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County Durham
Piercebridge St Marys Church 001.jpg
St Mary's Church, Piercebridge
Grid reference: NZ209157
Location: 54°32’13"N, 1°40’40"W
Population: 250
Post town: Darlington
Postcode: DL2
Dialling code: 01325
Local Government
Council: Darlington

Piercebridge is a village in the very south of County Durham, on the north bank of the River Tees, which marks the border with Yorkshire. Piercebridge is a few miles west of the town of Darlington.

A Roman fort stood here: the Piercebridge Roman Fort was built around AD 260–270, at the point where Dere Street crossed the River Tees. Part of the fort is under the village green.[1] The excavated Roman fort is open to the public.

Just south of Piercebridge, across the rver in the North Riding of Yorkshire, are the remains of Piercebridge Roman Bridge: this crossed the Tees in its day but is about 100 yards south of the current course of the river, and 500 yards east of Piercebridge, at the east side of Cliffe.

Name and location

Piercebridge is named after its Roman bridge: in 1104 it was Persebrig; in 1577 it was Priestbrigg. It is thought that pierce comes from pershe, meaning osiers, perhaps because the bridge was at least partly made of osier twigs in 1050 when the name is first recorded. Alternative suggested meanings, of "priest" and the name "Piers", would be too modern in origin for such an old place name. The village is sited where the York-Newstead Roman road known as Dere Street crosses the River Tees.[1]


The Romans built a fort here to defend the crossing but the Romans departed at the beginning of the fifth century and there is no evidence of any important Anglo-Saxon or mediæval settlement here. It has been suggested that this plain in the Tees Valley was the site of a Dark Age battle recorded as the Battle of Catraeth,[2] which is though usually placed at Catterick.

There was no mediæval parish of Piercebridge but there was a chapel, recorded in 1546. The name of White Cross Farm and cottage may come from the 17th century apocryphal tale that one of the Dukes of Cleveland demanded the whitewashing of houses on his land so that he could recognise his own property should he require shelter during a storm while hunting.[2] The 18th-century farmhouse, Piercebridge Grange, may be on the site of a monastic grange. It was tenanted by James Rawe, gentleman, in 1847.[3] It is now a Grade II listed building, but has been left derelict

During the Civil War, the Battle of Piercebridge was partly fought on the bridge: on 1 December 1642 a small Royalist contingent including William Cavendish defended the bridge against Parliamentarians led by Lord Fairfax.

In 2001 the Piercebridge area suffered in the foot and mouth epidemic.[4]

A clock in the George Hotel inspired Henry Clay Work's 1876 song "My Grandfather's Clock". The clock was said to have been owned by two brothers named Jenkins. When one brother died, the clock began losing time, and it stopped forever upon the death of the other.[5]

Archaeological sites

Derelict Piercebridge Grange, 2006
Main article: Piercebridge Roman Fort

Under the village green is the Roman fort known as Magis, Morbium or Vinovium, where Dere Street crossed the River Tees. To the east of the fort in Tofts Field is the site of a vicus attached to the fort, and in it a Roman bath house: this was incorporated into St Mary's chapel, and is now on private land.[6] The archaeological television programme Time Team came here in 2009, investigating Piercebridge Roman Fort in 2009.[7]


The Church of England parish church is St Mary's.

There is also a Wesleyan Methodist chapel.

Modern Piercebridge

Piercebridge cottages

Piercebridge is a village of Georgian and Victorian cottages: some painted white or cream; some of one storey only. There are several Grade II listed buildings in the village and its environs, including White Cross Farmhouse, White Cross Cottage, Carlbury Bridge, Piercebridge Grange Farmhouse, the Church of St Mary and its wall and gate, and numbers 2, 28, 29 and 30 on The Green. The Grange farm buildings were developed into residential properties in 2008.[8]

The village green

Piercebridge Roman Bridge and the mediæval chapel ruins on Roman foundations behind Bath House in Tees View are listed Grade II*. The village green contains some very old trees. The river encourages for angling, with trout and greyling.[9]

At the north end of the village, near the A67 is the Carlbury Arms pub.[10] There is also a Farmway Country Store and Piercebridge Feed Company.[11]

The dismantled Tees Valley Railway has become the Tees Valley Railway Path.[12]

East side of bridge, from Piercebridge

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Piercebridge)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Simpson, David: 'Roots of the Region: Piercebridge' (1991–2009)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Simpson, David (1991–2009). "County Durham". Teesdale and Barnard Castle. http://www.englandsnortheast.co.uk/Teesdale.html. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  3. "Last will and testament of John Chapman, 1847". Citation. 1847. http://www.jaydax.co.uk/family/pafc07.htm. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  4. "Timeline: Foot-and-mouth cases". BBC News. 19 October 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1207463.stm. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  5. "History of the Grandfather Clock at the George Hotel in Piercebridge, Darlington, County Durham - The George Hotel". The George Hotel. http://www.george-ontees.co.uk/history-of-the-grandfather-clock/. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  6. "Darlington.gov.uk". Piercebridge conservation area character appraisal, consultation draft. Darlington. 2005. http://www.darlington.gov.uk/PublicMinutes/Cabinet/August%2030%202005/Item%2013%20Appendix.pdf. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  7. Lloyd, Chris (2 July 2009). "The Northern Echo". Piercebridge: Time Team investigates. http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/features/blogs/staff/echomemories/4472760.Time_Team_in_the_area/. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  8. "Charltons". Details for Piercebridge Grange – For Sale. 2008. http://www.charltonsestateagents.com/details.php?id=1857. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  9. "Information Britain". A guide to Piercebridge on Tees. 2009. http://www.information-britain.co.uk/county40/townguidePiercebridge+On+Tees/. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  10. "Living: restaurant guide". Carlbury Arms, Piercebridge. 23 March 2009. http://www.livingnortheast.co.uk/restaurant/4225718.Carlbury_Arms__Piercebridge/. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  11. "Farmway". Suppliers to the rural community. 2009. http://www.farmway.co.uk/corporate/. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  12. The Long Distance Walkers Association: Tees Valley Railway Path