An all Scout entertainment in the
West School Hall, Walbottle Campus
25th to 28th November 1964
Church service on Sunday 2nd April 2017 in memory of William Brown, local mining engineer (1717-1782).
THE WYLAM birthplace of the famous “Father of Railways” has been closed by the National Trust.
A petition against closure by John Stewart
Talking of local history I am not sure if you were aware that I originally setup the online petition for the recent announcement made by the National Trust that George Stephensons Cottage is to temporary close without any consultation made to the local community and local authorities. I am delighted to say that so far 2,422 supporters have signed my petition with comments regarding the decision made by the National Trust. After contacting both the CEO and General Manager, Hadrian’s Wall & Tyne Valley (National Trust) they both agree that my petition has clearly demonstrated the strength of feeling about the birthplace and in itself adds an important ingredient to the audience research.
For the last two years the National Trust have invested in additional marketing, new signage and tea room refresh. Despite this they have continued to experience a significant drop in visitor numbers (-26% in 2016) and increasingly negative visitor feedback which provides evidence that the Stephenson story is no longer working for thier members and visitors and they are voting with their feet and now is the opportunity for a different approach to reflect on its future which will take time and potentially investment. With limited charitable resources and to prevent any further loss in the short term and they aim to direct thier resources into finding a way forward for the birthplace. In so doing they are talking to the National Railway Museum amongst others about the Great North Exhibition in 2018 and the role Wylam can play in this to celebrate its role in the North East’s history of discovery and innovation and can see this as an opportunity to relaunch the site, demonstrating the influence it had on the young pioneer and placing him in the context of the wider region and beyond.
During this time the National Trust are arranging a programme of walks around Wylam, including a visit to the cottage, with thier volunteer walks leaders to offer a different take on how it influenced young George to then go on to achieve as much as he did whereby they will monitor how successful these are and also use them as an engagement opportunity. In doing wider audience research they have also partnered with the University of Northumbria to help both add capacity and expertise and fantastic learning experience, which I’m sure George would have approved of as it was the first thing he ensured was provided for his own son.
I would encourage as many people to continue to sign the online petition as the National Trust are completely open minded about how the cottage could be presented to better reflect its importance and welcomes all feedback and suggestions to make this site the success it should be.
Please sign the petition at change.com
National Trust closes George Stephenson's birthplace in Wylam - 2nd February 2017, Hexham Courant
George Stephenson's birthplace closed by the National Trust - 4th February 2017, ChronicleLive
Photos below by George Clark showing views before and after redevelopment in the 1950s
(kindly supplied by his daughter, Isabel Tooze).
Compared to some of the others below that show the Square Yard and Jubilee Houses in a state of dereliction, just before demolition, Mushroom Row is still full of life. Ladies stand proudly at all four front doors and their men-folk walk the dirt road in front.
These are the first photos I have seen of the Square Yard, although I knew it was there from the old maps, memories and the census. There were 16 houses in the two terraces of the Square Yard and a lot of people in the village lived there over many years.
We really don't know when Heddon's St Andrew's Church was founded, but around 680 AD is the general consensus.
H.M. & J. Taylor in their monumental work 'Anglo-Saxon Architecture' put it in the period 600-800 AD).This fits with its dedication to St Andrew, which suggests that it may be contemporary with Hexham Abbey (674), Corbridge (676), Bywell St Andrew, and Newcastle St Andrew.
Bede, the Father of English History, has a couple of intriguing references in his 'History of the English Church and People', completed in 731.
In Bk.III, chapter 21, he records the baptism of one King Peada "by Bishop Finan .... at a well-known village belonging to the king (i.e. Oswy, king of Northumbria) known as 'Ad-murum', and, a little later King Sigbert was baptised "by Bishop Finan in the king's village of Ad-murum, so named because it stands close to the wall which the Roman's built to protect Britain, about twelve miles from the eastern coast". These incidents are both dated by scholars as 653 AD.
