In this part of the Tees valley the river forms many loops called 'holmes'. The word 'holm' is of Viking origin and means "island formed by a river". Eryholme's name is, however, a corruption of its original name 'Erghum'. This name means shieling - a shelter for livestock, which comes from the Old Irish word 'airgh'. This word was introduced into Yorkshire place names by Norwegian Vikings who had lived in Ireland for a number of generations and adopted many Irish words.
The chief activity is farming; the farms forming part of the Neasham estate owned by the Wrightson family. Famous for the breeding of shorthorn cattle, a cow sold to the Colling brothers became part of the original stock from which was bred the Durham Ox and Comet.
Prior to the nationwide municipal reorganization of 1974, Eryholme was part of Flaxton Rural District. Historically, it was located in the ecclesiastical parish of Gilling West in the wapentake of the same name.