Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 14, 2019

A Saxon Church and old Trains

The weather this week has been dry but cold and windy so we go out cycling most days. I had been reading about old churches and discovered that what is probably the oldest surviving Saxon church  isnt too far from us.

I planned a route using the Komoot app and found that it took us over towards our favourite café so we didn’t follow the directions but took our own route until we came to where we would have gone to Cozy Coffee , but not on Friday.

I was on a road I had never been on before but DH had ridden it on one of his solo rides and it took us onto a dual carriage way A167 which I wasn’t too happy about with fast moving  vehicles. Fortunately it was only for about  mile or so before we turned right into Newton Aycliffe where there are plenty of cycle paths.

Just beside the railway station here is a cycle path alongside the rail line – separated with a fence so it is very safe. This is 5 or 6 miles of  well surfaced path and then once in Shildon, the route took us to South Church. We were instructed by the Komoot Voice to turn up Lambton Street but unfortunately there is only a gated narrow footpath alongside a factory. There was a couple who had opened the gated but told us we would never get through so we asked advice. They told us to continue through the village and then we would have a long steep bank to descend towards Bishop Auckland.



The descent was fast and twisting and Komoot adjusted to accommodate the change. Actually, we approached so traffic lights and I recognised where I was. In a former life I used to go to Bishop Auckland for work and so I knew we wanted to be directly ahead , which it told us to do.


Then there is a cycle path that we could ride up another steep hill until we got to the turn off for Escomb. Years ago I had seen this sign for Escomb Saxon church but had never been there. So you have guessed it , another fast descent down to the valley bottom where the church is.


This is a very old settlement and the church dates back to 680AD. Obviously, it has been updated over the years but is still in regular use and the key to look around is kept on a hook outside 28 Saxon Green. I was expecting it to be an old cottage but it was a 1960’s type council house.

So its only a short walk around the green to collect the key and I went inside. There are boards detailing the things to look for.


This is the font which is used for a form of infant baptism that pours water on a baby’s head. My own belief is that baptism should be by immersion when a person is of an age to make a decision for themselves.


I was particularly interested to see that a blocked up door had this embroidered panel.

This is the altar


The opposite end


There is a stone that was robbed from a Roman place and various other interesting items.  One off them as this , where the priest kept holy water locked away.

P1020713Apparently, the church  fell into disrepair when a large church was built but in the 1960’s both needed money spending on them and the decline in attendance meant that this Saxon church was saved. I am glad it was and I love it’s simplicity.

How glad I was to be able to use the assistance of the electric motor to climb back up the hill. I had been sunny when we set off but was now very cold and overcast. Still the climb warmed us up. Once back down into Bishop Auckland , I remembered another way to Shildon as DS1 and I had once cycled that way together. Route 751 is an off road path and once in Shildon we went to the Locomotion Museum which I am pleased to tell you has free admission. If you are a train buff, you must not miss it. Train building still goes and there are apprenticeships for young people to learn the skills.



We got the kettle on and had our lunch out of the wind and the sun peeped through the clouds so it warmed up a bit.


We both went and had a quick look but it would be better to have much longer of you love to see old trains. These are just a couple I took. The first trains were developed in this area of the country and spread throughout the world.


This was a 59 miles ride and both of us were a bit tired on Saturday so we just had a ride along the river to Stockton in strong easterly winds blowing off the North Sea. When the sun did come out it was 2 top coats warmer.

On the sewing front I have made a simple tarp.


This just shows various ways to use it,

Mileage this week was 102 miles and YTD is 1108 miles






  1. Nice tarp, Brenda! A pity my sewing skills are not up to yours. I’m bringing my non-homemade tarp with me to this year’s Cycle Touring Festival because I’ve had enough of hauling a heavy tent around. Looking forward to catching up with you – in person if not in mileage.

    • Thank you Felicity – looking forward to seeing you too.

  2. You are making the most of the dry weather and piling on the miles. I would like to visit that church and the locomotion museum, You had an interesting ride.

  3. How interesting about that church, even more so as on a recent cycle ride with my group we visited a place called Hatford, which has a very similar story – two churches, one old (built on site of Saxon church), the other Victorian but later converted to a house, and now the old church is the one in use.

    Good mileage again!

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