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Escomb Saxon Church

Durham

Architecture, Religion

Escomb is a 7th century church. It lies right in the centre of an ancient circular churchyard which suggests that it was once a prehistoric holy site snaffled by the early Christians for their own use.

It’s built almost exclusively of Roman stone probably from the nearby fort at Binchester and it is a typical Northumbrian Saxon church – the proportions are narrow and very tall just like the churches at Jarrow and Monkwearmouth, but unlike them Escomb is almost complete making it one of the most important buildings of this date in England.

Excavations revealed that two small additions to the building have been demolished in the past, but other than that the whole church survives, one of only three complete Anglo-Saxon churches in the country.

On the south wall is an Anglo-Saxon sundial and in the beautiful interior are a few fragments of ancient carving and a chancel arch which is almost certainly a complete Roman arch – it is a room of Anglo-Saxon perfection and simplicity.

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