|I found this text on a roots web message board
in a reply to Lisa from New Zealand, written by Geoff Nicholson
According to Whellans' Directory of Co Durham, 2nd Edition (1894), Neasham Hall (one large house, not a district), "the seat and property of Thomas Wrightson Esq, JP and MP, is pleasantly situated on an eminence near the river (Tees, GN), and commands delightful views over the picturesque country by which it is surrounded". The Directory, however, does not mention Mr Wrightson, whose family were "in" engineering (Head, Wrightson & Co", but Cresswell Ward Ward-Rowland Esq was the occupier of Neasham Hall.
I now turn to "Lost Houses of Co Durham" by Peter Meadows and Edward Waterson (published by Jill Raines, 1993, ISBN 0 9516494 1 8): "In 1970 Sir John Wrightson demolished Neasham Hall and replaced it with a much smaller house on the same site, to designs by Sir Martyn Beckett. The old Hall, in fine grounds running down to the River Tees, was much extended in 1834-37 for Colonel Cookson by John Dobson of Newcastle. "The 18th century Hall was probably the centre with its two bow windows rising through three stories, somewhat like Blackwell Hall, Darlington. Dobson added two large wings, with a columned entrance porch on the side, and gave the main facade an Elizabethan trim on the parapets and gables. "The Neasham estate was purchased in 1698 from Sir William Blackett by Charles Turner of Kirkleatham, Yorkshire. he Turners held Neasham through the 18th century, but Sir Charles Turner (1773-1810) sold it to William Wrightson. Thomas Wrightson sold Neasham to Colonel Cookson who commissioned Dobson to extend the Hall. In 1857 it was the seat of James Cookson; by 1896 it belonged to Sir Thomas Wrightson. In 1904 a massive music room was added." The article is illustrated with two exterior views of the hall and four interior ones. The copyright of each is acknowledged to "Hon Lady Wrightson". It appears to have been an extremely large house. The front with the large entrance flanked by the bays, had large wings on either side of it - and that was just the front: the house seems to have been about twice as deep as it was wide. No doubt it would have cost a fortune to maintain nowadays, and would demand a staff such as few would be able to afford. Only an institution would really have been interested in it, and it would appear that none were interested. Of course nothing is said about the state of the building in 1970. If it had structural problems then that nay be why it was allowed to be demolished.
Of the people mentioned above, John Dobson was the north-east's greatest home-grown architect, who redesigned much of the centre of Newcastle in classical style and who also worked on many country mansions, mainly in Northumberland. The Cooksons were mainly a Tyneside family of industrialists, particularly involved with the Chemical Industry.
Best wishes, Geoff Nicholson
Geoff Nicholson, 57 Manor Park, Concord, WASHINGTON, Tyne & Wear NE37 2BU
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