Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, England

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Guide to Stockton-on-Tees, Durham history, family history, and genealogy parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Stockton on Tees.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Stockton-on-Tees flag
Coat of arms of Stockton-on-Tees
Location of Stockton-on-Tees

Stockton is an Anglo-Saxon name with the typical Anglo-Saxon place name ending 'ton' meaning farm, or homestead. The name is thought by some to derive from the Anglo-Saxon word Stocc meaning log, tree trunk or wooden post. 'Stockton' could therefore mean a farm built of logs. Others believe the 'stoc' is the correct indicator, referring to place of a chapel or church and associated farm or dwelling.

Stockton is located on the north bank of the River Tees. The town's extreme northern and western areas are located on slightly higher ground than the town center, which is located directly on the north bank of the Tees. These offer views of the town with its relatively mid-rise center and the surrounding Tees Valley area. It is the most northern large town within England.

The town has many suburbs with individual identities: Fairfield, Grangefield, Hardwick, Hartburn, Elm Tree Farm, Norton, Roseworth, Newtown, Bishopsgarth and Oxbridge to name a few. Within the borough, but distinct settlements from the town of Stockton, are Thornaby-on-Tees, Ingleby Barwick, Billingham and Yarm.

The manor of Stockton was created around 1138 and was purchased by Bishop Pudsey of Durham in 1189. During the 13th century, the bishop turned the village of Stockton into a borough. When the bishop freed the serfs of Stockton, craftsmen came to live in the new town. The bishop had a residence in Stockton Castle, which was just a fortified manor house. The first recorded reference to the castle was in 1376.

Stockton's market can trace its history to 1310, when Bishop Bek of Durham granted a market charter – to our town of Stockton a market upon every Wednesday for ever. The town grew into a busy little port, exporting wool and importing wine which was demanded by the upper class. However even by the standards of the time, medieval Stockton-on-Tees was a small town with a population of only around 1,000, and did not grow any larger for centuries.

The Scots captured Stockton Castle in 1644 and occupied it until 1646. It was destroyed at the order of Oliver Cromwell at the end of the Civil War. A shopping center, the Castlegate Center, now occupies the castle area. No known accurate depictions of the castle exist.

The Town House was built in 1735 and the first theater in Stockton opened in 1766. In 1771 a five arch stone bridge was built replacing the nearby Bishop's Ferry. Until the opening of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge in 1911, this was the lowest bridging point on the Tees. From the end of the 18th century the Industrial Revolution changed Stockton from a small and quiet market town into a flourishing center of heavy industry.

Shipbuilding in Stockton, which had begun in the 15th century, prospered in the 17th and 18th centuries. Smaller-scale industries began developing around this time, such as brick, sail and rope making, the latter reflected in road names such as Ropery Street in the town center. Stockton became the major port for County Durham, the North Riding of Yorkshire and Westmorland during this period, exporting mainly rope made in the town, agricultural produce and lead from the Yorkshire Dales.

The town grew rapidly as the Industrial Revolution progressed, with iron making and engineering beginning in the town in the 18th century. The discovery of iron ore in the Eston Hills resulted in blast furnaces lining the River Tees from Stockton to the river's mouth. In 1820 an Act set up the Commissioners, a body with responsibility for lighting and cleaning the streets. From 1822 Stockton-on-Tees was lit by gas.

In 1822, Stockton witnessed an event which changed the face of the world forever and heralded the dawn of a new era in trade, industry and travel. The first rail of George Stephenson's Stockton and Darlington Railway was laid near St. John's crossing on Bridge Road. Hauled by Locomotion No 1, the great engineer himself manned the engine on its first journey on 27 September 1825. Fellow engineer and friend, Timothy Hackworth acted as guard. This was the world's first passenger railway, connecting Stockton with Shildon. The opening of the railway greatly boosted Stockton, making it easier to bring coal to the factories; however the port declined as business had moved down river to Middlesbrough.

Stockton witnessed another discovery in 1827. Local chemist John Walker invented the friction match in his shop at 59 High Street. Since he did not obtain a patent, Walker received neither fame nor wealth for his invention, but he was able to retire some years before his death. He died in 1859 at the age of 78 and is buried in the parish churchyard in Norton village.

