Great Britain

One of North Tyneside's oldest villages, Earsdon - in words and photographs

The first references to Earsdon can be found in a 12th century document listing the village as being part of the possessions of Tynemouth Priory

Local historian CHARLIE STEEL looks at the back story of Earsdon is his latest feature for ChronicleLive

Earsdon is one of the oldest villages in North Tyneside, sitting on the boundary with the county of Northumberland which it is historically a part of.

The slight hill upon which it stands is a sandstone outcrop that rises above the surrounding boulder clay formation laid during the Ice Age, and there is evidence of human occupation in the early Iron Age.

The first references to Earsdon can be found in a 12th century document listing the village as being part of the possessions of Tynemouth Priory.

The oldest part of Earsdon lies to the west of the present Red Lion Inn where traces of the earlier medieval village stood. A collection of stone walls and buildings is evident, one of which forms the remains of an old small Pele tower dating to the early 16th century.

The medieval village is likely to have included the area around the Cannon Inn, St. Alban’s Church and the area forming Church Way, which was once the edge of the old village green.

Development during the 17th and 19th centuries changed the village’s medieval pattern to become the village that it is today with many of the more prominent buildings such as Bleakhope House, The Garth and Manor House dating from that time.

The most prominent landmark in the village is St Alban’s Church, a Grade II-listed building, built in 1837 with long grassy meadow areas within the churchyard.

To the rear of the church, a significant monument stands to the memory of 204 men and boys who perished in the Hartley pit disaster of 1862.

The village was once home to a total of at least four public houses: The Plough Inn, The Cannon Inn, The Phoenix Inn and The Red Lion Inn.

The Plough Inn was situated to the North side of Front Street, within the area of Earsdon Town Farm opposite the present Cannon Inn. It was last recorded in 1855.

The Cannon Inn has stood since 1753 when it was believed to have been called ‘The Spread Eagle’ (Not to be confused with the pub of the same name in nearby Preston Village).

The Phoenix Inn stood on the north side of Earsdon Front Street and was built during the 18th century. The building was a double-fronted, two-storey inn built from lime-washed rubble walling with a pantiled roof.

This inn closed its doors for the last time on December 7, 1971. It was later advertised for sale and purchased by a property developer who converted the building into two private dwelling houses.

The original Red Lion Inn stood just around the corner on the west side of the Earsdon to Holywell Road and closed as a Public House in 1939 and converted to a shop. The building still stands and is now a private dwelling house.
The Red Lion was replaced the same year with the newer building that stands slightly to the south next to Earsdon roundabout.

Standing close to the present Red Lion Pub, the village has its own war memorial which depicts a granite sailor standing on guard facing the Manor House to honour those servicemen lost during the First and Second World Wars.

The core of the village is quite informal however the nearby Edwardian terraces of John Street, Church View and Garden Terrace, along with the more recent development of Woodlands Close have more conventional layouts.

Other significant buildings include the nearby Edward Eccles Community Hall, the former Primitive Methodist Chapel, while in the late 1800s, the village even had its own police station which was situated adjacent to the Cannon Inn as well as a village school located on Church Way, both of which have since been converted to housing.

Many people also have fond memories of Stewart's Village grocery store and Post Office, which stood on Front Street. The store has long since closed, and similarly has been converted to housing.

Earsdon Village is a conservation area that retains a very peaceful and rural feel which benefits from its close proximity to the larger town of Whitley Bay.

Born in Newcastle, local historian and author, Charlie Steel has spent much of his life living in Monkseaton. With a lifelong interest in the North Tyneside area, he has several published books to his credit. They include Monkseaton Village (Part 1 & 2), Whitley Bay Remembered (Part 1 & 2), North Shields Public Houses, Inns & Taverns’ (Part 1 & 2), and Tynemouth Remembered - all published by Summerhill Books.

Don't miss our Memory Lane local history website that's packed with archive photographs and has an easy-to-use picture colourisation tool.

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