Escomb Saxon Church dates from about 670-680 AD and has been in almost continuous use as a place of Christian worship for 13 centuries. It has an atmosphere of great simplicity and spirituality and is one of the very earliest stone churches to survive in England.
There are many features here of churches built in the pre-Saxon, Celtic style with a simple nave and chancel, 60 ft long by 20 ft wide, and a circular churchyard. The church has retained many original features such as the 7th century North doorway, 5 original windows, the oldest Saxon sundial set in a church wall in England and parts of carved Saxon preaching crosses. But the stone work is much older, being tooled by Romans and taken by the Anglo-Saxon builders from nearby Roman buildings such as Binchester Roman fort, 2 miles down river. Many of the stones have Roman masons' marks and two have Latin inscriptions.
The chancel arch is probably a Roman arch taken from a Roman public building and re-assembled stone by stone in Escomb. Escomb church is a church of considerable mystery. We do not know to which saint it was dedicated, exactly when it was built nor who built it and why. There are almost no written references to the church for its first 850 years, until church records began in 1543. But being in such a small, obscure place has probably been the main reason it has survived intact; over the centuries there was no reason to enlarge the church by building in later architectural styles. There is an historical exhibition in the porch showing the church's historical development and the results of archaeological excavations.
|Open all year.|
Key available during daylight hours (4pm in winter, 8pm in summer) from 28 Saxon Green.
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