Place-name:  ‘Ella or Ægla’s farm or village’.  Ailewic c.1150;  Ellewic 1174-1441, with variants –wyc –wyk; Elwyk(e)  –wik(e) c.1250-1558;  Elwick from 1622.  Old English personal name Ægla or Ella + wic.


Information about this place-name was supplied by Victor Watts by personal communication.


Early Landowners

Robert de Brus, the overlord of the district of Hartness granted the manor of Elwick in dower to his daughter Agatha. This was probably on the occasion of her marriage to Ranulf, the lord of Middleham, in the middle of the twelfth century. In 1270, Elwick passed to Robert Neville. The Nevilles continued as lords of the manor of Elwick until 1570, when Charles Neville, Earl of Westmorland, forfeited all his lands because of his rebellion against Queen Elizabeth I.

See the Victoria History of the County of Durham vol.3 (ed.) William Page (1928).


An Early Mention

From the Inquisition Post Mortem of Ralph, Earl of Westmoreland, died 7th June in the 13th year of King Henry VII

“Manor and town of Elwyk, twenty messuages (houses) 500 a(cres) land, 50 a. meadow, 200 a. pasture . . .”


An early mention in literature appears in “An Historical, Topographical, and Descriptive view of the County Palatine of Durham” by E.Mackenzie and M.Ross, vol.1, (1834)  “Elwick is a village and township, situated upon the side of a hill, adjoining the parish of Elwick Hall, and 9 miles north-by-east from Stockton. It contains a mill, two public houses, two schools, with shopkeepers, joiners, smiths &c.; and the township includes ten or twelve farms. A tile-manufactory has recently been established in the neighbourhood of the village. An annual feast is held here on Sunday and Monday after Old St. Magdalen’s Day, which is celebrated by ass-races and similar diversions. Elwick is mentioned in records as belonging to the Nevilles, Lumleys, and other proprietors of Hart.”


Selected Buildings

St. Peter’s church (12th century nave (later restored), 17th century chancel, 19th century tower).

Elwick Windmill (mid 19th century)

Elwick Hall (18th century. Until 1816 this was the rectory).


A Few Lost Buildings

An archaeological survey made in 2013 found traces of former buildings on the village green.


Some People of Note

Gabriel Clarke ( ?  – 1662)  A clergyman from Hertfordshire who was Rector of Elwick from 1620 to 1624 when he became Master of Greatham Hospital. He was one of the attendants of King Charles I on his visit to Durham.

John Cosin (1594-1672) A Norfolk man who was Rector of Elwick from 1624 to 1640, although his correspondence suggests that he was rarely resident there. He was Bishop of Durham from 1660 to 1672.

Denis Granville (1637-1703) A Cornishman who was Rector of Elwick from 1664 to 1667. He was a pious and thorough clergyman, which led to his appointment as Archdeacon of Durham.


The Hearth Tax of 1666

This gives us an idea of the size of Elwick in the 17th century. 18 houses in Elwick had 1 or 2 hearths. 1 house had 3 hearths, 1 had 4, and 1 had 5. The highest tax payer was “Ms Alston” with 7 hearths. A further 14 houses were exempt from tax.

See “Hearth Tax List for South Durham Lady Day 1666” (ed.) J.C.Howe for Cleveland Family History Society.



1801     170

1851     250

1901     256

1951     208



Whellan’s Directory of 1856 itemised 8 farmers, 3 shoemakers, 3 butchers, 2 blacksmiths, 2 tailors, 3 shopkeepers, 2 joiners and the Dun Cow.   Kelly’s Directory of 1914 mentioned the MacOrville and the Spotted Cow, 2 shopkeepers, a grocer, a butcher, a tailor, a boot repairer, a cartwright, a builder and a blacksmith.

Kelly’s Directory of 1938 mentioned only a post office in Elwick, with no other shops listed, but this might be incomplete.


Some Significant Dates

c.1000  There are pre-conquest carved stones inside St. Peter’s church, on either side of the chancel arch.

c.1190  St. Peter’s church was rebuilt during the time when Hugh du Puiset was Bishop of Durham.

1327     Robert de Genete founded a chantry at Elwick.

1400     Elwick sent one lancer and two archers to a muster of troops outside Durham on the orders of King Henry IV.

1569     An Elwick man was executed for taking part in the Rising of the Northern Earls.

1592     The parish register commenced.

1644     During the Civil War, Parliamentary troops occupied Elwick and some of the villagers complained that their horses ate all their pasture.

1652     Captain William Sheraton of Elwick was deprived of his lands for fighting on the royalist side in the Civil War.

1662     The parish priest John Bowey was deprived of his living at Elwick under the Act of Uniformity.

1666     The sum of £1 13s was collected in Elwick for the relief of Londoners who had lost their homes in the great fire.

1813     Elwick church was given a new roof.

1851     The parish school was built.

1867     The Wesleyan chapel was dedicated.

1897     Trees were planted on the village green to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

1916     During the First World War a German airship dropped bombs near Elwick.

1925     The farm track that led to West Hartlepool was converted into a metalled road. This was the first metalled road between Elwick and West Hartlepool.

1928     A bus service to West Hartlepool was introduced.

1930     The Women’s Institute took over the Methodist chapel.

1940     The Army requisitioned Naisberry Farm for use as a temporary casualty hospital. Buildings at Gunners Vale farmhouse were hit by German bombs.

1941     Several farms around Elwick were targeted by enemy bombers.

1948     Electricity came to the village.

1959     Elwick Hall Primary School was built.

1965     It was decided to end the annual Elwick Show.

1966     Motor cycle trials were held at Home Farm in this year and the following two years.

1973     Elwick Forge became a grade II listed building.

1975     The village green was designated a conservation area.

1978     The village hall was reopened after being enlarged to twice its previous size.

1980     Electric street lighting was installed.

1981     A new organ was installed at Elwick parish church.

1999     Elwick won second place in the small villages category of the Northumbria in Bloom competition.

2003     Three large wind turbines were erected in the parish.

2008     Elwick Windmill was restored.


This list of dates was compiled using “Development of Elwick Village Since 1850” by V.Harrison and S.Leonard (Limestone Landscapes Project website 2013) and other secondary sources.


Suggested Further Reading

“The Victoria History of County Durham” vol.3  ed. W.Page (1928)

“Elwick: a Thousand Years in the Life of a Village” by M. Ireland (2001)

“Elwick Village Green Excavations” D.Errickson (2013) (The Elwick Village Atlas Project)