The Lords of Biddick
in County Durham
(Now Tyne and Wear)

The de Biddic and Sanderson Family Connection
By Audrey Fletcher 
Copyright 2008
The Estate of Biddick and The Boldon Book of 1183

Biddick, which is divided into North Biddick and South Biddick, separated by the River Wear,
is first mentioned in "The Boldon Book" of 1183.

" In the one thousand one hundred and eightythird year of the Incarnation of our Lord at the feast of St. Cuthbert in Lent, Lord Hugh, Bishop of Durham caused to be written down in his and his men's presence all the returns of his whole Bishopric, fixed rents and customs as they were then and had been before"

The reason Biddick wasn't mentioned in "The Domesday Book" of 1086 was because this assessment of tax obligations to the crown stopped at the River Tees. This suggests that William the Conqueror had not yet succeeded in having full jurisdiction over the area north of the River Tees.

The fifth entry in "The Boldon Book", following those of Durham, Plawsworth, Gateshead and Little Usworth, is for Biddick.

"BYDIK. Bydik' Ulkilli facit servicium sexte partis unius feodi unius militis."
"BIDDICK. Ulkill's Biddick does the service of a sixth of one knight's fee."

Note: A knight's fee was a payment made in exchange for a drengage tenure.
A
drengage was a tenant owing light personal services and holding areas of arable land of 120 acres or more. He was a high ranking villein, a tenant with some authority. Many of the personal and drengage services involved the provision of men, greyhounds and ropes for the "Great Chase" of deer.

As Ulkill  was not an invited participant of the Great Chase, as was William de Hertburn for example, this would suggest that he was not of sufficient social standing or rank to attend. In other words he was not Lord of the Manor of Biddick, rather he was a high ranking tenant.

It can however be assumed that Ulkill's family continued to prosper as they are mentioned in the "Court Rolls of Manors held by Durham Priory (1296-1384)". These Court Rolls recorded procedings in the Courts, the main contents of which were land transfer and conveyancing.


South Biddick is listed separately in The Boldon Book.

"SUTHBYDYK. Villani de Suthbydyk tenet villamsuam ad firmam et reddunt v li et inveniunt viii xx homines ad metendum in autumpno et xxxvi quadrige ad quadrigandum blada apud Ottanam."
"SOUTH BIDDICK. The villeins of South Biddick hold their township on lease and pay five pounds and they provide 160 men for reaping in the autumn and 36 carts for carting corn to Houghton."

The following map, dated 1610, shows the location of North Biddick and South Biddick.
However, by that time, North Biddick has become  referred to as "West Bedik" while South Biddick has become referred to as only "Bedik".


Durham University Library, Dean and Chapter Muniments, Misc. Ch. 7083
This manuscript was issued by the prior and chapter of Durham, attesting
that they had seen the original charter and accepted it as genuine.
See Richard Britnell's article "Between Durham and the Sea" at

http://www.dur.ac.uk/r.h.britnell/haswell/
The Estate of Biddick and The Hatfield Survey 1377-1380

Bishop Hatfield's Survey was a record of the possessions of the See of Durham.

By the time of Bishop Hatfield's Survey  in 1377-1380 the Estate of Biddick had passed into the possession of the Hylton Family through the marriage of Jana de Biddic, soul heir, to Sir Robert Hilton, Knight, Baron of Hilton.

The entry for North Biddick appears in The Hatfield Survey as follows:

North Bedik. Willielmus de Hilton miles tenet villam de North Bedick quond'm Johaanis de Yheland per sextam partem feodi unius militis & redd. per ann. liij s. iiij d.

North Biddick. William de Hilton, soldier, (knight)  holds the estate of North Biddick once (held by) Johannes de Yheland, for a sixth part of a fee of a soldier (knight) and returns 53 shillings and 4 pence.

Note by Audrey Fletcher: Was John de Biddic, the father of Jana de Biddic who married Sir Robert Hilton, also known as Johannes de Yheland? Or were they two different people?
Extract from a map of Durham dated 1610
showing the postion of North and South Bedik, separated by the River Wear
Cooks' Hall, formery known as North Biddick Hall, was demolished in 1966, due to subsidence caused by the coal mining in the area.
Photo courtesy of Edwin Fletcher
The Biddick - Sanderson Connection

In 1666 Christopher Sanderson of Eggleston, in co. pal, Durham, Esq., now one of his Majesties Justices of the Peace, in this country, aged 48, an 16 Aug., wrote:
“By an ancient booke in the custody of Raphe Bows of Bradley, in co. pal. Durham, it appears that Thomas de Biddick alias Sanderson, who lived in King Ed. III’s time, had issue John de Beddic alias Sanderson, which John left issue Jane, a sole dau. And heire, with whom the inheritance of Beddic went to her issue by Sir Robert Hilton of Hilton, whose wife she was. And that from a younger son of the said Thomas de Biddic alias Sanderson, the family of Sanderson, sometimes of Loupe and Barnard castle, did descend from which family of Sandersons of Loupe, Christopher Sanderson, Esq., now of Eggleston, and lord of that mannour is descended.”
Note by A. Fletcher: Edward III reigned 25 Jan 1327 to 21 June 1377.

