History of Seaton Sluice
Seaton Sluice is situated half a mile north of what was the old village of Hartley. The earliest records date from 1097, when the area was in the possession of the monks of Tynemouth. Two hundred years ago, Seaton Sluice was the centre of great commercial activity, with large ships carrying coal from the thirty odd local pits and glass from the local bottle works, for export to Western Europe. The trade at Seaton Sluice rivalled that of North Shields and Blyth, its success being entirely due to the entrepreneurial and engineering skills of the Delaval family.
Sir Ralph Delaval transformed the harbour between 1660 and 1690, to satisfy the increasing demand for Hartley coal. Stone walls and piers were built at the north entrance to the harbour and an ingenious system of sluice gates were installed to enable the tidal waves to scour the bottom of the harbour, to remove sand and silt which continually built up in the entrance. Ships however, had to be part loaded then taken out into deeper water at the entrance to be fully loaded by the use of keelboats. This increased expense and caused delays.
In the middle of the 18th century, Sir John Hussey Delaval with his brother Thomas Delaval were instrumental in having a new harbour eastward, cut through solid rock, enabling ships to be loaded within the harbour. For further historical information contact Seaton Sluice & Old Hartley Local History Society (www.seaton-sluice.co.uk)
Now Seaton Sluice is a quiet resort with a very rural geography. It shows no signs of its industrial past, the bottle works and all coalmining having long since disappeared. The Seaton Burn trickles into the harbour where small fishing boats are moored. It is still however well supplied with pubs and eating places,( Delaval Arms, Waterford Arms, Melton Constable, Kings Arms, Astley Arms and the Chippy!), walks inland and coastal, with a lovely beach to comb and swim from, weather permitting. Its beautiful shoreline and beach, only rivalled by the wonderful countryside all around, makes it a good place to live and to visit.