Tyne and Wear HER(5011): Bishopwearmouth, Rector's Park - Details
Bishopwearmouth, Rector's Park
Gardens Parks and Urban Spaces
The land either side of the burn known as Galley Gill (previously called Barnes Burn, Eden Burn, Burnfields, Rector's Gill and Wearmouth Burn) to the north of the Newcastle and Stockton Road was owned by the Rector of the medieval church of St. Michael's. Bishopwearmouth, even after its separation from the parish of Sunderland in 1719 was one of the most important and wealthy parishes of the area. The Rectory (HER 418) reflected this situation and was said to be "one of the best parsonages in England, and there are not more than three bishops that have the better" (G.E. Milburn and S.T. Milburn 1988 "Sunderland: River, Town and People", p.2). Behind the rectory was a small garden together with outbuildings which included three stables, a cow house, a coach house and a large tithe barn (HER 40) to hold the farm produce received by the rector. Beyond the garden was a stretch of some 30 acres reaching to the riverside, forming the Rectory Park walled in by Henry Egerton (d.1795) one time rector and brother of the Bishop of Durham. William Paley, rector after Egerton, described the park in the following terms: "There is nearly a mile of wall planted with fruit trees, ie a rich field of ten acres, surrounded with a well gravelled walk; gardens and shrubbery grounds, commanding some pretty views of the banks of the Wear, two or three hot houses and a greenhouse". Miller describes the land based on Rain's Eye Plan 1790 thus: "on the west side of this walled retreat is the pretty dene known as the Rector's Gill … the Gill is already being nibbled away by industrial development. There is the rector's own quay and workers' cottages…" (ibid p.3). Fifty years earlier, Burleigh and Thompson's map of 1737 shows the rector's ground as enclosed cultivated land or pasture without the early signs of industrialisation. In early 19th century burial arrangements were extended beyond the churchyard of St. Michaels, incorporating part of Rectory Park (see HER 5010). By 1894 housing had spread throughout the former area of the Rector's Field.
<< HER 5011 >> I. Ayris, 1996, Galley Gill, Sunderland, An Appraisal of the Historical Development and Arch. G.E. Miller & S.T. Miller, 1988, Sunderland: River, Town and People, p 2-3 Corder, Volume 28, p 73-74, Volume 29, p 267