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May 2012

At the Annual General Meeting of the society the officers and committee were re-elected as follows:
Chairman: Diana Webber; Secretary: Moira Kilkenny; Treasurer: Anne Cashmore. Joan Hellawell, Pat Bagshaw and John Howliston remained on the committee. Membership had increased, finances were sound and the Society had prospered in the past year.
We were delighted to welcome our speaker, Joan Hellawell: she gave us an illustrated whistle-stop account of Warkworth’s history, from its origins to the recent past. Her approach was both scholarly and illuminating, so that even those familiar with the village were engrossed, as the colourful sequence of events unfolded. Neolithic, Roman, Saxon, Norman – all had left their traces. Joan described how we know from Bede’s History that in 737 King Ceolwulf gave Wercewode and its church ‘which he built’, to the monks of Lindisfarne, whence he retired after his abdication. In 875 we read of an attack from the Coquet by Halfdene the Dane, there being no adequate defences at that time. The arrival of the Normans in the twelfth century addressed the problem with the building of an early castle and re-building of the church. Border disputes and skirmishes with the Scots frequently caused disruption – there was a report of villagers taking refuge in St Lawrence Church in 1173, only to be burned to death by the raiders. As early as 1249 there were sixty households giving annual service to the lord and their burgage plots are still visible today, behind each house in Castle Street. We learned about Manorial Courts, known as Courts Leet, whose function declined until it became an annual feast. We followed the varying fortunes of Rev. John Hesleyhead, turned out of his living during the Civil War, only to be re-instated at the Restoration in 1660; in 1715, another vicar, William Ions, played his part in the ignominious failure of the 1715 Jacobite rising, by refusing to proclaim the Old Pretender King James II of England. The fortunes of Warkworth were transformed in the nineteenth century by the construction of Warkworth Harbour and the coming of the railway, enabling a lucrative salmon fishing industry and bringing tourists in large numbers. However, after two world wars, the self-sufficiency of our village was gradually eroded – doctor, bank, butcher, general stores, hardware, drapery, all gone. Despite this, today’s Warkworth remains a thriving community for both residents and visitors, with a wealth of historic buildings bearing witness to its past.We look forward to welcoming everyone to our Court Leet Supper, on October 1st at the Sun Hotel. More information and details of next year’s programme will be published in the Pelican and on the Warkworth History Society's web-site (, later in the summer.


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April 2012

On October 7th 1715 a small Northumbrian village woke up to find itself in the midst of a great upheaval. At the Market Cross in Dial Place, Warkworth, a band of forty armed cavalry under the command of the Earl of Derwentwater, had gathered to witness the proclamation of King James III.

Our speaker, John Nicholls, was well placed to explain the circumstances of the 1715 Jacobite Rising, being Chairman of the Northumbrian Jacobite Society, dedicated to preserving their memorials, and encouraging an interest in their history. He identified the rival branches of the Stuart family tree and presented a skilful appraisal of the political and religious background of this turbulent period.

Following the power struggle which led to the exile of James II and the eventual Hanoverian succession, dedicated followers remained loyal to a Stuart king, the role inherited by Prince Francis Edward Stuart, known as The Old Pretender. The Rising was heavily supported in Scotland, while Northumberland was chosen for its remoteness from London, its access to sea routes and its support from rich Catholic families, such as the Radcliffes, the Swinburnes and the Widdringtons. However, details of the plans leaked out with disastrous consequences.

James III was proclaimed King in Scotland by the Earl of Mar in September 1715. In spite of warrants being issued for their arrest, the Northumbrian supporters came out of hiding to arrive in Warkworth shortly afterwards. For them it was the point of no return and an act of huge significance, being the first to proclaim the new king in England. But not everyone in Warkworth welcomed them: it is recorded that the Vicar, Reverend Ion, refused to pray for the new royal family in St Lawrence Church. Ousted by the Jacobite chaplain, the protesting cleric rode to Newcastle to alert the Hanoverian troops.  

There afterwards ensued a succession of lost opportunities and military ineptitude, culminating in final defeat at Preston. Many were imprisoned and lost their lives and property. But in spite of this debacle, the charisma and courage of the Stuart protagonists remained evident throughout this account. Of special interest to members, a precious contemporary Prayer Book, recording the episode in a marginal note, had been kindly lent by St Lawrence Church for the occasion.
NEXT MEETING: MAY 14th at the Sun Hotel, 7.30 pm. Annual General Meeting and talk by Joan Hellawell on the History of Warkworth.


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March 2012
'A Victorian Sunday with Music'

Victorian Sundays were strictly observed, with very little time for relaxation between the Church services. Children attended Sunday school in the afternoon and pleasurable pursuits were frowned upon.

However, according to our speaker Robert Moon, there was usually a brief interlude in the parlour at tea-time, when music was played and sung for the edification of the assembled household. And so, we were transported to the strait-laced world of the antimacassar and the aspidistra, where we heard a selection of typical hymns and religious ballads, recorded on antique pipe organ, musical boxes and a barrel organ. Robert had a wealth of anecdotes to accompany his music and it was pleasantly relaxing to pick out the well-known tunes from the tinkling sounds that so well evoked an earlier generation.

Throughout Victoria’s reign hymn-writing flourished – Charles Wesley alone produced six thousand hymns – and a proliferation of nonconformist sects, many of which held open-air services with portable organs. Hymns like ‘Shall We Gather at the River’ and ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ reminded us of revivalist days with the Salvation Army and the Temperance Movement. ‘Abide With Me’ was the King’s choice for the 1922 Cup Final, the beginning of a long tradition at football matches.

During the evening we learned something of the development of music in Church: organs were introduced after 1800, prior to which musicians would provide accompaniment, often from the West Gallery of the Church. Changing fashion in the nineteenth century led to many of these galleries being removed – indeed this happened in our own St Lawrence Church, Warkworth.

Robert opened a window into a bygone age – but we were rather glad to reflect that Sundays are very different now!

Members are reminded that next month we welcome John Nicholls MBE, to talk on ‘Warkworth’s Place in the 1715 Jacobite Rising’. As always, the meeting will take place at the Sun Hotel, 7.30 pm. Visitors are always welcome.

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February 2012
'Places for Painters'

Artists’ colonies, a phenomenon of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, were once described by Dame Laura Knight as ‘places for painters’. Marie-Therese Mayne of the Laing Gallery took that as her title for an illuminating and well-informed talk at our February meeting, attended by over fifty people.

Beginning with the group of painters in Cullercoats, she explained how they enjoyed being with like-minded individuals and felt the need to record a disappearing way of life. Their work was remarkable for the realism of its depictions of community life. Through our speaker’s discerning eye we were able to understand the stories behind the scenes and the artist’s skill in evoking atmosphere.  We shared the anxiety of fisherman’s wives waiting for the boat which sometimes never returned. We saw a storm-battered fishing village and briefly shared the hard lives of families who got their living from the sea.
Two of these artists later moved to Staithes, where they were also inspired to paint farming life and agricultural subjects. Laura Knight visited them here and was overwhelmed by the place. The first of her paintings to be exhibited at the Royal Academy, ‘Mother and Child’, was done here. She and her husband then moved to Newlyn in Cornwall, where the dark brooding tones of the north-east were replaced by work that was full of light and the enjoyment of life. Laura was described as ‘a pioneer’ and the first lady Academician. Some pictures were painted with nude models posing out of doors, who were brought in by the Knights, and who apparently scandalised the inhabitants.

But many other artists visited Newlyn, including Turner, so that Cornwall’s fame grew, with  the focal point  shifting later to St Ives. Here Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson were inspired by their surroundings to create abstract sculpture and paintings in whose shapes it was still possible, with the help of our expert, to detect the inspiration of the surrounding marine landscape.
Such was the range and expertise of the presentation that the audience was transported briefly from its surroundings into an art exhibition of great charm and interest.

NEXT MEETING: MARCH 5th  when the talk will be ‘A Victorian Sunday with Music’ by Robert Moon, at The Sun Hotel 7.30 pm.

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January 2012

'The Grey Family at Howick'

To salute the New Year, members enjoyed a convivial glass of wine with a mince pie and welcomed Peter Regan to give an illustrated talk on the Grey Family at Howick.

In contrast to its present tranquillity, Howick must have teemed with activity in the eighteenth and nineteenth century: Charles, the 2nd Earl, born in 1764, pursued an illustrious career as a Whig politician, famously taking up the cause of reform and the abolition of slavery.

He is, of course, well known as the occupant of the column in Grey St,
Newcastle. Many of his descendants and those of his brother George, 1st Baronet of Fallodon, achieved high office at home and abroad, in a formidable list of the great and the good. The men of the Grey family were undoubtedly influential, serving as members of parliament, diplomats, officers and churchmen.

Despite the demands of public life, domesticity played an important part. The 2nd Earl and his wife Mary had fifteen children. (There was another daughter, Eliza Courtney, the result of an affair with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who was brought up by her grandparents at Fallodon.)

Peter went on to describe the building of Howick Hall in 1782 and the
development of its gardens over generations. The Bathing House was built in 1813 – the family would come down to the sea with donkeys.

Howick Church was rebuilt in 1849, this being the third church on that site. Following a disastrous fire which gutted the main Hall block in 1926, it was rebuilt, but left unoccupied after 1967. The family now occupy the West Wing and a charity has been set up to administer the gardens, through which it is hoped to re-open the central section of the Hall.

As one member of the audience later observed: all this, and not a mention of tea! The reply came that Earl Grey had put together a particular blend which went well with the water at Howick: it was taken up by his London acquaintances, but, alas, never patented. The rest is history……!

NEXT MEETING: Monday February 6th at the Sun Hotel, 7.30 pm.
A talk entitled ‘Places for Painters: Artists Colonies in the UK, including Cullercoats.’ With Marie-Therese Mayne of the Laing Gallery.

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December 2011
'A Talk on Paxton House

Situated on the north bank of the River Tweed, Paxton House is a Scottish Palladian house, designed by Robert Adam and built in 1758 for Patrick Home, a member of a family known for its Jacobite sympathies. The house and its family history were illustrated with extensive knowledge and humour by Martha Andrews, the Curator. Since 1988 Paxton has been an independent Trust, partially staffed by a stalwart band of volunteers and offering much of interest to visitors of all ages. Unlike many great houses, this one remained in the same family and the interior reflects this continuity. A rich archive of personal journals, letters and bills, is constantly yielding more details of previous generations. Indeed the whole emphasis of Martha’s talk was on the stories behind the imposing architecture and the rich array of artefacts. The rooms are furnished with a considerable collection of Chippendale and Trotter furniture which is well-documented. Portraits include many by Raeburn and a selection of pictures from the Scottish National Gallery forms a permanent exhibition. A new display of  family costume is planned for 2012. A feature of the house is its working Georgian kitchen, where demonstrations are given using recipes from a cookbook of 1755. Red squirrels inhabit the grounds and an ancient system of salmon netting still operates.

Intrigued and encouraged by this well-informed speaker, the Society hopes to visit Paxton next year and see for itself the splendours described.

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November 2011
'Dr Henry Richardson'

We welcomed back Jane Bowen, with a well-researched presentation in which she introduced us to the life and exploits of Dr Henry Richardson, a nineteenth century naval doctor. Jane had come across his incomplete diaries in the Berwick Archive and resolved to fill in the missing years from other sources, including Kew and Greenwich, using contemporary illustrations to embellish her talk. Henry’s father had owned the Berwick Advertiser but following his early death, the young Henry had chosen to study medicine in Edinburgh, at a time when great progress was being made in anatomy and surgery. His subsequent career at sea took him first on a troop ship to China, during the Opium Wars, later protecting British stations along the coast from piracy. After a posting in the Mediterranean, he then served in West Africa where an anti-slavery blockade was under way. During this time he met up with Dr Livingstone and became involved in an uprising in Lagos. Zanzibar and Mauritius were followed by a trip to Australia carrying convicts to Fremantle, where he remained for a while.

After a final spell on a training ship, he went on half-pay and returned to Berwick in 1863, aged forty-six. From then on his eventful life on the ocean wave was exchanged for the calmer waters of married life and the work of running a provincial newspaper.  Jane Bowen succeeded in giving us an intriguing picture of an interesting character, whose experience of some of the hot-spots of the British Empire really caught the imagination.


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October 2011
Court Leet Supper

Our new season began with a well-attended Court Leet Supper in October, when we had the great pleasure of hearing a programme of Northumbrian music from Andrew and Margaret Watchorn. The combination of fine traditional music with an entertaining commentary was much appreciated.

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May 2011 
‘Clara’s Story’

At the last meeting of the season, The History Society was delighted to welcome its founder and former chairman, Joan Hellawell, to talk about the life of the late Clara Grey of Dial Place, known to everyone in the village as a remarkable character whose family had lived here for generations. After her death at 94, some of her documents were kindly made available for us to catalogue. They included letters, poems and several interesting old photographs of Dial Place and of Clara as a bonny young girl. From these, and from memories of conversations with her, Joan was able to present to us a vivid picture using Clara’s own words to bring it all to life: remembering her childhood, when her father was the village joiner and undertaker; seeing the salmon being landed from the river behind their property; peeping at the blacksmith across the way, as he shoed horses; of ‘bouling’ marbles with her brothers in the roadway when it was still soil, not tarmac.

