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?
He attended Throckley School where he won a scholarship to go to Grammar School. Unfortunately he was unable to take this up as, being the youngest in a family of six, he was destined for the Maria Pit at Throckley – like all hs brothers.
He started work at the pit-head aged 12 and went underground aged 13 years. He enjoyed violin lessons whilst at school and, from his meagre pit wages, managed to pay for piano lessons.
Prior to being married my parents had somehow managed to save the necessary deposit and also obtained a mortgage to buy No. 2 (now No. 3) Station Road, Heddon. Strakers (the builder of the bungalow) offered this site at a reduced price because of its restricted view – being opposite Snowdon’s House – and the total cost was approximately £325.
At that time my father’s wage was 35 shillings for a six day working week and the mortgage repayment was 13 shillings a week.
As there was a clause in the Deeds of the bungalow prohibiting a business being carried on, my father was obliged to move to “The Hemel”. This was a very small stone building with a red pantile roof and just an earth floor (as far as I can remember) situated in the field at the bottom of the garden of 1 Station Road. The Hemel was owned by Thomas Hedley of Bays Leap.
My father continued working in The Hemel until it was demolished when the new housing estate was built at the rear of our bungalow.
Meantime my father took a great interest in village life being a church-warden and also Treasurer and Secretary/Treasurer of the Village Flower Show. It was also during the latter part of his life that he devoted much time and effort to producing his History of Heddon on the Wall.
George Clark is buried in the churchyard of St Andrews, Heddon close to the east wall of the church. His gravestone reads:
“In loving memory of George dearly beloved husband of Isabella Clark died Nov 7th 1965, aged 63 years.”
Isabella is buried in the lower churchyard (in memory of the place where she used to play as a child). Her gravestone reads:
“In loving memory of Isabella Clark died 4th April 1980, aged 74. Beloved wife of the late George Clark.”