The hamlet of White Kirkley as seen today, came into existence in the mid 1800's and was primarily built to house the workers of the local quarries, Frosterley and Bishopley Crag. Many of the earthworks and farms pre-date the hamlet and can be traced back as far as the seventeenth century including the farms of White Kirkley and Low Bishopley - both of which are now listed buildings. The area has been subject to many changes throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth century with the discovery of Slitt vein towards the south west of the area bringing the further industrialization of the mines, as well as the existing quarrying works and installation of the new railway.

Many features remain to be seen across the landscape and are a reminder of the industrial past, the village having served a life of around 100 years of work - and nearly falling into ruin before being brought back into life in the 1970's.This website aims to bring a small piece of history for the origins of White Kirkley and Low Bishopley into light and it was formed because very little material exists on the web that relates to the past life of the village. Much of the information is gained from books and records held at the Durham records office as well as an old document that I found with our house deeds that details some of the earthworks.

I was lucky enough to find a very old letter in our home that describes an interesting story regarding the lord of the manor C1680 whom complains bitterly about a party of people that have decided to dig their own mine on his land - without paying any regard to gaining permission or indeed paying the landowner any dues from their gain. It took many hours to decipher the hand writing of the document, but you can read the full paper (re-typed) on the history section.

The site was also subject to mineral mining, though much of the surface remains are now long gone. Finally, over a period of months of walking the area and underground exploration (where possible) we have managed to produce a simple map showing the mine adit and shaft locations and underground passageway bearings. The map is much simplified form notes taken as the site was explored to aid clarity. (click to enlarge)

Mine Map