"This parish is bounded on the north by Witton Gilbert, on the west by Lanchester and Hamsteels, on the south by Waterhouses, and on the east by Brandon and Bearpark. This was formerly a chapelry dependent upon Lanchester.

"The township of Esh comprises an area of 3119 acres, and its ratable vale is £16,302.

"For over forty years coal has been extensively wrought in this township, but most of the large collieries are situated in the portions of the township now divided, and in Waterhouses and Hamsteels. At Ushaw Moor, not far from Flass Hall, on the north side of the Dearness, is being worked the Busty seam, which contains a band which widens greatly to the west. The top coal is 1foot 10 inches thick, and the bottom coal 3 feet 6 inches. A drift from this seam to Brockwell, 16 fathoms below, will shortly be opened to work that seam, which is about 3 feet 6 inches thick. This colliery was sunk about 1865, and when fully operating, employs over 500 men and boys. At Hill Top the Hutton seam is worked to a small extent by a drift, and is about 4 feet thick.

"Esh Village is situated about five miles west-north-west of Durham, and commands an extensive view to north and west over a wide, well-cultivated valley. The central area of the village contains a stone cross, bearing the inscription I.H.S., and the date 1687, probably erected on the site of a former village cross. The village still maintains its rural aspect, and is little changed from past years.

"Ushaw is a village about three-quarters of a mile from Esh, and is remarkable as being the seat of the splendid Catholic College of St. Cuthbert. Hill top adjoins Ushaw, and is principally occupied by the tradespeople employed at the college.

"Esh Winning, which has sprung into existence since the opening of the colliery in 1859, may, like its neighbour Waterhouses, be called a model colliery village. Here is a fine miners' institute, and a small stone chapel-of-ease. The houses, built on the south side of the road are really all that could be desired. A large garden is attached to each house, to be cultivated as the pleasure of the occupants directs. It is situated about six miles west of Durham, in the Dearness valley, and a mile below Esh, surrounded by a beautiful country.

"Langley Park Village is situated on the west side of the Brownie, about five miles north-west of Durham, and within half a mile of Witton Gilbert railway station. The sinking of Langley Park Colliery in 1876, on the opposite side of the river, gave existence to this village, whose present population amounts to over 2000 souls.

"Ushaw Moor is another colliery village in this parish, four miles west of Durham, and two miles from Esh, on the road between Waterhouses and Durham. The inhabitants are employed at the Ushaw Moor Colliery. There is a Catholic day school and an iron chapel-of-ease to Esh, also a reading-room. Ushaw Moor railway station is half a mile distant from the village."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]



"The population in 1801 was 276; in 1811, 383; in 1821, 470; in 1831, 486; in 1841, 518; in 1841, 518; in 1851, 642; in 1861, 942; in 1871, 2294; in 1881, 6833; and in 1891, 6392."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]


Church History

"The Parish Church is a small stone structure, dedicated to St. Michael, and occupies the site of a chapel of very ancient date. An inscription upon a stone in the north wall states that it was rebuilt in 1770. It was again restored in 1850, and in 1889 improvements were made at a cost of £200. The church consists of nave, chancel and south transept, and a neat porch, added in 1884, to the memory of Rev. Dr. Lee, by public subscription.

"The bell bears the inscription, "Maria Gratiana, 1695." "

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]


Church Records

"The earliest record of the register dates back to a baptism in 1558." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

The Parish Registers for the period 1567-1981 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Esh).

Marriage indexes for 1570-1837 (11 kbytes) from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1570-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

The following records for churches in the ancient parish of Esh are also available at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL:-

  • Hamsteels 1874-1983 (EP/Hals).
  • Hamsterley Colliery 1895-1979 (EP/Me & EP/HC).
  • Langley Park 1888-1977 (EP/LP).
  • Ushaw Moor 1913-1992 (EP/UM).

Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Esh which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Esh has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



There is a site of general interest about the village of Langley Park and its mining history.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NZ197441 (Lat/Lon: 54.791185, -1.694555), Esh which are provided by: