What's in a name? - Haswell, a village history.
Little is known about Haswell before medieval times. A settlement existed in the Anglo-Saxon period, as the name of the village is derived from the Old English 'Hesse welle' meaning 'hazel spring or stream'. However, the village was only first recorded (as Hessewella and Hessewelle) in the 12th century. Haswell today consists of three parts, Haswell, Haswell Plough and High Haswell.
Haswell has a history far older than that of its colliery. Records relating to the manor of Haswell and to land owned by the Claxton family show that at an early date there were two settlements of High and Low Haswell (Over and Nether Haswell) which existed as part of the manor holdings. In addition the manor of Pesspool probably dates from the mid thirteenth-century in a grant made by Walter Kirkham, bishop of Durham (1249-60) to his servant John Haldan of 156 acres of moor in Easington. The later medieval farm of Boisfield lay in or around where Pespool wood is marked on modern maps. It was created sometime between 1261 and 1273, when Robert Stichill, bishop of Durham, granted to his servant John de Boys a carucate (a measure of land) from the bishop's waste on Easington Moor. Boisfield was adjacent to Pespool, and was later integrated with it to make a single farm; they were already in the same hands by about 1383. Its precise location is unknown.
The lands at Haswell, Pespoole and Boisfield eventually passed to Lady Isabella Claxton, daughter and heiress of William Menville, of Horden Hall.
The original village of Haswell was sited at High Haswell where only two farms, barns, outbuildings and a private dwelling house remain. A charter, dating to around 1300 recorded the siting of a medieval chapel in a nearby field called Chapel Garth. A holy water stoup was found here, and is now used as a font in St Paul's church.