Local History
Newcastle upon Tyne

The area's history started as a minor fort on the Hadrian's Wall. The Norman's in 1080 formed a new castle on the roman site, later to be rebuilt in stone. There then followed in 1280 the City wall to protect the community from the Scots.

The major development of the City was in the 19th century, this based on Newcastle as a market town and port based on the local coal industry. Also around this time was the development of shipbuilding and marine activities.

Robert Stephenson - 23 Kb One of the important local figures was ROBERT Stephenson who would have occupied a bigger place in history had it not been for the ground-breaking achievements of his father George Stephenson.
Robert Stephenson was born in 1803, was apprenticed to a coal viewer but at the age of 19 went to Edinburgh University. On his return, he helped his father survey the Stockton-Darlington Railway and was appointed manager of the family's Newcastle engineering works the same year.
After a spell abroad Robert continued his engineering work, helping his father to build the Rocket for the Liverpool-Manchester line and in 1838 he was appointed engineer of the London-Birmingham Railway.
But it was as a structural engineer that Robert should be best known with the High-Level Bridge at Newcastle (1849) and the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick (1850).
He was an MP from 1847, and when he died in 1859 his remains were interred in Westminster Abbey.

Monument to John Wesley - 23 Kb Another engineering first for the area is associated with Newcastle Central and the first cast iron curved roof designed by John Dobson

The Waterfront is much transformed from the time of John Wesley. It was here that he first preached in 1742. The location is maked by an attractive monument.

Other places of historical interest are St Nicholas Cathedral and a visit to the Museum of Antiquities where there are a lot of Roman remains. This is part of the University of Newcastle

Other Museums that might be visited are the Discovery and Hancock

Heddon on the Wall

Frenchman's Row was originally build as miners' cottages for the Hedden colliery in 1796 by the Government. It was never occupied by them but used to house refugee French royalist priests till they left in 1802.
The St Andrew's Church has Anglo-Saxon origins and in the rebuilding much of the Hadrian's wall stone was used.

George Stephenson - 23 Kb Close to Hedden-on-the-wall is the Birthplace of George Stephenson. He was the son of a colliery fireman born at Wylam, eight miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in 1781. George grew up with a keen interest in machines and at fourteen he joined his father at the Dewley Colliery. George was an ambitious boy and at the age of eighteen he began attending evening classes where he learnt to read and write.
In 1802 Stephenson became a colliery engineman. Later that year he married Frances Henderson and in 1803, his only son, Robert was born.
In 1813 Stephenson became aware of to develop a locomotive. By 1814 he had constructed a locomotive that could pull thirty tons up a hill at 4 mph. Stephenson called his locomotive, the Blutcher.
Where Stephenson's locomotive differed from those produced by others was that the gears did not drive the rack pinions but the flanged wheels. Stephenson continued to try and improve his locomotive and in 1815 he changed the design so that the connecting rods drove the wheels directly. In 1819 he was given the task of building an eight mile railroad from Hetton to the River Wear. Later George Stephenson was made the chief engineer of the Stockton & Darlington company and the line was opened in 1825. Large crowds saw George Stephenson at the controls of the engine as it pulled 36 wagons filled with sacks of coal and flour.
Many other lines were developed along with locomotives. He continued to work on improving the quality of the locomotives this included the addition of a steam-jet that increased the speed of the famous Rocket to 29 mph.
Stephenson died at Chesterfield in 1848.


Slightly to the east of the North Tyne River is the battle site called Heavenfield. In the field also stands the 18th Century church commemorating this battle. The battle was seen by many as a religious and Christian victory between the Celts and Anglo-Saxons that took place in the 7th century. King Oswald who became St Oswald was victorious.

To the west is the nearby Chester Roman Fort. This is on the Chesters Estate owned in the 1800's by John Clayton, a classical scholar and lawyer who is credited with much of the preservation of Roman remains in the area. Clayton was town clerk in Newcastle and also head of the family legal firm. He bought large amounts of farmland to prevent the farmer from destroying the roman remains and then proceeded to restore large section of the Roman forts and walls.


Frith Stool - 23 Kb Famous for Hexham Priory the first church was founded in 678 by St Wilfrid on land from Queen Etheldreda who became a Nun. Some of the material came from the Roman fort at Corbridge (Corstopitum). Only the crypt remains. There is the Anglo Saxon Frith Stool in Hexham's Church. This church has other notable ornaments some being Anglo Saxon and some Roman.
This is also the home of the Border History Museum, looking at all the aspects of the area's history.


The community has a long history relates to the Roman time onwards and although it was burnt three times in border clashes it developed in the 19th century into a health resort.
Anglo Saxon remains are to be found in St Andrew's Church. There is a peel tower from the 1500's and in 1674 the seven arched bridge was built across the Tyne.

Haydon Bridge

Located on the Tyne with a bridge that was rebuilt in 1773. The bridge had to be barred in its early years to stop the Scottish raiders from easy crossing of the Tyne. The church outside the village is like many others in this area build in part with Roman stone.

Bowness on Solway

Bowness on Solway is built on the site of a Roman fort that is at the western end of Hadrian's wall The Romans also built forts nearby at Kirkbridge, Beckfoot and Maryport. On the wall of the Kings Arms Inn in Bowness is a map showing details of the fort.
Much of the stone from the wall was used to build the church and many of the houses in the village. In the porch are two ancient bells stolen from Scottish churches. This was in retaliation for the theft of the Bowness bells by raiders, and to retaliate for their loss in the Solway during the getaway.


The fortified church was built with Roman stones and was also the place where King Edward I died on his way to fight the Scots. Edward lay in state in the church and a monument to the King is present in the village.