In The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire Robert Thornton (1623-1678) wrote:
Alexander de Bedick in parochia de Washinton in Episc.de Duresme 1333 (married) Jana fil.Ric Cancellarii. (They had two sons) 1: Thom. de Bedick alias Saunderson (who married) Maria fil. Walteri Grindall. 2: Jacob. de Bedick  alias Saunderson (who married) Margareta fil. Walteri Wilton de Eskdale.
Notes by A. Fletcher: Alexander and Jane's second son Robert, and their fourth son Richard are not mentioned in this pedigree. Jacobus was their third son.




The Spelling of Biddick

There are lots of variations of the name of Biddick. For example:
Bydik, Bidyk, Byddik, Bydyk, Byddyk, Bedic, Bedick, Bedyk, Bedyke and Biddic.

The earliest recorded spelling of BYDIK is in 1183 in "The Boldon Book".
The second earliest recorded spelling, also in "The Boldon Book", is BYDYK.

The meaning of the name Biddick

The name "Biddick" was of Anglo-Saxon origin, meaning "by the dyke".
"Dyke" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon “dic” meaning a “dyke”, a defence embankment.
There are three possible contenders for the Dyke in the Biddick area ... all of which are my own original ideas and interpretations.

Firstly the banks on both sides of the River Wear which form natural embankments. These could be considered in terms of defence if the invaders were coming up the River Wear from across Europe. For example: the Anglo-Saxons or Vikings. A part of these embankments are clearly shown on the photo of The Glen above.

The following map by Casson in 1801 shows the embankments along each side of the River Wear and also Worm Hill. Oxclose Burn is highlighted in turquoise and The Glen in red.
North Biddick Hall is shown to the north of The Glen.

Map to show embankments or "Dykes" along the River Wear and also Worm Hill.
Map by Casson 1801
Oxclose Burn is highlighted in turquoise and The Glen in red.
North Biddick Hall is shown to the north of The Glen.
Introduction

When I was a youngster I frequently went down The Biddick with my friend, Avis Fisher, to fish for tiddlers in the Burn near Worm Hill. It was a shallow but crystal clear stream which fed into the River Wear only a stone's throw away. The walk from where we lived in The Terraces took us down past The Gables and The Parade, Cooks Hall (previously known as Biddick Hall), and the railway line. We continued straight on down Biddick Lane until we came to the turn-off at Wormhill Terrace. We didn't turn off however. Instead we went straight ahead to The Glen, called in at Avis' Aunt Lilian's cottage on our right for a drink, then crossed over the road and down the hill to the Burn. We passed many a pleasant Summer's day in this way in the mid to late 1950s.

Although I didn't realize it at the time, this was the same Burn as the one we used to frequent down The Dene, which was also known as Oxclose. There was a bend in this particular stretch of the stream and a lovely grassed area where we would set up our camp fire and cook our baked beans Girl Guides style. There was also a rope hanging from one of the bigger trees, which the boys would use to swing across the Burn. I often wondered how many ended up in the water instead of on the opposite bank.

Although locally this stream was called The Burn its proper name was the Oxclose Burn. Biddick Hall was positioned between Oxclose Burn and Biddick Lane.

Oxclose was named for the popular sport of cockfighting in the area.
This old postcard shows Biddick Lane as it winds through The Glen.
The Burn is down the right off the photo, as is Worm Hill.
The steep rise of the land is evident.

The Dike.
Map by Gibson 1789.
The Dike: Fatfield Road, Biddick Lane north/south, is highlighted in orange.
Note how the crossing of the River Wear was to the left of Worm Hill
and not to the right of Worm Hill as it is today.
This crossing was probably Brugeford of The Lambton Worm Legend.
The Glen is highlighted in red.
Secondly the defence structure referred to could very possibly be Worm Hill.

Worm Hill is generally considered to be a natural feature of the landscape ... and perhaps it is. Certainly on the map above, the embankments follow their contours around Worm Hill. 

However when I was young I remember it being said that it was an artificial structure built up from the balast of the boats coming up the River Wear. The balast was said to have been emptied from the boats at Fatfield (where Worm Hill lies) in readiness to be filled with coal.

Looking at the photo below, which I took on a very overcast 4th July 2002, Worm Hill looks to be a man-made feature, but I would suggest of a much more ancient origin than balast from coal boats. Perhaps it was a burial mound. Alternatively it may have been built as a defence lookout as Biddick was in an important strategic position at the lowest crossing point on the tidal River Wear. The River Wear is on the other side of Worm Hill.

Worm Hill. Is it natural or man-made?
The surrounding embankments (or Dykes) can be seen in the background.
Photo by Audrey Fletcher
The Genealogy of the de Biddick Family

This apparently accurate and fairly comprehensive ancestry of the "de Biddick" family was published in 1785 by Hutchinson in "The History $ Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham". It is a copy of Mr. Gyll's Manuscript which was written down in the time of
Charles II, 1649- 1685.



The DESCENT of the Family of BIDDIC, Lords of BIDDIC, in Com, Dunelm.
Same MS. (i.e. Mr. Gyll's Manuscript)


Robert de Biddic
, Lord of Biddic, lived in the time of Maude the Empress: he married ________ the daughter of ________ and had issue John, his son and heir, and Jane who was married to Thomas de Carowe, of whom descended the Caroews of Clopton, Barons of Clopton.

