The first documentary evidence of Easington referred to the period 900 to 915 when Ealfred, son of Britulfine came fleeing the Vikings and sought the mercy of Bishop Cutheard who granted him the lands of Easington and surrounding townships. Easington is next heard of in 1183 in the Boldon Book (the Domesday Book of the North) describing all things rendered to the Bishop. The discovery in 1991 of a pagan Anglo-Saxon burial ground proved earlier occupation of the area and was thought to be part of a much larger 6th or 7th century cemetery.
Easington was a considerable village giving its name to the Deanery and Ward. The Ward of Easington stretched from the parish of Hart to the mouth of the Wear and inland to Lumley and Cassop. It was one of the four wards of Durham and was one of the richest livings in the area.
During the middle ages the Bishops ruled over the Palatinate of Durham with almost royal power. They fulfilled all Episcopal duties and as head of the civil government appointed all civil officials too. Their power in the area was absolute; whatever the King enjoyed in the rest of the country, the Bishop enjoyed in the County. They held this power until the advent of the Tudors when Henry VIII reformed the English Church.
Over the centuries the area suffered with misery, oppression and pestilence decimating the population. Invasion by the Scandinavians, wars with the Scots and in 1349 the Black Death affected both lords and tenants. Before the Enclosure Decree Awards of 1656-72 Easington was surrounded by moors and closes with many of their names carried on by farms.
Easington was situated on the Turnpike Road and stagecoaches and mail carriers passed through daily. An old milestone now stands in the centre of a pedestrianised green. The first school was erected in 1814 and the Union Workhouse was built in 1850. The villages in the Poor Law Union became the basis for Easington District Council as it was now more the civic centre for the area than the ecclesiastic.
Up to the beginning of the 1900s Easington, surrounded by open country, was entirely rural. For centuries it had been the centre for the church and the home of Archdeacons. It was also the main shopping centre for the area until the sinking of the coalmines when parts of the large parish were handed over as new villages sprung into being.
Thousands of men came to the area from all parts of Britain and Easington Colliery pit was sunk in 1899 on the coast forming it’s own community. As new people arrived new businesses developed as rows of terraced houses were built.
Easington Village’s former prosperity gradually declined and it is now a mainly residential area built around the ancient centre with the two Grade I listed buildings – St Mary’s Church and Seaton Holme – still standing as a reminder of its early importance in the history of County Durham.