The Full Wiki

Northumberland: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...


More interesting facts on Northumberland

Include this on your site/blog:

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Northumberland
Flag of Northumberland
EnglandNorthumberland.png
Geography
Status Ceremonial county & Unitary district
Origin Historic
Region North East
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 6th
5,013 km2 (1,936 sq mi)
Ranked 1st
Admin HQ Morpeth
ISO 3166-2 GB-NBL
ONS code 00EM
NUTS 3 UKC21
Demography
Population
- Total (2008 est.[1])
- Density
- Admin. council
Ranked 44th
311,000
62 /km2 (161/sq mi)
Ranked 18th
Ethnicity 99.9% White
Politics
Northumbeland coa.png
Northumberland County Council
http://www.northumberland.gov.uk
Executive Liberal Democrat (council NOC)
Members of Parliament
Districts

N/A

Long Crag.

Northumberland (pronounced /nɔrˈθʌmbərlənd/) is a ceremonial county and unitary district in the North East of England. It borders Cumbria to the west, County Durham to the south and Tyne and Wear to the south east, as well as having a border with the Scottish Borders council area to the north, and a North Sea coastline of outstanding natural beauty [2] with a walking track almost 102 kilometres long.[3] Since the creation of Tyne and Wear in 1974, the county council has been located in Morpeth, situated in the east of the county.

As the kingdom of Northumbria under King Edwin, the region's historical boundaries stretched from the Humber in the south to the Forth in the north. The historic boundaries of the county cover a different area, including Newcastle upon Tyne, the traditional county town, as well as Tynemouth and other settlements in North Tyneside, areas administered by Tyne and Wear since 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. The historic boundaries of the county are sometimes taken to exclude Islandshire, Bedlingtonshire and Norhamshire (collectively North Durham), exclaves of County Durham which were incorporated into Northumberland in 1844.

Being on the border of Scotland and England, Northumberland has been the site of many battles. The county is noted for its undeveloped landscape of high moorland, a favourite with landscape painters, and now largely protected as a National Park. Northumberland is the most sparsely populated county in England, with only 62 people per square kilometre.

Northumberland's county flower is the Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum) and her affiliated Royal Navy ship is her namesake, HMS Northumberland.

Contents

History

The area was once part of the Roman Empire and as Northumberland it was the scene of many wars between England and Scotland. As evidence of its violent history, Northumberland has more castles than any other county in England,[4] including the castles of Alnwick, Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh and Warkworth.

The region of present-day Northumberland once formed the core of the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia, which was later united with Deira south of the River Tees to form Northumbria. Northumberland is often called the "cradle of Christianity" in England, because it was on Lindisfarne, a tidal island north of Bamburgh, also called Holy Island, that Christianity flourished when monks from Iona were sent to convert the English. Lindisfarne was the home of the Lindisfarne Gospels and Saint Cuthbert, who is buried in Durham Cathedral.

Bamburgh is the historic capital of Northumberland, the "royal" castle from before the unification of England under one monarch. In contemporary times, although Northumberland County Council's offices are in Morpeth, Alnwick and Morpeth contest which of the two is the county town.

The lords of Northumberland once wielded significant power in English affairs because, as the Marcher Lords, they were entrusted with protecting England from Scottish invasion.

Northumberland has a history of revolt and rebellion against the government, as seen in the Rising of the North in Tudor times. These revolts were usually led by the then Dukes of Northumberland, the Percy family. Shakespeare makes one of the Percys, the dashing Harry Hotspur, the real hero of his Henry IV, Part 1.

The county was also a centre for Roman Catholicism in England, as well as of Jacobite feelings after the Restoration. Northumberland became a sort of wild county, where outlaws and Border Reivers hid from the law. However, the frequent cross-border skirmishes and accompanying local lawlessness largely subsided after the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England under King James I.

Northumberland played a key role in the industrial revolution. Coal mines were once widespread in Northumberland, with collieries at Ashington, Bedlington, Choppington, Netherton, Ellington and Pegswood. The region's coalfields fuelled industrial expansion in other areas of the country, and the need to transport the coal from the collieries to the Tyne led to the development of the first railways. Shipbuilding and armaments manufacture were other important industries.

Today, Northumberland is still largely rural. As the least populated county in England, it commands much less influence in British affairs than in times past. In recent years the county has had considerable growth in tourism due to its scenic beauty and the abundant evidence of its historical significance.

Physical geography

Physical geography of Northumberland and surrounding areas

The physical geography of Northumberland is diverse. It is low and flat near the North Sea coast and increasingly mountainous toward the northwest. The Cheviot Hills, in the northwest of the county, consist mainly of resistant Devonian granite and andesite lava. A second area of igneous rock underlies the Whin Sill (on which Hadrian's Wall runs), an intrusion of Carboniferous dolerite. Both ridges support a rather bare moorland landscape. Either side of the Whin Sill the county lies on Carboniferous Limestone, giving some areas of karst landscape.[5] Lying off the coast of Northumberland are the Farne Islands, another dolerite outcrop, famous for their bird life.

There are coal fields in the southeast corner of the county, extending along the coastal region north of the river Tyne. The term 'sea coal' likely originated from chunks of coal, found washed up on beaches, that wave action had broken from coastal outcroppings.

River Coquet.

Being in the far north of England, above 55° latitude, and having many areas of high land, Northumberland is one of the coldest areas of the country. It has an average annual temperature of 7.1 to 9.3 °C, with the coldest temperatures inland.[6] However, the county lies on the east coast, and has relatively low rainfall, between 466 and 1060 mm annually, mostly falling in the west on the high land.[7] Between 1971 and 2000 the county averaged 1321 to 1390 hours of sunshine per year.[8]

Approximately a quarter of the county is protected as the Northumberland National Park, an area of outstanding landscape that has largely been protected from development and agriculture. The park stretches south from the Scottish border and includes Hadrian's Wall. Most of the park is over 240 metres (800 feet) above sea level. The Northumberland Coast is also a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Ecology

There are a variety of notable habitats and species in Northumberland including: Chillingham Cattle herd; Holy Island; Farne Islands; and Staple Island.

Economy and industry

Housedon Hill

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Northumberland at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added[9] Agriculture[10] Industry[11] Services[12]
1995 2,585 130 943 1,512
2000 2,773 108 831 1,833
2003 3,470 109 868 2,494

Northumberland has a relatively weak economy amongst the counties and other local government areas of the United Kingdom.[13] The county is ranked sixth lowest amongst these 63 council areas. In 2003 23% of males and 60% of females were earning less than the Council of Europe's decency threshold. As of May 2005 unemployment is at 2.3%, in line with the national average.[14] Between 1999 and 2003 businesses in the county grew 4.4% to 8,225, making 0.45% of registered businesses in the UK.[15]

A major source of employment and income in the county is tourism. The county annually receives 1.1 million UK visitors and 50,000 foreign tourists who spend a total of £162million in the county.[16].

Education

Northumberland has a completely comprehensive education system with 15 state schools, two academies and one independent school. Like Bedfordshire, it embraced the comprehensive ideal with the three tier system of lower/middle/upper schools with large school year sizes (often around 300). This eliminated choice of school in most areas - as instead of having two secondary schools in one town, one school became a middle school and another became an upper school; in individual towns everyone will go to the same school. A controversial programme introduced in 2006 known as Putting the Learner First has eliminated this structure in the former areas of Blyth Valley and Wansbeck, where two tier education has been introduced. Although the two processes are not officially connected, the introduction of two tiers has coincided with the move to build academy schools in Blyth, with Bede Academy and in Ashington at Hirst. These changes have been the focus of much controversy. One response to these changes ahs been the decision of Ponteland High School to apply for Trust status.

Cramlington Learning Village has almost 400 pupils in each school year; making it one of the largest schools in England. Blyth Community College situated in south east Northumberland is able to hold 1500 students throughout the building. Astley Community High School which is situated in Seaton Delaval and accepts students from Seaton Deleval, Seaton Sluice and Blyth has been the subject of controversial remarks from politicians claiming it would no longer be viable once Bede Academy opened in Blyth, a claim strongly disputed by the headteacher. Haydon Bridge High School, in rural Northumberland, is claimed to have the largest catchment area of any school in England, reputedly covering an area larger than that encompassed by the M25 motorway around London.

The county of Northumberland is served by one Catholic High School, St. Benet Biscop Catholic High School, which is attended by students from all over the area. Students from Northumberland also attend independent schools such as the Royal Grammar School,in Newcastle.

