St Michael, Hawthorn
Available Parish Registers at Durham Record Office
St. Michael & All Angels, Hawthorn, Baptisms 1862-1964
For other Hawthorn records before and after the opening of St. Michael & All Angels in Oct 1862 consult the parish records for Easington or Dalton-le-Dale. Hawthorn was in the parish of Easington before getting its own church.
Population changes in the 19th. Century were:
It is strange that there should only be one village in England which has adopted the name of such a beautiful tree, the 'Mayflower' itself, the very symbol of summertime. Seatons (towns by the sea) and Murtons (Moortowns) are two a penny and there are several of each in County Durham alone. There is however only one Seaham and one Hawthorn.
Situated near the old Sunderland to Stockton turnpike road Hawthorn is and has always been a working agricultural village. The Hawthorn Shaft coal combine (which raised coal from Eppleton, Elemore and Murton collieries from 1959 to 1991) was some three miles away and was much nearer to South Hetton and Murton than to the village from which it took its name. The only connection that Hawthorn village had with coalmining was that it occasionally absorbed a small overspill of population from the surrounding collieries of Haswell, South Hetton, Murton and Seaham. Coalminers and 'sinkers' from these pits can be found in all of the censuses of Hawthorn taken in the late 19th. Century. The Pembertons, past owners of Hawthorn Towers and Hawthorn Dene, were coalowners with interests first in Monkwearmouth Colliery (originally called Pemberton Main) at Sunderland (now the site of Sunderland AFC's Stadium of Light) and later in South Hetton & Murton pits which stock they took over from the bankrupt Colonel Thomas Braddyll in 1846. Several members of the Pemberton family are buried in the graveyard of St. Michael & All Angels in Hawthorn village. The church registers date from 1862.
Hawthorn village and particularly its Dene, now a serene and exquisite beauty spot, home of deer and badger, wild garlic and the Mayflower, very nearly did have a direct connection with coalmining. In the late 1820s Colonel Thomas Braddyll planned to sink a new colliery at 'South Hetton' and connect it by a waggonway to a new coaling port at Hawthorn Hive or Hythe, Port Braddyll. This, combined with the limestone quarrying already in progress, would have obliterated Hawthorn Dene in its tracks. A very narrow escape indeed. Braddyll was eventually persuaded to abandon his own impractical scheme and built a waggonway to Lord Londonderry's new town and port at Seaham Harbour via Cold Hesledon from 1831-33 instead.
A structure known as Sailor's Hall was constructed on the edge of the north side of Hawthorn Dene near the sea in 1787 by Admiral Milbanke, relative of Sir Ralph Milbanke of Seaham Hall (father-in-law of Lord Byron), as a summer retreat. The Admiral died in 1805 and the building fell into ruin. Later a Major George Anderson of Newcastle bought the land and erected a Gothic-style 30 room mansion called Hawthorn Cottage. He also built the two-storey look-out house on Kinley Hill which bears the name 'Anderson's Folly'. This mock mediaeval tower was inhabited until well into the 20th. Century.
Major Anderson died in 1831 but his widow Lucy lived on for many more years with a large retinue of servants. When she died in the late 1850s the estate was bought by the Pemberton family, who were first mentioned in the 1861 census. It was then renamed Hawthorn Towers. The Pembertons were in residence until about 1910 and then made way for Malcolm Dillon ('Mr. Seaham'), the new Supreme Londonderry Lackey (Chief Colliery Agent) in Seaham, as a tenant. He later moved to Dene House in Seaham and the Towers tenancy was taken over by Mr. & Mrs. Henegan of South Hetton (Mr. Henegan was also a Colliery Agent ?). In 1930 the Newcastle Battallion of the Boys' Brigade rented the Towers for week-end camps. During World War II it was used by the military and the Home Guard. After the war the Pemberton family returned once more but only briefly. It was bought in c.1949 by a South Shields man and, decrepit by then, changed hands several times over the next few years. Its last owner was a Mr. Kenneth Wilson of Hart who bought it in the late 1950s. Sadly, vandals set fire to it three times, destroying much of the structure. He was obliged to demolish the rest in 1969 after part collapsed and killed a man. Today the site of the Towers is very beautiful and a quiet sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life, especially in termtime. It was not always so. Find below the census returns for the old mansion from the 19th. century.
Hawthorn Cottage - 1841
Hawthorn Cottage - 1851
Hawthorn Towers - 1861
NB: Here we have the explanation for the name of Hawthorn's only modern-day pub, the Stapylton Arms. Clearly the maiden name of Richard L. Pemberton's wife was Stapylton. The Pembertons themselves were coal owners who spent a fortune on their new colliery at Monkwearmouth at the end of the 1820s, which was originally called Pemberton Main and was destined to be the last coal mine in the county of Durham. The deepest mine in the country at the time, the family had to spend yet more money in a twenty year battle against flooding and quicksands. Eventually they were almost bankrupted and had to sell out at the end of the 1840s. They then bought a shareholding in the estate of the bankrupt Colonel Thomas Braddyll whose portfolio had included Murton and South Hetton collieries. By the look of things the Pemberton family moved into Hawthorn Towers not long before this census. You will notice that their children were born in Bishopwearmouth and not at the Towers. Another (?) family called Pemberton owned Belmont Hall on the eastern approaches to Durham City (which is now called Ramside Hall) and they may have been related to Richard Pemberton.
Gardener's Cottage - 1861
Hawthorn Towers - 1871
Garden House 1871 - uninhabited
Hawthorn Towers - 1881
Tower Bothey (??) - 1881
Gardener's House - 1881
Lodge Gates - 1881
Hawthorn Tower - 1891
Hawthorn Tower was finally demolished in 1969. Rest in Peace.