We have been looking into the origins of Garden House, a stone-built, two-storey house occupying a prominent position in the centre of the village between the Church and the former Town Farm. It has a large enclosed garden on the south side which fronts onto Towne Gate. The plot is approximately 70m long by 25m wide and is shown as a garden or orchard on the 1st Edition OS Map published in 1859.
I noticed this inscription today on the north facing side of the memorial to John Chicken and Ann Chicken of Lemington . It had not previously been recorded.
The main (east) face reads:
John Chicken of Lemington who died Oct 26th 1913 aged 63 years. Also of Ann Chicken wife of the above who died January 19th 1926 aged 73 years. "In God we trust".
The north side (adjacent to the path and shown in the above photograph) reads:
Lost at sea on the S.S. Cavalier
Dec. 13th 1891
Aged 44 years.
The Wrecksite website gives more information about the disaster.
On December 13th, 1891, the British cargo ship CAVALIER, built in 1878 by Doxford W. & Sons and owned at the time of her loss by Forster William, on voyage from Odessa to Falmouth with a cargo of grain, was last seen in heavy weather by the SS INDIAN PRINCE, abandoned and about 16 miles WSW from Bishop Rock. Since then, nothing was ever heard of her.
MISSING NEWCASTLE STEAMER
The "S.S. Cavalier" was a British iron screw steamship, official number 76,231, built in 1878 by William Doxford & Sons, at Sunderland. Her length was 279.1 ft., breadth 34.7 ft., and depth of hold 24.05 ft.
In October 1891 the "Cavalier" loaded in the Tyne a cargo of 2,538 tons of coal including bunkers for Savona, and before sailing, Captain Jennison finding the vessel with a list to port, ordered some of the crew to fill the two starboard boats with water to get her upright. One of these men, H. S. Broadbent, stated in evidence that as fast as they put water into these boats it ran out again through the seams which were leaking. The steam-steering gear which had been landed for repairs was not re-shipped; and the vessel sailed from the Tyne with a crew of 20 hands, under the command of Captain Jennison. She arrived safely at Savona, where the cargo was discharged, and she proceeded in water ballast to Odessa, where she arrived on the 15th November, and proceeded to load a cargo of wheat.
On the 21st November 1891, the "Cavalier" left Odessa with her crew of 21 hands. After taking on board 135 tons of bunker coals, she sailed from Gibraltar on 7th December, apparently in good condition, being upright and with the centre of the disc above the water.
Nothing more is known of the "Cavalier" until about 4 p.m. of the 13th December, when she was sighted by the s.s. "Indian Prince," about 16 miles W.S.W. of the Bishop's Rock, Scilly, apparently abandoned. The "Indian Prince" steamed round her, and remained near for about an hour, but as the sea was rough, and there was no sign of any life on board, she left the "Cavalier" and proceeded on her voyage. Since then nothing more has been seen of that vessel.
On the 4th January 1892, a body was washed on shore at St. Ives Bay, and on the following day two more bodies were found. One of the bodies was identified as that of the second mate of the "Cavalier." Some wreckage, apparently portions of a boat, were also found near the same place on the 4th, and on the 13th a bucket marked "Cavalier" was also found.
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.
Notice the top of the chimney (the quarry engine house) in the trees to the left of the house which identifies it as West Acres.
Heddon super Murum:
a History of Heddon on the Wall
by George Clark (c.1963).
Historians are always pleased when an old manuscript comes our way. This time the manuscript isn't so old but dates from the early 1960s; it is a photocopy of a hand-written history of Heddon compiled by former resident, George Clark. Although it contains much of the same material, it brings up to date the history published by Cadwallader J Bates in 1886.
The manuscript starts with the Church of St Andrew on page 29. The earlier pages, whatever they cover, may be available in other copies or in the material he serialised in the Church magazine. The last page is numbered 243 and ends abruptly in mid sentence. Much of the material covered in Clark's account is already covered on this site but not always in such a well written form. I am pleased to have got my hands on this copy and have made a start in getting it typed up. The first part, pages 28 to 73, is now complete.
It might be nice to see Clark's history, with some edits and additions, properly published at some form in the future. I wonder if there would be a demand?
George Clark lived on Station Road in Heddon on the Wall from which house he ran a shoe-repair shop or cobblers from a hut in his garden.
