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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE OF LINTZ

 

Half a mile or so to the west of the Leazes in Burnopfield is the village of Lintz, a name that has been associated with the area for hundreds of years. The spelling of Lintz has changed many times over the centuries, with variations such as Lynce, Lynths, Lynz and Lynze all being recorded at one time or another.

 

The name itself is derived from that of a wealthy family known as ‘de Lynz’, who settled in the area before or during the twelfth century. Probably originating from the area near the modern city of Linz in Austria, it is believed that they moved to England to escape religious persecution.

 

Granted to them by the Norman kings of England, the family state was originally known as the Villa of Lynz, at the centre of which was a fine house, known as Lynz Hall. This was probably built early in the thirteenth century.

 

Because of their turbulent past, the family built a passage round the house between the inner and outer walls for use as a refuse in times of danger. They also built a small chapel in the nearby Priestfield area, similar to the one at Friarside. In 1352, the Bishop of Durham confiscated the estate from Richard de Lynz when his son, Thomas, was outlawed for felony. The estate changed hands several times over the centuries and was divided into portions. Lynz Hall was eventually converted into a farmhouse but this fell into ruins. These could still be seen at the beginning of the twentieth century, but they have now completely gone, the last stones being used to build batteries for egg production in a local chicken farm.

 

The rural calm of the Villa of Lynz was shattered in the year 1855 when a number of pits were opened in the area and the village of Lintz Colliery was created. The village thrived, soon it had its own public house, methodist chapel, recreational facilities and Miner’s Institute. However, when the colliery closed in 1929, the surface works were all cleared away, the shafts were later demolished and replaced by a pleasant estate of brick built houses with lawns and open grass spaces. Of the old village, only the public house remains. Today there is practically nothing to show that mining flourished for almost a hundred years in this district, except the grass-grown sites of the old waggonways.

 

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