923 when 8 miners lost their lives[8] although in 1957, in another accident, two miners were rescued uninjured.[9]


Medomsley is situated on the hills above the rural Derwent valley and overlooks the valley as well as having spectacular views of the Pennines and the surrounding countryside for miles around. The communities of Ebchester and Shotley Bridge are within walking distance. Medomsley also possesses links with the town via regular bus services, in addition to a bus service to Newcastle Upon Tyne

Detention centre[edit]

On the edge of Medomsley is the 33-acre youth detention centre Hassockfield, where dozens of boys were sexually abused by staff in the 1970s and 80s.[10][11] In 1988 the centre closed after the scandal of the paedophile officer Neville Husband. However, it later re-opened, and admitted its first residents in 1999. In 2004 Adam Rickwood, one of the residents of Hassockfield committed suicide. However, after this incident Hassockfield made strides forward in its performance. Hassockfield later closed in 2015.


  1. ^ Watts, Victor (2002). A dictionary of County Durham place-names. Nottingham: English Place-Name Society. p. 76. ISBN 0904889653. 
  2. ^ "'Chapelry of Medomsley', The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: volume 2: Chester ward (1820), pp. 284-297". Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "'Chapelry of Medomsley', The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: volume 2: Chester ward (1820), pp. 284-297". Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Durham Mining Museum". 
  6. ^ "Durham Mining Museum". Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  7. ^ The Times. 1976-02-26. p. 3.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ The Timees. 26/21923. p. 12.  Check date values in: |date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ The Times. 1957-06-20. p. 4.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Allison, Eric (13 April 2012). "A true horror story: The abuse of teenage boys in a detention centre". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  11. ^ H M Chief Inspector of Prisons (1986). Report on HM Detention Centre Medomsley. London: Home Office. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°53′00″N 1°48′52″W / 54.88331°N 1.81448°W / 54.88331; -1.81448