John de Biddic, Lord of Biddic, son and heir of Robert: he married ________ the daughter of William Hilton, Dominus de Hilton, and by her he had issue Thomas, his son and heir.

Thomas de Biddic, Esq. Son and heir of John, son of Robert Dominus de Biddic: he married Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Seton, of Seton, Esq. And they had issue John, William and Margaret.

Sir John de Biddic, of Biddic, Knt. Son and heir of Thomas, son of John, son of Robert de Biddic: he married Edith, the daughter of Sir Hugh Spring, Knt. And by her he had issue Robert, his son and heir.

Robert de Biddic, Esq. Son and heir of Sir John de Biddic: he married Ann, the daughter of Sir Ralph Lumley, Knt. And they had issue John, their son and heir.

John de Biddic, Esq. Son and heir of Robert: he married ________ the daughter of John Rowlston, Esq. And they had issue Alexander, their son and heir.

Alexander de Biddic, son and heir of John: he married, to his first wife, Jane, the daughter of Richard Chancellor, of Brafferton, Esq. and by her had issue Thomas, his son and heir: Robert 2d, James 3d, and Richard 4th son: and he married to his second wife ________ the daughter of ________ and had issue.

Robert de Biddic, (als. Sander-son) son of Alexander, by Jane his first wife: he married ________ the daughter of ________ Fishburne, Esq. And they had issue Robert, his son and heir.

Robert de Biddic, (als. Sander-son) son and heir of Robert: he married ________ the daughter of ________ and had issue Thomas and James.

Thomas de Biddic, (als. Sander-son) son and heir of Robert: he married ________ the daughter of Sir Walter Grindall, Knt. And had issue John.

John de Biddic, (als Sanderson) son and heir of Thomas de Biddic, Lord of Biddic: he married ________ the daughter of Sir John Gilford, Knt. of Cockerly, and they had issue Jane, their sole daughter and heir, married to Sir Robert Hilton, Knt. Baron of Hilton, in whose right, the said Sir Robert Hilton and his issue, enjoys the said Biddic, and is owner thereof till this day.*  This John de Biddic (als. Sanderson) lived in the reign of King Edward III. About Ann. Dom. 1377. +
* This was published by Hutchinson in 1794     + Thornton’s Nottinghamshire, p. 474
Documentation that Johannes de Bydic was alive in the year 1200.

Joh de Bydik about 1200 Greenwell Deeds … Durham County Record Office
Ref No. D/Gr 17
[A 40] Latin. Undated, but later than D/Gr 16. (D/Gr 16 was dated 1200) The one after this was also 1200.
Charter whereby Thomas de Esse confirms to William de Lumeley land in Morton [as in D/Gr 16] which he had of the gift of Walter Daudre. [Boundaries and conditions are as in D/Gr 16]. Witnesses: Galfrido fil. Galfridi, Rad. de Applingdene, Willo. de Monasteriis, Ricardo de Yelande, Thoma de Herington, Ada[m] de Bradeley, Willo. de Birteley, Galfr. Scouland, Ranulfo de Merley, Robt. de Urpath,
Joh. de Bydik, Waltero de Pelow.
Seal missing.


In 1261 – Alexander de Biddyk, was the Sheriff of County Durham.

Documentation that Alexander de Bydic was alive on
6 Kal. March 1282 (24 February, 1283)


Indentured inspeximus by Richard [of Claxton], prior of Durham of a
Grant by Robert de Insula, bishop of Durham, to John the Fleming of Newcastle and his wife Isabel of a portion of the episcopal moor of Shotton and Easington with stated bounds, i.e. from the the road from Castle Eden to Haswell across Goreburne, then up along that road northwards up to the bounds of Ludworth, as enclosed by a ditch, then down along the bounds of Ludworth through the middle of Wydeker southward to Goreburn, then down along Goreburne eastward to the said road from Castle Eden to Haswell, to hold in severalty all days of the year, holding from the bishop and his successors with common pasture in the moors of Shotton and Easington, paying an annual rent of 66s. 8d. with the forinsec service due from one fortieth of a knight's fee when scutage is levied in the bishopric. The heirs of John and Isabel will pay a relief of 10 marks in lieu of all other dues.
Witnesses: Sir Guiscard de Charron, knight, steward of Durham; Sir Thomas of Herrington, knight; Sir John son of Marmaduke, knight; Sir Roger Bernard, knight; Sir William of Layton; Sir John of Farnacres, knight; Sir Eudes de Ponchardon, knight; Master Robert Auenel, clerk; Master Roger le Counte, clerk; Master Nicholas of Appleby, clerk;
Alexander of Biddick; Robert of Burnigill; 'others'.

Documentation that Alexander de Bydic was alive
in the 13th century.