There can be little doubt that "the wall which the Roman's built ..." is Hadrian's Wall built about 122 AD, beside which Heddon village stands. Bede does not mention the name Heddon, but there is no record of this name (Hedun) in use earlier than 1175. 'Ad-murum' is translated 'At-Wall', not so different from 'On the Wall' (though in Latin our name is usually 'Hedon super murum').
Did Bede think that Hadrian's Wall began right on the coast (he twice tells of it running from sea to sea), and therefore assumed that the twelfth milecastle (at Heddon) was twelve miles from the coast?
On high ground, a splendid defensive position, Heddon as we know it would be an excellent site for 'the king's village'.
The site of Ad-murum has been located at various points from Newcastle in the east, to Walbottle and Heddon in the west. But the actual site of the King's village has never been found. The local historian, Cadwallader J. Bates, writing in 1885, argued strongly that Ad-murum with its royal villa was at Heddon.
If this is true, Heddon existed (probably under another name) in 653, and there the second Bishop of Lindisfarne, Finan, baptised the future kings of the Middle Angles and the East Saxons.
We usually date our church at 680, just after Hexham. If Ad-murum were identified with Heddon (and there is no evidence of it elsewhere) then almost certainly we could claim that we had a church here before 653.
One of the best things about Heddon on the Wall is the amazing view you get from many parts of the village.
Just how far can you see from Heddon, in what directions, and can you see the sea?
A recent post in the discussions of my favourite photo site, Geograph, asked the question about how to identify hill tops visible in photos. One of the answers was the panorama mapping tool website, heywhatsthat.
If St Andrew's Church had a steeple that would be the ideal viewing platform as the church stands on a prominent hill in the heart of the village. From ground level, though, it is surrounded by trees and other buildings, and views are limited.
The map above was generated from a panorama created from the highest part of Heddon, the seat above the old quarry on the west side of the village, behind the houses on Trajan Walk. The panorama can be explored in full detail using the following link: Heddon panorama.
Our Christmas party was a good event again this year with 'mystery guest', John Grundy. Below is a copy of the Heddon History Christmas Quiz. All the answers can be found somewhere on this web site. However, there are a lot of pages here now, and I'll admit the search facility doesn't work so well. I'll post the answers here later.
Photos and captions of the Bay's Leap open cast mining kindly provided by Alan Douglas of Throckley.
Yes, all was peace until one day,
Above are the last three verses of The Death of Old Bay's Leap by Alan Duggan written in 1958. The rest of his poem, a nostalgic memory of the lost beauty, tranquility and productivity of Bay's Leap Farm at the onset of open cast coal mining, has already appeared on this blog.
Today we look at the other side of the coin. The photographic memories of one of those men who operated the machinery, dug out the coal and, at the end, restored the land back to farming.
Bewcastle Cross stands in the graveyard of St Cuthbert's Church, close to its south porch in the small village of Bewcastle in Cumbria. The tapered yellow sandstone shaft stands 14 feet 6 inches (4.4m) high and has lost its original cross-head. The four faces of the pillar are elaborately decorated and also carry runic inscriptions on three of the four sides.
The date of the cross and the translation of its runes have always been controversial. However, it is generally believed to date to the late 7th or early 8th century and may commemorate the early Anglo-Saxon kings of Northumbria. F M Stenton in Anglo-Saxon England (1974) says the cross commemorated Alhlfrith, son of Oswiu, and his wife, Cyneburg, daughter of Penda.
Some scholars have suggested care should be taken as the evidence is unreliable and changes may have been effected by over-ambitious cleaning of the stone in the mid-19th century, and erroneous or deliberate re-cutting of the inscriptions.
Essay 5, The Bewcastle Cross in Runes and Runic Inscriptions: Collected Essays on Anglo-Saxon and Viking Runes by Raymond Ian Page & David Parsons, Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 1995.
It is often twinned stylistically with the Ruthwell Cross in Dumfriesshire, now preserved inside Ruthwell Church. This is carved in a very similar style and carries both Latin and runic inscriptions.