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Ebchester is a village in County Durham, England. It is situated to the north of Consett and to the south east of Whittonstall.


Chester derives from the Old English word for a Roman fortification. There have been some attempts to identify the first element with a Roman place-name, but on the available evidence it is safest to regard it as coming from an Old English personal name Ebba, thus 'Ebba's fortification'.[1]


A nunnery is supposed to have been founded in 660 by St. Ebba on the banks of the River Derwent. Ebba soon moved on to be abbess of Coldingham, where she died in 683. The nunnery was destroyed by Danish invaders.[2]

The parish church, which is dedicated to St. Ebba, is of ambiguous origin, being of partly Norman construction with a foundation, described as being pre-Conquest. Much of the stone in the walls and doorway had been taken from Roman rubble of the fort of Vindomora, on which most of the village is located. The church was restored in 1876 and a vestry was added in 1893 at the church's north-west end. [3][4]

Until the creation of the separate parish of Shotley Bridge in the 19th century, many people from there were christened, married and buried in St. Ebba's Church. Quite notably, these include many of the sword-makers from Shotley Bridge of which perhaps the most notable is the monument of Joseph Oley, which reads "The last of the Shotley Bridge swordmakers" and can be found in the churchyard. Many memorials inside the church refer to the Surtees family.

Ebchester Hall (an 18th-century house with 19th century additions) is now St. Mary’s Convent and old people’s home served by the Order of the Good and Perpetual Succour.[5]

Notable people from Ebchester[edit]


  1. ^ Bethany Fox, 'The P-Celtic Place-Names of North-East England and South-East Scotland', The Heroic Age, 10 (2007), http://www.heroicage.org/issues/10/fox.html (appendix at http://www.heroicage.org/issues/10/fox-appendix.html).
  2. ^ Page, William (1907). "A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2". pp. 79–85. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1985). County Durham. Harmondsworth: Penguin. p. 260. ISBN 0140710094. 
  4. ^ Surtees, Robert (1820). "The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: volume 2". pp. 298–302. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1985). County Durham. Harmondsworth: Penguin. p. 260. ISBN 0140710094. 

Coordinates: 54°53′N 1°50′W / 54.883°N 1.833°W / 54.883; -1.833