Friday, 19 August 2011

Seaton Holme (NZ413435)

© Copyright Andrew Curtis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Seaton Holme, Easington, is one of the oldest domestic buildings in England.  What was once originally a medieval manor house is thought to date from the 1240s, and was built upon an even earlier timber-framed, Anglo-Saxon effort.  It has, of course, been substantially altered over the centuries.

The building has had many uses over the years, being a dwelling house for the Bishops and Archdeacons of Durham until 1832, then serving as the Rectory to nearby St.Mary’s Church.  In 1921 it became a children’s home, but has in recent decades spent much of its time falling into a state of disrepair.  It was recently renovated and re-opened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester in 1992, and now serves the community as a Discovery Centre for the area’s local and natural history and a meeting/conference venue.

Legend has it that Seaton Holme was once the home of Nicholas Breakspear, who went on to become the only English Pope, under the name of Adrian IV (died 1159) – though he is known to have been born in Hertfordshire, and no one quite knows where the story came from!

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