A miscellaneous collection of material relating chiefly to the history and antiquities of a number of churches, parishes and places in Co. Durham, the names of which all fall within the alphabetical range C-H, although the present somewhat jumbled arrangement obscures this fact. The chief places covered are: Claxton Grange estate (including plan, 1911), Dalton-le- Dale, Darlington, Easington, Edmundbyers, Egglescliffe, Eggleston, Elemore Hall, Elton, Elwick, Elwick Hall, Escomb, Esh alias Ash, Felling, Ferryhill, Finchale Priory, Friarside, Frosterley, Gainford, Greatham, Grindon and West Hartburn. There is also a little material relating to Hexham and Hexhamshire in Northumberland (item 33) and a few items concerning topics or individuals with names or surnames in the same alphabetical range as above.Much of the material concerns the history of church buildings, plate and bells as well as churchyards but there are also items of archaeological and general historical and antiquarian interest. Most of it appears to have been amassed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in preparation for meetings and publications of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne. It is very similar to the material which Blair appears to have had bound in the series of volumes entitled Archaeologia described under Related units below.
Miss Flagg, who arranged for the presentation of this material to the University of Durham, said that she had selected for transfer to Durham those items which were of County Durham interest from a vast number of samples of typography which she had been helping the reference staff at the South Shields Library to sort. The items now in Durham University Library were clearly originally part of a much larger group of papers but the South Shields Library has changed premises since 1964 and its present (1999) staff members have no knowledge of the acquisition of this material and its 1964 dispersal or of any surviving related material.
The contents of the present accumulation include: manuscript historical notes and transcripts in various hands; proofs of texts and illustrations (e.g. of inscriptions and of church buildings and plans) for church etc. histories, many of them published by the Society in the 1880s and 1890s; some correspondence and papers of Robert Blair, chiefly concerning Society business and much of it reused for draft notes etc.; newspaper cuttings on local history or biographical topics and rubbings of inscriptions, many of them mounted, sometimes on the aforementioned proofs; and a few miscellaneous items, including lists of incumbents and genealogical notes. Most date from the 19th and early 20th centuries but many refer to earlier periods.
Also in the collection are a few 19th and early 20th-century printed notices and handbills, including (39) a play-bill for Thorne's Theatre, Tynemouth, Northumberland, 1839.