STAG HOUSE has recently been built over as the east end of Darlington's Branksome estate spreads up to the motorway and the site of a lost village whose most famous son was a knight who was "desperately wounded" at the side of the king in the English Civil War.

The site of Stag House is now near the new roundabout on Newton Lane where hundreds of houses are shooting up. As Memories 517 told, the farmhouse had a weathered sundial over its door which was dated 1763 and bore the names of John and Elizabeth Ward who presumably built it.

The Northern Echo: Stag House Farm, Darlington, which supplied milk for Binns. Picture courtesy of Archaeological Services Durham UniversityStag House Farm, Darlington, which supplied milk for Binns. Picture courtesy of Archaeological Services Durham University

“I worked at Stag House for two years from July 1957 when it was owned by Mr and Mrs Jack Watson,” says Reg Foster. “It was a mixed farm rearing milking cows, pigs and hens. Working hours were 7.30am to 5pm every day.

“Fields extended north up Walworth Road to border Tweddles’ farm, which is now Acorn Dairy.

“The cow shed was situated at the front together with the tractor house and away from the road at the back were the stackyard and pig sties. The granary was above the sties and parallel to the road.

“I remember stooking barley in a nearby field and when dry enough it had to be carted to the stackyard to await threshing day.

“The farm supplied milk to Binn’s restaurant and I would take a churn there each morning in an old Morris Oxford van.

“All hard work, but happy memories.”

SO Reg takes us up to the deserted medieval village of Archdeacon Newton, which is now the home of Acorn Dairy and hundreds of cows. Once, though, it was the home of the Archdeacon of Durham, and a pretty important place.

It was one of the first four townships of Darlington – when St Cuthbert’s Church was built in the 12th Century, it had four churchwardens to serve those townships: the town centre, Blackwell, Cockerton and Archdeacon Newton.

In the lumps and bumps of the fields to the east of the dairy, you can still make out the foundations of the moated manor house that may have been the archdeacon’s home – it is one of 6,000 moated sites in England.

Apparently, you can also see platforms on which houses once stood. The highest platform had a chapel upon it where three local men, Robert Fisher, John Nicholson and John Deves, were licensed to hold services in 1414.

This, then, was the archdeacon’s new town, although it was gradually deserted from the 16th Century. Now only these lumps and bumps remain and “the old hall” – a barn, which was built in the late 13th Century, perhaps as a service wing for the manor house.

The most famous person to have hailed from Archdeacon Newton was Colonel Sir William Blakiston – from a famous North-East family. He was extremely loyal to Charles I and commanded his own regiment of horse in the famous battles of the English Civil War – Marston Moor and Naseby – even though he was “desperately wounded” in battle near Monmouth in September 1644.

Sir William was captured twice by the Parliamentarians: the first time he escaped, and the second they locked him in Warwick Castle.

But he survived to see Charles II restored to the throne in 1660.

L If you can tell us anything about the lumps and bumps of Archdeacon Newton, we’d love to hear from you.