History of Neville’s Cross
Neville’s Cross is part of the City of Durham. For centuries, a stone cross here on top of the hill provided a final waymark on the main pilgrim route into Durham from the west; its remains can still be seen across the road from the Church.
The Battle of Neville’s Cross (17th October 1346) was fought between the Scots and the English on a narrow stretch of high ground less half a mile to the north of the Church. In the course of the Hundred Years War, it proved to be a decisive victory for the English over their neighbours to the North (see the Battlefields Trust for more information). Not long afterwards, Lord Ralph Neville (one of the English generals) erected a new cross on the site of the old in commemoration of the victory; it and the surrounding area have borne his name ever since.
It remained a substantially rural area until the 1850s, when a deep cutting was excavated for the railway to run through. The earliest houses date from around this time; many more followed in a series of housing developments through the twentieth century.
Neville’s Cross today
Our parish includes within its boundaries the odd pub, restaurant and shop, a commercial laundry and a farm or two; however the majority of the area is made up of housing. Neville’s Cross Primary School is not far from St John’s; the School visits the Church for annual Christmas and Easter services. Durham Johnston School is also nearby, as is St Cuthbert’s Hospice, which serves people from a wide area around Durham. The former Neville’s Cross College building (which later housed New College Durham) is due to be reopened as a student housing complex in the not too distant future.