Originally called Dalton – ‘the enclosed homestead in the valley’ -the village was once part of the manor of Hart which was granted to Robert de Brus by William the Conqueror. It was later transferred to the Balliol family and the ‘Piercy’ was added to its name in the 13th century when Ellen, daughter of Ingram de Balliol married William de Percy, Duke of Northumberland, and brought him the village as part of her dowry. There is no trace of the original homestead. The oldest dwellings appear to be Priory and College Farms which both have buildings which may date from the 17th century. There are a few 18th century buildings and some fine Victorian houses, the most outstanding being ‘The Villa’ which is at the end of a terrace on the south side of the green. This was originally called Wake Villa after its builder Thomas Wake. From 1906 to 1914 it was used as a home for crippled children.
Until quite recently the village green was a perfect example of a medieval ‘two-row’ form and was gated at each end to keep in the cattle. The village pump, once the focal meeting point of the village, can still be seen on the green but it has not been used since mains water was installed in the 1940s. At the western end of the green the previously silted-up pond has been reinstated by the parish council.
The village is linked to Elwick, one mile to the north, by an ancient bridleway – now used only as a footpath -and other public rights of way lead over the fields to Hartlepool. One of these footpaths follows the course of the Char beck which flows across the eastern end of the green into a long stretch of meadow known locally as the ‘Batts’. This was once a popular picnic spot for families from Hartlepool who brought their children into the countryside at weekends and during school holidays. In the 1940s a tea-shop and sweet shop at the end of the green provided welcome refreshments after the walk.
The village appears never to have had a pub, although Priory Farm was once a brewery. The old Red Lion pub, now replaced by the Windmill Hotel, which is a mile from the village on the side of the A19 road. Dalton does not have its own church as the village is part of the sprawling parish of Elwick Hall whose church is on the outskirts of Elwick village. A Methodist chapel did exist from 1884-1910 in a building known as ‘Elt’s House’ after a former occupant named Eltie Metcalfe. A Mrs Stokell, who ran a market garden in the village with her husband, used to layout the dead and arrange funerals. She was also the village midwife! Another Mr & Mrs Stokell also owned a market garden, at Rose Cottage. Their surplus produce which could not be sold in the village was carried in baskets by Mrs Stokell over the fields to Hartlepool where Mr T Stokell Junior had a market stall on Saturday mornings. There has been no shop in the village since the last one was destroyed by fire in the early 1980s. Milk and newspapers are delivered and for all their other needs the residents go to the village post office in Elwick or travel into town.
In the 1950s an ex-army hut was bought to serve as a village hall. Situated to the south of the green, behind Priory Farm, it is still used for a variety of activities arranged by the village hall committee and the parish council.
For detailed information about the four grade two listed buildings in Dalton Piercy click here.
Left – Manor house farm barns before they became derelict.
Middle – Rose Cottage.
Right – Natural Spring (surrounded by small white fence).