Demographics

At the Census 2001 Northumberland registered a population of 307,190,[17] estimated to be 309,237 in 2003.[18] In 2001 there were 130,780 households, 10% of which were all retired, and one third were rented. Northumberland has a very low ethnic minority population at 0.985% of the population, compared to 9.1% for England as a whole. 81% of the population reported their religion as Christianity, 0.8% as another religion, and 12% as having no religion.[19].

Being primarily rural with significant areas of upland, the population density of Northumberland is only 62 persons per square kilometre giving it the lowest population density in England.

Politics

Northumberland is a unitary local authority area and is the largest unitary area in England. The County Council is based in Morpeth.

Like most English shire counties Northumberland had until April 2009 a two-tier system of local government, with one county council and six districts, each with their own district council, responsible for different aspects of local government. These districts were, Blyth Valley, Wansbeck, Castle Morpeth, Tynedale, Alnwick and Berwick-upon-Tweed. The districts were abolished on 1 April 2009, the county council becoming a unitary authority.

Elections for the new unitary authority council took place on 1 May 2008.

Northumberland is represented in the House of Commons by four Members of Parliament, of whom one is a Conservative, one is a Liberal Democrat and two are Labour.

Northumberland is included within the North East England European Parliament constituency which is represented by 4 Members of the European Parliament.

Culture

Northumberland has traditions not found elsewhere in England. These include the rapper sword dance, the Clog dance and the Northumbrian smallpipe, a sweet chamber instrument, quite unlike the Scottish bagpipe. Northumberland also has its own tartan or check, sometimes referred to in Scotland as the Shepherd's Tartan. Traditional Northumberland music sounds similar to Lowland Scottish music, reflecting the strong historical links between Northumbria and the Lowlands of Scotland.

The Border ballads of the region have been famous since late mediaeval times. Thomas Percy, whose celebrated Reliques of Ancient English Poetry appeared in 1765, states that most of the minstrels who sang the Border ballads in London and elsewhere in the 15th and 16th centuries belonged to the North. The activities of Sir Walter Scott and others in the 19th century gave the ballads an even wider popularity. William Morris considered them to be the greatest poems in the language, while Algernon Charles Swinburne knew virtually all of them by heart.

One of the best-known is the stirring Chevy Chase, which tells of the Earl of Northumberland's vow to hunt for three days across the Border 'maugre the doughty Douglas'. Of it, the Elizabethan courtier, soldier and poet Sir Philip Sidney famously said: 'I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas that I found not my heart moved more than with a trumpet'. Ben Jonson said that he would give all his works to have written Chevy Chase.

Overall the culture of Northumberland, as with the north east of England in general, has much in common with Scottish Lowland culture than each has with the rest of their respective countries. Firstly both regions have their cultural origins in the old Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria, this is borne out by the linguistic links between the two regions, which include many Old English words not found in other forms of Modern English, such as bairn for child (see Scots language and Northumbria).[20][21] The other reason for the close cultural links is the clear pattern of net southward migration. There are more Scots in England than English people north of the border. Much of this movement is cross-county rather than distant migration, and the incomers thus bring aspects of their culture as well as reinforce shared cultural traits from both sides of the the Anglo-Scottish border. Whatever the case, the lands just north or south of the border have long had a common history due to their common Northumbrian heritage and thus it is thought by many that the Anglo-Scottish border is largely political rather than cultural[22].[23]

Attempts to raise the level of awareness of Northumberland culture have also started, with the formation of a Northumbrian Language Society to preserve the unique dialects (Pitmatic and other Northumbrian dialects) of this region, as well as to promote home-grown talent.[20][21]

Advertisements

Flag

Northumberland flag

Northumberland has its own flag, which is a banner of the arms of Northumberland County Council. The shield of arms is in turn based on the arms mediæval heralds had attributed to the Kingdom of Bernicia (which the first County Council used until it received a regular grant of arms). The Bernician arms were fictional but inspired by Bede's brief description of a flag used on the tomb of St Oswald in the 7th century[24].

The current arms were granted to the county council in 1951, and adopted as the flag of Northumberland in 1995.[25]

Media

Having no large population centres, the county's mainstream media outlets are served from nearby Tyne and Wear, including radio stations and television channels (such as BBC Look North, BBC Radio Newcastle, Tyne Tees Television and Metro Radio), along with the majority of daily newspapers covering the area (The Journal, Evening Chronicle). It is worth remembering however that whereas Northumberland, like many administrative areas in England, has been shorn of its geographical regional centre, that centre - Newcastle upon Tyne - remains an essential element within the entity we know as Northumberland. Newcastle's newspapers are as widely read in its Northumbrian hinterland as any of those of the wider county: the Northumberland Gazette, Morpeth Herald, Berwick Advertiser, Hexham Courant and the News Post Leader.

Lionheart FM, a community radio station based in Alnwick, has recently been awarded a five-year community broadcasting license by OFCOM. Radio Borders covers Berwick and the rural north of the county.

People

George Stephenson was born in Northumberland

Famous people born in Northumberland

Ashington was the birth place of the three famous footballers Bobby and Jack Charlton in 1937 and 1935 respectively; and Jackie Milburn previously in 1924. The basketballer Alan Hoyle was born here in 1983 whilst in 1978 Steve Harmison, an international cricketer was born here.

Mickley was the birth place of Thomas Bewick, an artist, wood engraver and naturalist in 1753 and Bob Stokoe, a footballer and F.A. Cup winning manager (with Sunderland in 1973) born 1930.

Other notable births include:

Famous people linked with Northumberland

Algernon Charles Swinburne, the poet, was raised in Northumberland
  • Thomas Burt, one of the first working-class Members of Parliament and was secretary of the Northumberland Miners' Association in 1863

The site [1] contains exhaustive detailed entries for famous deceased Northumbrians.

Settlements

Parishes

NOTE: New parishes have been added since 2001. These are missing from the list.

Parishes of Northumberland[26]
Name Population (2001) Former district/borough
Acklington 467 Alnwick
Acomb 1,184 Tynedale
Adderstone with Lucker 195 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Akeld 82 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Allendale 2,120 Tynedale
Alnham 99 Alnwick
Alnmouth 562 Alnwick
Alnwick 7,767 Alnwick
Alwinton 71 Alnwick
Amble 6,044 Alnwick
Ancroft 885 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Bamburgh 454 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Bardon Mill 364 Tynedale
Bavington 99 Tynedale
Beadnell 528 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Belford 1,055 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Belsay 436 Castle Morpeth
Bewick 69 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Biddlestone 88 Alnwick
Bowsden 157 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Branxton 121 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Brinkburn 200 Alnwick
Callaly 150 Alnwick
Capheaton 160 Castle Morpeth
Carham 347 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Cartington 97 Alnwick
Chatton 438 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Cornhill-on-Tweed 318 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Craster 342 Alnwick
Cresswell 237 Castle Morpeth
Denwick 266 Alnwick
Doddington 146 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Earle 89 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Easington 139 Berwick-upon-Tweed
East Chevington 3,192 Castle Morpeth
Edlingham 196 Alnwick
Eglingham 357 Alnwick
Ellingham 282 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Ellington and Linton 2,678 Castle Morpeth
Elsdon 205 Alnwick
Embleton 699 Alnwick
Ewart 72 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Felton 958 Alnwick
Ford 487 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Glanton 222 Alnwick
Harbottle 235 Alnwick
Hartburn 198 Castle Morpeth
Hauxley 220 Alnwick
Hebron 679 Castle Morpeth
Heddon-on-the-Wall 1,518 Castle Morpeth
Hedgeley 322 Alnwick
Hepple 139 Alnwick
Hepscott 898 Castle Morpeth
Hesleyhurst 30 Alnwick
Hollinghill 90 Alnwick
Holy Island 162 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Horncliffe 374 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Ilderton 94 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Ingram 148 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Kilham 131 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Kirknewton 108 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Kyloe 323 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Lesbury 871 Alnwick
Lilburn 106 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Longframlington 979 Alnwick
Longhirst 446 Castle Morpeth
Longhorsley 798 Castle Morpeth
Longhoughton 1,442 Alnwick
Lowick 559 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Lynemouth 1,832 Castle Morpeth
Matfen 495 Castle Morpeth
Meldon 162 Castle Morpeth
Middleton 136 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Milfield 243 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Mitford 431 Castle Morpeth
Morpeth 13,833 Castle Morpeth
Netherton 194 Alnwick
Netherwitton 272 Castle Morpeth
Newton-by-the-Sea 242 Alnwick
Newton on the Moor and Swarland 822 Alnwick
Norham 536 Berwick-upon-Tweed
North Sunderland 1,803 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Nunnykirk 138 Alnwick
Ord, Northumberland 1,365 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Pegswood 3,174 Castle Morpeth
Ponteland 10,871 Castle Morpeth
Rennington 305 Alnwick
Roddam 77 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Rothbury 1,740 Alnwick
Rothley 136 Alnwick
Shilbottle 1,349 Alnwick
Shoreswood 163 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Snitter 114 Alnwick
Stamfordham 1,047 Castle Morpeth
Stannington 1,219 Castle Morpeth
Thirston 510 Castle Morpeth
Thropton 409 Alnwick
Togston 340 Alnwick
Tritlington and West Chevington 218 Castle Morpeth
Ulgham 365 Castle Morpeth
Wallington Demesne 361 Castle Morpeth
Warkworth 1,493 Alnwick
Whalton 427 Castle Morpeth
Whittingham 406 Alnwick
Whitton and Tosson 223 Alnwick
Widdrington 158 Castle Morpeth
Widdrington Station and Stobswood 2,386 Castle Morpeth
Wooler 1,857 Berwick-upon-Tweed

