THE APOSTLE OF THE NORTH

Bernard Gilpin was Rector of Houghton-le-Spring from 1558 until his death in March 1583 at the age of 66 years.

Houghton was known as a "fat parish" covering more than sixteen villages and Gilpin's salary reflected this: at £400 per annum, the equivalent of £68,000 in today's money, it was considered a large amount of money.

Nevertheless, Bernard Gilpin was a generous man; every Sunday, between Michaelmas (Houghton Feast) and Easter, he would open up the Rectory and feed the parish's poor with a roasted hog or ox.

In February 1583, Gilpin was struck down by an ox in Durham's Market Place and he died shortly afterwards. His body was interred in a large, rectangular altar tomb in St Michael's Church.

Bernard Gilpin, Apostle of the North, Father of the Poor and Rector of Houghton-le-Spring

BERNARD GILPIN

Bernard Gilpin was Rector of Houghton-le-Spring from 1558 until his death in March 1583 at the age of 66 years. He was known as the Father of the Poor and the Apostle of the North for his many good deeds.
[LIFE OF BERNARD GILPIN]

The Gilpin Crest was adopted by Houghton-le-Spring

THE GILPIN CREST

The Gilpin Crest, which dates from the 13th century, was adopted by Houghton-le-Spring in honour of Rector Bernard Gilpin. It features a sabre boar, crescent moon and oak tree (not the Gilpin Thorn as some think).
[THE GILPIN CREST]

The Houghton Feast ox roasting commemorates Bernard Gilpin's roasting of an ox to feed the parish's poor

OX ROASTING

The ox roasting tradition at Houghton Feast started in the 16th century with Bernard Gilpin. It was revived in 1967 by the Rotary Club of Houghton-le-Spring who roast an ox each year on Houghton Feast Monday.
[OX ROASTING]

The Altar Tomb of Bernard Gilpin in St Michael & All Angels Church, Houghton-le-Spring

GILPIN'S ALTAR TOMB

In the south transept of St Michael's Church can be found the bulky and four-sided altar tomb of Houghton’s adopted Saint, Bernard Gilpin. The tomb features an engraving of the Gilpin Crest.
[GILPIN'S TOMB] | [CARDCRAFT MODEL]

Bernard Gilpin Tercentenary Clock in the tower of Houghton's Parish Church

THE GILPIN CLOCK

In 1884 the people of Houghton agreed that an illuminated clock would be beneficial and the best place to erect it would be in the tower of the Parish Church to mark the tercentenary of Bernard Gilpin's death.
[TERCENTENARY CLOCK] | [DONOR NAMES]

Known as the Gilpin Thorn, this holy hawthorn is thought to have grown from a cutting taken from the legendary Glastonbury Thorn in the grounds of the Abbey by Bernard Gilpin, Rector of Houghton 1557 to 1583.

THE GILPIN THORN

Known as the Gilpin Thorn, this holy hawthorn is thought to have grown from a cutting taken from the legendary Glastonbury Thorn in the grounds of the Abbey by Bernard Gilpin, Rector of Houghton 1557 to 1583.
[THE GILPIN THORN]

The Royal Kepier Grammar School, or Kepier Hall as it is now known, is located within the grounds of the churchyard, just behind St Michael & All Angels Church. The school, which dates from c1574, closed in 1922.

KEPIER GRAMMAR SCHOOL

The Royal Kepier Grammar School, or Kepier Hall as it is now known, is located within the grounds of the churchyard, just behind St Michael & All Angels Church. The school, which dates from c1574, closed in 1922.
[KEPIER GRAMMAR SCHOOL]

Bernard Gilpin School also known as Houghton Secondary Modern School (HSMS)

BERNARD GILPIN SCHOOL

Bernard Gilpin School, Hall Lane, was formerly known as Houghton Secondary Modern School. Renamed in honour of Bernard Gilpin, it merged with Sancroft and the old Grammar to form Houghton Kepier School.
[BERNARD GILPIN SCHOOL]

Bernard Gilpin Primary School, Hall Lane, Houghton-le-Spring, DH5 8DA

BERNARD GILPIN PRIMARY SCHOOL

Bernard Gilpin Primary School was built in 1993 on the site of Bernard Gilpin Secondary School. Other than the sharing of a plot of land, the primary school is not connected historically to the old secondary school.
[BERNARD GILPIN PRIMARY SCHOOL]

Join Fyass Byuk - Houghton Heritage Society's popular Facebook group

FACEBOOK GROUP

You can join Houghton Heritage Society by becoming a member on Facebook - or Fyass Byuk as we call it. We have over 3,300 members and the group is very popular with residents, descendants and ex-pats.
[FACEBOOK]

Videos and cine footage of Houghton-le-Spring

VIDEOS OF HOUGHTON

Houghton Heritage Society's YouTube Channel features exclusive videos of Houghton-le-Spring as well as footage from our heritage events throughout the year - and of course the ancient festival of Houghton Feast!
[YOUTUBE VIDEOS]

Old photographs of Houghton-le-Spring shared via Flickr

OLD PHOTOGRAPHS

Houghton Heritage Society has over 5,000 images in its collections. Many can be found on our Flickr page while our Facebook group has thousands of exclusive photographs as uploaded by our many members.
[FLICKR] | [ARCHIVE CATALOGUE]