305: Escomb

OS Explorer map 305, Bishop Auckland: Spennymoor, Newton Aycliffe, Sedgefield & Crook – I have not visited this map before starting this blog, and do not own the map. Visited for this post 8th January 2018. (Our video of the ASNC Trip is on YouTube on the ASNC Society’s channel – the section corresponding to this blog post runs from 31:43 to 33:30).

This is the seventh of eight posts concerning my trip with the ASNC Society up to Argyll. At the end of my last post, the sixteen of us who were on the trip had just separated and gone our different ways from Glasgow, with seven of us left in the car I was driving, going back down to Cambridge. We stayed that night (the 7th) near Hadrian’s Wall again, not without any drama, which is told of in the Two days later section of my Hexham post. I now continue our tale the next morning, the 8th of January, and the last day of this trip. Having looked at the Ancient Britain map (which had already done sterling work for us on the way up, leading us to Bardsey), we’d decided to make a stop this time at Escomb.

Escomb, which we reached without trouble on the A69 and A68, is notable for its Anglo-Saxon church; that is the reason why it was marked on our map and the reason for our interest.

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Escomb’s Anglo-Saxon church

The church is in the middle of a circular street; we parked there and and then hung around the churchyard while Millicent went to get the key to the church from its living place in a box outside a nearby house. The is particularly notable as Anglo-Saxon churches because not only is it very early, being 7th-century, but it has also not been messed with since the time of its building – the the building’s fabric is original and the plan of the church hasn’t changed; there are no significant later additions or anything, which is very rare.

Other interesting features include that was built primarily using stone repurposed from a vaguely nearby old Roman fort, and so one can see that a couple of stones have old Roman inscriptions on them; one stone visible on the outside is also clearly in the shape of steps, probably being an old mounting block. It was just generally a very pleasant and interesting place to be for a while!

From there, we got back in our car and carried on driving south, soon meeting the A1. Our next stop was for lunch, which will be told of in my next post, which will also be the last of the eight posts for this trip!


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