Cockerton Hall, west of Darlington, was
a medieval house probably owned by the
Nevilles, Earls of Westmorland. The
garden front retained several Gothic
windows, indicating medieval work..
In 1745 Cockerton passed to William
Wrightson (1714-1806), a relation of the
Neasham Wrightsons (q.v.). His daughter
Nanny ( 1750-1829) was extremely weal-
thy, apparently remodelled the Hall front
in 1825, and left Cockerton to her
nephew Richard Wrightson (d. 1830).
Wrightson found £8000 in coins and
banknotes in the Hall, and made his
servant carry it in a butter-basket to
Backhouse's Bank in Darlington, while
he followed with a shotgun. He left his
estates to his widow Eliza, by a will
written on a half-sheet of notepaper. His
sister, who would otherwise have succeed-
ed, later claimed that the will was a
forgery, and the celebrated 'Cockerton
will case', which caused much local
excitement, was contested to the House
of Lords in 1844-50, being finally decided
in Eliza's favour .
Eliza married Thomas Topham (d. 1873).
He left Cockerton to his brother, the
Revd. John Topham. The Hall was let to
tenants. Mrs. Dodshun ran it as a ladies'
school, 1841-61, and after her, Miss
Riddel. Later the Hall was occupied by
Alfred Jobson, colliery agent for the
Peases, and by the Stocks, Jeffreys and
Cradock families. In 1920 Charles
Freeman Thomas, formerly of Hurworth
Manor, bought it, and lived there until
1946. In 1946 a cinema chain bought the
Hall and leased it to Darlington Youth
Club. In the 1950's, the Post Office used
it for storage. It was demolished in 1964.