St John Lee, Northumberland Genealogy

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Northumberland Parishes
St John Lee

Guide to St John Lee, Northumberland ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

St John Lee, Northumberland
St John Lee Northumberland.jpg
St John Lee Northumberland
Type Ancient Parish
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred Tindale
County Northumberland
Poor Law Union Hexham
Registration District Hexham
Records begin
Parish registers: 1664
Bishop's Transcripts: 1741
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Hexham
Diocese Durham
Province York
Legal Jurisdictions
Probate Court Court of the Peculiar of the Archbishop of York in Hexham and Hexhamshire
Location of Archive
Northumberland Record Office

Parish History

LEE, ST. JOHN, a parish, in the union of Hexham, S. division of Tindale ward and of Northumberland, 1½ mile (N. N. E.) from Hexham; There are chapels of ease at Bingfield and Wall.[1]

Additional information:

This parish is described as an ancient parish - established in the 10th century, although the earliest recorded incumbent is John Del Clay 1311. The church appears to have been built on the site of the oratory dedicated to St Michael referred to by Bede .

On the north side of the Tyne is the Hermitage, which belonged to Hexham priory. It was called Hameshalg i.e. the hamlet in the haugh, haugh or vale. Hodgson is of the opinion that in the 10th century the monks of Hexham converted the oratory on the hill into a parish church, and instead of it and the manse to which St John was wont to retire, built on the haugh below the Hermitage and Chantry - which continued in their possession until their House was dissolved in 1535. The lands were in the hands of the crown in 1568 and have ever since gone by the name of Hermitage.

In 1310 the church is described as Capella bea Johannis de Lega (the chapel of St John in the woods) A document dated 1429 gives the dedication to St John the Baptist. We do not know when the dedication to St John of Beverley was made - what is recorded is that the place was held in such veneration by the monks of Hexham that they visited it annually in high procession  - this could have been on Eve of John the Baptist.

The name, St John Lee, means St John in the field /clearing in the wood. The area around here was covered with forest - hence the names Acomb (place of the oaks) and Oakwood.

The Church has never been a spectacular building - it began, as we know as a small oratory. The present church was built by Dobson in the 19th century with substantial alterations made by the Newcastle architect Hicks in 1886 - at a cost of between £1700 and £1800. The church was widened, the chancel stepped and the spire constructed.


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church Records

Durham University Library Archives and Special Collections Reference number: DDR/EA/PBT/2/218 Date: 1837-1858  Parish Register transcripts are available to search free online at FamilySearch Historical Records.

The dates of the post-1760 transcripts have been noted in detail and sometimes only cover years. For most parishes in the collection there are gaps in the sequence of transcripts. It is advisable to consult the original parish registers for these years and events.

St John Lee, St John of Beverly: Records of baptisms 1669-1961, marriages 1664-1983 and burials 1664-1983 are available at Northumberland Collections Service. Bishops' Transcripts for the periods 1740-1744, 1751-1778 and 1780-1836 are deposited at the  Borthwick Institute University of York. The International Genealogical Index (I.G.I.) includes baptisms 1664-1836 (with gaps) and marriages 1664-1836 for this parish, and Boyd's Marriage Index includes marriages 1664 1812 and banns 1754-1812 for Lee Saint John Parish. Transcripts of baptisms, burials and marriages 1664-1812 are available at Newcastle Central Library, Local Studies Dept. Northumberland and Durham FHS publish a transcript of baptisms and burials 1664-1851, and marriages 1684-1851, arranged alphabetically (microfiche PR211).

FamilySearch Historical Records includes England, Durham Diocese, Marriage Bonds and Allegations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Census records

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Poor Law Unions

Hexham Poor Law Union, Northumberland

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Northumberland Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.



  1. Lewis, Samuel A.A Topographical Dictionary of England, (1848). Adapted. Date accessed: 13 August 2013.
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