Clara’s father died tragically as a result of a fall from the roof of Lamb’s Brewery, after which life must have become more difficult for the family. From eleven, Clara had to turn her hand to a variety of jobs. Letters written by Clara and her mother to her brothers away at war gave an insight into wartime privations – queues for everything and the need to go down to the shore to gather sea-coal, a dirty, unpleasant job.

In spite of the disappointment of failing her scholarship to the Duchess School, Clara came over as intelligent, expressive and, even at eleven, able to write a well-crafted essay in an immaculate hand. In later life her opinions were perceptive and revealing in their honesty. Finally we heard Clara’s own voice, reciting one of her poems, in praise of Warkworth, the place she loved, which begins:

 ‘Dear little town of Warkworth
  To me so passing fair
  No other place so beautiful
  Just quite beyond compare.’

The evening ended with a variety of reminiscences from members of the audience, each of whom contributed their own recollections.

Clara’s long life was perhaps not unusual, but immensely interesting and precious as a record: we are indebted to Joan for her skilful research and presentation.

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April 2011

In the History Society we have assorted tastes – some feel drawn to the far distant past, some are fascinated by gritty tales of industrial heritage, one or two prefer architecture but all of us enjoy hearing about how people used to live and work. Last month everyone found something to interest them in Alan Morgan’s illustrated talk about Newcastle from Tropical Swamp to Millennium Bridge.

The story of Newcastle began 350 million years ago when coal seams formed in the equatorial swamps of the Carboniferous period. The availability of that coal brought prosperity to the town from the Middle Ages onwards. Earlier, there was evidence of Bronze Age burials and Iron Age settlements; the Romans then came to build their wall westwards and to establish a camp, known as Pons Aelius, on the river bank. In the Anglo-Saxon period the town was known as Monkchester; in 1080 the Normans built the ‘New Castle’ and soon after, St Nicholas Church, which became a Cathedral in 1880. Its graceful lantern tower was so called because of the dish of burning coal suspended within it as a beacon for sailors.

Mediaeval Newcastle was protected by massive walls, of which 11% are still visible; it grew up around religious establishments, traceable by names such as Pilgrim Street. Blackfriars survived the dissolution of the monasteries to be occupied by nine different guilds. Sea-going trade increased – keel boats operated on the tide to load colliers waiting at the river mouth.

We heard about the three modern bridges, replacing the old Tyne Bridge which was washed away in 1771. Bessie Surtees’ house had a romantic tale to tell about elopement and who could not be thrilled by the dramatic re-design of central Newcastle by Grainger in the nineteenth century. Monuments to Joseph Swan, George Stephenson, Lord Armstrong and Sir Charles Parsons paid homage to their enormous contribution to scientific invention. Finally, the elegant and innovative Millennium Bridge completed the time-line and took its rightful place in a long list of prestigious landmarks.

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March 2011
‘The Slavery Business and the
North East of England’

The slavery business and the North East of England: how are they connected?
In 2007, prompted by the bicentennial anniversary of the Anti-Slavery Bill, our speaker, John Charlton, published the results of intensive research into local records and family papers. This showed how many well-known and influential north-eastern families relied heavily upon revenue from the slavery business. Behind the immaculate facades of their Palladian mansions, it was considered acceptable at that time to trade in the products of slave labour, to own plantations in the West Indies and to produce in Tyneside factories the necessary hardware to keep human beings in forced labour.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the demands of the growing British Empire and the Industrial Revolution produced a huge expansion of trade links from all British ports. Despite its easterly position, ships sailed regularly from Newcastle across the Atlantic. They brought back commodities much in demand, such as sugar, tobacco, cotton, coffee, chocolate, rice and hardwoods, but these were all produced by slaves.Many different sources provided evidence of connections with the slave trade: for instance, the Seaton Delaval household accounts show a huge rise in the consumption of sugar from Grenada; newly arrived goods were advertised in the press; property papers and share-holdings showed sources of revenue;  slave goods such as shackles and  branding irons were manufactured on the Tyne and ships were commissioned.In the years leading up to abolition, disturbances of war and slave rebellions on the plantations led many owners to return to Britain with a fortune to invest in land and property. Grass roots pressure was growing from non-conformist groups such as the Quakers and the Methodists, led by John Wesley. A Ladies’ Petition collected 6,288 signatures and the support of public figures such as William Turner, Thomas Bewick and Charles Grey of Howick led finally to an Act of Parliament. But this historic achievement had a sting in the tail: it could not be ratified without agreeing a huge compensation to be distributed among the plantation owners. This finally severed the British connection to the slavery business, the ramifications of which can still be traced in the North East.

The next meeting of the History Society is April 4th at the Sun Hotel 7.30 pm. Talk entitled ‘Newcastle from Tropical Swamp to Millennium Bridge’ by Alan Morgan

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February 2011
'North East Northumberland
Coal Mines'

People came in record numbers to hear Barry Mead bring to life memories of the north-east coal-mining industry. Formerly head of Woodhorn Museum, Barry was able to illustrate his fast-moving talk with a variety of evocative pictures. Many of these were archive photographs, but he also showed examples of the work of the Pitman Painters, to great effect. Before the First World War, this had been one of the largest coalfields in the world with over one million working mines.

The largest ever Industrial Heritage grant of over fifteen million pounds helped to preserve Woodhorn colliery, at a time when all the other pits, apart from Ellington, had disappeared. The gloomy landscape of pit heaps and industrial buildings had been transformed into green fields and plantations. Ashington Colliery became a business park. Only Woodhorn remained to bear witness to life in a mining community – on the one hand, camaraderie, pigeon crees, leek championships, brass bands, miner’s picnics; on the other, the heavy price of getting coal, which killed and injured thousands, particularly in the nineteenth century. Until 1842, even children worked down the mines in appalling conditions. Miners had to buy their own tools and no thought was given to health and safety as we know it today. For many years the industry was dominated by powerful owners who were able to exercise complete control over the lives of their workers. Strikes rarely had any effect and those who led them were forced out of work.

In more recent times the miner’s strike of 1984 has left a grim memory of divided loyalties and hardship.

Sobering details about the frequency of explosions and the well-remembered pit disasters at Hartley and Woodhorn, brought a poignant note to the talk. After two hundred and four men died at Hartley, due to the shaft becoming blocked, the huge press coverage led to a change in regulations: from now on every pit had to have two shafts.

