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Chester-le-Street ( ; )) is a town in County Durham, Englandmarker. It has a history going back to Roman times when it was called Concangismarker. The town is located south of Newcastle upon Tyne and west of Sunderlandmarker on the River Wearmarker. The Parish Church of St Mary and St Cuthbert is where the body of St Cuthbert was laid to rest for some 113 years before being transferred to Durham Cathedralmarker, and is the site of the first translation of the Bible into English, Aldred writing the Old English gloss between the lines of the Lindisfarne Gospels there.

Until 2009 the town had its own local government districtmarker. This was formed by the amalgamation in 1974 of the former Chester-le-Street Urban and Rural Districts. It was abolished in 2009 when Durham transitioned to a unitary authority as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, a move that was controversial at the time.


The Romans called the town Concangis. The Northumbrian Angles called it Cuneceaster, meaning "the camp on the Cune Burn" (now known as the Cong Burn). One source suggests that in the 12th century the town was called Cestra, another claims that the Norman conquerors shortened the name from Cuneceaster to Ceastre, and later simply Chester.

In the Middle Ages it became "Cestrie in Strata" (1372, another source gives "Cestria in Strata", c.1400; meaning "fort on the Roman road"), and subsequently "Chester in the Strett" (1523). The Old English suggests "Ceaster + straet".

Norman influence is apparent in the definite article "le" remaining even after the loss of the preposition. There are other towns and villages in the area which incorporate "le" in their names, such as Houghton-le-Spring, Hetton-le-Hole and Witton-le-Wear.

By the seventeenth century the modern name of Chester-le-Street had been adopted, to distinguish it from the ancient city of Chester standing on the River Dee near the Welsh border. The "Street" is the paved way, the ancient Roman road running north and south, on which the town grew, and which was previously called Hermon Street, but is now known as "Front Street".

Locally the town is often referred to simply as "Chester".

Chester-le-street is a market town; markets are held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.


John Leland described Chester-le-Street in the 1530s as: 'Chiefly one main street of very mean building in height.'Daniel Defoe echoed the sentiment.

St Mary and St Cuthbert church possesses a rare surviving anchorage, one of the best-preserved in the country. It is now a museum known as the Anker House. An anchorite was an extreme form of hermit. His or her walled-up cell had only a slit to observe the altar and an opening for food. Outside was an open grave for when the occupant died. An anchorite lived here from 1383 to c. 1538.

The north aisle is occupied by a line of Lumley family effigies, only five genuine, assembled c. 1590. Some have been chopped-off to fit and resemble a casualty station at Agincourt, according to Sir Simon Jenkins in his England's Thousand Best Churches.

The Civic Centre, designed by Faulkner Brown 1981 has been much praised.

The Jarrow March

In 1936 the Jarrow marchers stopped at the town centre after their first day's walk. The church hall was used to house them before they continued onward the following day.



The Riverside Groundmarker at Chester-le-Street is home to Durham County Cricket Club which became a first class county in 1992.

The town also has its own cricket club, Chester-le-Street Cricket Club based at the Ropery Lane ground. They are the current Champions of the North East Premier League, won the national ECB 45 over tournament in 2009 and reached the quarter final of the national 20/20 club championship in 2009.


Chester-le-Street rowing club is based on the River Wear near the Riverside Cricket ground.

Early football

Medieval football was once played in the town. The game was played annually on Shrove Tuesday between the "Upstreeters" and "Downstreeters". Play started at 1pm and finished at 6pm. To start the game, the ball was thrown from a window in the centre of the town and in one game more than 400 players took part. The centre of the street was the dividing line and the winner was the side where the ball was (Up or Down) at 6pm. It was played from the Middle Ages until 1932, when it was outlawed by the police and people trying to carry on the tradition were arrested. Football support today is largely divided between Sunderland and Newcastle United.


Chester-le-Track refurbished the station, re-opening the ticket office and waiting room in 1999, and the coffee shop in 2004


At the time of the football matches 'Front Street' was actually the A1 roadmarker from Londonmarker to Edinburghmarker. A bypass was built in the 1950s, which still exists today as the A167. The bypass road itself was partly bypassed by, and partly incorporated in, the A1marker motorway in the 1970s.

The northern end of Front Street used to be the start of the A6127, which is the road that would continue through Birtleymarker, Gatesheadmarker, and eventually over the Tyne Bridgemarker and become the A6127(M) central motorway in Newcastle upon Tynemarker. However, when the Gateshead-Newcastle Western Bypass of the A1marker was opened, many roads in this area were renumbered, following the convention that roads originating between single digit A roads take their first digit from the single digit A road in an anticlockwise direction from their point of origin, and Newcastle Road, which was formerly designated A1marker, is now unclassified. The A6127 was renamed the A167.

Car traffic is now banned from the northern part of Front Street and it is restricted to buses only.


Chester-le-Street railway stationmarker, on the East Coast Main Line of the National Rail network, between Newcastle and Durham, opened in 1868. It offers local connections and cross-country train services. , train operators serving the station are CrossCountry, First TransPennine Express and Northern Rail. A local independent company, Chester-le-Track, has operated the station since 1999, as an agent for Northern Spirit, Arriva Trains Northern and Northern Rail.


The town is the original home of The Northern General Bus Company, nowadays Go North East, and the company still operates from the Picktree Lane Depot. It also pioneered the use of Minilink bus services in the North East in 1985

Notable people

Famous sons of the town include the Robson brothers - former Englandmarker football captain Bryan, Justin (Newcastle United and Gateshead) and Gary (West Bromwich) - as well as football manager and former Englandmarker international, Colin Todd. There is a rich and diverse football heritage in the town, with current professionals including Middlesbrough's Danny Graham, Leicester City's Steve Howard, Sunderland's Grant Leadbitter, Chelsea's Carl Magnay and Hartlepool's Michael Barron, Michael Mackay and Peter Ward.

Jock Purdon, the folk singer and poet, lived in the town for most of his life, although he was born in Scotland. Bruce Welch of pop group The Shadows was brought up in the town. Gavin Sutherland, the conductor and pianist, was born and brought up there.

Aidan Chambers Children's author, winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Hans Christian Andersen Award was born in the town.

Paul Collingwood, England cricketer and former one-day international captain plays for Durham CC and lives in the town.

Jennifer Clark, Big Brother 9 contestant.

Ross Pearson, UFC fighter, winner of The Ultimate Fighter 9 competition in 2009.

Twin Town

It is twinned with:


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