Old Hartlepool is the original fishing village which existed before West Hartlepool. The origins of ancient town of Hartlepool (Old Hartlepool) can be traced back to ca 647 AD. In the 8th century AD, Bede mentions it (“heopru” – the place where harts (deer) drink). The record goes blank then, and does not reappear until the 12th century. In 1201 King John confirmed a charter owned by Robert Bruce V. The name “Brus” or “Bruce” is still associated with parts of the town.
The fine abbey church of St. Hilda is mainly Early English, dating from 1185, on the site of an abbey which flourished as early as 658 AD. St. Hilda’s still flourishes and stands in a prominent place on the Hartlepool headland, and nearby the ancient town walls (completed ca 1322 as a defence against the twin enemies of the Scots and the sea) can still be seen.
On 8th February 1201, the town was granted its first royal charter by King John. A second royal charter was granted in 1593 by Queen Elizabeth (the First).
Hartlepool was visited several times by John Wesley on his preaching tours … he was certainly in the town in 1757 and 1786.
Old Hartlepool continued its independent existence until 1967, when local government reorganisation created the merger with its young neighbour, West Hartlepool.