Alex. De Bydik Greenwell Deeds … Durham County Record Office
Ref No. D/Gr 84
[A 26] Latin. Undated, ? thirteenth century.
Charter whereby William de Latona, knight, confirms to William, son of Hugh Mody de Hettona 2 acres of land lying at Sexhope west of Laton's cultivated demesne in Hetton. To have to Mody and heirs, Mody paying yearly to Laton and heirs 16d. Laton grants to Mody and heirs that Mody's heirs, of whatever age they be, shall be free of wardship (warda) by paying ad relevium 16d. If the heirs be under age they shall remain in the custody of the nearest relative until they come to full age. Mody and heirs must mill as much of the corn grown on the said land as it is necessary for them to mill, at Laton's mill at Hetton ad vicesimum sextum vas, et erunt propinquiores tremello post bladum meum dominicum. Mody grants to Laton and heirs that they may be able from the moor called Cotewall to make approvement as shall seem best; the boundary beginning at Wydehope, descending near le Morflat de Eplingdene unto the way leading to Dalden [etc.]; Mody and heirs shall have right of common in the said land for all beasts in the open and fallow season after the corn and hay have been garnered. The land shall produce in 2 years, and in the 3rd lie fallow. Laton and heirs warrant. Witnesses: Dominis Thoma de Herington, Willo. de Yelande, Johe. filio Marmeduci, militibus, Rado. de Eplingden,
Alex. de Bydik, Thom. de Herle, Ratio. de Morislawe, Hugo. clerico.
Seal missing.

Further documentation that Alexander de Bydic was alive in 1285.
Date: 17 Kal. July [15 June] 1285.
This charter records the origins of Flemingfield Farm.
Durham University Library, Dean and Chapter Muniments, Misc. Ch. 7083
This manuscript was issued by the prior and chapter of Durham, attesting
that they had seen the original charter and accepted it as genuine.

Uniuersis Christi fidelibus presens scriptum visuris uel audituris Ricardus Prior Ecclesie Dunelmensis 7 eiusdem loci Conuentus salutem in domino. Nouerit vniuersitas vestra / nos Cartam venerabilis Patris domini Roberti dei gracia Dunelmensis Episcopi inspexisse in hec verba. ………...………Heredes eciam 7 assignati dictorum Iohannis 7 Isabelle dabunt decem marcas / pro releuio dicte terre cum acciderit. In cuius rei testimonium presentem Cartam sigilli nostri impressione fecimus communiri. Hiis testibus Dominis Gwyschardo de / Charron' tunc senescallo Dunelm', Thoma de Herington' Iohanne filio Marmaduc' Rogero Bernard' Willelmo de Laton'. Iohanne de fernacris. Eudone de Ponchar/don', militibus 7 Magistris Roberto Auenel' Rogero le Counte. Nicholao de Appilby Clericis.
Alexandro de Bedick'. Roberto de Bruninghill' et aliis / Data Dunelm' vi. Kalendarum Marcii. Anno domini Mo. CCo. octogesimo secundo. 7 Pontificatus nostri Nono. Nos igitur dictas donacionem concessionem / 7 Carte confirmacionem quantum in nobis est ratas Habentes 7 gratas eas tenore presencium confirmamus In cuius rei testimonium presenti / scripto sigillum Capituli nostri fecimus apponi. Data Dunelm'. xvij. Kalendarum Iulii. Anno domini. Mo. CCo. octagesimo Quinto.
It is clear from Mr. Gyll's Manuscript, Christopher Sanderson of Eggleston and Robert Thornton (all of whom wrote in the mid 1600s) that the name of Sanderson originated with the names of the sons of Alexander de Biddick. Mr Gyll writes the name as "Sander-son" indicating the origin as "son of Sander". "Sander" is an abbreviated version of "Alexander", pronounced "Alec-sander". Perhaps Alexander de Biddick was known as "Sander" to his close friends and family. Perhaps the name "Sander" was adopted by his family when a younger brother or sister was unable to get his or her tongue around the more complex "Alexander".

The de Biddick Family worshipped at and were buried at the Washington Village Church, about a mile up the road from the de Biddick Estate..


This old photo was taken from the summit of Worm Hill. It shows how the hill is strategically situated in a defensive position overlooking the River Wear and the land beyond. The bridge is called Fatfield Bridge and is a few hundred metres along to the left from the original crossing indicated on the next map but one.
The outlook from the summit of Worm Hill which is strategically situated
in a defensive position overlooking the River Wear and the land beyond.
The beginning of the Saunderson Pedigree in
The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire by Robert Thornton
The old church at Washington Village which was built on a hill, was thought to be of Saxon origin. Perhaps it was, and the Norman tower was added at a later date. The South Porch, far left of the picture, was the burial place of the Lords of Washington Manor, ancestors of George Washington, the First president of the United States of America. Members of the De Biddick family were buried outside the church, on the lee side, sheltered from the sometimes harsh weather.

When this old church was pulled down in 1832
almost everything was discarded, there was no thought given to retaining our Washington heritage. For example: the font ended up as a cattle trough and the grave cover of Alexander de Biddick as a window sill. No-one knows what happened to the Washington tombs. Probably used as rubble. It is thought however that some tomb covers, probably from the graveyard, were placed upsidedown, and used to flag the knave.

Fortunately for the descendents of Alexander de Biddick, his grave cover was rediscovered when the old rectory building was demolished in 1962, and it is now inside the 1833 Washington Village Church. It's almost perfect condition tells us that it was close to the original church building and on the lee side. It also tells us that Alexander de Biddick was  a priest.