As an illustration of how much life has changed in Ashington, once the ‘biggest pit village in the world’, Barry concluded by saying that sadly, children there nowadays had never even seen or handled a piece of coal.

NEXT MEETING: March 7th at the Sun Hotel, 7.30 pm. Talk entitled ‘The Slavery Business and the North East of England’ with John Charleton

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January 2011

 Our first meeting of the year was a merry occasion, enhanced by a glass of wine, a mince pie and an excellent speaker. We heard the story of Graham Laidler, known as Pont, a renowned cartoonist with Punch and a member of the family who once owned Warkworth House. His relative, fellow-member Alex Melville-Mason, had drawn largely on her late mother’s research in order to shed light on a life of extraordinary talent, cruelly affected by illness.Pont was born in 1908 into a prominent Newcastle family whose members included his aunt and uncle, the Glendennings of Warkworth House. Family photographs and contemporary pictures of the interior of the house brought the period vividly to life. Warkworth House was built in 1822 and bought by George Laidler, Pont’s grandfather, in the 1890’s. Several features visible in the photographs had come from Brandenburg House in London, one-time residence of Queen Caroline, before its demolition. Today almost the only artefact remaining there is the beautiful staircase.Pont had been a compulsive artist from early childhood and showed an ability to capture details of character and movement, perfected later in life. However, his intention to be an architect was thwarted by the onset of TB, necessitating long periods of convalescence abroad. His cartoons had already been accepted by Punch and the magazine continued to print them during the 1930’s, while he remained abroad for health reasons. During this time he met the woman he loved and wished to marry, but there was to be no happy ending: both families vehemently opposed the match. TB, it seemed, cast a very long shadow indeed.Pont carried on, somehow finding humour in everything - human foibles, children, domesticity, drivers (the figures often recognisable as themselves by members of his family!) and, with the onset of WWII, series such as ‘The British Carry On’. His success was such that Collins published three books of his drawings. However, in 1940, weakened by his war work as a driver, he contracted polio and died two days later.Alex gave us a most accomplished presentation, by turns amusing and poignant. She showed that Pont’s skill lay in deftly portraying the human condition so that, even seventy years on, we could recognise ourselves and be moved to laughter.

The next meeting will be on February 7th, at the Sun Hotel 7.30 pm, when Barry Mead will give a talk on Mining Memories of the North East Northumberland Coal Mines.

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November 2010
'Country Joiner and Undertaker'

The speaker at our November meeting was Thomas Tokeley of Town Yetholm, just over the Scottish border.Tom’s subject was “The musings of a country joiner and undertaker”.As in Warkworth in time past the local joiner was also the undertaker and coffin making and the burial of the dead was an important part of his work.
A born raconteur, with the soft accent of the borders, Tom held his audience captive with his stories of life and death in and around his native town.
The anecdotes came thick and fast and were too numerous to mention here but the following will perhaps give a taste of Tom’s talk.“I was called out to a wee house up in the hills where the old man had just died and after the necessary arrangements I asked the old woman what notice she’d like put into the local paper. She thought for a minute and then said, “John Reid of Cheviot Heid is deid.” I said to her “That’s only seven words; you can put in ten words for the same money, would you not like to add something else?” She thought for a minute and then said, “Aye, “Volvo for sale””!Although the Sun Hotel rocked with laughter for the better part of an hour Tom  spoke sensitively on the need to support the bereaved and the way in which local people cared for their neighbours. The talk gave us an insight into a life well spent in a quiet country area, greatly enjoyed and much appreciated by both speaker and audience alike.Tom was thanked warmly by Andy Webber.  

 Our next meeting will be on Monday 6 December at 7.30 p.m. in the Sun Hotel when the speaker will be Robert Moon on “A Victorian Sunday with music”.

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June 2010

‘Round the County Day
and Pont'

From all points of the compass they came, from Prudhoe to Ponteland, from Wooler to North Shields, to attend what was truly a ‘Round the County Day’. Organised by the Society on behalf of the Association of Northumberland Local History Societies, June 19th was a day to remember, attended by over a hundred people who convened first at St Lawrence Church to hear a talk from Andy Webber. He recounted the story of the North Wall restoration: how a wall that leaned alarmingly was made safe, so that the church could continue to function and stand firm in the community, how opinions differed and finally agreed on the method to be used, how discoveries were made in the process that added to our knowledge – a talk that encompassed the technicalities as well as the background history and the considerable efforts that had gone into fund-raising..Our second speaker, Alex Melville-Mason explained that she had relied largely upon her late mother’s research when compiling her talk about their relative, the Punch cartoonist known as Pont, whose family name was Laidler. Their home had been Warkworth House before it became an hotel. With clever use of illustration and some very interesting old photographs Alex gave us a graphic picture of Pont’s life, sadly shortened by ill-health. We were treated to an entertaining selection of his cartoons, published in Punch magazine in the earlier part of the twentieth century, and still able to move us to wry laughter with their universal themes.Afterward groups of people joined guided tours, when there was an opportunity to view the new buttresses and hear a little about the history of the village as they made their way to the URC Church Hall, where lunch was served. There followed a presentation by our renowned Peter Thompson on his life and work as a master wheelwright and carpenter. He delighted everyone with the relaxed and humorous manner with which he explained the complicated procedure of making a wheel, relating anecdotes from his own experiences along the way.  Our members were out in force to organise and host this important occasion - grateful thanks go to all who were involved and particularly to St Lawrence Church and the United Reformed Church who very kindly offered us their facilities.

MEETINGS BEGIN AGAIN on October 4th, when we hold our Court Leet Supper at the Sun Hotel. This will be followed by a talk entitled ‘The Ink is Frozen’, an account of Belford Presbyterian School with Val Glass.
Further information from Diana Webber Tel: 01665 713439

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May 2010

'Eleanor’s Diary

Through a series of serendipitous events, our speaker, Joan Wright, had come across a transcript of a young girl’s diary written in 1804. Much later, she was delighted to find the actual diary, with entries for 1805, which enabled her to continue her investigation. It was of special interest to her, as a Belford resident, because the writer, Eleanor Weatherley, had lived nearby at Outchester. Consequently, what the diary told us was of great value as a piece of social history, as well as a most entertaining account of the everyday life of the eldest daughter of a widowed gentleman farmer. The writer, Eleanor, describes the pattern of her days with a dry humour that instantly appeals. We hear of her rising at 5 am to carry out many duties in the house, including spinning and shirt-making; these were interspersed with a considerable social life – balls in Berwick, Alnwick and at the Blue Bell in Belford, going to the races, visiting the theatre in Berwick and Belford and when just at home in the evening, playing cards for money. Indeed gambling seems to have been popular and gloves were often the stake. Just like any twenty-year-old, Eleanor records what happens to be in her head at that moment, bonnets and beaux, outings and chores, family arguments and the occasional disparaging observation. Against a background of the Napoleonic Wars, it’s not surprising to read about the Militia turning out, and there is a memorable entry about hearing of the death of Nelson, announced while at the theatre in Berwick – everyone is said to have wept and Rule Britannia was played.Joan read out many of the most fascinating extracts, illustrated by a selection of slides, and went on to describe the considerable detective work that had provided the background to her research. Using parish archives and local newspapers she had filled in the family tree and traced Eleanor’s life and descendants. A document that had languished unseen in a drawer for years, had proved to be a treasure and gave us an evening of real enjoyment.

