A Discription of the Church & Village in the 19th Century by Curry,s who were parish clerks of
The Service in Escombe church was held once a month and holy communion once ln three months.During the service the Parsons horse was stabled at Peacock Farm (now known as Vicarage Farm). The clergyman rode on horseback from Bishop Auckland by the bridle path along the riverside. It was thought a dreadful thing if there were three funerals in one year.Baptisms were saved up until he came but often took place at the same timeas a funeral. The Church bell was rung at midnight on New Years Eve.
There was a low wall round the churchyard which was old and had never been known to have been broken, Inside the wall there was an unbroken elder hedge which when in bloom, made the Church look beautiful.There were two gates,one for those who crossed the river.
The vestry meetings were held in the Church porch.
The churchyard grass belonged to the vicar, Escombe village formed a circle around the church and it was very pretty,lovley gardens and orchards. Escombe was famous for its plums and there was a Plum Fair held every year on the village green.My father rememberd these-the plumbs were damsons and there are still trees about in the orchard.
From the Three Lane Ends there was a narrow green lane(grass coverd)with trees on each side which led into Escombe,there was a bridle path from Etherly Moor.
The first Methodists meetings were held in an orchard at the back of the Old Hall and the preacher stood on the stone steps leading to the barn.Meetings were also held in an orchard at Woodside (Johnsons). The first Methodist chapel was built in 1838,the second chapel was built in 1860.The Primitive Methodist chapel
is of a later date.
There was an old inn called the Bay Horse, another two- The Royal Oak and the Angel Inn and another joined to Peacock Farm.There were Beatifull oak trees in front of the Royal Oak. The village school was held by a lady in a cottage at the foot of the bank in 1836.The first Sunday School was held in the old church in 1836,it was afterwards held in the Reading Room,then in The Three Lane Ends School. The first tea for the Sunday School Children was held on Easter Monday 1867, the weather was very cold and it was decided to alter the date to Whit Monday in 1868. With The exeption of one year,1897,when the vicar died (Mr T Lord)there has been a tea on Whit Monday until now.The Rev,H Robinson was the clergyman who began the tea.The trees which are in the Old Churchyard were all planted by William Kirby in 1888 and 1881. The elder bushes spring from roots of old elders.
Escombe has its own quarry, many of the houses are built from the stones.There was a pinfold (an enclosure for cattle).
The nursery gardens are old and were famous at one time. A row of cottages (The Poor Houses) stood on the village green in front of the Royal Oak Inn facing the Church..