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The western approach to the peninsula was always the most important, and it was here that Crossgate or the Old Borough was situated. Crossgate was also an area owned by the Prior12, and the area could be said to be joined with Millburngate in all but name.

Whilst the area of Crossgate and Allergate never had the shops or trade that Millburngate had, this was the church and residential area, then later the Workhouse was placed in this area, which became St Margaret’s hospitals. This geriatric hospital, St Margaret’s, which started life as a workhouse in 1837. In 1870 an Infirmary and Fever Hospital were erected adjoining the original buildings.

Crossgate and Allergate: About
Crossgate and Allergate: Image

There were two other hospitals at this time which have now gone. They were the No 5 Durham Voluntary Association Hospital located at No 17 North Bailey between 1914 and 1919. The other one was the Durham Public Assistance Institution, at the junction of Castle Chare and North Road until its demolition in 1967.

St Margaret’s church was once the dependent chapel of St Oswald’s. It gained the right to baptism, marriage, and burial only by degrees from St Oswald’s. St Margaret’s was used for baptisms in the early 14th century, for in 1343 the Prior and Convent ordered the removal of the Font. Later that year the Bishop ordered the Font to be replaced and at the same time told the parishioners that they had no right to the sacraments in the chapel. Almost immediately the Prior and Convent allowed the people of the Old Borough (or Crossgate) to be married in the Chapel, to be baptised, and for the women to be churched.

Crossgate and Allergate: About
Crossgate and Allergate: Image

Eventually, in 1431, the parishioners sought and were granted permission to bury their dead because the mother church of St Oswald’s was inconveniently distant. This was especially so in winter, although they could have travelled around to St Oswald’s via South Street, so maybe there was no useable roads at that time. The local merchants were a major force behind getting St Margaret’s full church rights 12. Whilst St Margaret’s achieved all the attributes of a parish church in this period, the incumbent was not called Rector until 1873. The church has a well. Sir John Duck is buried here.

The Battle of Nevilles Cross was fought in 1346. Nevilles Cross was destroyed in 1589 21 (another reference says 1593 16, by vandals) The cross could have been there before the battle as Nevilles Cross was a well-known landmark 21. The existing piece of Nevilles Cross was repaired and enclosed in 1883 5.

There was a Manorial tollbooth at the north side of Crossgate below Allergate 19.

The Infirmary for the sick and lame poor of the County of Durham, was a “spacious and convenient building” at No 9 and 10 Allergate 5 erected by voluntary subscriptions in 1792 on a piece of ground given by the late Thomas Wilson Esq of Coxhoe 22.

George Hauxwell & Sons, Engineers was established in Atherton Street. The business was inaugurated by Alderman Geo Hauxwell and years later he purchased the trade and stock of Messrs J. Lumsden & Son, Iron Founders of Crossgate 6.

The Old Criterion Hotel was at No. 1 Crossgate, now demolished 37.

No. 2 & 3 Crossgate were in 1856 an Inn owned by John Jerrems, porter merchants.

No 4 was then, as now, the Fighting Cocks Inn, whose frontage covers an older building.

Crossgate was in Medieval times the Prior’s Manor; the remains of the Manor house probably being incorporated in the house facing down the hill at the junction of Allergate and Crossgate. The houses in Crossgate are mainly of the 17th to 19th century. The lower buildings on the right of Crossgate were used in the 1960-1980’s as a store for Archibald’s 37. Archibald’s former showroom which opened onto North Road and Crossgate was built in 1956.

Also in this area was the printing works of J. Richardson in the 19th and early 20th century. Just above Richardson's lived Jacob Bee (1636-1711), chronologist and diarist, who ended his days as “Out Pensioner” at Sherburn Hospital and was buried at St Margaret’s. Bee's diaries have been published by local historians.

The houses on the upper roadway, between the church gate and the Elm Tree were owned by the Chapelry before passing into private hands. Two sets of deeds from this part of the street begin in 1616 and 1726. Houses are shown on the north side of the street in Speed's map of 1611.

No. 10 & 11 contain a good example of a staircase of the 'Durham Black Oak' style of the 17/18th century. A vennel through these houses was open to the public, but access has now been denied.

Another vennel with access through a door apparently part of the Angel Inn is known as 'Lumdens Yard' and is a right of way undisputed until about 1930. This went through to North Road.

Another vennel near the Workmen's Club, is also a right of way, to North Road, but the owner of adjoining property attempts to prevent its use. It is believed that yet another vennel in Crossgate had been allowed to lapse over the years.

The Angel Inn has another staircase that is worth further investigation.

No. 55 & 56 were once one property, also contain a staircase of the Black Oak type.

No.4 (on the south side of Crossgate) was at some time the Parsonage House. A legend that Oliver Cromwell spent a night in a house below the Elm Tree has not been substantiated 37.

Neville Street though not of such antiquity as far as its buildings are concerned but has character and charm also in the steeped roofs of the stone cottages. The throughfare itself is roughly either on the site of, or adjacent to, a road shown on Patterson's map of 1595. Demolition work has revealed stone arches which appeared to have been part of a bridge across Flass stream, and these were later used as stabling before being covered entirely.

In Allergate No 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 24 and 28 have frontages which cover great antiquity. A vennel running through No 21 was intended to give access to North Road 37.

Public Houses and Hotel that are no longer functioning 33, and list of businesses as listed in 1924 [6]

Burton Arms

Public House

56 Crossgate


 Public House

corner of Crossgate / Framwellgate Bridge

Crossgate and Allergate: About
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