 MEETINGS BEGIN AGAIN on October 4th, when we hold our Court Leet Supper at the Sun Hotel. This will be followed by a talk entitled ‘The Ink is Frozen’, an account of Belford Presbyterian School with Val Glass.
Further information from Diana Webber Tel: 01665 713439

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April 2010
‘The Last Train to Lindisfarne’

Could one ever go by train to Holy Island? Did a steam engine once puff its way across the sands, adding a mournful whistle to the cry of the curlew? Well, it almost happened, according to Alistair Sinton, who came in April to talk about ‘The Last Train to Lindisfarne’ and greatly entertained us.Beginning with some beautiful pictures of familiar parts of the island, Alistair progressed to less well-known spots and gave us a comprehensive history of the lime-burning industry in the nineteenth century. Lime was then much in demand as an agricultural fertiliser – lime-kilns survive all over the county. On Lindisfarne the first kilns were built in 1829 near the centre of the island, and fired with coal mined at the Snook. The lime was transported down to a jetty along a horse-drawn wooden railway. Unfortunately the coal was of rather poor quality and this business only lasted until 1858.Some years later an enterprising man called William Nicholl from Dundee obtained the lease to recreate this industry and imported navvies to build and operate another railway line, which can still be followed on foot. This newer railway would have had metal rails with stone sleepers, still visible in the grass. It led from quarries on the north side of the island to the impressive kilns he built near the castle, which we can explore today. Old photos show the jetty close by, from which a few timbers can still be seen projecting from the sea. Ships brought in coal from Dundee and carried away a cargo of lime: the industry  thrived for many years. Intriguingly, there used to be a pub in the village, called ‘The Iron Rails’, where the workmen may well have stopped for a drink at the end of the day.  
But as for a steam train – we know that there used to be a branch line from Chathill to Seahouses  and an old map of the area  showed not only this (and a planned line by Lord Armstrong from Seahouses to Bamburgh), but also a projected  branch line from Goswick over the sands to Holy Island. At this point in the talk, a button was pressed and the sound of a steam train filled the room, ‘transporting’ us momentarily to a world which never was.
AT OUR NEXT MEETING on May 10th, do join us to hear Joan Wright telling us the fascinating story of ‘Eleanor’s Diary’, followed by our Annual General Meeting. We meet at the Sun Hotel, Warkworth at 7.30 pm.  
On Bank Holiday Monday May 31st we hope to take part in a History Fair at Woodhorn Museum from 10 am until 4 pm. Our publications will be for sale and we will have a small exhibition. 


March 2010
A Poor Little House
with Jane Bowen

This was an unusual subject, brought to life with great skill and enthusiasm.
The house in question was Belford’s workhouse, put up as a result of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 and only demolished eight years ago. Jane presented the results of her meticulous research against the changing background of the early nineteenth century when people began to move to towns to work in factories. The old system of sending needy people back to their own parishes had become difficult to operate, leading to a division of the country into Unions, each with a responsibility to make provision for paupers and vagrants .The Belford area, though only small, had its own Union because, so it was said, their people would find it difficult get on with their neighbours if they were forced to join Glendale, Alnwick or Berwick Union!Land was leased from the Squire, and the first Board of Guardians was elected in 1836 from people of local standing. Plans for the building were drawn up by a Newcastle architect which included men’s and women’s accommodation, living space for the Master and his wife, a dining area,  two tiny sick rooms, a Board Room and a Stone -breaking Yard.  An Infirmary was added in 1870.Life in the Workhouse was meant to be tough – inmates were expected to work hard, breaking stone, chopping wood, picking oakum and other unpleasant chores. It was thought that people would otherwise find it an easy option. Indeed there is a record of someone who had a summer job, faking illness so as to be taken in for the winter. However, after the first ten years, Belford never had more than twenty people and the regime was less harsh than in the larger establishments. Food was quite adequate, although very stodgy, and as the century progressed we hear of crafts being taught and regular outings. Improvements were made in working methods and gradually the punitive element disappeared, to be replaced by the beginnings of state responsibility for the welfare of the sick and elderly, reflected in the modern care homes.
Next meeting Monday April 12th: The Last Train to Lindisfarne, with Alistair Sinton. Meetings take place at the Sun Hotel, Warkworth, 7.30 pm.

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November 2008
The Magdalene Chapel Dig

The history of the Maudlin Chapel and the ensuing archaeological dig was the subject of our November meeting; the speaker was Mr Tom Pattinson.

Thirty-one years ago a mechanical digger, preparing a site on the new Magdalene Fields Estate, struck what seemed to be the wall of an ancient stone building. The Department of the Environment was notified and Tom was asked to conduct the excavation of what we now know to be Maudlin Chapel. Tom, who is well-known for his gardening expertise, taught Environmental Studies at Alnwick Secondary School at that time and had been involved in archaeology for more than ten years having already excavated St Leonard’s Hospice in Alnwick. The history of the Maudlin chapel and the ensuing dig was the subject of our November meeting. We were told that before the days of the Percies, Robert Fitz Roger, who lived about eight hundred years ago, established a chapel dedicated to Saint Mary of Magdala. He gave this to the monastic authorities in Durham, together with a garden and forty acres of land to support the monks who lived at the chapel. The chapel continued in use for three hundred and fifty years until Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries when it fell into disrepair: much of the stone was taken away and used for building and over time soil and turf covered the remains. Excavating these remains engaged Tom and an enthusiastic band of helpers, including school pupils from Alnwick Duchess’ and Secondary Modern Schools, local volunteers and members of Newcastle University, for the next four weeks. With spades, brushes and trowels a section of the chapel’s domestic buildings was carefully uncovered and meticulously recorded. This section revealed the north wall of the building and parts of the east and west walls. Rooms were uncovered which appeared to be a garderobe, (toilet) a solar, (sitting-room), a curved wall, possibly a stairway, and the main hall. An early geophysics photograph revealed the rest of the living-quarters and the church under the turf of the adjoining field which belongs to Maudlin Farm. Tom’s enthusiasm and erudition, accompanied by an excellent display of photographs and the opportunity to study many well-recorded pieces of pottery found at the dig site, gave us a fascinating insight into a most important mediaeval site lying in our midst. No, don’t go out to the field with your spades, stick to gardening, Tom can give you advice on that too!  

