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Executions initially took place at the Palace Green, then either at the Market place or Gallows Hill (behind Western Hill), or at Dryburn. The little chapel dedicated to St Leonards was sited adjacent and south of the Garden House public house, as shown in the Ordnance Survey of 1915. This was where the prisoners had their last rites.
The Dryburn tale of one of three priests, John Boste, who was executed here in 1594 said that a local stream would run dry is possibly a fable created to justify making Boste a saint. The area was called Dryburn before this, and there are no traces of a brook being near this place. The name could be a corruption of the more famous site in London of Tyburn [14].
St Cuthbert’s church occupies the site of the medieval St Leonards hospital, probably where St Godric’s sister died 19.

Western Hill and Dryburn: About
Western Hill and Dryburn: Image

Hence the first hospital in Durham in the modern sense was St Leonards, founded before 1292, as a leper hospital. It was situated at the top of what is now North Road. But by 1404 there was only one leper in residence.
Criminals were hanged at Dryburn, and they were buried in its grounds, even after its demolition in 1652-3. The burials took place in and around the site of the Garden House public house. There seems not to have been a hospital for the sick until the Dispensary was founded in Saddler Street in 1785. Popular demand and support were such that the Trustees decided to build an Infirmary. This was built on land granted by William Wilkinson in 1793 in Crossgate. 1t had care for 80 in-patients and 400 or more out-patients each year. A subscription of one guinea entitled the subscriber to recommend two outpatients a year, two guineas ensured one in-patient or four out-patients. The Infirmary was closed in 1853 when the County Hospital was opened. This was also on land owned by Mr Wilkinson.
Dryburn Hall that was the main residence within the old hospital grounds was once the residence of the Wharton family. Dryburn Hospital started life as a temporary hospital in 1938. The Wharton’s were responsible for the erection of the Obelisk. This monument was to give due north to the Observatory, and was also to provide work for men, during a time of depression. (Its actual bearing is 1o 34’ 56 ¼" west of north [12].

Western Hill and Dryburn: About
Western Hill and Dryburn: Image

In the 1860's a large formal residence for Mr Joseph Love was built with the name 'Mount Beulah'. Mr Love was a colliery owner with Mr Strakers. Mr Love was attached to Methodism and played a leading part in the erection of the Bethal Church and Manse (New Connection) on the North Road.

The property was later occupied by the late Colonel W.H. Ritson and the name changed to Springwell Hall and is now the site of St Leonards R.C. school. The lodge at the entrance to Springwell Hall still stands next to the current entrance of the school.

Flass Vale is reputed to have burial mounds from the Nevilles Cross battle. The Flass tributary once flowed in Whitesmock's hollow, fording the main road on its way to Flass Vale and the river. It is now an underground stream [5].

The County Hospital was opened 4 years before the railway viaduct in 1853 at a cost of £7,518. The Children’s ward was opened by Princess Mary in March 1931. Just above County hospital was the Commercial College and Nevilles Cross High School.

The Presbyterian Church was built in 1877-9 at a cost of £3,500 and was noted as an edifice of stone in the Gothic style [5].

Near Wharton Park is the “Grey Tower”, which is said by Dr William Greenwell to have been a watch tower to guard the city against brigands who inhabited a local cave. This cave can still be seen on the opposite side of the road.

Wharton Park was the first meeting place of the Miners Gala, which has ever since been held at the Racecourse. The hillock at the back of Wharton Park was the spoil heap of the Aykley Heads Pit [5].

The Marquess of Londonderry was responsible for sinking two pits in Durham: in the 1880's at Durham Main (or Crook Hall Colliery) and Aykley Heads (1880’s – 1949) [29]. In 1898 there was a tramway (later converted to an aerial ropeway) direct from the Durham Main pit to the Gas Works in Framwellgate. The Durham Main colliery was finally closed in 1924. Coke ovens and brickworks are frequently part of the collieries and at Framwellgate Moor there were 237 Beehive coke ovens in 1859. In 1895 there were 98 to 205 ovens working at one time.

Durham Main also had a brickwork and there was another mine near Crook Hall which started as part of a short lived Sidegate Pit in the early 19th century. It stopped work when it threatened to undermine the main railway line.

The settlements at Framwellgate Moor, Pity Me, Carrville and Belmont owe their existence to those various collieries, for they were built to house the miners, and families who worked in and around the pits.

Aykley Heads is also called Aycliff Heads [22, 30].

Western Hill and Dryburn: About
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