Today, there are very few Gand Houses left in the Chester-le-Street area. Probably the most prominent is the Hermitage, which stands in grounds to the south of the town.
There were others such as Whitehill Hall, The Deanery and Harraton Hall, which have all disappeared. The following are some brief notes about those houses.
Whitehill Hall in the North West quarter of Chester-le-Street was owned by the Millot family from the 15th Century until 1747. In the 19th Century the then owner John Cookson had the hall restyled in a more modern form, with neat bay windows either side of a central colonnade.
The building existed through until the late 1960`s when it was demolished due to its dangerous condition brought on by vandalism.
Most of the estate belonging to the house has been built on by modern housing developments.
The Deanery in the 1890's
The Deanery formed part of the Church lands prior to the Reformation by Henry VIII. The house itself survived and was in design, square and quite plain. Throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries it was tenanted by a number of families not always associated with the Church. They included the Hedworth’s, Charles Joliffe and Lady Byron, John Morton Davidson and Lieutenant Colonel J.P. Edward Johnson.
This was Edward Johnson’s home from 1830 until his death in 1885. After that John W. Luccock lived there, Whellan’s 1894 Directory indicates that he was a wholesale manufacturing confectioners as well as a Butter and Cheese Importer. It was demolished in the early years of the 20th Century. A number of rare photographs still exist of the original structure.
In days gone by, there were others, equally important in terms of architectural design.
The Elizabethan styled house called Harraton Hall built c1600, which was located on the North Bank of the Wear some distance from Chester-le-Street, was the ancestral home of a family called D`arcys and latterly during the 17th Century, it belonged to the Hedworth family who were a prominent coal mining family.
It was demolished in 1797, having been bought some decades earlier by Ralph Lambton, so incorporating the Harraton Estates into the lands owned by the Lambton’s. Lambton Castle was later built on the site of Harraton Hall.