The Farringdon Green Masterplan: An Estate Reborn

Farringdon has been a settlement in Sunderland with a visible trace of at least 700 years, and possibly longer if records can be found. A segment of the historical township of Silksworth, itself part of Bishopwearmouth, the history of the estate can be established first as a Monastic Grange of the Priory of Hexham and later a private manor and farm known as “Farringdon Hall” which was passed down through generations until it was purchased by Sunderland Council in 1950 and transformed into the housing estate we know today.

Farnton.org has been at the frontline of raising public awareness and consciousness of this history, changing the way the area is perceived and subsequently calling for Farringdon’s revival. Farringdon is not just a suburb, it’s a historical place and by campaigning for it to be treat as such we aim to put this area back on the map and build on this legacy. We want Farringdon as an area that can be visited and embraced.

To do so, we’re calling for a number of changes that we want the community to get behind, what we describe as “The Farringdon Green Masterplan” that is the vision to transform the Anthony Road area, which is where the historical core of Farringdon and the manor was set, into a real “village green” akin to those seen in Southwick and Ryhope, a place of historical and natural interest which will improve the quality, aesthetic and appeal of the area.

To do this, we have firstly called for a Heritage Blue Plaque. To go up in the area detailing and commemorating the history of Farringdon Hall. We have made progress on this. St. David’s Church on Anthony Road have kindly volunteered to do so, but we await approval from Sunderland City Council who have been slow to respond to requests. We intend to keep this item on the local agenda and we are grateful for the support of local councillors in being receptive to our idea.

The next phase of the plan is to create the village green by turning a number of public domain grass patches around Anthony Road into neatly arranged Flower Beds, similar to what the community of Southwick heritage has been doing. This again will require approval and community support, but we are confident that this can work if people take the initiative. This will reflect the continuity between the past and present with Farringdon as a settlement and to ensure its longstanding heritage is not lost!

Press Release: A Proposal to Recognize Farringdon’s History

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.