Witton le Wear was originally an Anglo-Saxon settlement and the name derives from either ‘Wit’ or ‘Wuduton’ meaning wood. There has been a church in the centre of the village since the early 12th century and Witton Castle was originally built as a fortified manor house around 1400. The current Witton Towers is one of the oldest existing buildings in the village as it was built as a Pele Tower prior to the English Civil War.
The population of the village has varied over the centuries but its heyday was in the 1890s when there was 2,629 residents named in the 1891 census. The main employers at this time was the North Bitchburn Coal Company at Howden Colliery, the Wear Valley Brick Works and Colliery and the Witton Fire Brick Company.
During the 20th century, Witton le Wear thrived with a well-used railway station, schools, three churches, a variety of shops including butchers, grocers, and a post office, and five public houses.
Now in the 21st century, the population has dropped to around 400 residents, but it is still a very popular place to live. The Parish includes the main village, Wear Terrace, Engineman’s Terrace and Railway Cottages, West End and numerous farms in the local area.