Originally this area had strong Roman connections and prospered under this association but was later plundered by the Picts in 181 and 367 and Vikings in 875. The Norman Conquest secured the area for England and in 1092 the Castle, City Wall, and Priory were built. There then followed over 700 year of further conflict as the City change from English to Scottish hands on several occasions.
Carlisle Castle sits proudly overlooking the historic city of Carlisle. From this Norman Keep there are panoramic views over the City and River Eden. It offers medieval dungeons, passageways and chambers. It was once the enforced home to Mary, Queen of Scots. Within the castle is the King's Own Royal Border Regiment Museum which displays uniforms, weapons, medals, silver and tells the story of Cumbria's Infantry Regiment from 1702 to the present day. Also within the Castle see the exhibition depicting the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie's capture of the castle in 1745. You can also visit the nearby twin drum bastions of the nearby Citadel built on the orders of Henry VIII.
Carlisle Cathedral - 23 Kb Carlisle Cathedral founded in 1122 as an Augustinian Priory. It passed through turbulent times before its final restoration in the 19th century. It is noted for its stained glass windows from the 14th - 20th centuries. The 14th Century stained glass east window and magnificent ceiling looked down onto the marriage of Sir Walter Scott and his French born bride in 1797.
Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery brings the face to face with the people who lived, loved, fought and died for this part of Britain for the last ten thousand years. Told in dramatic audio visual displays, and striking reconstructions of long vanished scenes.
Linton Visitor Centre lies below a 280ft high chimney built in 1836 by the Dixon family as part of one of the largest cotton mills in Britain. This centre shows hand weaving on original looms, informative displays and world famous fabrics and designer knitwear.

Lanercost Abbey

Lanercost Priory - 23 Kb Founded in 1144 as an Augustinian priory. Its ruins date from the 12th and 13th centuries. The buildings have associations with Edward I, Queen Eleanor, King David of Scotland and Robert Bruce. A newer part of the Priory is still used as a church.


Apart from the Roman presence this is known as the meeting place of Sir Walter Scott to his wife Charlotte Carpenter, and from that start they were married in Carlisle. On a return visit to Gilsland, which was at this time a Spa, Scott saw the beacons flare to mark the start of hostilities with Napoleon. Walter Scott rode the 100 miles home to 24 hours to volunteer, only to learn that this was a false alarm.


This community has two good examples of the Peel Towers. They are to be found at Featherstone Castle and the Red Lion Hotel.
Slightly to the north is the Roman Army Museum at Carvoran just to the south side of the Way


The village of BELLINGHAM (pronounced Bellinjum) is on the banks of the Tyne on the eastern edge of the Northumberland National Park. It contains the medieval Church of St Cuthbert, which has an unusual stone-vaulted roof designed to prevent raiding Border reivers from burning the church to the ground. In the centre it has an unusual Town Hall, a Boer war memorial and a Chinese Musket taken by HMS Orlando in 1900. The Heritage Centre just east of the village has more on this turbulent Reiving period.


This area was almost treeless till 1926 when tree planting was started and Kielder Forest is now the largest forest in Britain. Kielder Castle was built in 1775 as a shooting lodge for the Duke of Northumberland. Also in the area is the Kielder Viaduct a fine example of Victorian railway architecture.


The town's history revolves around three buildings, the Abbey, the Castle and Queen Mary's House.

Jedburgh Abbey - 23 Kb The abbey is the most complete of the 4 Border Abbeys and was made an Abbey in 1154 under the rule of David I. In 1285 Alexander III has his marriage consecrated prior to a wedding feast in the Castle. The abbey came under attack 1297, 1523 and 1545, the ruined building that now stands being mainly constructed from the 12 to 15th centuries.
The Castle site to the south of the town centre was one of five fortresses transferred to the English in 1174 under the Treaty of Falaise. Prior to that it was the royal residency of Malcolm IV. This building however was destroyed by order of the Scottish Parliament in 1409 as it was the source of so much attack and counter attack between the Scots and English. The present building was established in 1832 and acted as the county jail.
A building that did survive the attacks by the Earl of Hertford in 1544-5 was the building know now as Queen Mary's House. It gets it name from 1566 when Mary Queen of Scots stayed for a period of several week and from where she made a visit to the Earl of Bothwell at hermitage Castle.

St Boswells

This village gets its name from St Boisel who was the second Prior of Old Melrose. St Boisel succeeded St Aidan in this position when St Aidan moved to Lindisfarne and proceeded St Cuthbert as the third Prior. In more modern time the village has been noted for its large village green and the annual cattle and horse fair ran during the 18 & 19th centuries.


This border town has parallels to Jedburgh, with an ancient Abbey started in the time of King David 1136. However the history of the area is older with the establishment of the first Christian community in mainland Scotland at Old Melrose in the 7th Century. This site is east of Melrose and just beyond the Trimontium Roman Fort.

Melrose Abbey - 23 Kb The new Cistercian Abbey was very prosperous and its second abbot was Waltheof the son of Queen Matilda of England. Like Jedburgh the abbey was attached on occasions and destroyed in its original form in 1385 by Richard II. The Earl of Hertford also plundered the present day 15th century Gothic Abbey.
The restoration of the abbey ruins has much to do with Sir Walter Scott who regarded Melrose as his local community. Within the abbey ground the heart of Robert the Bruce is buried, as are the remains of Waltheof and Alexander II.
In the last two centuries Melrose has become know for Rugby Seven, invented by Ned Haig, a local butcher and still played on the renowned Greenyards pitch.
Melrose is now the home of the Trimontium Museum and other visitor attractions and the town is regarded as one of the gems of the Scottish Borders with the distinctive Eildon Hills overlooking the community.

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