Robert Surtees was born in Durham and educated at Neasdon Grammar School (1793), Christ Church Oxford (B.A. 1800, M.A. 1803), and the Middle Temple (1800). Upon inheriting the family estate (1802) he devoted himself to the study of literature and antiquities. Surtees had befriended Reginald Heber in school, and made was a friend of Walter Scott, contributing poems and ballads (sometimes forged) to various publications. His life's work was the History of Durham (1816-40).
History of Durham. 4 vols, 1816, 1820, 1823, 1840.