|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||HOUGHTON LE SPRING|
|Postcode district||DH4, DH5|
|Fire||Tyne and Wear|
Houghton-le-Spring ( // HOH-tən-lee-SPRING) is a town in the City of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, North East England which has its recorded origins in Norman times. Historically in County Durham, it is now administered as part of the Tyne and Wear county. It is situated almost equidistant between the cathedral city of Durham 7 miles (11 kilometres) southwest and Sunderland about 7 mi (11 km) northeast. The town of Seaham and the North Sea lie about 5 mi (8 km) directly east. The villages and towns of Newbottle, Fencehouses and Hetton-le-Hole lie nearby. It has a population of 36,746.
Other villages within the Houghton-le-Spring postal district include: Philadelphia, Penshaw, Shiney Row, Chilton Moor and Woodstone Village.
The earliest mention of the town's name is in the Boldon Book in 1183 as 'Hoctona'.An English transcription states:
An ancient document dated 1220 describes the town as 'Houghton Sprynges'. The name Houghton comes from the Old English hoh meaning hill and tun meaning settlement.
During excavations under the church of St Michael and All Angels in 2008–09 as part of the church's refurbishment, not only were Roman remains discovered but some very ancient stones which suggest that the area has been settled since prehistoric times and that the site of the church has had some religious significance for thousands rather than hundreds of years. Glass inserts in the new floor of the church enable some of these to be seen.
In 1311, the village was owned by Albreda, widow of Sir Henry Spring, hence the addition of 'le spring'. That explanation of the addition of 'le Spring' is debatable and there are alternatives. One opinion is that it is derived from the Le Spring family, Lords of Houghton in ancient times.Another explanation, which is backed up by a "Regester Booke belonginge to the Paryshe of Houghton in the Springe" from 1598, is based around the medicinal springs which flow from the surrounding limestone rocks. This latter explanation ties in with the Roman names in the area in which "le" is taken to be "in the" as in Chester-le-Street, Witton-le-Wear, Dalton-le-Dale, Hetton-le-Hole. Credence is added to this consideration by the area of the town formerly known as the Lake and the stream/spring that nowadays still runs through the centre of the town, although this has long since been directed to run through a culvert.
The parish church of St Michael and All Angels dates back to Norman times and contains the tomb of Bernard Gilpin, known as 'the Apostle of the North'. Gilpin was Archdeacon of Durham and in 1557 became the rector at Houghton-le-Spring, which at that time was one of the largest parishes in England.
During World War II, Houghton was relatively unscathed from the German bombing raids, though some fleeing German planes did jettison their loads after bombing attempts on the nearby coastal town of Sunderland.
Houghton was an active coal-mining town. The local mine began to sink its first shaft in 1823 and was active until its closure in 1981. At its peak in the early 20th century, the pit employed over 2,000 workers.
Houghton Feast is an ancient festival held every October in the town. It has its origins in the 12th century as a dedication festival to the parish church of St Michael & All Angels.The festival lasts ten days and typically features a fairground, carnival, fireworks and an ox-roasting event in commemoration of Rector Bernard Gilpin's feeding of the poor. It was expanded in the 16th century by Gilpin and again in the late 18th century when it became connected with horse racing.
Houghton-le-Spring's main shopping area is Newbottle Street, with some businesses branching off onto nearby streets for example Mautland Street, Sunderland Street, Church Street and Durham Road. The White Lion pub is the last of four 'Lion' houses, with the other three having been drastically redeveloped as new businesses or demolished in the 1960s.
Kepier Academy, formerly Kepier School, is the main secondary school serving the town.
Easington is a town in eastern County Durham, England. It comprises the ancient village of Easington Village and the ex-mining town of Easington Colliery, which are separate civil parishes. It is located at the junction of the A182 leading north-west to Hetton-le-Hole. Seaham Harbour and Houghton-le-Spring, and the A19, which travels north to Sunderland and south to Middlesbrough. As a former coal mining town, Easington is now an unemployment blackspot after the mine closed in 1993. The population of Easington Village was 2,164 in 2001, increasing slightly to 2,171 at the 2011 Census.
The City of Sunderland is a metropolitan borough with city status in Tyne and Wear, North East England. It is named after its largest settlement, Sunderland, but covers a far larger area which includes the towns of Hetton-le-Hole, Houghton-le-Spring, and Washington, as well as a range of suburban villages.
Hetton-le-Hole is a town situated in the City of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England. Historically in County Durham, it is on the A182 between Houghton-le-Spring and Easington Lane, at the southwest corner of Sunderland, off the A690 and close to the A1(M). It has a population of 14,402 including the village of Easington Lane and Warden Law.
Wearside is an area of North East England centred on the continuous urban area of Sunderland by the River Wear. It includes nearby separate significant settlements such as Washington, Houghton-le-Spring and Chester-Le-Street as well as the many settlements which form part of the continuous urban area, including Whitburn, Hetton-le-Hole, Bournmoor, South Hetton, Springwell Village, Ouston and Pelton. Therefore, Wearside is partially situated in both the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear and the ceremonial county of County Durham. Most of the Wearside areas is within the metropolitan borough of the City of Sunderland, which had a population of 280,807 in 2001.
Newbottle is a village in North East England, lying between Durham and Sunderland, one and a half miles north of Houghton-le-Spring. The village occupies an elevated position and is accessed from three sides up a steep bank.
The village of Penshaw, formerly known as Painshaw or Pensher, is an area of the metropolitan district of the City of Sunderland, in Tyne and Wear, England. Historically, Penshaw was located in County Durham.
Houghton and Washington East was, from 1997 until 2010, a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. A seat with similar boundaries, Houghton and Washington, existed from 1983 until 1997.
Bernard Gilpin, was an Oxford theologian and then an influential clergyman in the emerging Church of England spanning the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Jane, Mary and Elizabeth I. He was known as the 'Apostle of the North', for his work in the wilds of northern England.
Warden Law is a village and civil parish in the City of Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, England. It is south-west of Sunderland city centre. It has a population of 33. At the 2011 Census the population remained less than 100. Details were included in the civil parish of Hetton.
The Hetton colliery railway was an 8-mile (13 km) long private railway opened in 1822 by the Hetton Coal Company at Hetton Lyons, County Durham, England. It was the first railway to operate without animal power, and the first entirely new line to be developed by George Stephenson.
George Carleton was an English churchman, Bishop of Llandaff (1618–1619). He was a delegate to the Synod of Dort, in the Netherlands. From 1619 to 1628 he was Bishop of Chichester.
Fence Houses, or Fencehouses, is a small village within the parish of Houghton-le-Spring, on the edge of the City of Sunderland, England for the South with the North under the control of Durham County Council as part of County Durham.
Philadelphia Power Station is a defunct coal-fired power station situated between the villages of Philadelphia and Newbottle, 1.5 mi (2.4 km) north of Houghton-le-Spring in Tyne and Wear, North East England.
St Michael and All Angels' Church is the parish church of Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, England. The church dates from the late 12th century and contains the tomb of Bernard Gilpin.
Sir Henry le Spring, also referred to as Lord Henry Spring, was an English knight and landowner in northern England.
Kepier School is a coeducational secondary school located in Houghton-le-Spring, England.
The 1973 Tyne and Wear County Council election was held on 12 April 1973 as part of the first elections to the new local authorities established by the Local Government Act 1972 in England and Wales. 104 councillors were elected from 95 electoral divisions across the region's five boroughs. Each division returned either one or two county councillors each by First-past-the-post voting for a four-year term of office. The election took place ahead of the elections to the area's metropolitan borough councils, which followed on 10 May 1973.