Hunstanworth is both a parish and a village, lying close to the County Durham-Northumberland border and high on the fringes of the North Pennine moors. It is situated just two miles away from the historic village of Blanchland, which was founded in the 12th Century as a Premonstratensian abbey and run since 1720 by the Lord Crewe Estate. Now just a few picturesque houses, which in 1993 was designated a conservation area, Hunstanworth was once a 'boom town' with Victorian families flocking from Devon, Cornwall, Derbyshire and Scotland to earn a living from the lead mining industry.
In 1863, to accommodate the rapidly expanding population, the entire village was completely remodelled by Gloucestershire landowner and benefactor the Reverend Daniel Capper, who would stay in 'the big house' of Newbiggin Hall during the grouse shooting season. Capper brought in glamorous Victorian London architect Samuel Sanders Teulon to create a new church, school, reading room, shop and workers' terraced cottages. Today Teulon's distinctive diamond-patterned, steep-pitched roofs and Victorian Gothic detail make Hunstanworth unique among the villages of the North Pennines.
St. James's Church
Despite creating new homes, with strips of land for miners to graze animals and grow food for the family, the village's prosperity was short-lived, and within 20 years the 800-strong populace moved on. In the early 1880s cheaper foreign imported lead forced the closure of Hunstanworth's lead mines, and with the industry went the people; by 1901 the population was back down to around 200 as it had been a century earlier.
Four Jameson brothers, Michael, Makepeace, Joshua and William, together with Arthur John Taylor, all fought in the 1914-18 war and returned to their community.safe and sound. They were each presented with a framed certificate of thanks from the people of Hunstanworth for Peace Day in 1919, which wished them all a "long and happy future."
A plaque also hangs in St James' sChurch, Hunstanworth, which says, "We thank thee Lord for bringing back our soldiers safely home".
With thanks to Elfrieda Waren for supplying the text and photographs.
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