A Brief History of the Parish

Anglo-Saxon Ancestry

Most probably Gainford’s first village inhabitants were Saxon and certainly the first written evidence of Gainford was produced by Simeon of Durham who tells us that Eda or Edwine, a Northumbrian chief who had exchanged a helmet for a cowl, died in 801 and was buried in the monastery at Gegenforda. 


Legend has it that residents on the two sides of the river disputed ownership of a ford across the Tees. In the eventual battle, residents of the Durham side of the river gained the ford, and their village became known as Gainford.

On the Yorkshire side of the river lies the site of the village of Barforth or Barford, said to be named in memory of its residents’ attempt to barricade the ford during the dispute.

Victorian Spa

In the nineteenth century Gainford village had its own spa. Today its main features are an unspoilt village green, a Jacobean hall and a Georgian street called High Row.

The village church of St Mary’s, Gainford, stands on the site of an Anglo-Saxon monastery built by Bishop Ecgred of Lindisfarne in the early 9th century.


The text above has been reproduced from the website


If you would like to learn more about the history of our parish, the local History Group meets regularly in the village hall. Contact Maggie Nicholls on 01325 730565 for details of their next meeting. 

Gainford Wath

Historians believe the village is older than this and well known  because of its two river crossing points called waths or fords, the Gainford waths and the Barforth wath.

In Roman and pre Roman or Brigantian times, Gainford was on the A1M north to south heading towards the Brigantian camp at Stanwick, and the ford and ferry would have been of great importance.

Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

In Anglo-Saxon times, Gainford was the centre of an estate, part of the Northumbrian Congregation of Cuthbert of Lindisfarne.

In the Dark Ages this area was taken by Vikings. Archaeologists have found Viking sculptures at Gainford and some examples of these may be seen on display at Durham Cathedral.

Many sculptures found at Gainford show both Northumbrian and Viking influence. Despite the Viking settlement, Northumbrian Angles remained major landowners along the banks of the Tees in Viking times.

The Edleston Column

In 1904 the family of a deceased Joseph Edleston owned a plot of land next to the churchyard of St. Mary’s in Gainford.

The children asked to erect a monument in the churchyard in memory of Joseph’s 41-year tenure at the church. The church refused permission, asserting that the churchyard was full, but that the family could donate their land to the church and then build a monument on part of it. Feeling slighted, the family immediately set about building themselves a house on their land with a 40-foot column erected next to the churchyard so it towered over the trees and pointed a huge V-sign in stone towards the church authorities. The Edleston Spite House is still standing and occupied and has MCMIV (1904) over the front door.

While the 40-foot column is still standing, the ‘V’ sign is now gone.



Contact Us

You can get in touch by phone.  Our clerk, Martin can be contacted on 07908442413 or by email to gainfordlangton@aol.com

Further ways to get in touch are here.

When We Meet

We meet on the first Monday of every month (except August).

Our calendar is here.

We have a 15 minute public participation section at the start of each meeting. You are most welcome to attend.