Galley’s Gill

We are currently exploring the heritage of Galley’s Gill in Sunderland – with five local primary schools and the wider community.

Galley’s Gill is so named to identify it as the riverbank where Danish Vikings landed in AD866 and where some remains of boats, said to be galleys, have been found. Part of it is also known as Rectors Gill, as the land was once part of the rectory, as documented in a parliamentary memorandum of 25th August 1650 ‘At the rear of the rectory was a small garden with stables…, Beyond this was a garden which stretched almost 30 acres to the riverside…’. It was within this gill, in 1812, that John Neasham built the very first of Sunderland’s staiths at the end of a rope-hauled wagon way. ‘This was much to the distress of the keelmen whose livelihood was threatened as a result.’ Galleys Gill (approximately 5.5 hectares) is currently amenity grassland along the bottom of the ravine, moving into unmown grass and shrub areas approaching the base of the magnesian limestone cliffs. Along the river, there are footpaths and areas of non ancient broadleaved woodland. It forms an important open space close to the city centre.

Help us to provide a greater insight into the natural, social and industrial heritage of the sites, by engaging with and adding to our Heritage resources.

Note: We are hopeful to be able to continue working with the Heritage Lottery Fund to replicate the Lost Landscapes and Learning project format at similar sites around County Durham and Sunderland. We would welcome any expressions of interest or suggestions with regard to sites that demonstrate potential for the immediate, local and wider natural, cultural and industrial heritage to be explored. Please Contact Us with your own suggestions, ideas and supporting information.

Galley’s Gill Heritage Resources