Washington Village Church
The grave cover of Alexander de Biddick
Robert Surtees noted in Volume One of "History and Antiquities of County Durham"
published 1816, that
in the Washington Church-yard was a stone, " an effigy in a sacerdotal habit: Hic jacet Alexander de Biddicke". This would suggest that the grave cover was still in place when the old church was pulled down in 1832.

In the same volume Surtees noted:
"On a ridged coffin-lid in the Church-yard, (in Vincent's time,) sculptured with a sword and cross: Hic jacet Jacobus Sanderson".
Notes by Audrey Fletcher:
* "Church-yard" refers to Washington church yard
.
* The sword and cross suggests that not only was Jacobus Sanderson a knight, but perhaps that he had been away at The Crusades or even that he was a Knights Templar.

Unfortunately this coffin lid has not been rediscovered. However there is a reference to a drawing of the grave cover at:

http://flambard.dur.ac.uk:6336/dynaweb/handlist/ant/surtrain/@Generic__BookTextView/4301

Large Folio Volume of tipped in engravings and sketches.
Contents include fine art reproduction engravings, portraits, topographical engravings, memorial tablets, effigies, armorials and drawings of local interest, some of which were used by Robert Surtees in the History of Durham.
f.12.
Drawings of grave covers of James Sanderson and Alexander of Biddik in Washington churchyard.

Jacobus Sanderson (alias James Sanderson) was the third son of Alexander de Biddick.

The descendents of James, the third son of Alexander be Bedik.
COMBE, alias East or Nethercombe, was an appendage to the manor of Lewisham
From: 'Parishes: Greenwich', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 1 (1797), pp. 372-420.
URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53781.
On the restoration of king Charles II. the fee of this estate returned to the crown, and the possession of it to the Fortrees; and James Fortree, son of Leah, in 1663, quitted his residence at this place, and built Wombwell-hall, in Northfleet, where his family continued till very lately.
Afterwards Combe came into the possession, and was the residence of Sir William Sanderson. This family is said to be descended from Robert de Bedick, of Bedick lordship in Washington, in the bishopric of Durham, who lived in the time of Maud the Empress. James, third son of Alexander de Bedick, being called Alexanderson, was ancestor of this family, which from him came to be called Sanderson .............. (fn. 23) Sir William Sanderson above mentioned was created a baronet in 1720, and was succeeded in his title and estate by his son of the same name, who by his third wife Charlotte, one of the daughters of Sir Richard Gough, of the county of Warwick, who survived him, left an only child, William Henry, who, on his father's death, in 1754, succeeded him in title; on whose death, in his 15th year, in 1760, it became extinct. On the death of Sir William Sanderson, the father, his widow, lady Sanderson, became entitled to this seat and estate, which she died possessed of in 1780; when it came to the Rt. hon. Frederick Montague, as heir at law, who is the present owner of it (in 1797).

The Sanderson Coat of Arms
Sanderson. They bore for their coat armour, Paly of six argent and azure, a bend sable.
The family of this name, in the bishopric of Durham, bear a sword argent on the bend; and it is borne with three mullets on the bend by others. (Same reference as above)


Was it merely a coincidence that the three mullets, or five pointed stars, were also a feature of the Washington Coat of Arms?

An amended Biddick Sanderson Family Tree

I have compiled this amended Biddick-Sanderson family tree from surveys, documents and manuscripts previously mentioned in this web page.
                      The Descent of the BIDDICK SANDERSON Family,
                                   Lords of Biddick in County Durham
                               
                                Compiled by Audrey Fletcher August 2008
                           Based upon surveys, documents and manuscripts.


Robert de Biddic
, Lord of Biddic, lived in the time of Maude the Empress: he married ________ the daughter of ________ and had issue John, his son and heir, and Jane who was married to Thomas de Carowe, of whom descended the Caroews of Clopton, Barons of Clopton.

Note by A. Fletcher: Maude the Empress reigned April to November 1141. However she was Empress Consort 07 January 1114 to 23 May 1125. She was also known as Empress Matilda.

John de Biddic, Lord of Biddic, son and heir of Robert: he married ________ the daughter of William Hilton, Dominus de Hilton, and by her he had issue Thomas, his son and heir.

Thomas de Biddic, Esq. Son and heir of John, son of Robert Dominus de Biddic: he married Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Seton, of Seton, Esq. And they had issue John, William and Margaret.

Sir John de Biddic, of Biddic, Knt. Son and heir of Thomas, son of John, son of Robert de Biddic: he married Edith, the daughter of Sir Hugh Spring, Knt. And by her he had issue Robert, his son and heir.

Note by A. Fletcher: John de Biddic was still living in the year 1200.
Greenwell Deeds.  Durham County Record Office . Ref No. D/Gr 17


Robert de Biddic, Esq. Son and heir of Sir John de Biddic: he married Ann, the daughter of Sir Ralph Lumley, Knt. And they had issue John, their son and heir.

John de Biddic, Esq. Son and heir of Robert: he married ________ the daughter of John Rowlston, Esq. And they had issue Alexander, their son and heir.

Alexander de Biddic, son and heir of John: he married, to his first wife, Jane, the daughter of Richard Chancellor, of Brafferton, Esq. and by her had issue Thomas, his son and heir: Robert 2d, James 3d, and Richard 4th son: and he married to his second wife ________ the daughter of ________ and had issue.

