The origin of the place-name is from the Old English words fram and wella together with the Old Norse gata and means "street by the strongly gushing spring". It appears as "Framwelgat" in 1352.
The 'Borough of Framwelgate' grew up following the construction of Framwellgate Bridge over the River Wear by Bishop Flambard in 1121. The roads Millburngate and Framwelgate became part the main route between Durham and the North. The area was home to wealthy Durham merchants and artisans until the 17th century. By the 19th century much of the area had developed into slum housing after coal mining was developed to the north of Framwelgate. These houses were demolished during the 1930s and residents moved to the newly built Sherburn Road Estate in Gilesgate.
Framwelgate is believed to have been named from a well at the head of the old street. This was connected to a pant [no definition] in the Market Place. An honorary Pant Master continues to be appointed to this day. Above the well the road continues as Framwellgate Peth.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Framwelgate.
Prior to the 1974 local government re-organisation the Municipal Borough covering central Durham was styled "The City of Durham and Framwelgate".