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It was a lovely day when Sophie and I went to visit Washington Old Hall which has a (tenuous) link to the 1st President of the USA, George Washington, I say tenuous as it is his ancestral home, but way back!

The History Bit

William de Hertburne, an ancestor of George Washington, assumed tenancy of the Wessyngtonlands from the Bishop of Durham for an annual fee of £4. Soon after, he changed his name to William de Wessyngton (later Washington). Although he used the Norman French spelling the estate is of Anglo-Saxon (specifically Anglic) origin, originally being “Hwæssaingatūn”, meaning “estates of the descendents of Hwæssa” (Hwæssa being rendered Wassa in Modern English). In 1613 the Washington family moved south to Sulgrave Manor, and the manor was sold to the Bishop William James of Durham and lived in by his grandson William.

The Hall continued to be used as a residence until the 19th century, when it became tenement flats and gradually fell into disrepair. In 1936 the building was declared unfit for human habitation, and was rescued from demolition by Fred Hill, a local teacher, who created what is now the “Friends of the Old Hall” to press for restoration of the building. Preservation work stopped during World War II, but was completed in 1955. In 1957 the National Trust assumed responsibility for the building.

As a result of these historic ties, Washington, D.C., and City of Sunderland have announced a “friendship agreement,” hoping to create cultural and economic ties with one another. (Typical Mackem’s trying to be cultured & cashing in on it!)

The Wessyngton (Washington) Family had not owned Washington Old Hall since the early 15th century when Sir William Mallory married Dionysia Tempest, the last Wessyngton heir at the Hall. Dionysia was daughter of Sir William Tempest and his cousin, Eleanor Wessyngton. The sale in 1613 was by Sir John Mallory and Anna Eure, investors in the Virginia charter; Sir John Mallory having been a descendant of Sir William Mallory and Dionysia Tempest.

The Hall


The ground floor presents a home in the 17th century when Washington was in the hands of the James family. There were extensive renovations made to the hall during this time and was most likely at its grandest when this work was completed.



The hall is now run by the National Trust, their website and info is HERE

More to come of course 🙂


29 comments on “Fraggle Report~ Washington Old Hall ~July 2016 ~part 1

  1. Dina says:

    Good old NT … Lovely photos from the hall, but this time we especially enjoyed the history linked to this place. Thank you so much! 🙂
    Hugs from Bonn and Norfolk. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, more to come yet 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dina says:

        Great! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jay says:

    There’s always something to discover here! Great details today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jay 🙂 happy to be of service 😀


  3. enmanscamera says:

    Ah…I enjoyed reading (and viewing) another of your adventurous travels and informative commentary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks N~man! 🙂


  4. Dionysia Tempest!I want that name!…not so good that she was the product of cousins perhaps…?…Beautiful photographs, looks like a wonderful place, thanks for showing it to us, another one for the list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I was quite swooned at Dionysia Tempest, she ought to be a character in a bodice ripper!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. beetleypete says:

    I really like 17th century houses and furniture. Thick stone walls, solid wood, all nicely devoid of any pretensions.
    Lovely shots as always, FR.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pete, it does look idyllic but I’d miss my microwave 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. beetleypete says:

        I could go back to a big pot over a fire myself, though maybe not during the summer. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Eddy Winko says:

    Flagstones, pewter and chunky wooden furniture, what’s not to like? I wonder of they fell foul of the window tax 🙂
    I just wish the madness of health and safety would have hidden the extinguisher

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s gone now, 🙂


      1. Eddy Winko says:

        Wow, as if by magic 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Matt says:

    That’s really interesting. I had no idea that such a place existed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I live in a history lesson 😊


  8. steviegill says:

    Amazing place and shots. Sunderland and culture? Madness! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mél@nie says:

    splendid, amazing, impressive… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Melanie x


  10. Francis.R. says:

    That mouse looks quite funny xD it’s a whole story how names evolve. We and our elders of some centuries ago had somo troubles to communicate as even books of five centuries ago need to be translated into a modern form.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There were a few mice dotted around the place but not sure as to the significance of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Francis.R. says:

        I love it because contrast with the solemnity of the place, like points of sugar making it more relaxed n_n

        Liked by 1 person

  11. kmSalvatore says:

    love a good museum tour and History., excellent work Fraggy… id expect nothing less form you :)!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kathy xx

      Liked by 1 person

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