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Sunderland, Tyne & Wear

Sunderland Ferry (12th c)

Last Updated:

15 Jun 2020

Sunderland, Tyne & Wear

This is a


54.909588, -1.372806

Founded in 

12th Century

Current status is

Ferry no longed in use at this site or anywhere on the Wear

Designer (if known):


'Documentary evidence suggests that the rents and profits of Sunderland Ferry were in the possession of Bishop Pudsey in the late 12th century. There are published early 15th century references to payments by the cell of Wearmouth to the ferryman for passage from Sunderland, and later 15th century references to a claim by the prior of Durham and the master of Wearmouth to free passage by the ferry. The bishop probably retained the ferry on this occasion, and subsequently leased it to different operators, including the Ettrick family from 1661 to 1796 when it was purchased by the Commissioners of the new iron bridge. Eventually came into the hands of the Corporation, and was finally superseded by the bridge. It is not clear just where it was sited, but may have crossed at the same point as that which crossed from Bodlewell Lane Steps to Monkwearmouth for over 250 years having been established by an Act of Parliament in 1710. Prior to this, however, a ferry had crossed the river, at or near to this point, from possibly the 7th century, following the foundation of St Peter's Monastery at Monkwearmouth in 674 A.D. The crossing was last served by the "Wear" which made the four minute journey regularly for many decades until the closure of the service in 1957.' - Sitelines

Listing Description (if available)

Above are the first two editions of the Ordnance Survey, which both illustrate the location of the first ferry crossing. It is likely to be the same site as the Bodlewell Lane Ferry which was established by an Act of Parliament in 1710. This is due to St Peter's Church being nearby and allowed passage from Durham.




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