Note by A. Fletcher:
Alexander de Biddic was Sherriff of County Durham in 1261 and still living in the year 1285.
Durham University Library, Dean and Chapter Muniments, Misc. Ch. 7083


With reference to the father-in-law of Alexander de Biddic: Richard Chancellor of Brafferton, Esq. is recorded as Sir Richard Chancellor of Brafferton, Knt. in “The DESCENT of the Family of CHANCELLOR, of Brafferton, from Mr. GYLL’S MS.”

Robert de Biddic, (als. Sander-son) son of Alexander, by Jane his first wife: he married ________ the daughter of ________ Fishburne, Esq. And they had issue Robert, his son and heir.

Note by A. Fletcher: this was Robert 2d, i.e. second son of Alexander de Biddic.

Robert de Biddic, (als. Sander-son) son and heir of Robert: he married ________ the daughter of ________ and had issue Thomas and James.

Thomas de Biddic, (als. Sander-son) son and heir of Alexander: he married _Maria*_ the daughter of Sir Walter Grindall, Knt. And had issue John.

Note by A. Fletcher: this was NOT Thomas, great-grandson of Alexander de Biddic as Mr. Gyll states in his manuscript. Rather, this was Thomas, son and heir of Alexander de Biddic. It was he who married Maria, daughter of Sir Walter Grindall, Knt. This suggests that the name “Robert” was written in error on Mr. Gyll's original manuscript.

* "The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire" by Robert Thornton (1623-1678)

John de Biddic, (als Sanderson) son and heir of Thomas de Biddic, Lord of Biddic: he married _Jana*_ the daughter of Sir John Gilford, Knt. of Cockerly, and they had issue Johannes who died,* and Jane, their sole daughter and heir, who married to Sir Robert Hilton, Knt. Baron of Hilton. This John de Biddic (als. Sanderson) lived in the reign of King Edward III.**

** Thornton's Nottinghamshire P 474

Note by A. Fletcher: Edward III reigned from 25 January 1327 to 21 June 1377.

*  "The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire" by Robert Thornton (1623-1678)

By the time of Bishop Hatfield's Survey in 1377-1380 the Estate of Biddick had passed into the possession of the Hylton Family through the marriage of Jana de Biddic, soul heir, to Sir Robert Hilton, Knight, Baron of Hilton.
Thirdly the old network of roads in the area were laid down by the Romans during the Roman Occupation of Britain ... although it is likely that the Romans built some of their roads on top of those used by the Celts.

The word "Dike" is the old Anglo-Saxon name for a Roman Road in the local area.

The remains of the well known "Wreken Dike" lie about three miles away from The Biddick, between Wrekenton and Eighton Banks. The Wreken Dyke was originally part of the Roman Road called Leam Lane (starting at the port of South Shields and finishing at Lanchester) before in more modern times the Leam Lane angled slightly to the right at Wrekenton. The old Wreken Dike continued down to approximately where the Angel of the North stands today, and then on to Birtley. At Birtley the old Wreken Dike reached a
T-junction with the Roman Durham to Gateshead / Newcastle road.
This 1862 map shows the Roman Road called Wreken Dike, highlighted in purple. The name "Wreken Dike" is highlighted in green.
Similarly the Roman Road leading from Johnson's Corner at the top end of Emmerson Terrace (the start of Fatfield Road) down Biddick Lane and across the River Wear to the T-Junction with the Sunderland to Chester-le-Street Roman Road was referred to in Anglo-Saxon times as "The Dike". Thus the land around this area became known as "By the Dike" ... "Biddick".
This third explanation is the most probable.
Lots of other "dikes" in the local area now scream out to be recognized. A few which spring to mind are:
* The road from the Mill House at the foot of Shadens Hill down through Oxclose Road to come out at Thirlaway's Shop at the top of The Terraces where I was born and grew up, then straight down through Brady Square to the River Wear.
* The road from the top of Emmerson Terrace, down past Station Road to the River Wear.
* Village Lane which started at Washington Village Green and led up past Havannah.

North Biddick Hall

On the above map by Gibson 1789 North Biddick Hall is shown to the north of The Glen.
The Seat of the Estate of North Biddick most probably stood on the same site as the later North Biddick Hall. The site was relatively flat and close to a fresh water supply, later named the Oxclose Burn. Moreover it was only about a mile down the road from Washington Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington, the First President of the United States of America.

North Biddick came into the possession of the Hylton Family upon the marriage of Jane de Biddic (the sole daughter and heir of John de Biddic) to Sir Robert Hilton, Knight, Baron of Hilton in the mid 1300s. Their son William held Biddick Manor at the time of Hatfield's Survey, 1377-1380.

North Biddick Hall was progressively built by the Hilton Family over several centuries. In the 1800s the Hall came into the possession of the Cook Family. Joseph Cook was an industrialist who founded the Washington Iron Works.

Unfortunately Cooks' Hall, formery known as North Biddick Hall, was demolished in 1966, due to subsidence caused by the coal mining in the area.
Read more at end of page.
A Description of North Biddick Hall, later known as Cooks' Hall.

