Kelloe is a village and civil parish in County Durham, England. The population of the civil parish as taken at the 2011 Census was 1,502.[1] It is situated to the south-east of Durham.

Location within County Durham
Population1,502 (2011)
OS grid referenceNZ345365
Civil parish
  • Kelloe
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townDURHAM
Postcode districtDH6
Dialling code0191
FireCounty Durham and Darlington
AmbulanceNorth East
EU ParliamentNorth East England
UK Parliament

The Lordship of the Manor of Kelloe was bought by the Tempests of Broughton Hall, North Yorkshire, and bequeathed by Sir Henry Vane-Tempest to his daughter, Lady Frances Vane, who married the third Marquess of Londonderry.[2] The current holder of the Lordship of Kelloe is Mr Barrington Edward Kerr Gilmour of Northumberland.

Nearby is East Hetton or Kelloe colliery where six men were killed by gasses from the Trimdon Grange colliery disaster in 1882.[3]

St Helen's Church

The parish church is in Church Kelloe, a "considerable distance" from the town of Kelloe itself.[4] The church itself is of uncertain date. Ryder (1994) gives Saxon or Early Norman from architectural evidence. The earlier date is suggested by the herringbone and the archaic treatment of the north-west quoin indicate an early date, the herringbone work being similar to that at Seaham which is a pre-Viking Saxon building. However, if the south doorway is original, then the building is post-1100.[5] The church remained a small (unaisled) country church for most of its existence until the development of the surrounding villages with the sinking of the collieries from 1836 onwards. Mining remained a key industry in the area until its closure in 1983.[6]

St Helena cross

Ryder claims the St Helena cross as "one of the most important items of Romanesque sculpture in the country".[7] The 12th-century cross was found broken into several pieces being used as walling stone in the south wall of the chancel. During the 1854 rebuilding it was found and reassembled. It was conserved and cleaned in the early 1990s and is currently set against the north wall of the sanctuary.

The cross shows scenes from the legend of the Invention of the True Cross including saints Helena and Constantine, whence its name. The right and back are plain. Three further scenes from the legend are missing, which has led to a suggestion that it is one of a pair, possibly associated with a reliquary.[8] J T Lang in a personal communication to Ryder suggests that reliquary might have held a portion of the True Cross and that (in the absence of documentary evidence for it having been at Kelloe) it may have been held at Durham Cathedral.[9] The crosses and reliquary may have been moves to Kelloe in the 16th Century (since the church was already dedicated to St Helen) and is possible that the second cross is still somewhere within the fabric of the church.[10]

Notable people


  1. "Civil Parish population 2011". Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  2. "Lordship of the Manor up for sale". Northern Echo.
  3. Trimdon Grange, Durham. 16th February 1882, retrieved 22 May 2012
  4. Hutchingson (1794) reported in Ryder (1994) p 7.
  5. Ryder (1994) p 9
  6. Ryder (1994) p. 1
  7. Ryder (1994) p. 5
  8. Ryder (1994) p. 5
  9. Ryder (1994) p. 5
  10. Ryder, Peter F (December 1994). "St Helen's church, Church Kelloe" (PDF). Retrieved 18 November 2016.

Further reading

  • Margot Johnson. "Kelloe, Coxhoe Hall and Elizabeth Barrett Browning" in Durham: Historic and University City and surrounding area. Sixth Edition. Turnstone Ventures. 1992. ISBN 094610509X. Pages 31 to 32.

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