Sadberge is a village in the borough of Darlington and ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It is situated between Darlington and Stockton-on-Tees. The village of Sadberge was once the wapentake (capital) of the Viking-settled area north of the Tees known as the Earldom of Sadberge, which stretched from Hartlepool to Teesdale. Wapentakes were found in parts of England settled by Danes and continued to be important administrative centres into medieval times. The word wapentake literally translated means "weapon taking" and refers to the way in which land was held in return for military service to a chief.
Sadberge is a small rural village conveniently situated for fast commuting to Teesside. The village has a church, pub and village shop.
The name is of Norse origin deriving from Setberg, meaning "flat topped hill", an accurate description of the location of the village from where good views of the surrounding countryside can be obtained. The place name Setberg from which Sadberge derives also occurs in Norway and in Viking settled Iceland. Closer to home in Norse settled Cumbria we may find the village of Sedbergh near Kendal which has the same meaning.
In Norman times the Earldom of Sadberge, though north of the River Tees, was not part of Durham and was not initially under the rule of Durham's Prince Bishops. Instead, it formed an outlying part of the county of Northumberland by virtue of the fact that it had been part of the old Kingdom of Northumbria.
In 1139 Northumberland was given to Scotland by England's King Stephen and the River Tees became the southern boundary of the kingdom of Scotland. This situation continued until 1157 when Northumberland was reclaimed by Henry II.
Hugh de Puiset, was largely responsible for the decline in importance of Sadberge. He added the earldom to Durham in 1189 and from then on Sadberge was ruled from Durham. Sadberge retained some independence and continued to be administered as an almost separate county until 1576. Until their abolition in 1971 the Palatine courts were a part of the "County Palatine of Durham and Sadberge".