We recently had a request from Paul Prudhoe for help with tracing his family tree. The earliest member of his family he knew of was Mary Florence Prudhoe, born in 1901, (after the census unfortunately) and with no older family members to help and with only the one name and date to go on he asked for assistance.

Using church records initially and then a combination of census and church records, Brian Scollen has traced Paul's family back to 1791 (in Chester le Street).

Around the framework of dates and addresses supplied by Brian I have woven a series of probabilities, facts and photographs to better illustrate the lives of these families, to put the meat on the bones in fact, which is a bit of a role reversal considering I am a butcher.  Dave Angus.

Below you can see where Paul's family lived in Seaham, their trades and in all probability where they worked and the churches where they were christened and married.

 1791 - 1832 

George Prudhoe, a mason and his wife Mary, both born in Chester le Street in 1791, came to Seaham along with their 3 children, George, Mary and Thomas, in 1828 or possibly a year or so earlier. Here they were housed in Wood Cottages, a row of 5 timber built houses which had been erected in what was to become the Terrace Green/Londonderry Offices area to house workers employed by Lord Londonderry to build his new dock. George may have been employed in some senior capacity as much of the workforce must have been accommodated in very temporary accommodation, certainly I have seen no mention of any other permanent buildings and none survived to 1841 other than Wood Cottages/Houses. George continued to live in Wood Cottages even after they were  dismantled and re-erected in the Ropery Walk area and renamed Marquis Cottages.

We know that the family were in Seaham by 1828 and living at this address because it is recorded that here  in Wood Cottages, in 1828 Mary gave birth to her fourth child, John Seaham Prudhoe, the first child to be born in the new township of Seaham Harbour.
However it is not with John Seaham Prudhoe that we are concerned but with his brother William, Mary's last child born in 1831 and christened in the same year in St Andrew's Church, Dalton le Dale. 





In 1841 George and Mary, now 50 years old were still living with their 5 children in Wood Cottages


Now George and Mary are listed as living at Marquis Cottages with only three of their 5 children still at home, William, now 19 is listed as a blacksmith.




On 17th of September 1853 William married Catherine Thornton, daughter of Parkin Thornton, in St Andrew's Church, Dalton le Dale. Parkin Thornton, like William's father George was a Stonemason and was probably fairly wealthy as in 1831 he was the first licensee of the Mason's Arms (later to become the Northumberland Arms), a stonemason, builder and also, later, licensee of the Bridge Hotel in North Railway Street. Certainly in 1864, Parkin Thornton lived in Marlborough Street, a prestigious address at the time



William and Catherine's first child, Mary Jane was christened at St John's Church in Seaham Harbour on the 15th of November 1853, only a couple of months after their wedding.




William  is still a blacksmith, this being a very common trade at the time he could have worked almost anywhere but is most likely to have been employed at the Londonderry Engineworks as in 1861 he is to be found, aged 29, living with his wife Catherine and two children, Catherine and William, at New Cottages (later to become Swinebank Cottages). These cottages appear to have been built to house Engineworks staff  though later many Seaham Colliery miners lived there. It is unlikely that William was a colliery blacksmith as in later years he continued to live in Seaham Harbour and did not move to the Seaham Colliery streets. To reinforce the supposition that William worked at the Engineworks, fathers tended to secure employment for their sons with their own employers and as George was a tradesman, a mason, his son would have been offered an available apprenticeship in a trade.   
William's father, George, by 1861 appears to be a widower and is living at Seaham Timber Yard , his daughter Mary, her husband and child live with him. The Timberyard Houses do not appear after the 1861 census and seem to have been very short lived, they were situated about 60 yards east of the Edinburgh Castle PH which was at the southern end of South Terrace on land which was taken over by the Dock Co for industrial use


In 1871, William, now 39, was living with his wife and 3 children, George, the youngest having been born a year or two earlier in their new home at 49 Frances Street. George was christened at St John's on the 22nd of August 1869. It is with George that our interest lies. 


In 1881, William and Catherine are living with their 2 youngest children, William and George, at 29 Church Street. William, the father is still a blacksmith and George is 11 years old. Number 29 Church Street still exists as the eastern half of More Stores (closed down)


The census of 1891 sees George aged 21 still living with his parents at 29 Church Street, though shortly to be married, and is now employed as a brass founder. While there is no indication of where he was employed I would be very surprised if he did not follow his father and grandfather into Londonderry employment so in all probability he worked at the Londonderry Engineworks, it is less likely that he worked at the docks and even less likely that he worked at the foundry in Ropery Walk. On the 7th of September 1891 George married Mary Ellen, daughter of Edward Christie at St Andrew's, Dalton le Dale..


William and Catherine are still living at 29 Church Street.
In 1901, George, now 31 is living with his wife and 3 children, George, Ella and Christina in Benwell (Newcastle) and is still working as a brass founder though it looks as though they must have thought better of their move north as in the same year their 4th child, Margaret Florence Prudhoe was born in Seaham  and christened at St John's church, Seaham on 4th of September 1901.

Margaret Florence Prudhoe was where we started.


Article by Brian Scollen / David Angus.


Additional information on the Prudhoe family sent in by John Prudhoe, if you have an interest in the family, John can be contacted through this site.

Hi Dave,

I saw your article of Paul Prudhoe's ancestors on your website.  I think I can add to the data you have.

George Prudhoe & Mary Cummings were married at Chester-le-Street 19 May 1821.

They seem to have lived at Newbottle before moving to Seaham.  I've found four sons, George, Thomas, John Seaham & William, and one daughter, Mary.  The descendents of the eldest son, George, set up a stationery business in Darlington.  Thomas died aged 22 at Seaham.

George Prudhoe was baptised at Chester-le-Street 3rd July 1791. His parents were George Prudhoe & Isabella Emerson or Summerson.  They were married 19th May 1777 at Chester-le-Street.

Before that it gets awkward to say for certain where George Prudhoe came from.  All three possibilities I've identified so far are in Northumberland.  There were virtually no Prudhoes in Co. Durham outside Ryton parish until the mid eighteenth century.

The ages George gave when he was married put his birthdate as either 1745 or 1752.  The most likely candidate was the son of Robert Prudhoe & Margaret Lawson baptised at Kirkharle in either 1748 or 1750.  There a conflict in the two sources I have for that but they both give the date of baptism as 8th Feb. 

I haven't found a baptism record for Robert Prudhoe.  Other children born around the right time in the right area were the children of Robert Prudhoe & Hannah Dunford who were married 1716 in Cramlington and the family seem to have migrated to the Chester-le-Street/Boldon/Houghton-le-Spring area.

Robert was probably the one baptised in Stamfordham and in fact seems to have moved back to that area for a while before moving on to Co. Durham (fortunately one of his daughters was baptised at Heddon-on-the-Wall which recorded the mother's name unlike Stamfordham & Ovingham parishes).

I hope this information helps Paul Prudhoe.








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