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13 November 2014

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You are in: Tees > History > Local History > Egglescliffe or Eaglescliffe?

Sign at Eaglescliffe train station

Sign at Eaglescliffe train station

Egglescliffe or Eaglescliffe?

Ever wondered why the railway station in Egglescliffe is called Eaglescliffe? There have been many urban legends surrounding the two places, but could it just be down to a simple spelling mistake?

The history of Egglescliffe can be traced right back through the ages, however this can not be said for Eaglescliffe.

The name Egglescliffe has two possible meanings; the first is, 'a hill belonging to a Saxon called Ecgi'. Others believe that it derived its name from Ecclesia which means a church on a hill. Certainly the parish church of Egglescliffe sits on top of a hill overlooking Yarm.

It is thought that place names containing 'eggles' or 'eccles' come from pre-Saxon Christian settlements, so Eaglescliffe must have been named at a later period.

Egglescliffe church - is this the church on the hill?

Is this the church on the hill?

What does the name Eaglescliffe mean?

There is no clear meaning of the name Eaglescliffe. One theory is that the Cleveland Hills offer a suitable habitat for eagles, hence the name Eaglescliffe. However, there has never been any record of the area being home to eagles.

There is an old Teesside legend that says Eaglescliffe owes its origins to a later period in time. We spoke to Rob Nichols, the author of 'Teesside Urban Legends' to find out more.

"We believe that the name of Eaglescliffe was a renowned mistake"

Rob Nichols author of Teesside Urban Legends

Rob said, “The name of Eaglescliffe was a renowned mistake.” He explained that it is thought to have happened in the Victorian times, when the railway station was moved.

Lord Preston was so unhappy with the effect the noise of Locomotive Number One had on his cattle, they had to move the line to the other side of the road.

The great spelling mistake?

There are various versions of this legend, but they all hinge on the sign for the new railway station turning up with the wrong name.

One story tells how a letter was delivered to the signwriter in London with the name Egglescliffe on it, but the signwriter missed the tail on the first ‘g’, thought it was an ‘a’ and sent a sign reading 'Eaglescliffe'.

Another version of the story tells how the signwriter received a telegram asking for a sign for 'Egglescliffe', thought it was such a strange name there must be a mistake and so changed it himself.

Either way it’s an entertaining story of how Eaglescliffe got its name. Sadly, there is no known documentary evidence to establish, or discredit the story.

last updated: 15/11/2008 at 16:57
created: 10/11/2008

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