The history of Hurworth Grange
Hurworth Grange was built as a wedding present in 1875 by Alfred Backhouse for his nephew James Edward Backhouse. The architect for the building was Sir Alfred Waterhouse.The poet Rudyard Kipling visited the Grange in the 1890's where he saw a Roman sarcophagus (a stone coffin) aquired by the Backhouse family, possibly when the railway to York was built. This inspired him to write the poem 'The Roman Centurion's Song'.
The sarcophagus was later housed in the archives at St Cuthbert's hospital (the land now used as Middlesbrough Football Club Training Ground, Rockcliffe).In 1955, the Grange was purchased by the Brothers of St John of God at St Cuthbert's hospital and used as a school for boys wishing to become hospitaller brothers.
In 1968, the Grange was on the market again and interest was shown by a firm of builders intending to redevelop the land. Durham County Council intervened and using a compulsory purchase order, they bought the Grange for £15,000 - a fraction of the price offered by the builders.
The Grange was then given to Hurworth Parish Council for use as a community centre which remains its function today.