Chilton

(Ciltonia, c. 1092)

   

Introduction

       

Chilton, a pleasant small village,  lies south of Ferryhill, and south-east of Kirk Merrington. It runs linear to what was once part of the A167, and was once one of the four constabularies of the Parish of Merrington.  

  

Historical Foundations

 

Chilton in 1092 was recorded as "Ciltonia".  Chilton is derivative of the Anglo-Saxon words "Cild" (Child) and "Tun" (small town, or estate).  This does not mean "Children's town" as the word "Child" in Anglo-Saxon means either young monk or young nobleman.  Hence Chilton once was "an estate belonging to a young nobleman".  

  

Medieval History

  

Chilton was in the medieval ages noted as two manors, Great Chilton and Little Chilton. Chilton Hall mansion, north-east of Chilton, was once owned by the Heron family in 1351.  The Hall fell into disrepair several times , before being restored on numerous occasions.  It is now an impressive building on the outskirts of the village.  

     

Agriculture and farming was a major source of employment until the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1800s', where then people living in the village either had to work in the collieries or at the Steel Works at Spennymoor.

  

Post-Resolution of the Church - Public Houses

 

There are two public houses that derive from this period.  The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Near Eden Terrace, is supposed to be the oldest building actually located within Chilton, as it originally was a Coaching House.  The Eden Arms Hotel at Rushyford, was once called Wheatsheaf.  The Eden family Coat of Arms hangs above the door.

 

The Colliery

  

Chilton did not really spring to life until the coal industry started during the Industrial Revolution. The first row of housing within Chilton was authorized for building by colliery owners Messrs Pease and Partners for miners and their families. 

  

Dene Bridge/Chilton Colliery was first sank in February 1873, by Messrs Pease and Partners, then in 1934, it was taken over by Dorman Long & Company until 1947 when it went into the hands of the National Coal Board. At its peak approximately 1500 men and boys were employed, and the colliery produced about 450,000 tons of coal per annum (per year).  The colliery was finally demolished in 1965.

  

St. Aiden's Church, at the top of Chilton, at the roundabout, was built as an iron structure in 1877, however this original church was burned to the ground in 1928 with an estimate damage cost of 4000, and rebuilt with stone in 1930, thanks to the insistence of Vicar Lancelot Wilkinson.  A Primitive Methodist Church, at West Chilton Terrace, was built in 1906.

  

Chilton Buildings Board School, located at South View, was first built in 1878 and was followed by Chilton Buildings Council School, located opposite Eden Terrace, which was built in 1909, and was officially opened on the 1st September of the same year.  Chilton Buildings Council School was divided into boys and girls, and the playground at the school had a wall to separate the sexes. In 1926, during the General Strike, teachers and volunteers of the school  helped to feed the children.  Unfortunately this school was demolished between 1995 and 2005, and was replaced by small pleasant looking private homes.  Chilton Buildings Board School is now the Infant and Junior School.

  

Other Buildings

  

The Health Center was once the First Aid Dressing Station and was built, along with the two Memorial Cottages, in 1924 by Henry Stobart & Company.  The two cottages are built as a memorial to the 91 men from Chilton Colliery who died in the First World War.

  

A Working Men's Club was founded in 1911, and the building was formally a butcher's shop.

 

Sport

  

Chilton football team was formed in 1921, and there was also a cricket team existed at the same time.

 

Now

  

In June 2004, Chilton Bypass was developed west of Chilton, and this was originally thought of in 1920s.  The bypass is used to divert heavy traffic going through Chilton, and is deemed very successful.  Once this was completed the restoration of the center of Chilton began, including demolishing Chilton Buildings Board School and replacing on the site with beautiful private housing.  The road which used to be part of the A167 and main public footpaths have been recently upgraded.

  

Sources of Information

 

Dixon, A. "The People's History: Ferryhill and District", The People's History Ltd, 2001, ISBN: 1902527259

Mills, A.D. "The Popular Dictionary of English Place-Names", Parragon Book Service Ltd, 1996, ISBN: 0752518518

Richardson, B. "Memories of Chilton", County Durham Books, 1996, ISBN: 1897585268

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