See also

External links

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Population estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2008" (ZIP). National Statistics Online. Office for National Statistics. 27 August 2009. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_population/Mid_2008_UK_England_&_Wales_Scotland_and_Northern_Ireland_27_08_09.zip. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  2. ^ http://www.northumberlandcoastaonb.org/media/Publications/01%20-%20Part%201%20-%20Management%20Plan%20-%20Introduction.pdf
  3. ^ http://www.ldwa.org.uk/ldp/members/show_path.php?path_name=Northumberland+Coast+Path
  4. ^ Long, B. (1967). Castles of Northumberland. Newcastle, UK: Harold Hill.
  5. ^ Northumberland National Park Authority, n.d. "The topology and climate of Northumberland National Park."
  6. ^ Met Office, 2000. "Annual average temperature for the United Kingdom."
  7. ^ Met Office, 2000. "Annual average rainfall for the United Kingdom."
  8. ^ Met Office, 2000. "Annual average sunshine for the United Kingdom."
  9. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  10. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  11. ^ includes energy and construction
  12. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  13. ^ Northumberland County Council, 2003 "Northumberland in context.". MS Word, HTML (Google)
  14. ^ Northumberland InfoNet, 2005. "Unemployment Statistics."
  15. ^ Northumberland InfoNet, 2004. "Key Statistics: Businesses." (PDF)
  16. ^ Northumberland InfoNet, 2004 "Key Statistics: Tourism." (PDF)
  17. ^ Office for National Statistics, 2003. "Update on 2001 Census figures." (PDF)
  18. ^ Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2003. "Local Government Finance Settlement 2005/06." (PDF)
  19. ^ Office for National Statistics, 2001. "KS07 Religion: Census 2001, Key Statistics for local Authorities."
  20. ^ a b http://www.northeastengland.talktalk.net/GeordieOrigins.htm
  21. ^ a b http://www.northumbriana.org.uk/langsoc/about.htm
  22. ^ Northumbrian Language Society
  23. ^ http://www.lowlands-l.net/english.php
  24. ^ Bede's Ecclesiatical History of the English People, Book III, Ch. 11: "And to furnish a lasting memorial of the royal saint, they hung the King's banner of purple and gold over his tomb."
  25. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20050624074238/http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/vg/flag.html
  26. ^ Office for National Statistics: Neighbourhood Statistics

Bibliography

Tomlinson, W. W. (1888). Comprehensive guide to the county of Northumberland (reprinted 1968). Trowbridge, UK: Redwood. Barbara Thompson, Jennifer Norderhaug (2006). "Walking the Northumberland Dales: Hadrian's Wall Country". Sigma Press. ISBN 1850588384, 9781850588382

Coordinates: 55°18′N 1°41′W / 55.30°N 1.68°W / 55.30; -1.68


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Northumberland is a county in North East England, on the England-Scotland border.

Map of Northumberland
Map of Northumberland

Understand

England's most northern and sparsely populated county, Northumberland is a remnant of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria which once covered an area stretching from Edinburgh to Sheffield and the river Mersey.

The area has a very long and bloody history due to its proximity to Scotland and has fallen into Scottish hands at least once as the border has shifted over time. The more populous towns are either market towns (Amble, Hexham, Morpeth) and others are former mining communities (Prudhoe, Ashington).

Northumberland has its own dialect, different from the famous Geordie of Newcastle.

The Northumbrian Pipes are a local folk instrument, similar to the Scottish bagpipe.

Get in

By plane

Newcastle International Airport [2] is the nearest airport to Northumberland.

By train

The principle London-Edinburgh rail line runs through the county and Berwick-upon-Tweed, to the north, is served frquently by both National Express East Coast [3] and Cross Country Trains [4]. These operators also serve Morpeth and Alnmouth (for Alnwick), though less frequently.

In most cases it is genrally more convenient to connect with the local rail network at Newcastle Central, which is served by regular trains to Edinburgh, London, the Midlands and South West. From Newcastle, Northern Rail [5] operate frequent services along the Tyne Valley Line towards Hexham and Carlisle, as well as serving local stations along the East Coast Main Line towards Morpeth, Alnmouth and Chathill.

Get around

You generally need a car to get about in Northumberland as it is a rural county. There are some regular bus services on the main routes mainly served by Arriva Northumbria. Bus timetables can be found at Nexus' website [6] for services to and from Tyne and Wear and traveline [7] can help you with other routes. There is a cross-county train service from Newcastle upon Tyne to Carlisle, stopping at towns in the Tyne Valley, including Prudhoe, Corbridge, Hexham and Haltwhistle.

Trains from Newcastle stop at Morpeth, Northumberland's county-town.

  • Hadrian's Wall is a World Heritage Site stretching across 80 miles of Northumberland on the Scottish border. Housesteads, Vindolanda, Chesters and Corstopitum are all worth visiting.
  • Norham Castle (located in the village of Norham, about 8 miles from Berwick) is a romantically ruined castle, immortalised by Turner and Sir Walter Scott (in the poem 'Marmion') alike.
This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

NORTHUMBERLAND, the northernmost county of England, bounded N.W. by the Scottish counties of Berwick and Roxburgh, W. by Cumberland, S. by Durham, and E. by the North Sea. The area is 2018 sq. m. It has a general inclination eastward from the hill-borders of Scotland and Cumberland. The Cheviot range partly separates Northumberland from Scotland, and reaches in the Cheviot, its culminating point north-eastward, the greatest elevation in the county, 2676 ft. The elevation of the Cheviots rarely falls below 1300 ft. along the Border, and generally exceeds 1600. A line of high ground, bending southward, forms the watershed between the North and Irish Seas. The boundary with Cumberland crosses the low divide between the Irthing and the South Tyne, after coinciding with the former river for a short distance, and giving Northumberland a small drainage area westward. In the south-west a small area of the Pennine uplands is included in the county, reaching elevations up to 2206 ft. in Kilhope Law. Few eminences break the general eastward incline, which appears as a wide billowing series of confluent hills that for half the year mingle tints of brown, russet, and dun in a rich pattern, and at all times communicate a fine sense of altitude and expanse. The Simonside Hills 0447 ft.) form one not very conspicuous exception. The configuration of much of these uplands has a certain linearity in its details due to groups and ranges of ridges, crags, and terrace-like tiers, termed "edges" (escarpments) by the country folk, and generally facing the interior, like broad ends of wedges. The line of pillared crags and prow-like headlands between the North and South Tynes along the verge of which the Romans carried their wall is a fine specimen. Passing eastwards from the uplands the moors are exchanged for enclosed grounds, "drystone" walls for hedgerows, and rare sprinklings of birch for a sufficiently varied wooding. The hills and moors sink to a coast generally low, a succession of sands, flat tidal rocks and slight cliffs. Its bays are edged by blown sandhills; its borders are severely wind-swept. Several islands lie over against it. Holy Island, the classic Lindisfarne, 1051 acres in extent, but half "links" and sandbanks, is annexed to the mainland and accessible to conveyances every tide. The Farne Islands are a group of rocky islets farther south.

Deep glens and valleys, scoring the uplands, and richly wooded except at their heads, are characteristic of the rivers. Of these the chief are the Tweed, forming the north-eastern part of the Scottish border, its tributary the Till (with its feeders the Glen and College), the Aln and the exquisite Coquet, flowing into Alnmouth Bay, the Wansbeck, with its tributary the Font, the Blyth and the Tyne, forming part of the boundary with Durham, the union of the North and South Tynes. Many of the upland streams attract trout-fishermen.

