‘Eel farm or village’. Eltun 12th c., Eltone 13th cent., Elton from 1406. Old English el + tun.
Information about this place-name was supplied by Victor Watts by personal communication.
Bishop Aldhun of Durham (990-1018) granted Elton to Uchtred, son of the earl of Northumbria, but it was later returned to the bishopric. Henry I granted Elton to Robert de Brus early in the 12th century along with Hartlepool and the district of Hartness. The de Brus family were the overlords here until 1306 when the manor was granted to Robert de Clifford by King Edward I. The local lords in the late 12th century were the Humez family. The Gower family had lands in Elton from the late 13th century until the early 16th century. Guisborough Priory had property in Elton from 1311, or earlier, until 1544.
See “The Victoria History of the County of Durham” vol.3 (ed.) W.Page (1928).
An Early Mention
From “The Injunctions and other Ecclesiastical Proceedings of Richard Barnes, Bishop of Durham, from 1575 to 1587” (ed.) J.Raine (1850):
The office of the Judge against Richard Morye. “He had delivered unto him a challise that belongeth to the church of Elton, to deface or make a change for a communion cupe, but he haith maid no accompte thereof, which is to the damage and discommodiotye of our churche to the valew of 20s.” (The entry struck out and “dismiss” in the margin.) 1580.
St. John’s church (largely 1841, but with some Norman features)
Coatham Stob (partly early 17th century)
Elton Hall (1914)
A Few Lost Buildings
The original St. John’s church (12th century) almost entirely rebuilt in 1841.
Old Elton Hall demolished c.1910.
Some People of Note
Colonel John Errington (fl. 1642-1682) A Royalist colonel during the Civil War. In 1644 his estates were sequestered by Parliament and were later sold. In 1660 he was able to recover his estates, but years later he sold them to Sir Robert Shafto.
Grace Sutton (1758-1814) A founder of charities who came to Elton in 1780. She founded a School of Industry for girls and a Benefit Society for women.
Lt. Colonel William Sleigh of Stockton spent his last years at Elton. (1758-1825). He fought in North Carolina during the American War of Independence.
William Elcoat (1859-1912) A football manager born in Elton. He was manager of Stockton F.C. and later became manager of Arsenal. He was also Chairman of the Cleveland and South Durham Baseball Association.
Rex Hunt (1926-2012) Sir Rex Hunt was a diplomat who was born in Redcar. He was governor of the Falkland Islands at the time of the Falklands War. He retired to spend the rest of his life in Elton.
The Hearth Tax of 1666
There were 9 houses in Elton with one or two hearths. at the time of this national tax. No house had more than two hearths. Six houses were exempt from tax.
See “Hearth Tax List for South Durham Lady Day 1666” (ed.) J.C.Howe for the Cleveland Family History Society.
Whellan’s Directory of 1856 considered that Elton parish church was “a neat stone building” while Elton Hall was”a handsome modern mansion with beautiful plantations and grounds”. The Directory named eight farmers, one of whom also kept a beerhouse. Kelly’s Directory of 1914 also remarked upon those beautiful grounds. Ten farmers were named, as well as the Sutton Arms inn.
A Selection of Dates
996 Bishop Aldhun of Durham granted the manor of Elton to Uctred, son of Earl Waltheof.
1315 Robert Gower died in this year. The effigy in St. John’s church is said to be his.
1436 Sir William Bowes had the right to present a clergyman at two out of every three vacancies. The Gower family had the third turn.
1569 Four Elton men took part in the Rising of the Northern Earls. One of them was executed.
1573 The parish register commenced.
1627 John Jefferson had to do penance for falsely accusing Margaret Simpson of witchcraft.
1644 John Errington of Elton, a royalist colonel, was declared a “delinquent” by Parliament.
1682 John Errington’s son, also called John, sold Elton to Sir Robert Shafto, Recorder of Newcastle- upon-Tyne.
1715 Pews were installed in the parish church.
1729 William Sutton of Elton became Mayor of Stockton.
1804 The Rector of Elton, Thomas Ewbanke, took the landowners to the Court of Exchequer to demand that they pay tithes in kind. (Finally he won his case in 1814).
1814 Grace Sutton was buried in the family vault at Elton.
1841 The parish church of St. John was built to the same plan as the original 12th century church.
1861 The Rectory house was built.
1907 A painted wooden rood screen was provided for the church by Mary Scott in memory of her sister Eleanor.
1910 Elton Hall was demolished around this time and was rebuilt jut before the First World War.
1914 Eaglescliffe golf club was founded. They played at a course on Yarm Back Lane.
1915 Long Newton and Elton Women’s Institute was founded shortly after the Women’s Institute movement was established in the United Kingdom.
1928 The golf club moved to the course on Yarm Road that stretches down to the River Tees.
1940s Elton Hall was used by the Women’s Royal Naval Service during the Second World War.
1966 Work began on the A66 dual carriageway between Stockton and Darlington, relieving Elton from all the lorries cars and buses that ran through the village.
1985 Old Coatham bridge, an 18th century stone bridge in Elton parish, was given listed building status.
1999 The first trees of Coatham Wood were planted.
2003 The Big Butterwick Bike ride, a fund-raising event for the Butterwick Hospice, passed through Elton.
2010 Drovers’ Way Caravan Park was opened.
This list of dates was compiled using the Victoria History of County Durham vol.3 edited by William Page (1928) and other secondary sources.
Suggested Further Reading
“The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham” vol. 3, R.Surtees (1823)
“Victoria History of the County of Durham” vol.3 (ed.) William Page (1928)
“Clergymen of Cleveland: Elton” A. and J.Marchant (1994)