The “Farringdon Carr” was a swampland which was located on what is now the site of Farringdon Community Academy. Drained in the 1950s, it was also known colloquially as “Lea’s/Lee’s Pond” and from it sprung “Farringdon Burn” a stream of which run through the neighbouring “Foxy Island” and connected to Hendon Burn at Gilley Law. The waterways are visible old Ordnance Survey maps.
What is the significance of the Carr? Archaeological group AAG, represented by Jon Welsh, had conducted research on the area in preparation for site assessments for Sunderland City Council in lieu of several building activities south around Doxford Park Way, including the new school now under construction. Conducting this work, the group also cited Farnton.org’s research in their work, but subsequently published new information in relation to the Carr, of which little publicly available information exists.
First, the assessment teaches us that the Carr is the geographical product of a surface in Farringdon underlined with clay, of which made it difficult for water to drain away. Being at the bottom of the Farringdon hill, it is logical to assume from this that the Carr (as the lowest point in Farringdon) became the natural area of water accumulation and drainage which was able to survive for thousands of years.
From this, the assessment proposed theories of how the geography may have influenced human activity. It identifies that “Carrs” were in fact prominently used in prehistoric times as proved by archaeological evidence, and therefore “there may be prehistoric activity in the area such as hunter-gatherer routeways.” It also notes: “The carr may have been used as a fish pond by Farnton Hall”.
Although the school has been long built over the site, by approximation this identifies “Foxy Island” immediately next to it as an area of archaeological importance. Farnton.org will seek to deepen coordination with AAG archaeology in turn to help investigate the area, with the goal of ensuring that it is not built on in the rush to build housing all over green land in the area.
In 2021, Farnton.org, or “The Farringdon Community History Foundation” put its work into action and secured Farringdon’s first blue heritage plaque on Anthony Road. It has started this year by procuring a second as per the “Farringdon Masterplan” vision.
However, in order to move forwards, some changes are to be made. In starting 2022, we are happy to announce the organization will be recruiting and creating a committee in order to consolidate its presence on the ground and move forwards with its community plans. This will follow with the formal establishment of Farnton.org as a formal, non-profit organization.
The new committee will pursue the following tasks:
Help promote Farringdon and its history and encourage local pride in the area
Help organize and promote community related events with the goal of “getting the area back on the map”
Engage in fundraising activities and establish a not-for-profit community fund for investing in Farringdon
Build partnerships with other local organizations
There will be up to six committee positions available. Anyone is invited to apply, providing they are a) in good standing b) have some knowledge and passion for local history c) and interested in community work.
In order to apply for a committee position, please email your details to: Sunderlandgm@outlook.com
Farnton.org is a not-for-profit subsidiary under the ownership of Sunderland Global Group, of which is a registered company in England and Wales.
Following the installation of our first heritage blue plaque. Farnton.org is now proud to further develop the “Farringdon Masterplan” that is a comprehensive program and vision to transform the area in synchronisation with the promotion of its history. The masterplan ties together a series of other proposals over the past year under a single umbrella.
What is the masterplan about?
Farnton.org is a community history organization that commits itself to promoting revival and pride in Farringdon, aiming to put the area back on the map. This is done through high quality historical research, but also investing in the physical improvement of the area too. Considering these principles, the new masterplan aims to achieve the following goals:
Aiming to establish Farringdon as an area of heritage, appeal and historical interest, rekindling its identity from a mere housing estate into a fusion of its past, with Anthony Road as the focal point of the area and its transformation.
Making Farringdon a more visually appealing place to visit with a high quality experience, allowing to hold its own amongst destinations of interest in Sunderland.
Establishing more unity, pride and cooperation amongst the Farringdon Community in a similar manner to what is being achieved in Southwick, and stronger means of community representation
Improving local educational and recreational opportunities
What Will the Masterplan Consist of?