Link to Part 1 of the History in Other Documents.
The following post by Swakopmunder appeared on the Mining Checks, Tallies, Tokens & Medals forum of the National Mining Memorabilia Association in 2009.
Heddon Colliery Powder Fund Check/Badge
Has anyone ever come across any UK mining explosives issuing tokens or similar? I know such tokens and checks were used in the US coal industry and had been told by at least a couple of very old English colliers that they remembered using something similar in their pits (pre 1947).
Recently I picked-up a 32 mm dia. brass embossed check which had around the edge of its obverse the legend HEDDON COLLIERY POWDER FUND plus two small pierced holes at 3 and 9 o’clock (like those on miners’ association checks/badges). The check did not have a stamped number in its centre like on a lamp or time check etc. instead this space was empty. The revere of the check had the embossed name and address of its maker in a circle. This maker was once a prolific producer of brass pub and other tokens in County Durham and Northumberland and also possibly operated a brass foundry.
Heddon Colliery closed c.1930 and was located 7 miles West of Newcastle-on-Tyne near to the pit village of Wylam (George Stephenson’s birth place). As far as I know this is the only check of any sort known from this colliery as none are recorded in Jeff Gardiner’s book of Durham and Northumberland Tokens.
Presumably the reference to POWDER on this check is to black or gunpowder used for blasting. The word FUND implies to me that there was some sort of communal fund that the miner’s paid into to purchase their powder. Bulk buying of powered or any other sort of mining consumables, by a group of miners, probably brought with it cash discounts which would be the incentive to joining such a fund/club. Possibly the check with its two distinctive piercings was issued by the system’s organisers as a type of membership badge to paid-up fund members, much as miner’s association checks/badges were used. The wearing of the badge would also act as a good advertisement for the scheme that presumably paid more financial discounts to the members the more miners were part of it.
The makers details are embosed in small letters in a circle in the middle of the check's reverse and read: Vandervelde & Co Makers, Newcastle on Tyne. No one knows if this famous north east token manufacturer produced colliery checks for the Great North Coalfield but I suspect that he did. Many of his other pub tokens etc. are also signed. I also have an outdoor type ornate brass head office wall plaque for the Pontop Coal Company that is also signed by him as the maker. I think it's likely he was well connected with the north-east colliery owners and probably did make a lot of the areas lamp checks.
I was sent this photo recently by Glyn Lloyd with the question:
I'm trying to establish the origins of a photo I came across which shows young men in army battledress uniform & berets practicing marching during some down time. They are all next to a wall mounted sign of Heddon on the Wall.
I replied saying that I hadn't seen the photo before, We have no photos of soldiers on the website apart from one of the Home Guard and there is no old photos showing that road sign. It looks to have been taken where the former road passed the farmhouse of Town Farm at the east end of the village,
I asked him where he had found the photo as it looked like an old framed copy from someone's mantlepiece (possibly a relative).
His answer was completely unexpected.
Hadrian's Wall shows signs that it was planned in straight lines, at least in the relatively flat sections at its west and east ends. This is very similar to Roman roads that take long straight line routes across country often regardless of the intervening topography.
The 200m conserved section of Hadrian's Wall at Heddon on the Wall shows a prominent bend in the broad wall situated just west of the Great Hill on the east side of the village. What does this tell us? According to a book published in 2010, quite a lot.
From Pit to Palace: A Romantic Autobiography by James J Lawler. The Palace Publishing Company, New York (1906).
Just came across this strange book. It can be read or downloaded on the Internet Archive website. It's subtitle is 'A Romantic Autobiography' and is set in Wylam and Heddon on the Wall. It may well be an autobiography of the author, James J Lawler, but then why is the hero of the story called James Raymond? I can find neither of these named individuals in local records. The author's preface only provides this clue (the emphasis is mine):
Many biographies have been written of successful men who began life under the poorest conditions and while this sketch, which consists of more facts than fiction, might appear like repeating an old story ...
Although many recognisable events, descriptions and named people do occur in the book there are also many errors. They could of course be put down to a poor memory of past events and places. There is also much that smacks of fabrication and a huge desire to set the hero in the best possible light. If it is an autobiography it is certainly high on the big-headed side and there is little modesty.
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- Old Photos
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