Spennymoor, as a town, is a true product of the Industrial Revolution, created with the coming of the railway in the late 1830’s and early 1840’s and the development of mining in the area. The real impetus for the development of the town came in 1853 with the opening of the Weardale Iron Works when Spennymoor was transformed from a pit village into a thriving town of several thousand inhabitants.

Prior to its development in the 19th century the ‘Moor’ had belonged to the Shafto family and before that had been held in common for grazing, for hundreds of years, by surrounding villages. The moor stretched originally from Binchester in the west to Hett in the east. The name Spennymoor is thought to arise from the Scandinavian word ‘spen’ and the Anglo Saxon ‘mor’ the literal translation being ‘fenced enclosure on the moor’.