Brancepeth Parish, 1848
BRANCEPETH (St. Brandon), a parish, in the unions of Durham, Auckland, and Lanchester, N.W. division of Darlington ward, S. division of the county of Durham, comprising the townships of Brandon with Byshottles, Crook with Billy-Row, Hedley-Hope, Hemlington-Row, Stockley, and Willington; and containing 2,151 inhabitants, of whom 352 are in the township of Brancepeth, 4¼ miles (S.W.) from Durham. The name is supposed to be a corruption of Brawn's path, in allusion to the number of wild boars that formerly infested the district, and for the purpose of hunting which the Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III., frequently resorted to this place, where his maternal ancestors, the Nevills, had a fortress. This fortress was almost entirely taken down by the late Matthew Russel, Esq., who erected on its site the present Brancepeth Castle. Coal is found, and there are some quarries of stone. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £60. 10. 5., and in the patronage of R.E.D. Shafto, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £985. 12. The church is a fine cruciform edifice, highly decorated within; the chancel is stalled and wainscoted with oak carved in tabernacle work, and has an ornamented ceiling. At Crook is a living in the Rector's gift. There are some medicinal springs of a vitriolic and sulphureous kind.
Extract from: A Topographical Dictionary of England comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate and market towns, parishes, and townships..... 7th Edition, by Samuel Lewis, London, 1848.