A hospital opened in Stockton in 1862 and a public library opened in 1877.

Steam trams began running in the streets in 1881 and were replaced by electric trams in 1897. Buses replaced the trams in 1931. In the 1930s slums were cleared and the first council houses were built. At this time, Stockton was still dominated by the engineering industry and there was also a chemicals industry in the town. In the late 20th century manufacturing industry severely declined, although the service industries grew, and today are the town's main employers.[1]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Durham Road Cemetery
165 Durham Rd
Stockton-on-Tees TS19 0PU

Thornaby Cemetery
Stockton-on-Tees TS17 7LD

Memorial Aftercare Cemetery
4 Claremont Ct
Stockton-on-Tees TS17 6AP
Phone: +44 7947 416036

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

St Cuthbert's Church
Church Lane
Stockton-on-Tees TS21 1ES
Phone: +44 7484 528193

St Aidan's Church
Tintern Ave
Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham TS23 2DR
Phone: +44 1642 554929

St Francis of Assisi
Barwick Way
Stockton-on-Tees TS17 0WD
Phone: +44 1642 760171

St John's Church
Morrison Street
Stillington, Stockton-on-Tees TS21 1JD
Phone: +44 7484 528193

St Peter's Church
High Street
Bishopton, Stockton-on-Tees TS21 1HA
Phone: +44 7484 528193

St Peter's Church (2)
Yarm Rd
Stockton-on-Tees TS18 3PJ
Phone: +44 1642 611603

St John the Baptist's Church
168 Durham Rd
Stockton-on-Tees TS19 0DZ

All Saint's Church
22 Dunottar Ave
Stockton-on-Tees TS16 0AB
Phone: +44 1642 783814

St Mary the Virgin
Stockton-on-Tees TS20 1EJ
Phone: +44 1642 531300

Stockton Parish Church
High Street
Stockton-on-Tees TS18 1SP
Phone: +44 1642 611734

St John the Baptist, Stockton
Church Rd
Stockton-on-Tees TS16 9BU
Phone: +44 1642 780185

St Paul's Church
65 Bishopton Rd
Stockton-on-Tees TS18 4PE
Phone: +44 1642 895868

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

The following other Christian denominations and religions are also represented in Reading:

  • Baptists
  • Evangelical
  • Christian Spritualist
  • Christian Science
  • Destiny Church
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Jehovah's Witness
  • Jubilee Church
  • Methodists
  • New Life Church
  • Roman Catholics
  • Seventh Day Adventist
  • The Vine

Non Christian populations include:

  • Buddhists
  • Jews
  • Muslims
  • Sikhs

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths, have been kept by the UK government from July 1837 to the present day.

Stockton on Tees has its own BMD records office as follows:

The Register Office
Nightingale House
Balaclava St
Stockton-on-Tees TS18 2AL
Phone: +44 1642 527720

Online Resources:

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

The major industries in Stockton that included ship building and repairing, heavy engineering as well as steel and chemicals manufacturing, declined drastically during the latter half of the twentieth century, along with that of the surrounding Teesside area.[2]

Stockton still has a number of branches of large industries, such as the Huntsman Corp, a USA based chemical company with more than 10,000 employees worldwide. The Stockton Division is the major European branch of the company.

Stockton has a number of companies in the Broadband and Internet and electronics area such as United Direct, with more than 100 employees, and always advertising for growth positions. Others include, and Maplin electronics.

In the food distribution arena, the major player in the area is ASDA, now a division of WALMART, the huge USA based grocery and mega-market company. However Morrison's and Sainsbury's also have large regional distribution centers here.

Stockton also has a number of smaller specialty engineering companies residual of past areas of expertise. These are active in the automotive aftermarket and design, solar engineering solutions, Siemens, Cummins Engineering, etc.[3]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Stockton-on-Tees," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 11 January, 2018.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Economy of Stockton-on-Tees," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,, accessed 15 January, 2018.
  3., Stockton-on-Tees Major Employers,,16_IC3314514_IP3.htm,, accessed 15 January 2018.