"The Ancient Church- The ancient parish church of Escomb is an edifice of the greatest interest. It is situated in the very middle of the old village, surrounded by its burying-ground, by open spaces next to that, and then by houses on all sides. It is of great antiquity, having been built, as far as can be judged by its style and other circumstances, not later than the seventh century. Moreover it is perfect, that is to say, the early walls are there from foundation to wall plate; all the original windows are there, very small and loftily plaved; the original chancel arch is there, the original north door is there, untampered with, and one side of the original south door is also there. It can hardly be called a Saxon building, for it is of earlier type than Saxon. Its analogues must be looked for in Ireland, amongst the extremely early remains of Christian architecture there, and not in England. It is pyramidal in form, the whole church and the several pasts of it. Thus the east wall of the church outside is narrower at the top than at the bottom, as is also the west wall; the chancel arch, which is a very fine feature of the church, narrows as it ascends. In the latter part of the twelfth, or early part of the thirteenth century several "improvements" were effected.
"When the new church was built, some thirty years ago, this most interesting and precious relic of the earliest Christian ages was suffered to go to ruin. In that state it was seen by the Rev. Dr. Hooppell, who immediately detected its true character. A paper he wrote upon it for the British Archaeological Association, then holdings its Annual Congress at Yarmouth, attracted great attention. The vicar, the Rev. T. E. Lord, towhom the greatest praise is due, took the matter up nost heartily. A subscription list was opened, a thorough repair of the sacred edifice was commenced and carried out most excellently by the viar and the late R. J. Johnson, Diocesan Surveyor and Architect. The church was reopened by the late Bishop Lightfoot, in the year 1880, and it has since continued to be used, conjointly with the new church, for divine service and other occasions.
"The Parish Church is a neat stone edifice, inthe Early English style, dedicated to St. John, and is situated on the hill west of the village. It consists of nave and chancel; and the seats, which provide for 250 people, are plain and good. The living is a vicarage, valued at £300, in the gift of the Bishop of Durham, and in the incumbency of the Rev. Thomas Ebenezer Lord."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]