A settlement has existed at Plawsworth since Anglo Saxon times. The Roman Legions settled nearby Chester-le-Street and the Roman Road came through the area but the exact route in the Plawsworth vicinity has been lost in the midsts of time.
In 1085 William the Conqueror commissioned the Doomsday Book which recorded lands and ownership throughout the country. However the north of the country at the time remained “untamed” and wild. Hence Durham and Northumberland did not appear in the Doomsday Book.
Norman Knights eventually ventured forth to tame the North with the prize of lands being offered as incentive. Simon Vitulus and Andrew de Hag came into the area. Simon Vitulus settled at Plawsworth Hall and Andrew at Hag House which stands opposite Sainsburys at Pity Me 1 ½ miles away.
Durham’s answer to the Doomsday Book the Boldon Buke was compiled between 1181 – 1183. It list Plawsworth as:
“ A small village standing on broken irregular ground, midway betwixt Durham and Chester. Simon Vitulus holds Plausword, pays twenty shillings rent, carries the Bishop’s wine with a draught of eight oxen, and attends the great hunt with two greyhounds”.
Plawsworth Hall or Messuage, (a dwelling with a wood, orchard and land as it was referred to then), became the property of the Manor of Tudhoe. In 1215 the Lord of the Manor of Tudhoe bequeathed to his daughter Margaret his land and house (Plawsworth Hall) on the occasion of her marriage. The lands and messuages were divided several times during the middle ages making ownership of various parcel difficult to trace accurately.
The family of one prince bishop called Richard Kellaw held land at Plawsworth in medieval times. Other medieval landowners included a family called Plawsworth, who were named after the village also the Boyntons, Reads and Conyers families.
After 1627, two separate segments of Plawsworth came into the hands of Barnaby Hutchinson, a proctor of Durham. His daughter and only heir married a South Shields man called Rowe and the Rowes gradually purchased additional portions of Plawsworth land. Richard Rowe sired 33 children by three wives. The family were noted lawyers and members of the clergy. Richards descendants spread throughout the world some settling in New Zealand.
Plawsworth Hall became the property of Lord Lambton in the 18th century and was let on a tenanted basis as a small mixed farm, part of Lambton Estates. The Coxon Family gained the tenancy in 1805. In 1949 Rita Coxon married Septimus Johnson. In the 1960s they were able to buy the property and the family link continues to this day.
Today Plawsworth is perhaps the only local village occupying its original site and, unlike its neighbours, it can’t really be called a former pit village. There was no great 19th century colliery here and the village has more of the feel of a rural age. A Plawsworth Colliery is mentioned in 1647, but it was a small-scale enterprise compared with the standards of later centuries.
Most of Plawsworth is located along Wheatley Well Lane just off the eastern flank of the A167. Unfortunately, the village pub, the Red Lion Inn, is rather inconveniently located on the west side of the road.
A former coaching inn, the Red Lion appears on the 1850s map, when crossing the road was much less of a problem. The pub was a smaller, cottage-like building in those days and there were no motor vehicles whizzing past its door. Harrys Great Grandmother Agnes Coxon was killed by a “Horseless Carriage” one of the first motor cars in County Durham whilst crossing the road in front of the Red Lion in 1926.
We do hope you enjoy your stay at Plawsworth. If you do enjoy the hospitality of the Red Lion please take care crossing the road –we would not wish you to follow poor Agnes Coxons example!