B – Brightwater

So there are a few B’s in our patch, firstly our name Brightwater – is taken from the Norse meaning of Skerne now it’s up to you which translation you chose it could either be bright and shining or rubbish dump.
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So there are a few B’s in our patch, firstly our name Brightwater – is taken from the Norse meaning of Skerne now it’s up to you which translation you chose it could either be bright and shining or rubbish dump. We’ve gone with bright and shining but rubbish dump is also apt when you consider that during the 1970s the River Skerne was one in the top ten most polluted Rivers in Europe. Skerne

Thankfully that is no longer the case, much has been done to raise the water quality through a range of activities along the river and we will be continuing to do so over the next few years, click here to discover more about the River Skerne.

There’s also Barmpton, a small village on the banks of the Skerne just north of Darlington, Bradbury another small village near Sedgefield and Bolom, home of Legs cross more about that under L (coming soon!)

Then we get to Bishop Middleham, home to a former fortified manor house that was one of the residences of the Prince Bishops, it’s thought to have been mainly used as a stopping off point when travelling between Bishop Auckland and Durham but there is evidence emerging to suggest it was somewhat more important than originally thought. Did you know the Nevilles from Raby Castle – yes that’s right the same ones who were intertwined with the Wars of the Roses had been to Bishop Middleham – now they wouldn’t just go anywhere it must have been an incredibly important place.

Last summer we carried out a Discover Brightwater Dig at the former castle (fortified palace) site with one of our archaeological partners Dig Ventures. We’ll be back for a second season (as soon as it’s safe to do so), if you would like to get involved please sign up to our mailing list. They made some fascinating discoveries and we know there is so much more still to be found, we’ll look at the Prince Bishops in more detail under P (coming soon!)

For those of you that haven’t been Bishop Middleham is a lovely little village on the northern edge of our area, we’ll be carrying out one of our Village Atlas projects there, so if you’d like to find out more about it and would like to be involved in helping us to create an online museum of the area please have a look here for more details. The village has a beautiful nature grounds and is home to Castle Lake where you can see many rare wetland birds. It’s also home to the Cross keys and speaking from experience they do some of the best chips I’ve ever eaten, so make sure you visit when it’s safe to do so. Why not try out our circular walk and perhaps stop for some lunch afterwards. (coming very soon!)bishop middeham

Bishop Middleham will also be home to Bishops Fen our flagship project, this new wetland nature reserve will stretch from the Castle down to Hardwick Park, it will be run by Durham Wildlife Trust and if you live locally and have been taking your walks in that area you might have seen some of the work starting.

The next B is Beveridge, William Beveridge the author of the now-famous 1942 Beveridge report that was used as a guide for setting up the NHS after the Second World War, Beveridge ended up living in Newton Aycliffe – again more about that under N (coming soon!)

Our final B is Backhouse, the Backhouse family were a Quaker family from Darlington, they were bankers and industrialists. They were involved in the setting up of the Stockton to Darlington Railway and had their own Bank which merged with others to form Barclays Bank. There is a Quaker graveyard in Darlington which is well worth a visit. I’d like to look at the Quaker influence on Darlington more under Q (coming soon!) so if anyone has any information or interesting facts I should look in to please let me know.

So that’s it for B’s unless any of you have any more or more details about any of the one’s we’ve covered? Please do send them to sarah@bwlp.co.uk

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