Our next meeting will be on Monday 6 December at 7.30 p.m. in the Sun Hotel when the subject will be “A Captain in the Navy of Queen Anne” the speaker will be one of our own members, Dr John West. Everyone is welcome. Warkworth Heritage Walks The History Society is planning to produce over the next year a booklet of “heritage” walks in and around the village. We propose to include walks suitable for families , for able-bodied  walkers and for the elderly or disabled. The walks will visit sites of historic interest and/or natural beauty accompanied in the book by photographs, drawings and information.We should like to involve the whole community in the production of this booklet so if you are a keen photographer, a talented illustrator, an enthusiastic walker or just someone who would like to recommend a favourite walk or share your expertise in other ways please contact Joan Hellawell on 711292. 

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Dec 2008
“A Captain in the Navy of Queen Anne”

The speaker at our December meeting was one of our members, Dr. John West, who has spent his professional life in education and is a noted historian with several books to his name. Speaking without notes John told us the true story of Edmund Lechmere who was born into an important and well-connected Worcestershire family in 1677.

At the age of fifteen the young Edmund was “sent for a sailor” as a gentleman volunteer and, presumably because he wasn’t fully grown, “found his sword too long!” Edmund was a prolific letter writer, corresponding mainly with his grandfather, a judge, and his mother. His letters reveal a young man on the brink of adventure who found everything in his new life exciting and wondered, on receiving a parcel of books from his mother, “of what use are Latin books to me?”

Using Edmund’s story as his vehicle John skilfully steered us through a history of the British Navy in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. We learned of the privations of life at sea, of the perils of piracy and Yellow Fever. We heard of action against the French and fighting on the Spanish Main, of how excited Edmund was to experience hand to hand combat with cutlasses and muskets and of the four thousand mile journey to Jamaica in 1698 in pursuit of the infamous Captain Kidd.   
We followed the progress of Admirals Rooke and Benbow and learned how Edmund was made captain of his own ship the “Lyme” at the age of twenty.

Sadly Edmund’s glittering career was cut short when he was shot through the legs during a six-day battle against the French: notwithstanding he had a chair brought so that he could continue to direct the battle more closely but was mortally wounded and died several days later at the age of twenty-six.

To illustrate his talk John brought a small exhibition of documents and books and a beautifully crafted model which he himself had made of Captain Edmund Lechmere’s ship.

Dr West’s was enthusiastically received by an appreciative audience and he was warmly thanked by Dr Jim Teasdale.

Our next meeting will be on Monday 5th January when our speaker will be Rev. Ben Hopkinson who will speak on “Walking, and Panting, in Bhutan”.

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Jan 2009
“Walking, and Panting in Bhutan”

The Society traditionally welcomes the New Year with our January Members’ Night when we enjoy mince pies and wine and a presentation by one of our members.This year the Rev. Ben Hopkinson spoke to us on “Walking, and Panting in Bhutan” where he spent two “holidays” on trekking expeditions.Bhutan is a small mountain kingdom in the Eastern Himalayas with a population of about 607,000. After centuries of direct monarchic rule it held its first democratic elections in March of last year.Ben gave us a fascinating insight, in words and pictures, into the life and culture of the people and into Bhutan’s spectacular landscape ranging from snow-capped mountains, many over 7.000 metres, to fertile valleys.Any pre-conceived ideas we might have had about an impoverished, under-developed country were swept away by Ben’s description of a contented people pursuing a life where religion, art, music and sport, (archery) played an integral part and who understood the need to care for and conserve their natural resources.Excellent slides revealed sturdy wooden houses, cantilevered bridges over yawning chasms, amazingly beautiful temples, intricately woven fabrics and colourful national dress, worn by custom and not merely to please the tourists!Education is greatly valued and standards of literacy are high. The official language is Dzongkha although many people also speak English.Ben had prepared for the treks in this country, nevertheless he and his party found it difficult acclimatising to the lack of oxygen at high altitude – we felt breathless merely looking at images of the party walking along narrow paths clinging to the side of near vertical cliffs!This talk might have inspired a couple of our group to visit Bhutan but the remainder of we “armchair “ trekkers felt that we had already enjoyed immensely “Walking, and Panting, in Bhutan”.Rev. Hopkinson was thanked warmly by Diana Webber.Our next meeting will be on Monday 2 February when John Thompson and Doug Ross of Alnwick Camera Club will show slides and speak on “People of the Cheviots”.  Visitors are welcome.

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    Feb 2009

"People of the Cheviots"

To a seasoned observer there is more than meets the eye initially when out for a walk in the Cheviots: this was the theme of the February meeting when John Thompson of the Alnwick Camera Club gave his slide presentation on ‘People of the Cheviots’.

Drawing on his long experience of walking the territory, John had used his camera to produce wonderfully evocative images in which he identified clues to former occupants of the land. Thus, breathtaking views of remote corners of the Cheviots, proved on closer examination to hold a secret: these wild and windswept uplands had once supported a community of farmsteads and enclosures, connected by ancient trackways like Clennell Street, which snaked across the landscape. Today only a handful of hill sheep farms remains tucked away against the fells, much changed in appearance through the centuries: forest clearance began in the Bronze Age and continued during the Iron Age, while sheep-grazing in the 19th century  has left a bare landscape punctuated by the occasional plantation.

Interesting markings and linear features were detectable within a time-span that dated from Bronze Age burials and settlements such as Yeavering Bell to the ruined farmsteads of Victorian times. In the Middle Ages large tracts of land had been owned by Newminster Abbey: monks would have come out from Morpeth to work the land in the summer months. Adjoining the settlements, intricate patterns of intensive rig and furrow stood out in afternoon light.

The Romans had left their mark in the shape of square marching camps and forts, associated with Dere Street. At Chew Green the outlines of five different forts were visible, with a Roman training area within a nearby Iron Age hill fort. At Brough Law a huge hill fort, dating from 310 BC, was surrounded by stone walls which would have been a resplendent shade of pink when new. The Votadini tribe built over two hundred forts in prominent positions on the hilltops, where outlines of buildings and enclosures showed up clearly within the ramparts. Every slide had a story to tell about the past history of the landscape. We were entranced by the artistry of the photographs and intrigued by the detective work which had yielded such a wealth of information.