Table of contents

Geology

The core of the county, in a geological aspect, is the northern Cheviots from Redesdale head nearly to the Tweed. Its oldest rocks are gritty and slaty beds of Silurian age, about the head of the rivers Rede and Coquet and near the Breamish south of Ingram - a part of the great Silurian mass of the southern uplands of Scotland. Volcanic activity about the period of the Old Red Sandstone resulted in the felspathic porphyrites, passing into the syenites and granites, that form the mass of the northern Cheviots. Round this core there now lie relays of Carboniferous strata dipping east and south, much faulted and repeated in places, but passing into Coal Measures and Magnesian Limestone in the south-eastern part of the county. The whole system consists of (1) the Carboniferous Limestone series in three divisions; (2) the Millstone Grit; and (3) the Coal Measures. Lowest in Northumberland lies Tate's Tuedian group, the first envelope of sinking Cheviot-land. Some reddish shore-like conglomerates lie in places at its base, as at Roddam Dene; its shales are often tinged with distemper greens; its coals are scarcely worthy of the name; its limestones are thin, except near Rothbury; and its marine fossils are few. The Tuedian group is overlaid by the Carbonaceous group; its shales are carbonaceous-grey, its coals, though mostly small, very numerous, its limestones often plant-limestones, and its calcareous matter much diffused. Upon this lies the Calcareous group; its lime occurs in well-individualized marine beds, cropping up to the surface in greenvested strips; its fossils are found in recurrent cycles, with the limestones and coals forming their extremes. These three groups now range round the northern Cheviots in curved belts broadening southwards, and occupy nearly all the rolling ground between the Tweed and the South Tyne, the sandstones forming the chief eminences. The middle division becomes thinner and more like the Coal Measures in passing northwards, and the upper division, thinning also, loses many of its limestones. The Millstone Grit is a characterless succession of grits and shales. The Coal Measures possess the same zone-like arrangement that prevails in the Limestone series, but are without limestones. They also are divided, very artificially, into three groups. The lowest, from the Brockwell seam downwards, has some traces of Gannister beds, and its coalseams are thin. The famous Hutton collection of plants was made chiefly from the roof-shales of two seams - the Bensham and the Low Main. The unique Atthey collection of fishes and Amphibia comes from the latter. The Coal Measures lie along the coast in a long triangle, of which the base, at the Tyne, is produced westwards on to the moors south of that river, where it is wedged against lower beds on the south by a fault. The strata within the triangle give signs of departing from the easterly dip that has brought them where they are, and along a line between its apex (near Amble) and an easterly point in its base (near Jarrow) they turn up northeastwards, promising coal-crops under the sea.

The top of the Coal Measures is wanting. After a slight tilting of the strata and the denudation that removed it, the Permian rocks were deposited, consisting of Magnesian Limestone, a thin fish-bed below it, and yellow sands and some red sandstone (with plants of Coal Measure species) at the base. These rocks are now all but removed. They form Tynemouth rock, and lie notched-in against the 90-fathom dyke at Cullercoates, and again are touched (the base only) at Seaton Sluice. No higher strata have been preserved. The chief faults of the county extend across it. Its igneous rocks, other than the Cheviot porphyrites and a few contemporaneous traps in the lowest Carboniferous, are all intrusive. An irregular sheet of basalt forced between planes of bedding (perhaps at the close of the Carboniferous period) forms the crag-making line of the Great Whinsill, which, with many shifts, breaks and gaps, extends from Greenhead near Gilsland to the Kyloe Hills. Numbers of basalt dykes cross the county, and were probably ccnnected with the plateau of Miocene volcanic rocks in the Hebrides. Everywhere the Glacial period has left rocks rounded and scored, and rockfragments from far and near rubbed up into boulder-clay. The glaciers at first held with the valleys, but as the ice-inundation grew they spread out into one sheet - the Cheviot tops, heavily ice-capped, alone rising above it. Two great currents met in confluence around these hills - one from across the western watershed, the other skirting the coast from the north. Boulders from Galloway, Criffel, the Lake District and other places adjacent, and from the Lammermuirs and Berwickshire, lie in their track. Of moraines there are only a few towards the hills. Glaciated shell-fragments have been detected at Tynemouth. Laminated brick clays occur among the boulder-clays. Sheets and mounds of gravel of the nature of kames exist here and there on the low grounds, and stretch in a chain over the low watershed between Haltwhistle and Gilsland, sparsely dotting also some more upland valleys. An upper boulderclay, containing flints, skirts the coast.

The older valleys are all pre-Glacial, and may date from the Miocene period. They are much choked up with Glacial deposits, and lie so deep below the surface that, if they were cleared-out arms of the sea, one of them, 140 ft. deep at Newcastle, would extend for miles inland. After the departure of the glaciers the streams here and there wandered into new positions, and hence arises a great variety of smooth slope and rocky gorge. In the open country atmospheric waste has hollowed out the shales at their outcrops, leaving the sandstones, &c., as protruding "edges," roughened here and there into crags. In the lower grounds, where this surfacedissection first began, the "edges" have much run together; on the heights, whose turn came last, they are often prominent and crest-like, but have glacier-rounded brows. Many old tarns are now sheeted over with peat. The sloping peat-fields are often the sites of straggling birch-woods, now buried.

Climate

The climate is bracing and healthy, with temperate summers (e.g. the average July temperature at Alnwick is 57.9° F.). In spring east winds prevail over the whole county. The lambing season in the higher uplands is fixed for the latter half of April, and is even then often too early. In summer and autumn west winds are general. The rainfall gradually increases as the country rises from the coast, thus the mean annual fall at Shields is 26.32 in., at Alnwick 31.04 in., while on the western borders 40 to 60 in. are recorded. East winds in summer bring rain to the interior. The smell from the coal-field, the lighter grime of which is detected as far as Cumberland, is taken by the shepherd for a sign of wet.

Agriculture, eec. - About five-ninths of the total area is under cultivation, and of this nearly five-sevenths is in permanent pasture. There are also about 470,000 acres under hill pasture. South of the river Coquet there is a broad tract of cultivation towards the coast that sends lessening strips up the valleys into the interior. From the Coquet northwards another breadth of enclosed ground stretches almost continuously along the base of the Cheviot hills. In the basin of the Till it becomes very fertile, and towards the Tweed the two breadths unite. In the porphyritic Cheviots the lower hills show a great extent of sound surface and good grass. The average hill-farms support about one sheep to 2 acres. A coarser pasturage covers the Carboniferous hills, and the proportion of stock to surface is somewhat less. In the highest fells the congeries of bogs, hags and sandstone scars, with many acres dangerous to sheep,'i are worthless to the farmer. The lower uplands are a patchwork of coarse grasses (mown by the "muirmen" into "bent-hay") and heather, or, in the popular terms, heather and "white ground," for it is blanched for eight months in the year. Heather is the natural cover of the sandstones and of the sandy glacier-debris near them. On the uplands they grow bents; lower down they are apt to be cold and strong, but are much relieved by patches and inworkings of gravel, especially north of the Wansbeck. The prevalent stream-alluvium is sandy loam, with a tincture of peat. The arable regions are very variable. Changes of soil are probably as numerous as fields. The bulk of the acreage under corn crops, which has greatly diminished, is under oats and barley, and turnips occupy some five-sixths of the area under green crops. Northumberland is one of the largest sheep-rearing counties in Great Britain. Of these, the half-breds - crosses between the Leicester (or Shropshire) and Cheviot breeds - occupy the lower enclosed grounds, the pure Cheviots are on the uplands and the hardier black-faced breeds lie out on the exposed heathery heights. The cattle are chiefly shorthorns and Galloways. They are very largely raised, chiefly for fattening purposes.

The practice of paying wages in kind has passed greatly into disuse. Some of the shepherds still receive "stock-wages," being allowed to keep forty or fifty sheep and several cows on their employers' farms in lieu of pay. This arrangement, which makes them really copartners, has probably done much to render them the singularly fine class of men they are.

Other Industries

The manufactures of the county chiefly come from the Tyne, which is a region of ironworks, blast-furnaces, shipbuilding yards, ropeworks, coke-ovens, alkali-works and manufactories of glass, pottery and fire-bricks, from above Newcastle to the sea. Machines, appliances, conveyances and tools are the principal articles of manufacture in metal. There is great activity in all trades concerned in pit-sinking and mine-working. In the other parts of the county there are a few small cloth-mills, a manufactory of tan gloves at Hexham, some potteries and numbers of small brick and tile works. There are several sea-fishing stations, of which North Shields is by far the most important. The salmon fisheries are also valuable.

