I had been to St George’s church back in the summer for a DAC visit. I had failed to charge my camera, so Lucy (the DAC secretary) took some for me (thank you!). I paid another visit on 9 November 2015, so here is a blog. It is in a benefice with Bywell and Stocksfield, and they have a website. The church itself is south of the centre of Mickley Square, at NZ075617. Pevsner gives it two lines: “Originally of 1825, but almost entirely remodelled in 1886 by W.S. Hicks in the Dec style. Small but satisfying.”
The original church was built in 1823 within the ancient parish of Ovingham as a chapel of ease. As you probably know, a chapel of ease is the name given a church building other than the Parish church, built within the bounds of a parish for those who could not reach the parish church conveniently. Here it is worth remembering that Ovingham is north of the Tyne, Mickley is on the south side. There was a ferry. Now Ovingham Bridge (a little further downstream) has been closed for months for rebuilding, so access across the river is harder than it was in the Nineteenth Century. The land for the church was donated and the cost of the building met by Mr W Battie Wrightson. The website says the church was known as Hall Yards Chapel.
The church building was extended in 1884, partially funded by the local landowner Mr R. H. Wrightson. The extension was necessary due to the development of the coal mines in the area by the Mickley Coal Company (formed in 1866). These mines bought a lot of new people into the area, and the village of Mickley Square was built for them. Mickley became a parish in its own right in 1867. Looking at the location, you forget this was a mining settlement. Then you find this memorial:
The Durham Mining Museum website has some details about the colliery and about John Taylor:
Taylor, John William, 30 Jul 1902, aged 24, Engineman, deceased was tightening a nut after adjusting the position of a dynamo, when the key slipped off the nut and he fell on to the driving ropes and was carried on to a 14-feet wheel ; the dynamo formed part of a plant used for driving a ventilating fan, and had only been at work a day or two, Buried: St George’s Churchyard, Mickley.
Inside the church, and sadly it is only open for services, you will be stunned by the length of the WW1 Memorial. The community is not huge, but a lot of men must have followed by Colours.
The organ is large and unplayed. This lady is remembered in a plaque. The memorial is listed on the NE War Memorial website, but there is no further info about her.
I had a lovely “circle of eight” walk. Up and west, down to the centre. Then down towards the Tyne, past Cherryburn (NT property where Thomas Bewick lived – haven’t been for years, must go back – website). A byway towards the east, and a climb up to the main road – I wonder if this is an old waggonway? Back to the centre, past the café (they would have sold me something with chips), up the hill to church – and then home for a bowl of soup.