 Keith McHugh expressed our appreciation to John Thompson for his most knowledgeable talk.
The next meeting will be held on Monday March 2nd, , at the Sun Hotel, when the speaker will be Justin Blake on the subject of ‘Recent Discoveries at Vindolanda’

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March 2009
"Recent Discoveries at Vindolanda"

Most people in this part of the country have visited Vindolanda at some time and been interested in the Roman fort to a greater or lesser degree.

At our March meeting Justin Blake, Vindolanda’s young Assistant Director of Excavations brought Roman history to life and fired his audience with his enthusiam.At the age of fifteen Justin was invited by a school friend, the son of Robin Birley, Director of the Vindolanda Trust, to “Come and dig holes during the summer holidays”. Justin wasn’t keen but the wage of £35.00 a week persuaded him and when, on his first day, he unearthed a find he was hooked. After a degree in archaeology at Durham University has spent his working life at Vindolanda.We learned that the fort was built some forty years before Hadrian’s Wall by a cohort of Belgian troops on their return from defeating the hostile northern tribes near Inverness. It was constructed to guard the central part of the Stanegate, the vital supply route running east to west across the country.The first fort, and several others which followed, was made of timber and needed replacing every seven or eight years. The Roman custom of covering the demolished buildings with clay and turf before reconstruction created sterile, anaerobic conditions in many areas and the lack of oxygen led to the preservation of almost everything that had been lost or jettisoned almost two thousand years earlier making Vindolanda a treasure house of Roman finds. This “wooden underworld” lies up to five metres below the turf and must be excavated with great care. Not for Vindolanda the usual dig and scrape methods seen on television, instead cubes of soil are lifted to the surface and delicately deconstructed.   A wealth of artefacts has been found including leather, textiles and wooden objects, and most interestingly of all, paper- thin portions of bark covered in writing, the earliest archive of written material in British history. As well as information on the running of the garrison we particularly liked the letter from the commander’s wife inviting her friend to a birthday party and the shopping list for two pairs of socks and two pairs of underpants! It was draughty on the wall.We saw slides of beautiful glass and finely wrought jewelry in silver and bronze and the stone head of a lovely woman who, Justin assured us, looked remarkably like Terry Wogan when viewed from a certain angle.There were seeds and animal bones and a recent find, the pupae of a stable fly.The timber forts were replaced by stone buildings around 100 AD, the foundations and lower courses of which are clearly visible..Evidence has also been found of early Christian activity after the end of Roman rule in Britain around 400 AD. A great deal of excavating is still to be done including the dwellings of civilians outside the fort and Justin believes that the work could continue for at least another hundred years.Rarely has Roman history been taught so enthusiastically and listened to so attentively; as a result many of us have decided to return to Vindolanda to look anew at its treasures.Graeme Melville-Mason thanked Justin warmly for his excellent presentation. 

April 2009
"Field Names and Places in Northumberland"

At the April meeting members welcomed the well-known writer and archaeologist, Stan Beckensall, who shared his extensive knowledge of ancient field names and places in Northumberland.
With particular reference to Warkworth and neighbouring villages he illustrated his talk with aerial photographs, taken by himself from a micro-light aircraft. During extensive research into early documents, he had been fortunate enough to have access to Norton’s map of 1620 in the Northumberland Estate archive. This beautifully painted map lists all the old field names in the area, the meanings of which we were shown how to work out. For instance, anything with the word ‘havers’ meant that oats were grown there. ‘Leazes’ is the plural of ‘lea’ or ‘ley’, meaning a meadow. ‘Haugh’ is flat, alluvial land, while ‘heugh’ means a cliff. In Warkworth the land on which the cemetery now stands was known as the ‘tenterhaugh’, being the place where cloth- stretching frames were to be found. ‘The Butts’ were what was left over at the end of the field after ploughing and ‘baulks’ were the ridges between the furrows. Thus one can learn a lot about farming and land use in the Middle Ages simply from looking at the field names.
Place-names can be broken down into their constituent parts: Warkworth has two elements, the first meaning the name of a woman ‘Werca’ and the second, ‘worth’, meaning a settlement. Amble (Anna’s promontory) and Acklington (settlement of Aeccela) were also named after people. Many names derive from features of the landscape, such as Cambo (ridge), or from vegetation, such as Bockenfield (beech). Others are named after creatures: Bewick is a farm with bees and Coquet is thought to mean ‘woodland where game birds live’, although a very early spelling may mean ‘red river’.Dr Beckensall pointed out that in spite of marauding Vikings and the later Norman conquest, most of our Northumbrian place-names are Old English.
The title of his latest book is ‘Northumberland’s Hidden History’ published by Amberley Press.
The next meeting of the History Society will be on Monday May 11th at the Sun Hotel, 7.30 pm when Alec Swailes will present ‘Music, Humour, Poetry and Songs of Northumberland’. This will be followed by the Annual General Meeting.

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May 2009

Entertainment by
Alex Swailes MBE
and Colin Bradford

The weather was glorious, it was a good evening for gardening, there was a cricket match in the village and an event at the village school, in addition to all this Newcastle was playing Middlesbrough in a “do or die” match shown on television and we’d decided to invite two well-known entertainers to sugar the pill for our Annual General Meeting; would anyone turn up?

We needn’t have worried, there was a good turn out. The AGM was conducted in record time and the evening proper went with a swing.Our entertainers were Alex Swailes MBE, well-known Northumbrian raconteur and singer and Colin Bradford, accordionist and composer, equally well-known for his involvement with Alnwick International Music Festival. They transported us around Northumberland from Tyne to Tweed with stories, poems, songs and melodies reflecting the variety of life-style from the coalmining area of the southeast to the rural pastures of the west and north.We heard poetry written by miners and shepherds, stories and anecdotes of lives lived long ago expressing a philosophy no different from our own. Throughout there was the vein of humour that characterises Alec Swailes’ presentation and in counterpoint the lilting music of Northumberland.Alec and Colin’s passion for all things Northumbrian was enthusiastically transmitted to their audience and whether Northumbrian by birth or by adoption we all joined in singing the Blaydon Races. Alec and Colin were thanked by Alan Hellawell for a most enjoyable evening.The new season of the society begins on Monday 5 October when we look forward to meeting old friends and welcoming new members and visitors.

