Any visitor to St. James’s Church in Hamsterley, about six miles west of Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham, cannot fail to notice an imposing raised tomb in the churchyard. This is the tomb of “William Blackett Esquire of Shull” (1724-1799) and seven members of his family, including William Stephenson Blackett, who died in Durham gaol in 1840 (he is referred to merely as “William son of the above” on the tombstone). This branch of the family is one of the most interesting and unconventional of all the Blackett lines.
The Blacketts had owned properties in the area for many generations and in the 1756 evidence for the Hamsterley Inclosure Award William is shown as owning Shull, though he continued to occupy Helmington Hall, near Bishop Auckland. The southern boundary of Shull adjoined the Hoppyland estate, which until 1768 belonged to the wealthy Blacketts of Wylam, Northumberland, who were distant cousins of William.
(Image 78C46B courtesy of Beamish Museum Limited, copyright Beamish Museum Limited.)
Hoppyland in 1976.The figure is a young Martin Blackett. (Photo of Hoppyland by Eric Blackett 1976, supplied by Martin Blackett.)
There is also information on Hoppyland on the British Listed Buildings website.