Egglescliffe Community Archaeology Project

The village of Egglescliffe sits high above the River Tees on its north bank, overlooking the medieval town of Yarm. There are traces of Anglo-Saxon activity in the church, but the village as we see it now dates from the medieval period. There is the remains of a medieval cross on the village green and this probably marked the boundary between two landholdings, one based on the church, the other on the Old Hall to the east.

Local people had expressed an interest in taking part in a Community Archaeology project in the village and Tees Archaeology has worked with them to take this forward as part of the River Tees Rediscovered project. This project has included workshops, volunteer based building recording, archaeological excavation and an oral history project. A booklet based on the oral history project and also using the results of the building survey has been written by a local volunteer and can be found here.

Egglescliffe has a variety of buildings including distinctive 1960s designs, 1930s semi-detached houses, genteel 19th century cottages, 18th century farmhouses and late 17th century brick cottages. The latter are the most distinctive aspect of the village. They were some of the earliest brick buildings in the area and were often built in blocks of two. They provided accommodation for home weavers creating coarse blankets in the days before industrial production was centred on factories. The full report on the buildings of Egglescliffe can be found here.

In 2015 some small excavations took place in the village. These had three aims, to investigate a mound, ‘Devil’s Hill’ at the eastern end of the village, the origin of which is unknown; to obtain information about the medieval village and of individual properties; and to look for signs of English Civil War activity. Unfortunately little progress was made in understanding the mound or finding English Civil War activity. The mound could date from any period from Prehistory onwards. We did discover evidence that some of the properties in the village may have been abandoned in the later medieval village while others continued in use. The full report on the excavations can be found here.

During the English Civil War Egglescliffe was heavily involved in guarding the bridge over the river at Yarm on behalf of the Royalists and this led to a small battle in 1643. Throughout this time there seem to have been Royalist forces camped at Egglescliffe and at least one gun battery was created. For a time the Rector at Egglescliffe, Rev Basire, was charged with withdrawing the bridge over the northern arch of the river that the Royalists had created by breaking down that arch of the stone bridge. Lead shot from this period has been found locally. More information about the English Civil War in the area can be found here.

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About Tees Archaeology

Tees Archaeology provides archaeological services to the people and local authorities of Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees.

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