Red Book Publications

Volume I

Edited by William Page, this volume was published in 1905.

It includes entries on the following topics:

  • Natural History
  • Early Man
  • Anglo-Saxon Remains
  • The Contents of St Cuthbert's Shrine
  • Introduction to the Boldon Book
  • Text of the Boldon Book
  • Ancient Earthworks
  • History of Schools
  • Index to the Boldon Book

The full text is available via the Internet Archive.

Volume II

Edited by William Page, this volume was published in 1907. 

It includes entries on the following topics:

  • Medieval Religious Houses
  • Political History
  • Social and Economic History
  • Industries
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Sport Ancient and Modern

The full text is available via the Internet Archive.

The accounts of the medieval religious houses are on British History Online.

Volume III

Edited by William Page, the volume was published in 1928.

The volume covers the cathedral city of Durham, including an account of the cathedral itself. Also covers Stockton ward in the south-east of the county (bordering North Yorkshire) including Hartlepool and Stockton on Tees.

It includes entries on the following parishes:

  • Billingham
  • Bishop Middleham
  • Bishopton
  • Crayke
  • Low Dinsdale
  • Egglescliffe
  • Elton
  • Elwick Hall
  • Greatham
  • Grindon
  • Hart
  • Hartlepool
  • Hurworth
  • Middleton St George
  • Long Newton
  • Norton
  • Redmarshall
  • Sedgefield
  • Sockburn
  • Stainton
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Stranton

The full text available via the Internet Archive and is on British History Online

Volume IV - Darlington

Edited by Gillian Cookson, the volume was published in 2005.

Tracing the history of Darlington from its beginnings as a small Anglo-Saxon settlement right up to the present, this volume marks the rebirth of the Victoria County History of Durham.

The first volume in the Victoria Country History of Durham series for over eighty years presents a study of the township of Darlington, part of the parish of the same name. It traces the history of Darlington from the earliest times: a small Anglo-Saxon settlement becoming a flourishing bishop's borough in the middle ages; its growth as an important staging post on the Great North Road during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and the town's prosperity during the nineteenth century, reinforced by its situation on the railway network. The story is taken up to the present time, with accounts of Darlington's social, political, topographical and economic history. The latter includes thorough accounts of major industries, including iron and engineering, leather, and the little-known but highly significant worsted and linen manufacturing industries.

The volume is not currently available online.

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Volume V - Sunderland

Edited by Gillian Cookson, this volume was published in 2015.

Famed across Europe during Bede's time and the heyday of Wearmouth monastery, Sunderland found a less celebrated renown in the twentieth century with the distress of its heavy industries between the wars, and their final extinction in the 1980s. Between those very contrasting eras, its story is one of re-invention and of a growing industrial and commercial might. The coal trade transformed the town during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; shipbuilding came to the fore in the nineteenth, and Wearside became the nation's, and the world's, greatest shipbuilder. Though it lacked formal local government before 1835, this was a wealthy and relatively sophisticated town, with a great and spectacular early iron bridge (1796).
This volume covers the history of Sunderland from the earliest times and into the twenty-first century, including its landscape and buildings, government, trade and industry, politics and social institutions.

This volume is not currently available online.

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England's Past for Everyone Publication

Sunderland and its Origins: Monks and Mariners

Written by Maureen Meikle and Christine N. Newman, the book was published in 2008.

Sunderland was once the seat of one of the most important centres of learning in the whole of Europe. The community of monks at Anglo-Saxon Wearmouth nurtured the great scholar and historian Bede and produced illuminated manuscripts and buildings of astonishing sophistication. Their remarkable stone church still stands across the river from his birthplace on 'the sundered land', its extraordinary cultural value recognised by its nomination in 2006 as a World Heritage Site. Sunderland and its Origins not only tells the story of Bede's scholarly world and the Wearmouth monastery founded by Benedict Biscop, but for the first time maps the history of the surrounding settlements, as Wearsiders carved a living from the sea, the river and the increasingly important coal trade. The story of the city's formative centuries, its local events and personalities are here woven into a greater historical narrative. The authors, working with other leading historians and archaeologists, chronicle for the first time the story of Sunderland from prehistoric to early modern times. They reveal how in the later Middle Ages Sunderland gradually developed from a small borough and surrounding rural settlements. Its growth was not a steady process. Amidst the political and religious turmoil of the 17th century, Sunderland, for a time occupied by Scots, stood alone as a parliamentary outpost in the region, disturbed by civil war battles and skirmishes. The town took good advantage of the upheavals to carve a profitable niche in coal shipping and, as the book ends, in 1719, the port had grown so much that it was rewarded with its own parish status and became 'a handsome and populous town'.

Other Publication

The Townscape of Darlington

The book was written by Gill Cookson, the then county editor of VCH Durham, with contributions from Christine N. Newman and published in 2003.

It is exactly a thousand years since Darlington first appeared in written records. During the following millennium, the small Anglo-Saxon settlement grew into today's thriving town, its history now generally linked in the public mind with entrepreneurial Quakers and the birth of railways. But as this book shows, Darlington's history encompasses many more diverse aspects in the change from medieval village to modern town. Through a survey of its physical development, the book describes how the town flourished in the middle ages; was largely destroyed by fire in 1585; and grew again in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, before the coming of the railway in the mid-1800s reinforced its prosperity. Its story is taken up to the present day, showing how Darlington is characterised by residential suburbs, with a town centre where Victorian and eighteenth-century buildings populate the original medieval streets.

Recent Publications