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Here are the details of an edit by M Wright to the profile of John Handsome.

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Last edited by M Wright at 01:24, 22 January 2021.

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'''Evenwood''' (often spelt Eavenwood in old records) is a small village six miles south-west of Bishop Auckland. It stands on an eminence, or steep bank, on the south side of the river Gaunless. Flint tools and arrowheads from the Mezolithic and Bronze ages have been found there. Little survives in the area from these early remains until the medieval period. There was certainly a village by the end of the Anglo-Saxon period when it was Efenwuda, an Anglo-Saxon name meaning “the wood on flat ground”. There are historic records of the village being given by King Cnut/Canute to the church of Durham whilst on his pilgrimage in 1020 to the shrine of St Cuthbert at Durham. Some time afterwards it became the estate of the Hansard family. The buildings of the medieval village were clustered around a green, centred in the eastern part of the modern village. (At the green traffic island on Newholme Cres, 200m north-west of Stones End). It had no parish church, however a chapel dedicated to St Hugh once stood 1/4 mile to the south-west of the manor. (Along with its quarter acre garden it was ruined and derelict by 1600).
'''Evenwood''' (often spelt Eavenwood in old records) is a small village six miles south-west of Bishop Auckland. It stands on an eminence, or steep bank, on the south side of the river Gaunless. Flint tools and arrowheads from the Mezolithic and Bronze ages have been found there. Little survives in the area from these early remains until the medieval period. There was certainly a village by the end of the Anglo-Saxon period when it was Efenwuda, an Anglo-Saxon name meaning “the wood on flat ground”. There are historic records of the village being given by King Cnut/Canute to the church of Durham whilst on his pilgrimage in 1020 to the shrine of St Cuthbert at Durham. Some time afterwards it became the estate of the Hansard family. The buildings of the medieval village were clustered around a green, centred in the eastern part of the modern village. (At the green traffic island on Newholme Cres, 200m north-west of Stones End). It had no parish church, however a chapel dedicated to St Hugh once stood 1/4 mile to the south-west of the manor. (Along with its quarter acre garden it was ruined and derelict by 1600).
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By 1195 out of the vast forests in the area the Prince Bishops of Durham had developed ten parks including one at Evenwood. Thus it became known as the barony of Evenwood, situated about a quarter of a mile west of the road from Durham to Barnard Castle. This was one of the early baronies of the Bishopric, held by the family of Hansard. Evenwood was bought from John Hansard by Bishop Anthony Bek (1245-1311) in 1294. Bek came from a family of knights and had close ties to the crown. As a symbol of his status he built himself a private chapel at Auckland Castle. It had an internal length of 130 feet and walls five feet thick. The chapel remained in use for the next 300 years. Bek and his successors maintained a manor-house at Evenwood along with the park. Stony castles are well-known to be drafty and cold, and Evenwood's was likely small as well. Hence it appears not to have been favoured by the bishops. Bek is said to have given Evenwood manor to the convent. Bishop Lewis de Beaumont (1270-1333) granted the manor to [[Neville-59|Ralph (Neville) de Neville (abt.1291-1367)]] for life in 1331.
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By 1195 out of the vast forests in the area the Prince Bishops of Durham had developed ten parks including one at Evenwood. Thus it became known as the barony of Evenwood, situated about a quarter of a mile west of the road from Durham to Barnard Castle. This was one of the early baronies of the Bishopric, held by the family of Hansard. Evenwood was bought from John Hansard by Bishop Anthony Bek (1245-1311) in 1294. Bek came from a family of knights and had close ties to the crown. As a symbol of his status he built himself a private chapel at Auckland Castle. It had an internal length of 130 feet and walls five feet thick. The chapel remained in use for the next 300 years. Bek and his successors maintained a manor-house at Evenwood along with the park.
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The 300 acre deer-hunting park was about one mile long by half a mile wide. The River Gaunless ran through the middle, and the eastern end was close to the current bridge. It could be ridden through easily in less than an hour hence hunting expeditions would have roamed far beyond it. In short, the park was little more than a larder. The offices of parker and forester had little appeal to the Durham gentry. Appointed men had to perform the duties in person rather than by deputy, and later recognisances were used to ensure they served faithfully. In 1458 one hundred fallow deer were said to be held within its confines. Regarding hawking, the lands west of Evenwood were said to be "not ill-adapted to that sport, though in some parts hilly."
 
