Penshaw Monument

The monument was erected by public subscription to commemorate the talents and services to the country of John George Lambton, the first Earl of Durham, and there were contributors to the fund from all parts of the land. Local people raised £3000 towards the memorial of this great Earl who died on July 28th, 1840. The design is that of a Grecian temple and was by Messrs Green, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, while the work was carried out by Mr Platt, Sunderland. The site was given by Lord Londonderry. The foundation stone was laid on August 28th, 1844 by the Marquess of Zetland.

The temple is remarkable for its grandeur and simplicity. The committee decided that, as it would be viewed from a great distance, any enrichment of the structure would be lost. It is of the Doric order, and the proportions are of the Temple of Theseus in Athens, though the Penshaw columns are exactly double in diameter viz., 6 feet 6 inches, as against 3 feet by 3 ins. The arrangement of the columns is after that of the Temple of Diana at Ephesus.

Total length of the monument is 100 feet; width 53 feet; and the height from the ground is 70 feet at one end and 62 feet at the other. The 18 columns are so large that a staircase is enclosed in one of them which gives access to the top of the monument from which extensive views of the country may be obtained.

The river valley that lies below the Penshaw Hill is the site where the legendary Lambton Worm was slain by the young Lord Lambton, whose estates lie just to the south. Below the monument and slightly to the south west, but on the other side of the river, Worm Hill can be seen with its bare coil marks where the fearsome monster coiled around to rest.

Lambton Castle, seat of the Earl of Durham