The church of St Mary the Virgin, Old Seaham, is one of the oldest churches in England, dating back to the late 7th or very early 8th century. It was about 400 years old when Durham Cathedral was completed. The church stands on a cliff above the North Sea and, during the services in winter, the waves can be heard pounding the shore below.
The churchyard contains many ancient graves and, standing guardian over them is a magnificent, spreading Sycamore tree. Since it appears in early etchings, the tree itself must have witnessed church restorations and many of the vicissitudes of life in Seaham.