Communications

Communications are provided almost wholly by the North-Eastern railway, of which the main line enters the county at Newcastle and runs N. by Morpeth, and near the coast, to Berwick, where a junction on the East Coast route from London to Scotland is effected with the North British railway. Numerous branch railways serve the populous south-eastern district, and there are connexions westward to Hexham and Carlisle, up the Tweed valley into Scotland and (by the North British line) up the North Tyne valley from Hexham. The principal ports besides the Tyne ports are Blyth, Amble (Warkworth Harbour), Alnmouth and Berwick. The Tyne is one of the most important centres of the coal-shipping trade in the world.

Population and Administration

The area of the ancient county is 1,291,530 acres with a population in 1891 of 506,442, and in 1901 of 603,498. In physique the Northumbrian is stalwart and robust, and seldom corpulent. The people have mostly grey eyes, brown hair and good complexions. The inhabitants of the fishing villages appear to be Scandinavian; and parts of the county probably contain some admixture of the old Brit-Celt, and a trace of the Gipsy blood of the Faas of Yetholm. The natives have fine characteristics: they are clean, thrifty and plodding, honest and sincere, shrewd and very independent. Their virtues lie rather in solidity than in aspiration.

Northumbrian speech is characterized by a "rough vibration of the soft palate" or pharynx in pronouncing the letter r, well known as the burr, a peculiarity extending to the town and liberties of Berwick, and absent only in a narrow strip along the north-west. Over the southern part of the county there is the same duplication of vowel-sounds, such as "pebl" for "pool," that is found in the English counties adjacent. Many OldEnglish forms of speech strike the ear, such as "to butch a beef ," i.e, to kill a bullock, and curious inversions, such as "they not can help." There is the Old-English distinction in the use of "thou" to familiars and "ye" to superiors.

The area of the administrative county is 1,291,515 acres. The county is divided into nine wards, answering to hundreds. Population is densest in the south-east, where the mining district and the Tyneside industrial area are situated. The municipal boroughs in this district are: Newcastle-upon-Tyne (city, county of a city and county borough; pop. 215,328), Tynemouth (county borough, 51,366), Morpeth (6158), Wallsend (20,918). In this district the following are urban districts: Amble (4428), Ashington (13,956), Bedlington (18,766), Blyth (5472), Cowpen (17,879), Cramlington (6437), Earsdon (9020), Gosforth (10,605), Newbiggin-by-the-Sea (2032), Newburn (12,500), Seghill (2213), Weetslade (5453), Whitley and Monkseaton (7705), Willington Quay (7941). The remainder of the county contains the municipal borough of Berwick-uponTweed (13437) and the urban districts of Alnwick (6716), Hexham (7071) and Rothbury (1303). The county is in the north-eastern circuit, and assizes are held at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The total number of civil parishes is 523. The ancient county, which is in the diocese of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with the exception of a small portion in that of Durham, contains 173 ecclesiastical parishes or districts, wholly or in part. The parliamentary divisions of the county are Berwick-upon-Tweed, Hexham, Wansbeck and Tyneside, each returning one member; while the parliamentary borough of Newcastleupon-Tyne returns two members, and those of Morpeth and Tynemouth one member each.

History

The first English settlement in the kingdom of Bernicia, which included what is now Northumberland, was effected in 547 by Ida, who, accompanied by his six sons, pushed through the narrow strip of territory between the Cheviots and the sea, and set up a fortress at Bamburgh, which became the royal seat of the Saxon kings. About the end of the 6th century Bernicia was first united with the rival kingdom of Deira under the rule of IEthelfrith, and the district between the Humber and the Forth became known as the kingdom of Northumbria. In 634 Cadwalla was defeated at Hefenfeld (the site of which lies in the modern parish of St John Lee) by Oswald, under whom Christianity was definitely established in Northumbria, and the bishop's see fixed at Hexham, where Bishop Wilfrid erected the famous Saxon church. Oswald also erected a church of stone at Tynemouth, which was destroyed in 865 in an incursion of the Danes under Hinguar and Hubba. The extent of Danish influence in Northumberland has been much exaggerated, however, for though in 876 Halfden, having conquered the whole of Northumbria, portioned out the lands among his followers, the permanent settlements were confined to the southern portion of the kingdom. In the northern half, which is now Northumberland, the English princes continued to reign at Bamburgh as vassals of the Danes, and not a single place-name with the Danish suffix "by" or "thorpe" is found north of the Tyne. In 938 lEthelstan annexed Northumberland to his dominions, and the Danish authority was annulled until its re-establishment by Canute in 1013. The vigorous resistance of Northumbria to the Conqueror was punished by ruthless harrying. The Normans rebuilt the Saxon monasteries of Lindisfarne, Hexham and Tynemouth; Eustace Fitz John founded Alnwick Abbey, and other Norman abbeys were Brinkburn, Hulne, Blanchland and Newminster. Castles were set up at Alnwick, Warkworth, Prudhoe, Dunstanborough, Morpeth, Ford, Chillingham, Langley, Newcastle, Bamburgh, Wark and Norham, a stronghold of the palatine bishops of Durham.

The term Northumberland is first used in its contracted modern sense in 1065 in an entry in the Saxon Chronicle relating to the northern rebellion. The county is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but the account of the issues of the county, as rendered by Odard the sheriff, is entered in the Great Roll of the Exchequer for 1131. In the reign of Edward I. the county of Northumberland was found to comprise the whole district between the Tees and the Tweed, and to have within it the several liberties of Durham, Sadberg and Bedlington south of the Coquet, and Norham beyond the Coquet, all subject to the bishop of Durham; the liberty of Hexham belonging to the archbishop of York; that of Tynedale to the king of Scotland; that of Emildon to the earl of Lancaster; and that of Redesdale to Gilbert de Umfraville, earl of Angus. These franchises were all held exempt from the ordinary jurisdiction of the shire. By statute of1495-1496the lordship of Tynedale was annexed to Northumberland on account of flagrant abuses of the liberties of the franchise; the liberty of Hexham was annexed to Northumberland in 1572; Norhamshire, Islandshire and Bedlingtonshire continued to form detached portions of Durham until 1844, when they were incorporated with Northumberland. The division into wards existed at least as early as 1295, the Hundred Roll of that year giving the wards of Coquetdale, Bamburgh, Glendale and Tynedale.

The shire-court for Northumberland was held at different times at Newcastle, Alnwick and Morpeth, until by statute of 1 549 it was ordered that the court should thenceforth be held in the town and castle of Alnwick, and under the same statute the sheriffs of Northumberland, who had lately been in the habit of appropriating the issues of the county to their private use, were required to hereafter deliver in their accounts to the Exchequer in the same manner as the sheriffs of other counties. The assizes were held at Newcastle, and the itinerant justices, on their approach to the county, were met by the king of Scotland, the archbishop of York, the bishop of Durham and the prior of Tynemouth, who pleaded their liberties either at a well called Chille near Gateshead, if the justices were proceeding from York, or, if from Cumberland, at Fourstanes. In these franchises the king's writ did not run, and their owners performed the office of sheriff and coroner. Among other Northumbrian landowners claiming privileged jurisdiction in 1293 was Robert de Quonla, who claimed that he and his men were quit of the suits of the shire and wapentake; the prior of St Mary of Carlisle claimed to exclude the king's bailiffs from executing their office in his fee of Corbridge, and that he and his men were quit of the suits of the shire and wapentake. The burgesses of Newcastle claimed return of writs in their borough, and Edmund, the brother of Edward I., claimed return of writs and exemptions from the sheriff's jurisdiction in his manor of Stamford. Newcastle was made a county by itself by Henry IV. in 1400, and has jurisdiction in admiralty cases. Ecclesiastically the county was in the diocese of Durham, and in 1291 formed the archdeaconry of Northumberland, comprising the deaneries of Newcastle, Corbridge, Bamburgh and Alnwick. In 1535 the archdeaconry included the additional deanery of Morpeth. The archdeaconry of Lindisfarne was formed in 1845, and subdivided into the rural deaneries of Alnwick, Bamburgh, Morpeth, Norham and Rothbury; the archdeaconry of Northumberland then including the deaneries of Bellingham, Corbridge, Hexham and Newcastle-uponTyne. In 1882 Northumberland was formed into a separate diocese with its see at Newcastle, the archdeaconries and deaneries being unaltered. In 1885 the additional deaneries of Tynemouth and Bedlington were formed in the archdeaconry of Northumberland, and in 1900 the deanery of Glendale in the archdeaconry of Lindisfarne.

