St Edmund's Church at Sedgefield
Sedgefield is a small town in County Durham. It has a population of 4,534 at the 2001 census.
Sedgefield has attracted particular attention as the Member of Parliament for the wider Sedgefield Constituency was the former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who served as MP from 1983 to 2007. (The odd goings on at the constituency Labour Party were also regularly featured in Private Eye in this period.)
During November 2003, Sedgefield was visited by the American president George W. Bush during a state visit. He visited a local pub, as well as the local secondary school (Sedgefield Community College). This event was preceded by high-intensity security, which included fastening down manhole covers and drains, and closing the centre of the village to all traffic. An anti-war protest coincided with his visit.
St Edmund's church in Sedgefield is noted for its ornate 17th century Cosin woodwork, unique to County Durham: this is especially precious now that the display in Brancepeth has perished through fire.
The 18th century saw the architect James Paine commissioned by John Burdon in 1754 to design and construct a Palladian estate at nearby Hardwick Hall. Unfortunately the building work was never completed as Burdon went bankrupt, but sufficient landscaping was done to form the basis of the now renovated Hardwick Hall Country Park.
The 19th century South African politician and industrialist Henry Barrington was born in Sedgefield and actions by his offsprings indirectly lead to the South African town Sedgefield, Western Cape being named in honour of his birthplace.
In the 19th century, Sedgefield was a great hunting centre, dubbed 'the Melton of the North'. Ralph Lambton, the celebrated hunting man, had his headquarters at Sedgefield: the humorous writer, Robert Smith Surtees, who lived at Hamsterley Hall, was a friend of his. On 23 February 1815, (while Lord Byron was moping at Seaham Hall, not far away) Lord Darlington writes: 'Mr Ralph Lambton was out with some gentlemen from Sedgefield, and a most immense field.'
Sedgefield was also known in the area because of the very large complex Winterton Hospital. This in its time was an isolation hospital and an 'asylum'. The site was like a village itself with its own fire station, bank and cricket team. Today little trace is left of the hospital apart from the church which is now surrounded by the Winterton housing estate and the NETPark Science park.
Culture & Customs
The Shrove Tuesday Ball Game still takes place in Sedgefield and is an example of Mob Football. Another popular annual event is the Mediæval Fayre, which takes place in mid-May.
The Hardwick Arms Hotel is a Grade II listed building and a historic coaching inn.
Sedgefield Racecourse is here, a regional thoroughbred horse-racing venue
- Cricket: Sedgefield Cricket Club
- Football: Sedgefield Youth Football Club
- Golf: Knotty Hill Golf Centre, a 45-hole golf course
- Rugby Union: Sedgefield Rugby Club
- Running and athletics: Sedgefield Harriers. The club hosts the Serpentine Trail Race each September, Summer and Winter open handicaps in January and July and the Neptune Relays in April.
- Squash: Sedgefield Squash Club
- Tennis: Sedgefield Tennis Club
- Sedgefield Town Council
- Sedgefield Racecourse
- Sedgefield Cricket Club
- Sedgefield Harriers
- Sedgefield Squash Club
- Sedgefield Tennis Club
- Sedgefield Rugby Club
- National Heritage List 1121488: The Hardwick Arms Hotel