Great Stainton (County Durham)
The village of Great Stainton lies in south-east Durham between Newton Aycliffe and Stockton-on-Tees. Although there are prehistoric remains in the surrounding area, there is little surviving evidence from Great Stainton itself. In fact the earliest direct evidence for the area is of Roman date. At least two Roman coins have been found. A coin of the emperor Vespasian (AD9-79AD), which must come from the earliest days of Roman rule, was found in the churchyard.
A major Roman road probably ran through the area, indeed this probably gave the late village its name. 'Stainton' probably comes from the Old English word stanwegtun, which means 'farmstead by the paved (i.e. Roman) road'. This road remained an important routeway throughout the medieval period, and the village was sometimes called Stainton-le-Street (13th/14th century) or Staynton in the Streete (15th to 17th century). This shows that by this time the name Stainton was not properly understood, and the full village name meant literally 'farm on the paved road on the street'!! It was only from the 17th century that it became known as Great Stainton.
During the Anglo-Saxon period a church was built in the village, though no remains of this early structure can be seen in the current church. However, the remains of a number of Anglo-Saxon and Viking stone carvings can still be seen,
Great Stainton developed originally to the north of the present village where there are traces in fields of a place called Cross Hill. In 1823 it consisted of a few houses only, but its name suggests that it was of more importance than Little Stainton. In 1876 there were 126 people in Great Stainton, living in about 18 houses. Today it sits across the route of the old road and pretty pantiled roofed cottages surround the tiny village green, on which stands the village pump enclosed by wrought iron in memory of the Queen's Jubilee in 1887.
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