Although probably built between 670 and 700, there are no written records of Escomb church that have survived, until a brief mention in the 990s. It appears that Bishop Aldune gave in pledge or mortgaged certain estates of the church, including Escomb, to three earls of Northumberland. Earl Northman sold Ediscum (Escomb) back to the See of St Cuthbert at Durham, perhaps due to a threat that whoever should defraud St Cuthbert should perish on the day of judgement. The See then administered the parish until it became part of the chapelry of the Collegiate Church of St Andrew’s in Bishop Auckland under Bishop Bek (1283 – 1310).
1. Libellus de exordio atque procursu istius hoc est Dunelmensis ecclesie (History of the Church of Durham)
“There are, however, several landed possessions which Bishop Ealdhun transferred on a strictly temporary basis to the contemporary earls of the Northumbrians when they were in need, but the violence of the earls who succeeded them resulted in virtually all of them being alienated from the dominion of the church. Certain of these will be named here: Gainford which Bishop Ecgred built and gave to St Cuthbert, Quarrington, Sledwitch, Barforth, Startforth, Lartington, Marwood, Staunton, Streatlam, Cleatham, Langton, Morton Tinmouth, Piercebridge, Bishop and West Auckland, Copeland, Warsull, Binchester, Cotherstone, Thickley, Escomb, Witton-le-Wear, Hunwick, Newton Cap and Helmington. All these had belonged to the church which suffered loss of her possessions through granting benefices to indigent men.”
2. Historia de santo Cuthberto
“These are the lands which Bishop Ealdhun and the whole congregation of St.Cuthbert leased to those three men, Earl Aethelred, Earl Northman and Earl Uhtred: Gainford…….etc (as above and including Escomb). Whoever should take any of these from St. Cuthbert, may he perish on the Day of Judgment.”
3. Liber Vitae of Durham
“ Her syled Nordman eorl into sce Cudberhte Ediscum & eall baet daer into hyred, & done feordan aecer aet Feregenne.”
trans. “Earl Northman here grants to St Cuthbert’s Escomb and all that belongs to it, and the fourth acre at Ferryhill.”
There is no further recorded mention of Escomb until the Bolden Book 1183 and Bishop Pudsey’s Charter 1154 – 1195. A link to these documents is below.