Distant Memories of Cooks’ Hall
by Winna’s Boy


My mother was Winnie Walmsley of 21 The Terraces, Washington. During the Second World War she married my father, Edward Fletcher. I was named Edwin Fletcher, Ed after my father and Win after my mother. My mother was in service at Cooks’ Hall after she left school, before war broke out. Years later, on my frequent visits to Cooks’ Hall the two maiden Aunts of Joseph Cook would always call me “Winna’s Boy”.

I recall my Mam telling me that the Miss Cooks used to leave money under cushions and carpets not only to test her integrity but also to make sure that she cleaned properly. She was taught by them how to make sauces and wait on table. They used to entertain a lot of military people prior to World War Two.

When I was a young lad in the early 1950s my mam’s sister, my Auntie Miriam, would often take me with her to Cooks’ Hall, where she worked for Joseph Cook. He kept hens and goats in what were once the stables. I can smell the goats now and see the billy goat in his corner pen. The chickens weren’t caged, they were what are termed “barn chickens”. There were lots of incubators for the eggs.

I would help Aunt Miriam to feed the chickens and collect the eggs. Joseph would see to the goats. Later in the day Aunt Miriam delivered the eggs and goats’ milk to Joseph's customers in the local area. Sometimes she took me with her.

Every year there was a garden party held at Cooks’ Hall, on the lawns in front of the house. The front of the house was very private, it could not be seen from either the main road (Fatfield Road) or the access road the house.

The estate was approached from Fatfield Road through wrought iron gates hung between two sandstone pillars … next to the 39 bus stop. The Lodge was on the right-hand side. With my Aunt Miriam I walked down a dirt and gravel driveway which swung slightly to the left and was bounded on each side by woodlands. Lining the road along each side were dark leafed rhododendron bushes. It seemed to me like there were hundreds of them.

Just before reaching the house there was a pathway, still bordered by rhododendron bushes, leading off to the left. At the end of this path we found ourselves on the front lawns and the front of the house. It was very private from public view.

The house was of grey sandstone as were the stables and outbuildings. I imagine that the sandstone was originally a golden colour, which had been blackened over time by the smoke from the coal fires in the local area.

The main driveway, flanked by the rhododendron bushes, curved to the right and brought us to the back of the house. Here we came to a big bay window and a door just a little further along. This was the family access. The house then kicked in towards the kitchen access used by the staff.

Much of the land at North Biddick Hall (Cooks’ Hall) is flat but to the left-hand side of the front of the house, where the stone wall and cobblestone paving led to the two storey stables, the land fell away. I don’t know if this was natural or if perhaps this is where the sandstone was dug out for the building of North Biddick Hall. The lower storey was entered via a steep roadway while the upper storey was entered from the side which was level with the main driveway.

The back of the house, the stone wall and the double storey stables were on the left-hand side of the main driveway. On the right-hand side there was another stable block where Joseph kept his car, which was locally referred to as “Joseph Cook’s Jalopy”. At the far end of this stable block was where Joseph kept his goats, and behind it were the greenhouses and kitchen gardens.

Cooks’ Hall just missed being bombed during World War Two when a parachute mine fell in Cooks’ Wood leaving a big crater, which later filled with water.

The place had an air of aged gentility.

When it was realized that the house would have to be pulled down due to subsidence from the local coalmines, many of the effects were sold off. However people weren’t so much interested in the furniture as in the stuffed birds and animals.

When my Auntie Miriam moved from North Eastern Cottages up to Raeburn Avenue my wife Audrey and myself were there to help her move. Joseph Cook came along to give a hand as well. That was the kind of man he was.
Home

Copyright Audrey Fletcher
2008

Updated 2013

Cooks' Hall was formerly known as North Biddick Hall.
This view is of the front of the house and the front lawn
where the garden parties were held.
Photo courtesy of Edwin Fletcher
Email

The following memories of Cooks' Hall and the Cooks' Hall Ghost were sent to me in July 2009 by Roseanna Erskine (nee Havelock).

Hello Audrey,

I came across your site when I was looking up Cook's Hall. It was lovely to read your and your husband's memories which were so much like my own. My brother and I spent a lot of time at the Hall. Joseph loved horses but couldn't ride, we could ride but couldn't afford a horse...the perfect combination.

We spent one summer holiday cleaning out the hen house to reveal Beamish museum style stalls and stables. There was a lot of chicken dirt to remove, it nearly touched the roof. We had to strip off at the back door when we got home ...there was no way we could take our smell into the house.

Am I right in remembering a Miss Josephine, Miss Enid and was there a Miss Mary. I remember them at Cook's Hall bus stop, off to the flower market in Newcastle, Miss Josephine with her brown woolly hat on and old raincoat.

My brother got the old 1921 Fiat Torpedo red and black car working and used to drive around Washington having a great time with Mam in beside him.

In the end Joseph lived in the cottage next to the garage which was the tack room really. He didn't want to go. I always felt the place could have been sorted out, it was the land price that interested them more. He finally moved to Yorkshire.

I remember seeing the Commodore there with his very smart uniform being picked up in a flash car to go off on duty, when he was there normally he wore the tattiest clothes and seemed to be having a whale of a time. I don't know what his connection was with the family.

Just before the place was pulled down Joseph let us have a party, he killed some chickens, put on the fires and left us to it...quite an experience.

