Teesside’s Oldest House – Friday 24 February 2017

Explore Our Heritage In Loftus Town Hall
Teesside’s Oldest House
A talk by Dr Steve Sherlock

Friday 24 February 2017,7pm for 7.30pm
Loftus Town Hall TS13 4HG

Mostly about 2016’s nationally important finds of evidence of dwelling at Street House from Early Neolithic times, but Steve may also be persuaded to explain about the evidence of early industry (Salt, ceramics, jet working) in the area.

Everyone welcome – free entry (but donations towards costs welcomed!)

This is the second in a short series of heritage talks and events for 2017 organised by Loftus Town Council with the active support of local experts, held on the 4th Friday in the month.

February 24 – Teesside’s Oldest House, Neolithic Settlement, Timber Circles and Iron Age Saltworking, Dr Steve Sherlock “Street House before the Saxons”
March 24 – Where the Wild things were , Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, Kate Bartram
April 28 – Made in India (a play/show, part of the Rural Arts Create Tour), Tamasha Theatre Company (entry fee of £5 for adults)
May 26 – Habitat Restoration , Nature Reserves and Wildlife Monitoring in the Tees Estuary and East Cleveland Coast, Ian Bond of INCA .

Handale Abbey / Scaw the Serpent Slayer

Handale was site of Cistercian nunnery founded in 1133 and dissolved in 1539. In the 1750s the site was used as a Cotton Mill.
Handale Abbey Walled Garden, Liverton / Loftus
None of the original priory buildings remain today but the stone has been reused in the current farm buildings and walled garden.
Handale Abbey Walled Garden, Liverton / Loftus
A Medieval cross base and tomb lid are located just outside the walled garden.
Handale Abbey Walled Garden, Liverton / Loftus

Sixteen skeletons, a stone coffin and a sword were found on the site in 1830. Local legends speak of a serpent (or a dragon) that would devour the beautiful maidens of Loftus, until a brave Knight called Scaw killed it and rescued Emma Beckwith

The stone coffin supposedly carried the words “Snake Slayer” with Scaw inside still holding his sword, but the stone coffin on-site doesn’t seem to carry such an inscription and the present location of the sword appears to have been lost.

An unusual memorial on the site was erected to the last carthorse on the farm, before diesel tractors took over
Handale Abbey Walled Garden, Liverton / Loftus

The walled garden has been restored with funding from the National Park and LEADER
Handale Abbey Walled Garden, Liverton / Loftus

Mystery ‘Pease’ stone, Loftus – SOLVED – Bible Christian Chapel

Initially I drew a complete blank on this one, but from the many comments Loftus historian and local Councillor, Eric Jackson, thinks he has answer. For a period between the 1890′s and WW2 the site housed the Loftus Bible Christian Chapel, and he feels that the stone is a survivor from that church

Pease Stone, Loftus
The stone looks to have been laid as a dedication stone on what is now a garage.
Pease Stone, Loftus
Best I could come up initially was “A Pease” followed by an obscured date.

The new information helped me locate a direct link to “A Pease” and the Bible Christian Chapel in 1882.


Congregational Church, Loftus

The Congregational Church in Loftus dates from 1906, the builder was a Mr Charles Hebditch, who also married there.

Congregational Church, Loftus
In later years it was the Loftus United Reformed Church which closed in the 1990s. Sadly it’s now in a sad state of disrepair stuck in a stalled redevelopment as flats by a London owner. Its rare open-air pulpit has already been lost. It was apparently up for sale  again for £30,000 in 2012.

Congregational Church, Loftus

One entrance carries the inscription “Bolton Memorial School” although I have not yet traces its exact origin. A large number of initialled stones appear around the base of the church, presumably placed to record those who contributed to its construction.
Congregational Church, Loftus
Congregational Church, Loftus
Congregational Church, Loftus
The corner stone carries the name Alderman C H Baines and a April 1906 date, so perhaps he opened it or layed the foundation ?

1877 Temperance Hall, Loftus

The Temperance movement was strong in the late 1800’s, often helped by Quaker mine owners such as Pease who preferred their employees to be here instead of drinking themselves silly in the local pubs.

1877 Temperence Hall, Loftus

The dedication stone is very worn, but I interpret it as :-

Laid by W Lapsley Marske
On behalf of Plant of Renown Lodge
I.O.G.T. June 11 1877

1877 Temperence Hall, Loftus

William Lapsley is listed on 1881 census in Zetland Terrace in Marske as a ‘Temperance Missionary’ and he has links to the Pease family.

I.O.G.T stands for International Organisation of Good Templars who would have been active in the Temperance movement at this time.

“Plant of Renown”  is the name given to this Loftus Lodge, which comes from Ezekiel 34:29 – ‘And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.’

Other local lodges were “Charltons Excelsior” at Margrove Park, “Hope of Lingdale”, “Star of Brotton” “Dawn of Peace” and “Star of Hope”

Loftus War Savings 1943 – 1944

The town hall holds a pair of plaques recognising the contribution of Loftus to the war.
Loftus War Savings 1943
The 1943 plaque was presented by the Air Ministry for ‘Wings For Victory’ week which was 1st – 8th May 1943 when civilians would have been asked to save their money in Government accounts, such as War Bonds, Savings Bonds, Defence Bonds and Savings Certificates.
Loftus War Savings 1944
‘Salute the Soldier’ week was a similar fund raising campaign 17th – 24th June 1944 and presented by the War Office.

Loftus First World War Memorial

The Zetland family originally erected this wooden memorial outside the Town Hall in 1919 where it remained until 1949.

Loftus First World War Memorial
The memorial was then misplaced, Councillor Eric Jackson began looking for it in 1982, but it wasn’t until  2001 it was finally rediscovered in the Cemetary Chapel in East Loftus. The restored memorial was unveiled by Mayor Gerry Dickinson in August 2008.

It carries the words “‘Is it nothing to you, all ye who pass by”