Pre-eminent among the great families connected with Northumberland is that of Percy. Ford and Chipchase were seats of the Heron family. The Widdringtons were established at Widdrington in the reign of Henry I. and frequently filled the office of sheriff of the county. The barony of Prudhoe was granted by Henry I. to the Umfravilles, who also held the castles of Otterburn and Harbottle and the franchise of Redesdale. From the Ridleys of Willimoteswyke was descended Bishop Ridley, who was martyred in 1555. Aydon Castle was part of the barony of Hugh Baliol. The Radcliffes, who held Dilston and Cartington in the 15th century and afterwards acquired the extensive barony of Langley, became very powerful in Northumberland after the decline of the Percies, and were devoted adherents of the Stuart cause.

From the Norman Conquest until the union of England and Scotland under James I., Northumberland was the scene of perpetual inroads and devastations by the Scots. Norham, Alnwick and Wark were captured by David of Scotland in the wars of Stephen's reign, and in 1290 it was at Norham Castle that Edward I. decided the question of the Scottish succession in favour of John Baliol. In 1295 Robert de Ros and the earls of Athol and Menteith ravaged Redesdale, Coquetdale and Tynedale. In 1314 the county was ravaged by Robert Bruce, and in 1382 by special enactment the earl of Northumberland was ordered to remain on his estates in order to protect the county from the Scots. In 1388 Henry Percy was taken prisoner and 1500 of his men slain at the battle of Otterburn, immortalized in the ballad of "Chevy Chase." Alnwick, Bamburgh and Dunstanborough were garrisoned for the Lancastrian cause in 1462, but after the Yorkist victories of Hexham and Hedgley Moor in 1464, Alnwick and Dunstanborough surrendered, and Bamburgh was taken by storm. In 1513 the king of Scotland was slain in the battle of Flodden Field on Branxton Moor. During the Civil War of the 17th century Newcastle was garrisoned for the king by the earl of Newcastle, but in 1644 it was captured by the Scots under the earl of Leven, and in 1646 Charles was led there a captive under the charge of David Leslie. Many of the chief Northumberland families were ruined in the rebellion of 1715.

The early industrial development of Northumberland was much impeded by the constant ravages of internal and border warfare, and in 1376 the commonalty of Northumberland begged consideration for their sheriff, who, although charged £loo for the profits of the county, through death and devastation by the Scots could only raise X53, 3s. 4d. Again Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pope Pius II.), who passed through the county disguised as a merchant in 1436, leaves a picture of its barbarous and desolate condition, and as late as the 17th century, Camden, the antiquarian, describes the lands as rough and unfit for cultivation. The mineral resources, however, appear to have been exploited to some extent from remote times. It is certain that coal was used by the Romans in Northumberland, and some coal ornaments found at Angerton have been attributed to the 7th century. In a 13th-century grant to Newminster Abbey a road for the conveyance of sea-coal from the shore about Blyth is mentioned, and the Blyth coal-field was worked throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. The coal trade on the Tyne did not exist to any extent before the 13th century, but from that period it developed rapidly, and Newcastle acquired the monopoly of the river shipping and coal-trade. Lead was exported from Newcastle in the 12th century, probably from Hexhamshire, the lead mines of which were very prosperous throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. In a charter from Richard I. to Bishop Pudsey creating him earl of Northumberland, mines of silver and iron are mentioned, and in 1240 the monks of Newminster had an iron forge at Stretton. A salt-pan is mentioned at Warkworth in the 12th century; in the 13th century the salt industry flourished at the mouth of the river Blyth, and in the 15th century formed the principal occupation of the inhabitants of North and South Shields. In the reign of Elizabeth glasshouses were set up at Newcastle by foreign refugees, and the industry spread rapidly along the Tyne. Tanning, both of leather and of nets, was largely practised in the 13th century,. and the salmon fisheries in the Tyne were famous in the reign of Henry I.

The county of Northumberland was represented by two members in the parliament of 1290, and in 1295 Bamburgh, Corbridge and Newcastle-upon-Tyne each returned two members. From 1297, however, Newcastle was the only borough represented, until in 1524 Berwick acquired representation and returned two members. Morpeth returned two members from 1553. Under the Reform Act of 1832 the county returned four members in two divisions; Berwick and Newcastle were represented by two members each, and Morpeth and Tynemouth by one member each. Under the act of 1885 the county now returns four members in four divisions.

Antiquities

Of Anglo-Saxon buildings the Danes left almost nothing. The crypt of Wilfrid's abbey of St Andrew at Hexham is one undoubted remnant; portions of several other churches are very doubtfully pre-Norman. Some thousand Saxon stycas found buried at Hexham, the "fridstool" there, and an ornate cross now shared between Rothbury and Newcastle are the other principal vestiges of Saxon times. The Black Dyke, a bank and ditch crossing the line of the Roman wall about 3 m. east of the Irthing, is supposed by some antiquaries to be the continuation of the Catrail at Peel Fell; the latter was the probable boundary-fence between the Saxon Bernicia and the British Strathclyde.

The ecclesiastical buildings of the county suffered greatly at the hands of the Scots. Not a few of the churches were massive structures, tower-like in strength, and fit to defend on occasion. Lindisfarne Priory, the oldest monastic ruin in the country, dates from 1093. Hexham Abbey Church, raised over the crypt of Wilfrid's cathedral, has been termed a "text-book of Early English architecture." Of Brinkburn Priory the church remains, and has been well restored. Hulne Abbey was the first Carmelite monastery in Britain. Besides these there are fragments of Newminster Abbey (i 139), Alnwick Abbey (1147) and others. An exquisitely graceful fragment of Tynemouth church is associated with some remains of the older priory. St Nicholas's church, Newcastle (1350), was the prototype of St Giles's, Edinburgh. There is a massive Norman church at Norham, and other Norman and Early English churches at Mitford, Bamburgh, Warkworth (with its hermitage), Alnwick (St Michael's) &c., most of them with square towers. The stone roof of the little church at Bellingham, with its heavy semicircular girders, is said to be now unique.

"It may be said of the houses of the gentry herein," writes Fuller, "` quot mansiones, tot munitiones,' as being all castles or castle-like." Except a few dwellings of the 16th century in Newcastle, and some mansions built after the Union of England and Scotland, the older houses are all castles. A survey of 1460 mentions thirty-seven castles and seventy-eight towers in Northumberland, not probably including all the bastle-houses or small peels of the yeomen. At the Conquest Bamburgh, the seat of the Saxon kings, was the only fortress north of York. Norham Castle was built in 1121. None of the baronial castles are older than the time of Henry I. A grass mound represents Wark Castle. Alnwick Castle is an array of walls and towers covering about five acres. Warkworth, Prudhoe and Dunstanburgh castles are fine groups of ruins. Dilston Castle has still its romantic memories of the earl of Derwentwater. Belsay, Haughton, Featherstone and Chipchase castles are joined with modern mansions. The peel-towers of Elsdon, Whitton (Rothbury) and Embleton were used as fortified rectory-houses. Seaton Delaval was the work of Vanbrugh.

The place-names of the county may be viewed as its etymological antiquities. The Danish test-suffix by is absent. Saxon tons, hams, cleughs (clefts or ravines) and various patronymics are met with in great numbers; and the Gaelic knock (hill) and Cymric caer, dwr (water), cefn (ridge), bryn (brow), &c., mingle with the Saxon. Many curiosities of place-nomenclature exist, some strange, some expressive, e.g. Blink-bonny, Blaw-wearie, Skirl-naked, Pity Me.

Authorities

- Victoria County History, Northumberland; Northumberland County History Committee, A History of Northumberland (in process) (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1893, &c.); John Hodgson, A History of Northumberland, in 3 parts (1827-1840); E. Mackenzie, An Historical View of the County of Northumberland (2nd ed., 2 vols., Newcastle, 1811); Society of Antiquaries, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, A History of Northumberland, pt. i. containing the general history of the county, state of the district under the Saxon and Danish kings, &c. (Newcastle, 1858); Archaeologia Aeliana, or Miscellaneous Tracts relating to Antiquity, published by the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (4 vols., Newcastle-upon-Tyne,1822-1855new series, 1857, &c.); William Wallis, The Natural History and Antiquities of Northumberland (2 vols., London, 1769); W. S. Gibson, Descriptive and Historical Notices of some remarkable Northumbrian Castles, Churches and Antiquities, series i. (London, 1848); Early Assize Rolls for Northumberland, edited by William Page, Surtees Society (London, 1891).


