Place-name ‘The estate called after Styfel or Styfela’. Stillingtune c.1190, Stilington(e) –yng- c.1324-1415, Stel(l)yngton –ing- 1382-1561, Stillington from 1433. Old English personal name Styfel(a)+ ing + tun. Cf. Stillington North Yorkshire and Stillingfleet North Yorkshire. The alternative suggestion that the specific is Old English still ‘a place for catching fish’ seems unlikely on both topographical and phonological grounds: the expected dialect form would be stell.
Information about this place name was provided by Victor Watts by personal communication.
In about 1200 Robert de Amunderville was lord of the manor of Stillington. In 1268, Walter de Merton, who had been King Henry III’s chancellor from 1261 to 1264, purchased the manor of Stillington from Thomas de Amunderville for 550 marks. Walter de Merton, who later became Bishop of Rochester, was in the process of establishing Merton College, Oxford at the time. He granted the manor of Stillington to his new foundation to help provide a regular income for the college. In 1634 King Charles I confirmed the right of the college to retain its estate in Stillington. In 1921, Merton College sold their Stillington farms to their tenant farmers.
See The Victoria History of the County of Durham vol.3 (ed.) William Page (1928)
An Early Mention
From Whellan’s Directory of County Durham (1894) ‘The village of Carlton Iron-works is about five miles and a half north-west by west of Stockton, and contains about 160 houses, principally occupied by the workmen employed at the iron-works. Here are the extensive works of the Carlton Iron Co., Limited, which were first established by Samuel Bastow & Co., and taken over by the present company in 1870 for the manufacture of pig-iron. There are three blast furnaces, having an output of 500 tons each per week, giving employment to between four and five hundred men and boys. Here are also the works of the Basic Phosphate Co., Limited, manufacturers of ground basic manures.
St. John the Divine (1872)
The Royal Hotel (1876)
Community Centre (1877) Originally the Board School.
The Vicarage (1884)
William Cassidi School (1911)
A Few Lost Buildings
Railway station (1838) demolished 1965.
The Cassidi Hall (1875) demolished c.1975.
Womens’ Institute Hall (1953) demolished 1989.
Some People of Note
Anthony Carlisle (1767-1840) A medical man, born in Stillington, who became surgeon to Westminster Hospital for 47 years. In 1800, with William Nicholson, he separated water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis.
William Cassidi (1816-1882) An Irish clergyman who was vicar of Grindon from 1841 to 1882. He was behind the creation of the new parish of Stillington, which had been part of Grindon, and he helped to establish the Mission House which became known as the Cassidi Hall. He began a school in the new hall.
Henry Currer Briggs (1829-1882) A West Riding colliery manager who founded “The North of England Iron and Coal Company” and took over the Carlton Ironworks. He was largely responsible for the creation of the new industrial village of Stillington.
The Hearth Tax of 1666
In 1666 the old village of Stillington had 5 houses with 1 or 2 hearths, and a further 14 single-hearth houses whose owners fell below the tax threshold. There were two large houses in Stillington, belonging to “Jno Robison” with 7 hearths and “Christ Todd” with 8 hearths.
See “Hearth Tax List for South Durham Lady Day 1666” (ed.) J.C.Howe for Cleveland Family History Society.
In Kelly’s Directory of 1890, Stillington appeared as a small agricultural village. The new industrial village nearby was still known as Carlton Iron Works Village, and was included with Whitton in the directory. There was a branch of the Stockton Co-operative in Stillington as well as two independent grocers and a linen draper. Kelly’s Directory of 1938, in what may be an incomplete list, named 2 general dealers, 3 newsagents, and a fried fish dealer.
A Selection of Dates:
1264 Walter de Merton funded Merton College, Oxford. The manor of Stillington was granted to the new college at some point between 1264 and 1274.
1644 Two Stillington men had their lands seized for being “papists”.
1833 The Clarence Railway from Simpasture (near Heighington) to Port Clarence was opened. It passed just north of Old Stillington village.
1838 Stillington station was opened.
1849 A locomotive came off the tracks near Stillington, killing the driver and the fireman. No passengers were killed.
1860 A brickworks was established at Moor Closes.
1865 Samuel Bastow built Carlton Ironworks at Moor Closes, next to the Clarence Railway. Five years later a village sprang up for the ironworkers and their families. For many years it was known as Carlton Iron Works Village.
1872 The parish of Stillington was formed.
1875 The Cassidi Hall was opened.
1877 Whitton and Stillington Board Schools were built.
1880 St. John’s Church was consecrated.
1884 The Wesleyan chapel was dedicated. The railway station was built.
1888 Forty coke ovens were constructed at the iron works.
1910 Stillington’s first electric street lamps were installed.
1911 The William Cassidi School was built.
1921 Stillington Park was laid out.
1926 The local Boy Scouts were formed.
1930 Ironmaking at the Carlton Iron Works ended. The village was renamed Stillington.
1943 A German aircraft was shot down during the Second World War and the crew were captured by the Stillington Home Guard.
1948 An amateur dramatics group was formed.
1952 Passenger services were withdrawn from Stillington station.
1953 The Womens’ Institute Hall was built.
1954 Darchem, a specialist engineering company was established at Stillington.
1961 Lowson Street School was converted to a Village Hall.
1964 A new bridge was built under the railway.
1970 The works’ slag heap was removed. Eight years later some of the streets at Carlton Iron Works were demolished.
1974 Stillington became part of the newly-formed Cleveland County.
1977 120 new houses were built in the Mount Pleasant Estate. In the following year, 100 old houses were demolished.
1984 Wynyard and Stillington schools were amalgamated to form the William Cassidi C of E School.
1989 The Womens’ Institute Hall was demolished and replaced by a health centre.
1994 Work began to create a forest park.
2004 Stillington Forest Park local nature reserve was established.
2005 The first annual Stillington Roadshow village fete was held.
2008 Forest Park housing estate was built.
2016 The British Cycling National Road Championships course passed through Stillington.
This list of dates was compiled using information from the Stillington and Whitton website and other secondary sources.
Suggested Further Reading
“The Victoria History of the County of Durham” vol.3 (ed.) William Page (1928)
“There was a Green Hill: The History of Stillington from its beginnings until 1950” J.D.Tuffs (1999)