Our cottages adjoin our family farm which is located within Easington Village itself.
We are located in East Durham approximately 3 miles from the coast. The National Trust coastal path, which runs the length of Durham's coastline and includes Seaham, renowned for it's world famous sea glass. It should be noted that the beach at Easington is also an excellent place to collect sea glass. Local sea glass lovers have been known to call it the secret beach.
On a clear day from the top of the village green you can see along the coast to almost Whitby in North Yorkshire.
The adjoining village is Easington Colliery, which as the name suggests, grew up around the coal mine. The film, Billy Elliot, was shot in Easington Colliery and some of building used as the backdrop can still be seen
We are centrally located between world heritage site Durham, Sunderland and Hartlepool all approximately 15 minutes away.
Newcastle Upon Tyne and the Metrocentre are approximately 30 minutes away.
An hour drive will get you into North Yorkshire or the Northumberland coast and 2 hours to the Lake District National Park.
Tithe Barn Cottages are a grade II listed building and have been in our family on and off for the past 80 years.
It is believed the building may have been built as a place of worship whilst the Norman church nearby was being built. However, expert historical opinion is divided on this. It is generally accepted that it dates back to the 13th century despite there being a Saxon window in the east gable end, (which can be seen from the garden and parking area).
It has had many purposes throughout its long history, including being a retreat for the monks at nearby world heritage site, Durham Cathedral. It is believed that the first floor was used as accommodation whilst underneath on the ground floor the livestock were housed. This was fairly common place as the heat from the animals rose and heated the first floor as a type of medieval central heating system.
There is some suggestion that it was home to the only English pope Nicholas Brakespeare for a short time. However, we are not altogether sure whether this holds up to historical scrutiny.
It would almost certainly have been part of the Seaton Holme (one of the oldest domestic buildings) manorial complex which at one time had its own fish ponds and orchards.
It was also used to collect tithes (hence the name of the cottages). A tithe was a tax payable to the church. It seems that until fairly recent times the building has had close links with the church and Durham Cathedral.
It’s recent history is that it became incorporated into a colliery farm owned initially by the South Hetton Coal Company, a private coal company, and then later by the National Coal Board.
The building was split into 3, much as it is today. The farmhouse footprint remains the same. The part of the building adjoining the farmhouse was used downstairs as a cow shed (Byre), and the upstairs was used as a storage area and hayloft.
Our grandmother lived in the farmhouse until her death in 1974, at which time the farmhouse was condemned as unfit for human habitation by the council. Unfortunately, the Coal Board refused to invest in the building and it continued to fall into a worsening state of repair.
Our father bought the farm in 1983. However, at this stage the building was in an extremely poor state of repair and the cost of buying the farm made investing in the building unrealistic.
In 1997, East Durham Groundwork, a charitable organisation, purchased the building and, with the assistance of grants, began the lengthy process of renovation, after which the building was used as one of their offices.
In 2015 we became aware of the opportunity to reacquire the building, and following purchase in early 2016, we began converting it into 3 separate holiday lets.
We genuinely feel great affection for the building and its history, and we take great pleasure in being able to share it with our guests whom we hope will also love and enjoy it.