Barnard Castle, Durham Family History Guide

Status: Ecclesiastical Parish

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1609
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1762

Nonconformists include: Methodist, Roman Catholic, Independent/Congregational, Society of Friends/Quaker, Unitarian

Parishes adjacent to Barnard Castle

  • Cockfield
  • Eggleston
  • Startforth
  • Staindrop
  • Gainford

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BARNARD-CASTLE, a town, a township, a chapelry, and a subdistrict, in the district of Teesdale, Durham. The town, the township, and the chapelry are in the parish of Gainford. The town stands on the left bank of the river Tees, on the line of railway from Darlington to Lancashire, 15¼ miles W of Darlington. Its site is the side of an eminence rising abruptly from the bank of the river. Its principal street is spacious, and nearly a mile long; and is intersected by smaller streets. The environs are remarkably pleasant, and present romantic scenery, especially along the Tees. A narrow bridge of two pointed arches, built in 1596, spans the river. The market house is an octagonal freestone building, open at the sides. The church is ancient and cruciform. There are four dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a mechanics' institution, national schools, a dispensary, a workhouse, an hospital for aged persons, and some minor charities. The hospital was founded in 1229 by John Baliol of Scotland; and is endowed with 180 acres of land. Remains of an ancient castle, comprising entrance gateway and two towers, stand on the brink of a steep rock, about 80 feet above the Tees; and command a charming prospect. The castle was founded by Barnard Baliol, son of Guy, who accompanied William the Conqueror to England, and grandfather of John Baliol, king of Scotland; and it took its name of Barnard from him, and gave its name of Barnard-Castle to the town. It ruled an extensive domain in Teesdale and Marwood, granted by William Rufus; but was transferred, along with that domain, by Edward I. To Guy Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. It remained for five generations with the Beauchamps; then went to the Crown; was inhabited and embellished by Richard III.; and eventually passed by sale to an ancestor of the Duke of Cleveland. The area which it occupied was about 6¾ acres; but this is now partly sheep pasture, and partly disposed in orchards. The castle figures in Sir Walter Scott's poem of "Rokeby;" and it gives the titles of Baron and Viscount to the Duke of Cleveland. The town has a head post office, a r. station with telegraph, three banks, and two chief inns; and is a seat of petty sessions, a polling-place, and the head quarters of the county militia. A weekly market is held on Wednesday; a fortnightly one, for cattle, sheep, and horses, on every alternate Wednesday; and fairs, on Easter Monday, Whit-Wednesday, and Magdalene day. Manufactures of carpets, plaids, cloth, and shoe-thread are carried on. John Baliol and Hutchinson, the historian of the county, were natives. Pop., 4,178. Houses, 757. The township comprises 4,007 acres. Real property, £13,337, of which £1,352 are in mines. Pop., 4,477. Houses, 810. The chapelry includes three other townships; and it is a vicarage in the diocese of Durham. Value, £400.  Patron, Trinity College, Cambridge. The subdistrict contains five parishes and parts of five others. Acres, 58,607. Pop., 8,555. Houses, 1,629.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

FamilySearch Historical Records


  • County: Durham
  • Civil Registration District: Teesdale
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Durham (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Durham
  • Rural Deanery: Darlington
  • Poor Law Union: Teesdale
  • Hundred: Darlington Ward
  • Province: York