<< John Neville, Earl Of Northumberland

Northumbria >>


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Wikipedia-logo.png
Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Proper noun

Singular
Northumberland

Plural
-

Northumberland

  1. The most northerly county of England bordered by County Durham, Cumberland, Scotland and the North Sea.

Related terms


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

This article requires significantly more historical detail on the particular phases of this location's historical development. The ideal article for a place will give the reader a feel for what it was like to live at that location at the time their relatives were alive there..
Please help to improve this page yourself if you can..
:For other places with this name, see Northumberland
Northumberland
File:EnglandNorthumberland.png
Geography
Status: Ceremonial & Non-metropolitan county
Region: North East England
Area:
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 6th
5,013 km²
Ranked 6th
Admin HQ: Morpeth
ISO 3166-2: GB-NBL
ONS code: 35
NUTS 3: UKC21
Demographics
Population:
- Total (2006 est.)
- Density
- Admin. Council
Ranked 44th Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
309,900


62

/ km²
Ranked 33rd Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Ethnicity: 99.0% White
Politics
Northumberland County Council
File:Northumbeland coa.pnghttp://www.northumberland.gov.uk/
Executive: Labour
MPs: Peter Atkinson (C)

Alan Beith (LD)
Ronnie Campbell (L)
Denis Murphy (L)

Police Force Covering Area
File:Northumbriapolice.gif
Northumbria Police
Districts
File:NorthumberlandNumbered.png
  1. Blyth Valley
  2. Wansbeck
  3. Castle Morpeth
  4. Tynedale
  5. Alnwick
  6. Berwick-upon-Tweed

File:Long Crag summit.jpg Northumberland is a county in the North East of England. The non-metropolitan county of Northumberland borders Cumbria to the west, County Durham to the south and Tyne and Wear to the south east, as well as having a border with the Scottish Borders council area to the north, and nearly eighty miles of North Sea coastline. Since 1974 the county council has been located in Morpeth, situated in the east of the county; however, both Morpeth and Alnwick claim the title county town.

As the kingdom of Northumbria under King Edwin, the region's historical boundaries stretched from the Humber in the south to the Forth in the north. The historic boundaries of the county cover a different area, including Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the traditional county town, as well as Tynemouth and other settlements in North Tyneside, areas administered by Tyne and Wear since 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. The historic boundaries of the county are sometimes taken to exclude Islandshire, Bedlingtonshire and Norhamshire (collectively North Durham), exclaves of County Durham which were incorporated into Northumberland in 1844.

Being on the border of Scotland and England, Northumberland has been the site of many battles. The county is noted for its undeveloped landscape of high moorland, a favourite with landscape painters, and now largely protected as a National Park.

Northumberland's county flower is the Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum) and her affiliated Royal Navy ship is her namesake, HMS Northumberland.

Contents

History

Main article: History of Northumberland

Once part of the Roman Empire and the scene of many wars between England and Scotland, Northumberland has a long and complicated history. Hence there are many castles in Northumberland, including among the better-known those at Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh, Warkworth and Alnwick.

The region of present-day Northumberland once formed the core of the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia, which was later united with Deira to form Northumbria. Northumberland is called the "cradle of Christianity" in England, because it was on Lindisfarne, a tidal island north of Bamburgh, also called Holy Island, that Christianity flourished when monks from Iona were sent to convert the English. Lindisfarne was the home of the Lindisfarne Gospels and Saint Cuthbert, who is buried at Durham Cathedral.

Bamburgh is the historic capital of Northumberland, the "royal" castle from before the unification of England under one monarch. The capital of Northumberland now, however, may be thought to be Morpeth, since Northumberland County Council's offices are in that town or may be thought of as the market town of Alnwick, mainly because the Duke of Northumberland has his home there.

The lords of Northumberland once wielded inordinate power in English affairs because, as the Lords of the Marches, they were entrusted with protecting England from Scottish invasion.

Northumberland has a history of revolt and rebellion against the government, as seen in the Rising of the North in Tudor times. These revolts were usually led by the then Dukes of Northumberland, the Percy family. Shakespeare mentions one of the Percys, Harry Hotspur. The county was also a centre for Catholicism in England, as well as of Jacobite feelings after the Restoration. Northumberland became a sort of wild county, where outlaws and border reivers hid from the law. However, the frequent cross-border skirmishes and accompanying local lawlessness largely subsided after the union of the crowns of Scotland and England under King James VI and I.

Northumberland played a key role in the industrial revolution. Coal-mines were once widespread in Northumberland, with collieries at Ashington, Ellington and Pegswood The region's coalfields fuelled industrial expansion in other areas of the country, and the need to transport the coal from the collieries to the Tyne led to the development of the first railways. Ship-building and armaments manufacture were other important industries.

Today, Northumberland is still largely rural. As the least populated county in England, it commands much less power in British affairs than in times past. In recent years the county has had considerable growth in tourism due to its scenic beauty and the abundant evidence of its historical significance.

Physical geography

File:ShepherdPhysical1926Northumberland.PNG The physical geography of Northumberland is diverse. It is low and flat near the North Sea coast and increasingly mountainous toward the northwest. The Cheviot Hills, in the northwest of the county, consist mainly of resistant Devonian granite and andesite lava. A second area of igneous rock underlies Whin Sill (on which Hadrian's Wall runs), an intrusion of carboniferous Dolerite. Both ridges support a rather bare moorland landscape. Either side of Whin Sill the county lies on carboniferous limestone, giving some areas of karst landscape.[1] Lying off the coast of Northumberland are the Farne Islands, another Dolerite outcrop, famous for their bird life.

There are coal fields in the southeast corner of the county, extending along the coastal region north of the river Tyne. The term sea coal likely originated from chunks of coal, found washed up on beaches, that wave action had broken from coastal outcroppings. File:Rothbury, Northumberland.jpg Being in the far north of England, above 55° latitude, and having many areas of high land, Northumberland is one of the coldest areas of the country. It has an average annual temperature of 7.1 to 9.3 °C, with the coldest temperatures inland.[2] However, the county lies on the east coast, and has relatively low rainfall, between 466 and 1060 mm annually, mostly falling in the west on the high land.[3] Between 1971 and 2000 the county averaged 1321 to 1390 hours of sunshine per year.[4]

Approximately a quarter of the county is protected as the Northumberland National Park, an area of outstanding landscape that has largely been protected from development and agriculture. The park stretches south from the Scottish border and includes Hadrian's Wall. Most of the park is over 800 feet (240 metres) above sea level. The Northumberland Coast is also a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Ecology

There are a variety of notable habitats and species in Northumberland including: Chillingham Cattle herd; Holy Island; Farne Islands; and Staple Island.

Economy and industry

File:Housedon hill.jpg This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Northumberland at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added[5] Agriculture[6] Industry[7] Services[8]
1995 2,585 130 943 1,512
2000 2,773 108 831 1,833
2003 3,470 109 868 2,494

Northumberland has a relatively weak economy amongst the counties and other local government areas of the United Kingdom.[9] The county is ranked sixth lowest amongst these 63 council areas. In 2003 23% of males and 60% of females were earning less than the Council of Europe's decency threshold. As of May 2005 unemployment is at 2.3%, in line with the national average.[10] Between 1999 and 2003 businesses in the county grew 4.4% to 8,225, making 0.45% of registered businesses in the UK.[11]

A major source of employment and income in the county is tourism. The county annually receives 1.1 million UK visitors and 50,000 foreign tourists who spend a total of £162million in the county.[12].

Education

Northumberland has a completely comprehensive education system with 15 state schools and one independent school. Similar to Bedfordshire, it embraced the comprehensive ideal with the three tier system of lower/middle/upper schools with large school year sizes (often around 300). This eliminates choice of school in most areas - as instead of having two secondary schools in one town, one school becomes a middle school and another becomes an upper school; in individual towns everyone will go to the same school. Cramlington Community High School has almost 400 pupils in each school year; making it one of the largest schools in England. There is only one school for the whole of the Berwick-upon-Tweed district. At GCSE in England, the average number of pupils with 5 grades A-C at 16 in 2006 is 45.8%; for Northumberland's 3800 pupils taking GCSE at 16 it is 48.9%. The best state school at GCSE is the King Edward VI School in Morpeth with 69%, a former grammar school, followed by Ponteland Community High School with 66%, Cramlington Community High School with 64% and Queen Elizabeth High School with 62%. These are excellent results and far better than schools in the neighbouring Tyne & Wear districts. The worst school is Hirst High School in Ashington with 23%. At A-level, the county performs under the England average, which is disappointing for a rural county. The sixth forms are large too - the sixth form at the school in Morpeth has almost 500 pupils. The best state school is the Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham. The next best school (of any type) is the county's only independent school, Longridge Towers School in Berwick-upon-Tweed. There is one further education college for the whole of the county, Northumberland College.

