1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Houghton-le-Spring

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HOUGHTON-LE-SPRING, an urban district in the Houghton-le-Spring parliamentary division of Durham, England, 6 m. N.E. of the city of Durham. Pop. (1901) 7858. It is well situated at the head of a small valley branching from that of the Wear. St Michael’s church is a cruciform Early English and Decorated building, with a picturesque embattled rectory adjoining. Bernard Gilpin, “the Apostle of the North,” was rector of this parish from 1556 to 1583, and the founder of the grammar school. The principal public buildings are a town hall, market house and church institute. Houghton Hall is a fine mansion of the late 16th century. In the orchard stands a tomb, that of the puritan Sir Robert Hutton (d. 1680), of whom a curious tradition states that he desired burial beside his war-horse, the body of which was denied interment in consecrated ground. The main road from Durham to Sunderland here passes through a remarkable cutting in the limestone 80 ft. deep. The district affords frequent evidence of ice activity in the glacial period. The town is the centre of a large system of electric tramways. The population is mainly dependent on the neighbouring collieries, but limestone quarrying is carried on to some extent.