IT is said that one day a small lad was filling a bucket from Langley Beck, the fast-flowing stream at the rear of Staindrop which separates the village from the parkland of Raby Castle.

The beck in those days was the only source of fresh water for the villagers.

But in fell the lad, and he was swept away to a watery grave.

In response, in August 1865, Lady Augusta Poulett, of Raby Castle, presented the villagers with a pump, which still stands on the village green. It enabled them to draw clean water without the attendant danger of drowning.

However, today the pump is in a sad state. It’s armless, although the wooden handle remains in a nearby house, and its mechanism has been removed, with the gaps in the stonework crudely bricked up. Grass has crept through its flagstones and probably obscures an access to a well.

Staindroponians have recently and successfully restored the Scarth Memorial Hall, which overlooks the pump, and have decided that their next project should be the pump.

But what did it look like? Even old postcards don’t seem to show it.

If you have any old photographs or drawings of the pump, or any information about it, they’d love to hear from you. Email either or

Lady Augusta was the younger sister of Lady Sophia who in 1809 married the Honourable Henry Vane (he became the 2nd Duke of Cleveland in 1842 when he inherited the castle).

The ladies are the reason that just off Duke Street in Darlington there is Powlett Street as both streets were built on the duke’s land.

Lady Sophia died in 1859 and the duke died in 1864, so Lady Augusta presented the fountain in their memory. Who the little lad was, no one knows – unless you can complete the story.