little to the east of village of Sadberge Darlington, has one of those ancient-sounding place-names that you just know
has a long and interesting history. And it has, though a good deal of it has
always lain tantalisingly out of the reach of a succession of local historians.
What is known for sure is that a Roman road,
or Street, ran directly through the place, north-south, and that because of the
settlement’s elevation, they probably maintained a signal station of sorts on
the spot. Perhaps they even built a camp or a fort there, but no one has been
able to find definitive evidence. Rumours persist of a later ‘Saxon castle’ in
the vicinity of St.Andrew’s Church – perhaps a stronghold of the Dark Age Kingdom
Next it was the Vikings. And it was they who gave the village its name – Sadberge deriving from ‘Set-berg’, meaning ‘flat-topped hill’. It became, in fact, the focus of their local wapentake (administrative centre), covering large tracts of land to the North of the
Tees. Its status stuck for centuries thereafter, and became known as the
‘Earldom of Sadberge’.
It was so special, in fact, that it was not initially taken into the domain of the Prince Bishops of
in the early days of Norman rule – but was eventually added in
1189. It remained ‘special’, however, and continued to be administered almost
as a separate county until deep into the 16th century. Durham
Today is the blog's 2nd anniversary!