‘Seaton held by the Carew family’. Seton(e) Carrou 1311-12, Carrowe c.1325-1567, Seaton Karewe 1559, Carew 1605. Earlier simply Seton(e) c.1200-1510, ‘the settlement by the sea’, Old English sæ-tun. The vill was held by a Robert Carew in the reign of Henry I, whose family name is of Welsh origin.
Information about this place-name was supplied by Victor Watts by personal communication.
The de Brus family of Skelton Castle held more than 200 acres of land in Seaton in the 12th century. According to the Durham historian Robert Surtees, one of the Bruses granted the chapel of Seaton to the canons of Guisborough Priory. The local lords of the manor were the Carrow family. In 1189 Peter de Carrow held a knight’s fee in Seaton and Owton. When his descendant John Carrow died without an heir in 1387, much of Seaton passed to the Lumleys.
See “The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Yorkshire North Riding” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page (1923)
An Early Mention
From “Topographical and Statistical Description of the County of Durham” G.A.Cooke (1810) “About two miles to the south-west of Hartlepool is the village of Stranton, containing 75 houses, and 235 inhabitants. A little more to the south is another village, called Seaton Carew, pleasantly situated, on the borders of the sea, near the reflux of the Tees and the German Ocean. This place, which chiefly consists of cottages, forming three sides of a quadrangle, is very much frequented for sea-bathing; and a respectable inn, with a row of lodging-houses, communicating with it, both on the ground and second floors, has lately been built for the reception of company.”
The Seaton Hotel (c.1800)
Holy Trinity (1831)
The Marine Hotel (1890)
The Vesper Almshouses (1923)
Bus station (1938)
A Few Lost Buildings
The chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr.
Seven Stars Inn (c.1800) demolished in 1899.
The Vicarage (1837) demolished c.1970.
Seaton Low Lighthouse (1838) demolished in 1899.
The Swimming Baths (1914) demolished in 1978.
Some People of Note
Clara Share Lockwood (1853-1933) A coal fitter’s daughter from Seaton Carew who married Arthur Dorman (of Dorman, Long and Company)
Jean Finlay Terry (1865-1951) A writer who was brought up in Seaton Carew.
Frank Henry Mason (1875-1965) An artist and creator of railway posters. An exhibition of his posters was shown at Hartlepool art gallery in 2015.
Jessie Kerruish (1884-1949) A writer of fantasies who was born in Seaton Carew. Her novel The Undying Monster (1922) was made into a Hollywood film in 1942.
Robert Howey (1900-1981) A landscape painter, associated with the Staithes Group. He was born in Hartlepool and spent his last days at Seaton.
Mark Adlard (1932- ) A novelist, noted for a trilogy of science fiction novels set in a huge city of the future, covering a large part of County Durham. These were written in the 1970s.
The Hearth Tax of 1666
More than half the houses in Seaton Carew were below the threshold for this tax. Of those that paid, 23 had 1 or 2 hearths and 1 had 3 hearths. The largest property belonged to “Will Bellasis Gent”. It had 7 hearths. 30 householders, all with single-hearth properties were classed as “non solvents” i.e. not required to pay.
See “Hearth Tax List for South Durham Lady Day 1666” (ed.) J.C.Howe for Cleveland Family History Society.
A Selection of Dates
1200 The first mention of a chapel at Seaton.
1426 At this time there was a ferry across the River Tees from Seaton.
1767 Several houses at Seaton were destroyed in a storm.
1783 The “Diligence” coach began running between Seaton and Darlington via Stockton.
1785 Thirty-three ships were driven on to the beach between Seaton and Hartlepool.
1803 A life boat with a boat-house was installed at Seaton.
1824 More than 20 ships were wrecked off Seaton in a single storm.
1829 A cricket club was formed.
1830 The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on Front Street was dedicated.
1831 Holy Trinity Church was consecrated..
1836 Seaton Carew was flooded.
1838 Seaton High Light and Seaton Low Light lighthouses were built.
1841 A Quaker meeting house was built. Seaton Carew railway station was constructed.
1844 Holy Trinity Church of England School was opened
1847 Five pilots were living at Seaton Carew at this time.
1860 The West Hartlepool Steel and Iron Company established their works immediately north of Seaton.
1866 The Local Board was elected for the first time.
1874 The Durham and Yorkshire Golf Club was founded here.
1882 Seaton was incorporated into West Hartlepool.
1902 Electric trams began running between Seaton and Hartlepool. In 1927 the service was discontinued and replaced by trolley buses.
1903 Hartlepool and District Motor Club was formed. They sometimes raced on Seaton beach.
1905 Seaton promenade was completed.
1908 Zinc Works were built near the North Gare.
1914 The Swimming baths were opened.
1919 The road to Port Clarence and the Transporter Bridge was constructed. A bus service to Port Clarence began in 1921.
1922 The lifeboat station was closed.
1925 Holy Trinity School moved to new premises.
1937 A new Methodist church was built to replace the earlier Wesleyan chapel.
1938 A bus station in the Art Deco style was built close to the sea front.
1940 The entire length of the seafront was lined with rolls of barbed wire to impede any enemy assault during the Second World War. There were concrete blocks on the beach and pill boxes further inland.
1946 Seaton Carew fairground was set up.
1947 A miniature railway ran along part of the beach as a tourist attraction.
1953 The trolley bus service to Hartlepool came to an end.
1962 Seaton Park was opened.
1967 The Longscar Building was constructed.
1979 West Hartlepool Steelworks closed.
1983 Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station began producing electricity.
The estate that was nicknamed “Little India” after its street names was demolished.
1997 The remains of the hull of an 18th century collier brig were discovered on the beach.
2013 The Sports Domes opened just south of the village.
2014 Seaton Carew played in the premier division of the North Yorkshire and South Durham Cricket League for the first time, having won promotion the previous year.
2015 Holy Trinity School was demolished and a new school was erected on the site.
2017 The Seaton Rock music festival was staged at the Sandy Car Park.
This list of dates was compiled using the Hartlepool History Then and Now website and other secondary sources.
Suggested Further Reading
“A Description of These Highly Noted Watering Places in the County of Durham, Hartlepool & Seaton-Carew, Including a Short Account of the Village of Stranton” W.Tate (1812)
“Social Tone and Resort Development in North East England: Victorian Seaside Resorts Around the Mouth of the Tees” M.Huggins, Northern History vol.20 (1984)
“The Rise and Decline of the Seaside Resort of Seaton Carew 1790-1902 M.Huggins D.C.L.H.S. Bulletin 34 (1985)
“125 Years of Golf at Seaton Carew 1874-1999” R.Trotter (2001)
“Bygone Seaton Carew” M.Anderson (2004)
“Portrait of a Seaside Parish: Holy Trinity Seaton Carew” J.Cordiner (2012)