Penshaw Monument is built on Penshaw hill, located opposite Herrington Country Park. It was built in 1844 in honour of John George Lambton, the first Earl of Durham.
The Monument stands 136 metres above sea level. It was designed to be a copy of the Theseion, the Temple of Hephaestus, in Athens. It has also been linked with the Temple of Diana at Ephesus. It is built twice the size of the original at 100 feet long, 53 feet wide and 70 feet high. It has 18 columns which are 6 feet 6 inches thick.
It was designed by Newcastle architects, John and Benjamin Green and built by Thomas Pratt of Sunderland. The Monument is the best preserved model of a Doric Hexastyle temple in Britain. The Marquess of Londonderry presented Penshaw Hill as a suitable site.
An inscription which has since been erased read as follows:
This stone was laid by Thomas, Earl of Zetland, Grandmaster of the Free and Accepted Masons of England, assisted by the Brethren of the Provinces of Durham and Northumberland, on August 28th 1844 being the Foundation Stone of a memorial to be erected to the memory of John George, Earl of Durham, who after representing the County of Durham in Parliament for 15 years was raised to the Peerage, and subsequently held the offices of Lord Privy Seal, Ambassador-Extraordinary and Minister of the Court of Petersburg and Governor-General of Canada. He died July 28th 1840, in the 49th year of his age. This monument will be erected by the private subscriptions of his fellow countrymen, admirers of his distinguished talents and exemplary private virtues.