Durham History Books

The below is a select reading list of academic books focusing predominantly on the history of county Durham. It is an ongoing list and will be regularly updated.


Economy and Society:

Brown, A.T., Rural Society and Economic Change in County Durham: Recession and Recovery, c.1400-1640 (2015)

Dodds, Ben, Peasants and Production in the Medieval North-East: The Evidence from Tithes, 1270-1536 (2007)

Liddy, Christian and Britnell, Richard (eds.), North East England in the Later Middle Ages (2005)

Newman, Christine, Late Medieval Northallerton: A Small Market Town and its Hinterland, 1470-1540 (1999)

Threlfall-Holmes, M., Monks and Markets: Durham Cathedral Priory, 1460-1520 (2005)

Politics, Religion and Culture:

Bonney, M., Lordship and the Urban Community: Durham and its Overlords 1250-1540 (1990)

Dobson, R. B., Church and Society in the Medieval North of England (1996)

Harvey, Margaret, Lay Religious Life in Late Medieval Durham (2006)

Lapsley, G.T., The County Palatine of Durham: A Study on Constitutional History (1900)

Larson, Peter, Conflict and Compromise in the Late Medieval Countryside, 1349-1400 (2006)

Liddy, Christian, The Bishopric of Durham in the Late Middle Ages: Lordship, Community and the Cult of St. Cuthbert (2008)

Pollard, A. J., North-Eastern England during the Wars of the Roses: Lay Society, War, and Politics, 1450-1500 (1990)

Reid, R.R., The King’s Council in the North (1921)


Early Modern

Economy and Society:

Beastall, T. W., A North Country Estate: The Lumleys and Saundersons as Landowners, 1600-1900 (1974)

Brassley, Paul, The Agricultural Economy of Northumberland and Durham, 1649-1750 (1985)

Fewster, Joseph M., The Keelmen of Tyneside: Labour organisation & conflict in the North-East coal industry, 1600-1830 (2011)

Gardner-Medwin, D., A. Hargreaves and E. Lazenby (eds), Medicine in Northumbria: Essays on the History of Medicine in the North East of England (1993)

Hughes, Edward North Country Life in the Eighteenth Century: The North-East, 1700-1750 (1952)

Levine, David and Wrightson, Keith, The Making of an Industrial Society: Whickham 1560-1765 (1991)

Newton, Diana and A.J. Pollard (eds), Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead Before 1700 (2009)

O’Donnell, Ronan, Assembling enclosure: transformations in the rural landscape of post-medieval north-east England (2015)

Oldroyd, D., Estates, Enterprise and Investment at the Dawn of the Industrial Revolution: Estate Management and Accounting in the North-East of England, c. 1700-1780 (2007)

Purdue, A.W., Merchants and Gentry in North-East England 1650-1830: the Carrs and the Ellisons (1999)

Watts, S.J. with S.J. Watts, From Border to Middle Shire: Northumberland, 1586-1625 (1975)

Winchester, Angus, The Harvest of the Hills: Rural Life in Northern England and the Scottish Borders 1400-1700 (2000)

Woodward, D., Men at Work: Labourers and Building Craftsmen in the Towns of Northern England (1995)

Wrightson, Keith, Ralph Tailor’s Summer: A Scrivener, his City and the Plague (2011)

Politics, Religion and Culture:

Berry, Helen and Gregory, Jeremy (eds.), Creating and Consuming Culture in North-East England, 1660-1830 (2004)

Bush, Michael, The Pilgrimage of Grace: A Study of the Rebel Armies of October 1536 (1996)

Dickinson, H.T., Radical Politics in the North-East of England in the Eighteenth Century (1979)

Ellis, S.G., Tudor Frontiers and Noble Power: the Making of the British State (Oxford, 1995)

Faulkner, Thomas, Berry, Helen and Gregory, Jeremy (eds.), Northern Landscapes: Representations and Realities of North-East England (2010)

Gooch, Leo, The Desperate Faction: The Jacobites of North-East England, 1688-1745 (1995)

Gooch, Leo, A Complete Pattern of Nobility: John, Lord Lumley, c.1534-1609 (2009)

Green, Adrian, Building for England: John Cosin’s Architecture in Renaissance Durham and Cambridge (2016)

Horsman, E.A. (ed.), Dobson’s Drie Bobbes: A Study of Sixteenth Century Durham (1955)

Howell, R., Newcastle upon Tyne and the Puritan Revolution: A Study of the Civil War in the North of England (1967)

Hoyle, Richard, The Pilgrimage of Grace and the Politics of the 1530s (2001)

Hunt, C.J., The Book Trade in Northumberland and Durham to 1860: A Bibliographical Dictionary (1975)

James, Mervyn, Family, Politics and Civil Society: A Study of Society, Politics and Mentality in the Durham Region, 1500-1640 (1974)

Kesselring, K.J., The Northern Rebellion of 1569: Faith, Politics, and Protest in Elizabethan England (2007)

Marcombe, David (ed.), The Last Principality: Politics, Religion and Society in the Bishopric of Durham 1494-1660 (1987)

Morgan, Gwenda and Rushton, Peter, Rogues, Thieves and the Rule of Law: The Problem of Law Enforcement in North-East England, 1718-1800 (1998)

Newton, Diana, North-East England 1569-1625: Governance, Culture and Identity (2006)

Purdue, A.W., Merchants and Gentry in North East England, 1650-1830 (1999)

Reid, D.S., The Durham Crown Lordships in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries and the Aftermath (1993)

Southey, Roz, Music-Making in North-East England during the Eighteenth Century (2006)

Tough, D.L.W., The Last Years of a Frontier: A History of the Borders in the Reign of Elizabeth (1928)



Economy and Society:




Religion, Politics and Culture:



Longer Perspectives

Economy and Society:

Cookson, Gillian, A History of the County of Durham: Volume IV: Darlington (2005)

Cookson, Gillian, A History of the County of Durham: Volume V: Sunderland (2015)

Cookson, Gillian, Sunderland: Building a City (2010)

Cookson, Gillian, The Townscape of Darlington (2003)

McCord, Norman, North-East England: The Region’s Development, 1760-1960 (1979)

Meikle, Maureen M., and Christine M. Newman, Sunderland and its Origins: Monks to Mariners (2008)

Roberts, B. K., The Green Villages of County Durham: a Study in Historical Geography (1977)

Skelton, Leona, Tyne after Tyne: An Environmental History of a River’s Battle for Protection, 1529-2015 (2015)

Religion, Politics and Culture:

Elmsley, K. and Fraser, C.M., The Courts of the County Palatine of Durham from Earliest Times to 1971 (1984)

Charlton, R.J., A History of Newcastle-upon-Tyne: From the Earliest Records to its Formation as a City (1885)

Colls, Robert, (ed.), Northumbria History and Identity, 547-2000 (2007)

Green, Adrian and Pollard, A.J., (eds), Regional Identities in North-East England, 1300-2000 (2007)

Jewell, H.M., The North-South Divide: The Origins of Northern Consciousness in England (1994)

McCombie, Grace, et al., Newcastle and Gateshead, Pevsner Architectural Guides (2009)

Pevsner, Nikolaus, and Elizabeth Williamson, The Buildings of England: County Durham (1983)

Roberts, Martin, Durham: A Thousand Years of History (2003)