The Elwick Village Atlas project is a celebration of the rich heritage of a small settlement on the outskirts of Hartlepool. The village takes the traditional medieval form of a broad green with buildings fronting either side. However the placename, meaning ‘Ella’s Dairy Farm’ suggests that there was an Anglo-Saxon presence prior to the Norman Conquest. There are also Anglo-Scandinavian carvings built into the fabric of the Church of St. Peter that date to the 10th or 11th centuries.
The village had a manor house (Elwick Hall) and the earthworks of a medieval fishpond survive to the west, built to ensure the lord of the manor had a constant supply of fresh fish for the dinner table.
Despite lying close to the A19 trunk road the village still has an agricultural feel and contains many cottages and farm buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and possibly earlier.
In World War II the village was classed as a coastal defended locality and pillboxes were built at either end of the village. The village expanded shortly after the war with additional housing built on its northern side along North Lane. A new school and several cul-de-sacs were also added in the later half of the 20th century.
In Summer 2013 a ‘Time Team’ style excavation took place in and around the village green. A former community air raid shelter dating to World War II was excavated on the village green. This was remembered by a number of the older residents.
The excavation also demonstrated that it was quite acceptable for former residents to construct small outbuildings or workshops on the village green and even use it for waste disposal. The green was certainly less picturesque in the past that it is today.
The buildings of the village were also recorded and documented by local people. Other aspects of the project included a hydrological study and a geological field survey.
The project is funded by the Limestone Landscapes Partnership administered by the Heritage Lottery Fund.