Thorpe Thewles History Group

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Where was Layton Chapel and did such a building/location realy exist ?

Can anyone help us with the following query that has been generated from TTHG’s current work on the Thorpe Leazes Farm Project, a farm located in the north-west part of Grindon Parish.

Does anyone know of any documentary or archaeological evidence for what could possibly be a lost medieval chapel site located on the eastern side of the main Sedgefield to Thorpe Thewles road (now the A177) between the two deserted medieval village sites of Layton (on the A177) and Grindon. Based on the road map the chapel site would have been located in the vicinity of the current hamlet of Thorpe Larches.

I have done a preliminary archive and Internet search to see what references I can find to a Layton Chapel, the name by which it is referred to on our earliest reference for it (a compendium of British road maps published in 1675), but these have all so far drawn blanks. I have found references in other parts of the UK with parishes containing villages by the name of Layton where there is also a reference to a nearby Layton Chapel but nothing for Co. Durham. The fact that there is nothing for Layton Chapel recorded in the Victoria County History of Co. Durham makes me a little suspicious about the validity of the original map reference and its reported location for the chapel site. It appears that several later road atlases, even those printed into the first quarter of the 1800s, continued to make reference to a Layton Chapel as per the earlier seventeenth century reference. However, this could just be a case of later compilers blindly copying from the same earlier sources. This was not uncommon practice by several antiquarian historians etc. when they published local histories and county directories throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Thanks in anticipation.

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