(Het, c. 1168)
Introduction, and Historical Foundation
South-east of the village of Croxdale, is the beautiful small hamlet of Hett. In 1168, the hamlet was called "Het", and this was a derivative of an Old-English word "Haett", meaning "(place at) the hat-shaped hill". Due the hamlet's small size and therefore small population, Hett's historical content isn't greatly vast, however the following facts are known:
Coals pits were known to have been sunk and worked at Hett before 1350. It is recorded that in 1511 four wagon loads of wood for fuel were carted from Hett to the Priory of Durham. In 1524 the tenants of Hett received 10d. a load for carting loads of timber from the wood at Hett to Durham. The Priory paid 6s. 8d. a year to the keeper of this wood.
A charter wrote in 1451, records two boundary stones marked with a cross should be put up in the hamlet, but no signs of their existence can be found today. The remains of a mill race can be found nearby the hamlet, it is thought to be of a post-medieval age.
1871 = 394
1901 = 369
1971 = 118
The decrease in the population could be due to the depression of the coal trade in between 1910 and 1960.
Buildings and Employment
The oldest standing building within Hett is 'Slashpool House', a farmhouse located at the east side of the village green. The date 1708 is carved above the door, although it is considered that the house is older than this.
In 1966, the remains of a possible 18th Century coal mine was found in a cut during some open-cast mining.
Built around the village green, it once harbored 5 farms and one church, however by 1992, much of the land was built upon and now only 3 farms exist and the church closed. Many of its inhabitants once worked at the neighboring mines and farms, but now most of them commute to the industries that are within traveling distance of the hamlet.
Sources of Information
Vision Of Britain website
"The Victorian History of County Durham: Volume 2", page 322
Durham Federation of Women's Institutions "The Durham Village Book", Countryside Books, 1992, ISBN: 1853061980
Mills, A.D. "The Popular Dictionary of English Place-Names", Parragon Book Service Ltd, 1996, ISBN: 0752518518
Surtees, R. "The History and Antiquaries of the County Palatine of Durham", 1816, page 77