ESH, or ASH, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Lanchester, W. division of Chester ward, N. division of the county of Durham, 5 miles (W.N.W.) from Durham; containing 518 inhabitants. The manor gave name, at a very early period, to a family of considerable local consequence, who held the estate, with little interruption, from the middle of the 13th century till the time of Henry VIII.; it afterwards came, among other families, to the Smythes. The chapelry comprises 1,123a. 1r. 6p., of which 461 acres are pasture, 617 arable, and 44 waste: the village occupies the centre of the heights between the vales of Browney and Derness. At Walls-Nook, a hamlet in the chapelry, are a flourmill and an iron-foundry. Esh Hall, the deserted seat of the Smythes, of whom Sir Edward, the first baronet, most probably erected it, is a long irregular building fronting the south, and shaded by a grove of old sycamore-trees. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Bishop of Durham; net income, £190. The tithes have been commuted for £77. 16. 6.; there is a glebe of 20 acres. The chapel, dedicated to St. Michael, was almost entirely rebuilt in 1770, and consists of a narrow nave and chancel, and of a south porch, which opens under a low pointed arch. There is a Roman Catholic chapel in the village; and at a short distance to the east is the Roman Catholic College of Ushaw, which see.
Extract from: A Topographical Dictionary of England comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate and market towns, parishes, and townships..... 7th Edition, by Samuel Lewis, London, 1848.