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October 2009
“Harry Hotspur”

The sixteenth season of the society began with a flourish on 5 October. After a toast proposed by John Howliston to Warkworth’s ancient Court Leet, held traditionally during the first week of October, members enjoyed a delicious buffet supper.Our speaker for the evening was Robert Brooks, senior reporter with the Northumberland Gazette. Robert is a local lad, born and bred in Shilbottle, who combines journalism with a passion for history; he attended Alnwick Duchess’s School and attributes his love of history to the inspired teaching of the late Hamilton Rockliffe.The subject of Robert’s talk was “Harry Hotspur” (Henry Percy) eldest son of the 1st Earl of Northumberland.Hotspur is known to most of us an intrepid warrior. Born around 1368, possibly in Warkworth castle, as a boy he was trained in the martial arts, knighted at the age of fourteen and took part in numerous battles against both the Scots and the French. Famously he was captured at the battle of Otterburn in 1388 but later ransomed. What is less well-known was his role as Governor of Bordeaux and later Justiciar in Wales. With his father he was instrumental in deposing King Richard II in favour of Henry Bolingbroke, later King Henry IV. In 1403, with his uncle Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, he led a rebellion against Henry in an alliance with the Welsh rebel Owen Glendower but was defeated and killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury. Robert’s enthusiasm for his subject, delivered in the shadow of Warkworth castle, was ably conveyed to his audience.He was thanked on behalf of the group by Mike Kilkenny. 

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November 2009
Liz O’Donnell,
Oral History Collection in the
Northumberland Record Office
at Woodhorn Museum

In November we welcomed Liz O’Donnell, who presented a selection of recorded voices from the Oral History Collection in the Northumberland Record Office at Woodhorn Museum. Nowadays historians recognise that oral history is an important primary source of information and provides a fascinating link with our recent past. It tells the story of ordinary people, whose lives would otherwise pass unnoticed. The first recordings dated from the 1970’s: we heard the voice of a suffragette, a contemporary of Emily Davidson, talking about her acquaintance with the Pankhurst family; this was followed by a man who enlisted in the Tyneside Scottish Regiment at Blyth, describing his experiences in the First World War, when he chose to work down the German mines rather than go to a POW camp. Then came the voice of Major Browne, of Callaly Castle, reminiscing about the installation of electricity and telephones there, at the end of the 19th century.Woodhorn Museum currently has an exhibition entitled ‘Northumberland at War’: Liz explained how her two-year project enabled them to collect recordings from more than a hundred different people, many  of whom were able to lend photographs and documents to be copied and put in the collection. She and her assistant recorded  members of the Home Guard, the ATS, former Japanese prisoners of war and many different trades and professions. We heard the voices of one of the Bevin Boys, a former Land Army girl, an evacuee and a German prisoner of war with a great sense of humour. Their voices brought the past to life, enriching our knowledge in a very special way. All these recordings are available to hear at the Museum and can be sampled online through the County Council or the museum web-sites.

At our next meeting on December 7th at 7.30 pm in the Sun Hotel, please join us for ‘Songs and Stories of Northumberland’ with Geoff Hughes, accompanied by seasonal refreshments.

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Warkworth History Society

In the year 2000 Warkworth History Society invited local people to donate, or lend for copying, documentary material and photographs for a proposed Millennium Exhibition which was to depict life in and around the village during the Twentieth Century.

Their generous response, which included artefacts, costumes and uniforms as well as oral history, formed the basis of a fascinating exhibition staged in Saint Lawrence’s Church during August 2000. The first ten days of the Exhibition saw two thousand visitors, young and old, from near and far, signing the visitors’ book.
Although we didn’t realise it at the time, this was the beginning of the Warkworth History Society Archive.

Over the ensuing years more and more documents, letters and photographs were donated and more research carried out until, towards the end of 2007, one of our members, Dr. John West a noted historian and archivist, agreed to catalogue our collection.

The resulting Archive Catalogue runs to over two hundred pages and references one hundred documents and fourteen hundred photographs held on compact disc: it is not merely a list but a synopsis of the material held by the Society. In the foreword to the catalogue, Dr. West comments “Very few villages of Warkworth’s size, possess such a far-reaching collection of significant records. Some have a castle, a burgage structure or a manor court. Most places can prompt the oral history of the oldest inhabitants; many retain the minutes of an active Parish Council and a lively Victorian school; only a few keep the records of a Court Leet or the local Militia; Tithe and Enclosure records and plans, like Census returns are commonplace; Warkworth houses all of these and adds a feast of Pageants, Flower Shows and a village in award-winning bloom. Nor does Warkworth stand alone; three lively folders of documents add friendly contact with Warkworths in Canada, New Zealand and Australia."

N.B. The Society also has contact with Warkworth in Northamptonshire although, to date, this information has not been catalogued.

Our intention has always been to donate copies of the catalogue to local museums, libraries and schools and through the generosity of Warkworth Parish Council, who made a donation of £100.00, we are now able to do this.

Such interest has been shown in the Archive Catalogue, that the Society has decided to offer it for sale at £10.00 per copy.

The original material described in the catalogue can be accessed, though not removed, by contacting Joan Hellawell (tel. No. 01665  711 292) who will also take orders for the catalogue.

The following gives a taster of some of the material held:
An excerpt from the will of William Younger dated 1812.
Extract from Peter Forsyth’s story and a photo of hay-making with horses.
A poem from a Court Leet dinner

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Heritage Walks

Heritage Walks Guide Book

Warkworth History Society

The society’s December meeting, “Christmas Songs and Stories” led by Geoff Hughes, was combined with the launch of our guide book, “Warkworth Heritage Walks”. We were delighted to welcome members of Amble Photographic Group, Warkworth Walkers and others who had helped us in the production of the book and enjoyed a convivial evening together.

The book was sponsored by Awards for All, a joint Lottery grants scheme which supports a range of community activities, with a supplementary grant of £250.00 from Warkworth Parish Council, the remainder of the cost being met by the History Society. It comprises a brief history of Warkworth and includes seven walks in and around the village. Each walk is accompanied by an easy to read map, information on the history and natural history en route and stunning photographs.

Work on the book took nine months to complete and involved not only History Society members but also the aforementioned Amble Photographic Group, Warkworth Walkers and many individual members of the community. The book was designed by Metromedia and Design Ltd. The History Society would like to thank them all; this was truly a community effort and the resulting publication is a tribute to their work.

Copies of the guide book are now on sale in Warkworth Village Store, The Bookworm, (Post Office)  Amble and The Flower Centre, Amble and local tourist centres at a price of £5.00 each.
The books can be ordered by phone from 01665 713 439 or 01665 710 180.

Happy walking!

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