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Hartlepool, market place

Few people would associate this picture of a quiet market town with the centre of Hartlepool. Here, however, is the core of the ancient borough on the Headland, drawn by Grimm around 1780 - a time when the major medieval port had declined into little more than a fishing town with pretensions as a bathing spa. The market cross, where John Wesley preached, and the stocks in front of it, would soon be condemned as ‘inconvenient’ and swept away. To the right, the Town House of around 1750 held the court room and borough offices. Like all the buildings in this view of Southgate Street, it has been demolished. The bus station now stands in its place.

The name Hartlepool derives from the Anglo Saxon "heret eu" meaning "stag island". This could refer to the shape of the headland the town is situated on, or to the time when the surrounding forest areas were home to a large population of deer. In Grimm's time the market place would have been the focus of the town's social and economic life. In 1569 seventeen dissenters against Protestantism - and therefore the King - were publicly hanged here.

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