The specific objectives to achieve the masterplan will involve, but are not limited to the following:
The Establishment of not just one, but multiple blue plaques following the “Southwick Village Green Model”. Following the inaugural Farringdon Hall plaque, a series of future ones will include details on 1) Robert Jackson, 2) Sir John Forster 3) Cuthbert Pepper 4) George Blakiston and 5) A one setting out the details of the Farringdon Grange from the Black Book of Hexham.
The Establishment of a community garden and flowerbeds, this may also be done in conjunction with the Connor Brown Charity. This is with the goal of creating the eventual aesthetic of a “village green”, a community core.
Investment in growing numbers of amenities around Anthony Road which may include Picnic Tables, new signs and other Street Decorations.
A more long term ambitious campaign, beyond Anthony Road, to preserve, fund and arrange the area known as “Foxy Island” into a more properly arranged park, and irrespectively to protect the conservation of the area
Establishing more activities and events in the area
A view to drawing more private investment into Farringdon to establishing other facilities and areas of interest
On 10th November Farringdon’s first commemorative blue heritage plaque was installed on the front of an Anthony Road property, marking the legacy of the former hall estate and its medieval origins. Although it may seem at first glance only a small gesture, it is nonetheless a significant breakthrough in bringing to public consciousness the area’s history and helping transform the way people feel and understand Farringdon.
The plaque marks the first phase in what we have proposed as the “Farringdon Masterplan” of which largely centered upon Anthony Road, aims over the next few years to uplift, transform and place the estate firmly on the map. Chief of course to this strategy and everything we do, is rebuilding Farringdon’s contemporary identity through the promoting, anchoring and consolidating its history, allowing it to be transformed into a place of interest.
Previously, Farringdon may have been understood as a relatively unimportant post-war housing estate with a mixed reputation. Now however, our project is rekindling its incredible medieval heritage and “in exploring its past, carving out its future”. We will continue to refine and add to the masterplan accordingly, aiming to work with local authorities and organizations. But either way, this plaque does not just mark the area’s history, but also marks the start of a new Farringdon.
For the past few months, Farnton.org has been conducting research into the history of Farringdon. In doing so, we have been able to reveal and compile a long lost story of the estate which stretches back over 700 years, all of which had been completely absent from public memory. The area is not just a post-war housing suburb, but a former Monastic Grange of the priory of Hexham, Hamlet and Manor estate. Many influential families and individuals in Sunderland’s early history resided there. However, following the construction of social housing in the 1950s, this heritage was forgotten.
Having accumulated this research, Farnton.org now calls upon the authorities and representatives of Sunderland to help participate in recognizing this history and to promote it. We believe that Sunderland is something we should always take pride in, and only by promoting consciousness and understanding of our history can we affirm our identity and demonstrate who we are to the world. The newest revelations on Farringdon add to Wearside’s rich heritage and add to knowledge of historical Bishopwearmouth, as well as the broader area which was known as “The Township of Silksworth”.
As a result, Farnton.org makes the following proposals in order to achieve this:
1. Creation of a “historical marker” plaque on Anthony Road– These small blue disks may seem insignificant, but they matter deeply in illuminating the story of an area and the people associated with it. When conducting our research, we found that the “core” of the former Farringdon settlement, manor and farm lies on what is now Anthony Road. This is visible on maps going back 200 years, as well as photography pre-dating the council estate. As a result, the assignment of an English Heritage Plaque would be a simple, yet important gesture which makes the broader public aware of the history.
2. Allocate resources and personnel towards local archaeology: The revelation that Farringdon is an area of historical interest dating back to the Middle Ages should be taken as an opportunity for further research and discovery. The compilation of old records and books only tells part of the story, and as a voluntary effort Farnton.org lacks the resources and authority to pursue archaeological investigations. We call upon local authorities, historians and organizations to coordinate where possible in seeing if there is anything that can be found underneath Farringdon, especially around the “old quarter” in Anthony Road. Rumours abound of “old graves” being found in the 1950s, as well as a Neolithic tool.