Wingate parish was formed from the parishes of Kelloe and Castle Eden by an Order in Council 1842.
Station Town and South Wingate were added in 1885.
Wingate Grange lies to the east of Thornley, ten miles east-south-east of Durham, and is novv a considerable colliery village. The colliery was first opened by Lord Howden and Partners, from whom the land vvas purchased to build the first cottages.
In 1801 the population of Wingate was recorded as 135, increasing, due to the spread of mining operations, to the present day figure of 3,899.
Although lying somewhat in a valley, the village is healthy and the climate pleasant, although often windy. This is said to account for the old spelling “Windegate.” On the eastern side of the county, between Sunderland and Hartlepool, there are several small valleys or “denes.” That which interests us is Headshope Dene which was formerly one of the local beauty spots.
The supply of water was at one time brought to the village in carts from a spring near Wingate Grange Farm, but was later supplied through mains by the Wingate Water Company Limited, which was established in August, 1895, by the sale of five thousand œ1 shares to local citizens. In 1959 the Wingate Company was liquidated, and the water is now supplied by the Sunderland and South Shields conmpany. The water comes from the underground water-bearing magnesium limestone.
Wingate now has a good supply of electricity distributed by the North-Eastern Electricity Board. Oil lamps and candles, by the light of which much fine needlework was done by the women and girls of the village, are now used only in cases of emergency.
Wingate is mainly a mining area, with some agriculture. Previous to its closure in 1952 Glass’s Brickyard gave employment to many. This industry was started by Mr. Richard Glass in 1840 and continued until the supply of clay ran out. The clay holes are now filled and the land used for agricultural purposes.
During mining operations foundations of a monastery and some ancient stones were found.
The trees in the area are mainly oak, ash, sycamore, elm and beech. Previous to 1920 a plantation or wood spread from the Fir Tree crossroads to the north of the village, flanking the main approach road for a distance of five hundred and fifty yards. This wood was thick with bushes of Hawthorn, Wild Rose, Guelder Rose, Wild Strawberry and Brambles. The wood was also the home of game birds which were under the protection of the keeper. The approach road is now flanked with semi-detached houses. When this estate was planned as many trees as possible were retained in the gardens, thus beautifying both the houses and the approach.
The Church was consecrated by the Bishop of Durham in 1841, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The building is in the early English Style of architecture. The font is of Caen stone and was given by Lady Forbes of London. The Church was built by private money, the colliery owners being the main subscribers; their gift was £300 plus £200 from Lord Howden. Church and school were built at a cost of £2,100. Past incumbents include Revs. Boydell, Simpson, Oldroyd, Bowman and Towers. The present vicar is the Rev. Eric Taylor, M.A. living in the Vicarage which is situated in North Road.