Joseph saw the ghost many times and so did the aunties but they never told him and he never told them. It was Bryan Ferry's dad who saw her a lot too in the rose garden.

About the ghost...she was said to be of a young girl who lived at the Hall but I don't know when. She fell in love with the gardener but of course that wasn't quite the plan of the family and they had to stop seeing each other. They used to meet in the rose garden and she was often seen there by the family. I never saw her. So it isn't surprising that it was the gardener who also saw her frequently. He was Mr Ferry, Bryan's dad. He told my Dad that when he was taking out the plants prior to the demolition of the Hall, each time he pulled up a rose it was flung back into place. It was only when he said he would leave them that it stopped. So the roses were left to the bulldozers and we don't know if they experienced any problems.

One night we were called by Joseph to see to the horse. Joseph had been down at the stables and heard the horse going wild kicking the sides and she was in a terrible sweat. At the same time he saw the ghost wander past the stable. When we got there the stable was in a state with damage to the wooden sides and her bucket kicked in. They say that animals have a sixth sense.

She was often seen in the house by both the Miss Cooks and Joseph but neither told the other to protect them. Yes Joseph really didn't want to leave. We never heard from him after he left so I don't know how he got on, very sad. I always maintained that the land was of great value and that is why the Hall went. I am sure it could have been restored and made into a hotel or country club ...anything is better than demolition. They did build a lot of houses there. Someone I know whose house was built partly on the site of the rose garden said there was one part of their house that was always cold whatever they did...... decide for yourself.

Our family tree does go back to Sir Henry Havelock of Indian Mutiny fame and Havlok the Dane. I still don't get a free drink in The Havelock at Fatfield though!! My Aunty is Miss Havelock (or was before she married) and she was a piano teacher, most people in Washington knew her then so maybe you know the family. Before I was married I lived in Biddick Villas not far from the Ferry family...

After having some lovely weather in June we have had some serious rain with the Wear bursting its banks in Durham. Today is fine and sunny, let's hope it lasts.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing my memories as much as I did yours.

Regards Roseanna Erskine (nee Havelock)

 

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The following memories of the Cook Family and Cooks' Hall were sent to me in November and December 2011 by Mary Hall.

Dear Audrey,
I stumbled across your website when researching in my family history - http://washingtonlass.com/Biddick_Sanderson.html - and was fascinated to read the accounts of North Biddick Hall and the Cook Family.

My great grandmother was Annie Cook. I believe there were six sisters and two or three sons. Joseph, Blanche, Mary (who I'm named for), Josephine (reputedly very good at violin, still held by the family somewhere), Annie, Enid and the sons were James Falshaw (one of the eldest, and married at some stage), Joseph and possibly one other... Their parents were Joseph and Isabelle Blanche, it was Joseph who founded the iron works, we have some photos of the interior of the iron works. Only two of the sisters married, the story goes that the elder sister Blanche married someone whose surname was Marr and she died in childbirth in the 1880s/1890s, her daughter Joan was brought up at North Biddick by the aunts, Joseph Cook senior forbade his other daughters to marry, as he didn't take her death well. My great-grandmother decided circa 1890s that she was going to marry the son of a local farmer recently returned from the Boer War, Henry Hall, and her father would have to lump it!! Annie was a very strong lady in her older years, so I figure she must've had some considerably personality for her time! They must've eventually come to terms, as Annie visited her sisters regularly after Henry and herself moved to Cumberland in 1901 (to live away from the mining in the Washington area, ironically the farm they bought was compulsory purchased for coal mining in the 1970s). My father and uncle used to go and visit them at Biddick in the 1950s and 1960s, Josephine (Jos) was apparently great fun and a favourite with her great/nieces and nephews! The house was indeed yellow sandstone in its hey-day, we have a water colour by Annie somewhere in the family and indeed the stuffed animals were of considerable interest to my father who was a young boy at the time, I think we have one of the stuff snipes still!!! Some of the furniture and effects are held in our family now, I believe I have a photograph scanned onto the computer of the drawing room in the halls hey day. I remember something about a ghost, but will have to ask my father. It's fascinating hearing peoples memories from the era, I believe the aunts went to live in various places after the 1960s, one of my cousins, who is also descended from Annie Cook, looked after some of them in their old age.

We know that prior to their move in the Washington area the Cooks were historically Wool Merchants in Leeds, or rather, there is a picture in the family of an old man, named, "Joseph Cook, Wool Merchant, Leeds". The Falshaw family and Hobson family who are Isabelle Blanches ancestors are interesting in themselves - Sir James Falshaw, 1st English Provost of Edinburgh was her uncle and George Hobson (of the Forth Rail bridge and the bridge over Victoria Falls, "Uncle Georges Bridge") was her brother.

I am related to the Halls of Fatfield Farm, down North Biddick Lane, my great-grandfather Henry, came from there. He saw service in the Boer War and was in the relief column at Mafieking, I believe Joseph Cook served in the Boer War as well. We have a fairly comprehensive history of the Hall family that a relative complied in the 1960s, the family originally came from Otterburn, Northumberland (circa 16th Cent). I was rather hoping people had recollections of them and Fatfield. If anyone knows anything about the Hall family of Fatfield Farm I would be fascinated to hear.

Mary Hall