The manor, or castle with a tower and moat stood to the west of the medieval village. It had crenellated walls. The moat was 450 ft long, 35 ft wide, and 3 ft deep on the north-east side. ''There was a bitter dispute between the Bishop of Durham, Anthony Bek, and the Prior of Durham, Richard Hoton, over who had the greatest power. King Edward I, on his way to attack the Scots, stopped in Durham on June 18 (1300) and made a speech outside the cathedral demanding peace, and summoning the two men to attend him the next day when he was staying in Evenwood. Edward told them how torn he was: the bishop was a long-standing friend and advisor; the prior represented St Cuthbert, who had helped the king in battle on many occasions. This caused the two to reach an agreement – the Evenwood Agreement – and everyone left the village happily. It may even be that this historic conciliation took place in a large stone tower surrounded by a moat that was in Edward I’s day the main building in Evenwood. A section of the moat still visibly remains – the road to Cockfield past St Paul’s Church goes over the top of it – but the tower itself is completely lost.'' <ref> Power play at Evenwood, by Chris Lloyd. The Northern Echo 29/4/2014 https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/history/11176964.power-play-evenwood/ </ref>
The manor, or castle with a tower and moat stood to the west of the medieval village. It had crenellated walls. The moat was 450 ft long, 35 ft wide, and 3 ft deep on the north-east side. ''There was a bitter dispute between the Bishop of Durham, Anthony Bek, and the Prior of Durham, Richard Hoton, over who had the greatest power. King Edward I, on his way to attack the Scots, stopped in Durham on June 18 (1300) and made a speech outside the cathedral demanding peace, and summoning the two men to attend him the next day when he was staying in Evenwood. Edward told them how torn he was: the bishop was a long-standing friend and advisor; the prior represented St Cuthbert, who had helped the king in battle on many occasions. This caused the two to reach an agreement – the Evenwood Agreement – and everyone left the village happily. It may even be that this historic conciliation took place in a large stone tower surrounded by a moat that was in Edward I’s day the main building in Evenwood. A section of the moat still visibly remains – the road to Cockfield past St Paul’s Church goes over the top of it – but the tower itself is completely lost.'' <ref> Power play at Evenwood, by Chris Lloyd. The Northern Echo 29/4/2014 https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/history/11176964.power-play-evenwood/ </ref>
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Stony castles are well-known to be drafty and cold, and Evenwood's was likely small as well. Hence it appears not to have been favoured by the bishops. Bek is said to have given Evenwood manor to the convent. Bishop Lewis de Beaumont (1270-1333) granted the manor to [[Neville-59|Ralph (Neville) de Neville (abt.1291-1367)]] for life in 1331.
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The 300 acre deer-hunting park was about one mile long by half a mile wide. The River Gaunless ran through the middle, and the eastern end was close to the current bridge. It could be ridden through easily in less than an hour hence hunting expeditions would have roamed far beyond it. In short, the park was little more than a larder. The offices of parker and forester had little appeal to the Durham gentry. Appointed men had to perform the duties in person rather than by deputy, and later recognisances were used to ensure they served faithfully. In 1458 one hundred fallow deer were said to be held within its confines. Regarding hawking, the lands west of Evenwood were said to be "not ill-adapted to that sport, though in some parts hilly."
The Bishop began allowing people to scrape and mine for coal and iron ore in the park. In 1368 Evenwood became identified with the iron trade when a bloomery (iron furnace) operated by John De Merley operated. He paid 16 shillings a week rent which included a supply of oak wood from Cragg Wood to keep the furnaces roaring. A forge was also at Evenwood during this period. Twenty years later De Merely was paying the Bishop £22 a year to mine coal there.
The Bishop began allowing people to scrape and mine for coal and iron ore in the park. In 1368 Evenwood became identified with the iron trade when a bloomery (iron furnace) operated by John De Merley operated. He paid 16 shillings a week rent which included a supply of oak wood from Cragg Wood to keep the furnaces roaring. A forge was also at Evenwood during this period. Twenty years later De Merely was paying the Bishop £22 a year to mine coal there.
During that war of 1642-51 Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads are said to have built a hill near Evenwood and placed a cannon on top of it so that they could pour cannonballs down on the castle/manor, causing its destruction. Buck Head Farm lies on a hill less than a mile south-west of the manor site. Cannon balls have been found suggesting that may the site of the bombardment.
During that war of 1642-51 Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads are said to have built a hill near Evenwood and placed a cannon on top of it so that they could pour cannonballs down on the castle/manor, causing its destruction. Buck Head Farm lies on a hill less than a mile south-west of the manor site. Cannon balls have been found suggesting that may the site of the bombardment.
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Villagers suffered depredation from parliamentary troops marching northwards to Scotland. By 1646 Evenwood manor was in a bad state. Following the confiscation of episcopal estates the Parliamentary survey that year reported ''There hath been a goodly house, called the Barony, but.. was then utterly decayed, and has so been for many years. A park, containing three hundred acres... That there is belonging to the aforesaid barony a great common or waste called Raley-fell, on which cattle are put without stint; but there is no wood on the same, nor any in the barony. There is a great colliery within the manor, called Thorne…'' <ref>History & Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham. Vol III (1823) by William Hutchinson</ref> In short there were neither deer nor timber in Evenwood manor.
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Villagers suffered depredation from parliamentary troops marching northwards to Scotland. By 1646 Evenwood manor was in a bad state. Following the confiscation of episcopal estates the Parliamentary survey that year reported ''There hath been a goodly house, called the Barony, but.. was then utterly decayed, and has so been for many years. A park, containing three hundred acres... That there is belonging to the aforesaid barony a great common or waste called Raley-fell, on which cattle are put without stint; but there is no wood on the same, nor any in the barony. There is a great colliery within the manor, called Thorne…'' <ref>History & Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham. Vol III (1823) by William Hutchinson</ref> (Stinting was a flexible system of common pasturing of animals on fell land.)
'''Halmote Court records for the Barony of Evenwood''' survive from the 16th century (see Research notes). Three types are of interest: the actual court records; the Call books with references to transactions; and volumes showing rents paid. Not all are complete, not all references dated, and not all available are online, hence some deduction has been necessary for this story. 'Admittance' to a tenancy, which gave the right to hold a copyhold lease, appears only to have been granted to villagers or those marrying into a resident family. 'Surrender' was the transfer of a lease back to the Lord Bishop and generally straight to another person.
'''Halmote Court records for the Barony of Evenwood''' survive from the 16th century (see Research notes). Three types are of interest: the actual court records; the Call books with references to transactions; and volumes showing rents paid. Not all are complete, not all references dated, and not all available are online, hence some deduction has been necessary for this story. 'Admittance' to a tenancy, which gave the right to hold a copyhold lease, appears only to have been granted to villagers or those marrying into a resident family. 'Surrender' was the transfer of a lease back to the Lord Bishop and generally straight to another person.


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