The distinction between Scotland (full government support) and England (no government support) funding of university fees is very relevant to university students from Northumberland.

GCSE results by council district

% of pupils with 5 grades A-C including English and Maths in 2006; compare this table to average house price by district.

  • Castle Morpeth 67.6
  • Tynedale 57.1
  • Alnwick 49.9
  • Blyth Valley 47.7
  • Wansbeck 37.4
  • Berwick upon Tweed 33.0

Demographics

At the Census 2001 Northumberland registered a population of 307,190,[13] estimated to be 309,237 in 2003.[14] In 2001 there were 130,780 households, 10% which were all retired, and one third were rented. Northumberland has a very low ethnic minority population at 0.985% of the population, compared to 9.1% for England as a whole. 81% of the population reported their religion as Christianity, 0.8% as another religion, and 12% as having no religion.[15].

Politics

See also: List of Parliamentary constituencies in Northumberland

Like most English shire counties Northumberland has a two-tier system of local government. It has a county council based in Morpeth and also has six districts, each with their own district council.

These districts are, Blyth Valley, Wansbeck, Castle Morpeth, Tynedale, Alnwick and Berwick-upon-Tweed. The county and district councils are responsible for different aspects of local government.

The Department for Communities and Local Government have passed plans to reorganise Northumberland's administrative structure. Two proposals are being looked at - one to abolish all of the districts to create a Northumberland unitary authority; and one to create two separate unitary authorities, South East Northumberland (the area now covered by Blyth Valley and Wansbeck), and Rural Northumberland (the area now covered by the other four districts). The changes are planned to be implemented no later than 1 April 2009.[16][17][18]

Northumberland is represented in the House of Commons by four Members of Parliament, of whom one is a Conservative, one is a Liberal Democrat and two are Labour.

Culture

File:Flag of Northumberland.svg

Northumberland has traditions not found elsewhere in England, reflecting a mix of indigenous, Anglian, Celtic and Norse influences. These include the rapper sword dance, the Clog dance and the Northumbrian smallpipe. Northumberland also has its own kilt and tartan, sometimes referred to in Scotland as the Shepherd’s Tartan. Traditional Northumberland music sounds similar to Scottish music, reflecting the strong historical links between Northumbria and Scotland.

The Border ballads of the region have been famous since late mediaeval times. Thomas Percy, whose celebrated Reliques of Ancient English Poetry appeared in 1765, states that most of the minstrels who sang the Border ballads in London and elsewhere in the 15th and 16th centuries belonged to the North. The activities of Sir Walter Scott and others in the 19th century gave the ballads an even wider popularity. William Morris considered them to be the greatest poems in the language, while Algernon Swinburne knew virtually all of them by heart.

One of the best-known is the stirring Chevy Chase, which tells of the Earl of Northumberland's vow to hunt for three days across the Border 'maugre the doughty Douglas'. Of it, the Elizabethan courtier, soldier and poet Sir Philip Sidney famously said: 'I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas that I found not my heart moved more than with a trumpet'. Ben Jonson said that he would give all his works to have written Chevy Chase.

In general, the culture of Northumberland, as with the north east of England, has much more it would seem in common with Scottish Lowland culture than with the rest of England, the two perhaps having more in common with each other in some respects, than with other parts of their respective countries. The links between Northumberland and Scotland are audible in the dialects of both, which include many Old English words, such as bairn for child. For further information, see Scots language and Geordie. Attempts to raise the level of awareness of Northumberland culture have also started, with the formation of a Northumbrian Language Society to preserve the unique dialects (Pitmatic and Northumbrian) of this region, as well as to promote home-grown talent.

Northumberland has its own flag, based on the design first used on the tomb of St Oswald in the 7th century. The current version was granted to the county council in 1951, and adopted as the flag of Northumberland county in 1995.[1]

Media

Having no large population centres, the county's mainstream media outlets are served from nearby Tyne and Wear, including radio stations and television channels (such as BBC Look North, BBC Radio Newcastle, Tyne Tees Television and Metro Radio), along with the majority of daily newspapers covering the area (The Journal, Evening Chronicle). It is worth remembering however that whereas Northumberland, like many administrative areas in England, has been shorn of its geographical regional centre, that centre - Newcastle upon Tyne - remains an essential element within the entity we know as Northumberland. Newcastle's newspapers are as widely read in its Northumbrian hinterland as any of those of the wider county: the Northumberland Gazette, Morpeth Herald, Berwick Advertiser, Hexham Courant and the News Post Leader.

Lionheart FM, a community radio station based in Alnwick, has recently been awarded a five-year community broadcasting license by OFCOM. Radio Borders covers Berwick and the rural north of the county.

People

File:George Stephenson.jpg

Famous people born in Northumbria

Ashington was the birth place of the three famous footballers Bobby and Jack Charlton in 1937 and 1935 respectively; and Jackie Milburn previously in 1924. The basketballer Alan Hoyle was born here in 1983 whilst in 1978 Steve Harmison, an international cricketer was born here.

Mickley was the birth place of Thomas Bewick, an artist, wood engraver and naturalist in 1753 and Bob Stokoe, a footballer, F.A. Cup winning manager in 1930

Other notable births include:

Famous people linked with Northumbria

File:Swinburne.jpg
Algernon Swinburne, the poet was raised in Northumberland

The site www.myersnorth.co.uk contains exhaustive detailed entries for famous deceased Northumbrians.

Settlements

See also: List of places in Northumberland
Major settlements in Northumberland File:Flag of Northumberland.svg
Alnwick | Ashington | Bamburgh | Bedlington | Berwick-upon-Tweed | Blyth | Cramlington | Haltwhistle | Hexham | Morpeth | Newbiggin-by-the-Sea | Ponteland | Prudhoe | Rothbury | Seahouses | Wooler

See also

External links

Notes and references

  1. ^ Northumberland National Park Authority, n.d. "The topology and climate of Northumberland National Park."
  2. ^ {{subst:#ifexist:Met Office|[[Met Office|]]|[[Wikipedia:Met Office|]]}}, 2000. "Annual average temperature for the United Kingdom."
  3. ^ Met Office, 2000. "Annual average rainfall for the United Kingdom."
  4. ^ Met Office, 2000. "Annual average sunshine for the United Kingdom."
  5. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  6. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  7. ^ includes energy and construction
  8. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  9. ^ Northumberland County Council, 2003 "Northumberland in context.". MS Word, HTML (Google)
  10. ^ Northumberland InfoNet, 2005. "Unemployment Statistics."
  11. ^ Northumberland InfoNet, 2004. "Key Statistics: Businesses." ({{subst:#ifexist:PDF|[[PDF|]]|[[Wikipedia:PDF|]]}})
  12. ^ Northumberland InfoNet, 2004 "Key Statistics: Tourism." (PDF)
  13. ^ {{subst:#ifexist:Office for National Statistics|[[Office for National Statistics|]]|[[Wikipedia:Office for National Statistics|]]}}, 2003. "Update on 2001 Census figures." ({{subst:#ifexist:PDF|[[PDF|]]|[[Wikipedia:PDF|]]}})
  14. ^ {{subst:#ifexist:Office of the Deputy Prime Minister|[[Office of the Deputy Prime Minister|]]|[[Wikipedia:Office of the Deputy Prime Minister|]]}}, 2003. "Local Government Finance Settlement 2005/06." (PDF)
  15. ^ Office for National Statistics, 2001. "KS07 Religion: Census 2001, Key Statistics for local Authorities."
  16. ^ One Future, One Council - proposal from Northumberland County Council
  17. ^ One Northumberland Two Councils - proposal from the six district councils
  18. ^ Communities and Local Government - Proposals for future unitary structures: Stakeholder consultation

Bibliography

Tomlinson, W. W. (1888). Comprehensive guide to the county of Northumberland (reprinted 1968). Trowbridge, UK: Redwood.



Coordinates: 55°18′N 1°41′W / 55.30, -1.68

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Northumberland. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.


This article uses material from the "Northumberland" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

Northumberland is the most northern county in England. Lindisfarne is an island close offshore. The county town is Morpeth. its finest church is Hexham Abbey.

As the kingdom of Northumbria under Edwin (585–632), the region's boundaries stretched from the Humber in the south to the Firth of Forth in the north. Being on the border of England and Scotland, Northumberland has been the site of many battles. Later, the boundaries of the county included Newcastle upon Tyne and Tynemouth. This area is now in Tyne and Wear.

The county is noted for its undeveloped landscape of high moorland, a favourite with landscape painters, and now largely protected as a National park. Northumberland is the most sparsely populated county in England, with only 62 people per square kilometre.


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message