Hesledon (County Durham)
Hesleden lies in the east of County Durham, just to the south of Castle Eden and close toTrimdon. The North Sea bounds the parish on the eastern side. The small village of Hulam, which is part of the parish, lies nearby. The village of Monk Hesledon stands on the verge of a deep wooded dene or valley about a mile and a half from the sea. It was first recorded in 1324, though as its named comes from the Old English for 'hazel valley' and shows that there may have been an Anglo-Saxon settlement nearby. There was also a medieval village close to Hulam, though no remains of it can be seen today.
The best preserved historic monument in the village of Monk Hesleden is the church of St Mary. This probably dates to the late Anglo-Saxon period (10th-11th centuries). The south door certainly dates to the Norman period (11th-12th centuries). The nave probably dates to the 13th century, and blocked doors and windows of this date can still be seen in the nave walls. The church was then much altered around 1800. The church was demolished around1966. A number of fragments of carved stone were collected from the rubble of the building. The remains of a beautifully carved stone screen from the church can now be seen in the Bowes Museum. It shows scenes from the crucifixion of Christ, and probably dates to the 14th or 15th century AD.
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