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Portfolio > City Of Sunderland 1 > Around Sunderland 1                                                         Click on an image below to reveal enlarged version

City Of Sunderland, England, UK

Sunderland is a port city in North East England. It is the principal settlement of the metropolitan borough of the City of Sunderland. It is situated at the mouth of the River Wear, approximately 16 km (10 miles) south-east of Newcastle upon Tyne and roughly 19 km (12 miles) north-east of the Durham.


Historically in County Durham, there were three original settlements by the mouth of the River Wear on the site of modern-day Sunderland. On the north side of the river, Monkwearmouth was settled in 674 when King Ecgfrith of Northumbria granted land to Benedict Biscop to found Monkwearmouth Monastery. In 685, Ecgfrith further granted Biscop the land adjacent to the monastery on the south side of the river. As the river separated this land from the monastic community, it was henceforth referred to as the "sunder-land" and would grow as a fishing settlement before being granted a charter in 1179. West of the medieval village of Sunderland on the south bank, Bishopwearmouth was founded in 930.


Sunderland grew as a port, trading coal and salt. Ships began to be built on the river in the 14th century. By the 19th century, the Port of Sunderland at Sunderland Docks had absorbed Bishopwearmouth and Monkwearmouth, owing to the growing economic importance of the shipbuilding docks. Following the decline of the city's traditional industries in the late 20th century, the area grew into a commercial centre for the automotive industry, science and 

technology and the service sector. Bede, sometimes called the father of history, began his

monastic career at Monkwearmouth monastery in Sunderland, before moving to the newly 

founded Jarrow monastery in 685 (these monasteries together formed the dual Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Abbey). It therefore seems likely that he was born in or near Sunderland. Indeed, Bede later wrote that he was "ácenned on sundorlande þæs ylcan mynstres" (born in a separate land of this same monastery); here, "sundorlande" translates literally as "separate land" but could refer to the village of Sunderland. Alternatively, it is possible that Sunderland was later named in honour of Bede's connections to the area, by people familiar with this statement of his.


A person from Sunderland is sometimes known as a Mackem. However, as this term originated as recently as the early 1980s, its use and acceptance by Sunderland residents, particularly among the older generations, is not universal. At one time, Sunderland-built ships were called "Jamies", in contrast with those from Tyneside, which were known as "Geordies", although in the case of "Jamie" it is not known whether this was ever extended to people.

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