Northumberland: Local History Resources

Northumberland is a large, rural county in the region of North East England. Its northern border meets Scotland while the east meets the North Sea along an outstanding coastline. It also has a varied and fascinating history.

Page Contents:

An Introduction to Northumberland

We’ll start by answering the most common questions asked about Northumberland.

What is Northumberland famous for?

Northumberland is famous for being home to the Northumberland National Park, the Alnwick Garden, a wide range of stately homes and castles, sites of Roman occupation, Hadrian’s Wall, and a spectacular coastline.

In fact, Northumberland has more castles than any other county in England, the greatest number of recognised battle sites, and the ultimate Roman defence mechanism of Hadrian’s Wall which is still standing in a number of locations across Northumberland.

The county also boasts a number of sites which were important religious centres in the past. Examples are Lindisfarne Priory settled by Orosh monks in AD 635, and Hexham Cathedral which was started around the same time but today mostly displays its 12th-century construction.

The Northumbrian Smallpipes are a bagpipe which developed in the county of Northumberland. As with Irish pipes, the air for the bag is provided by bellows. This makes them much quieter than the mouth-blown air of Scottish bagpipes. So Northumbrian Smallpipes are mostly played indoors.

Northumberland is also well known for being the least densely populated county in England, with only 62 people per hectare. It has the 6th largest territory of any county in England, but the 44th largest population.

How did Northumberland get its name?

Until 927 the independent kingdom of Northumbria ran from Humber all the way north to Edinburgh. Northumbria meant ‘north of the Humber’. The derivation Northumberland was first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 1065.

What is the difference between Northumberland and Northumbria?

Northumbria was the ancient kingdom covering the Humber north to Edinburgh, while Northumberland was an earldom in unified England created in 927 and ultimately became the modern-day English county.

What are people from Northumberland called?

Because Northumberland is in North East England, people from other parts of the UK assume the residents are Geordies. But that term applies to people living in Tyne & Wear. Northumberland has its own North East accent, and there is no specific term to denote a resident of Northumberland.

What cities are in Northumberland?

There are no cities in Northumberland. Not one, despite its size. That is part of the reason why Northumberland has the lowest population density of any county in England.

Is Newcastle in Northumberland?

The city of Newcastle upon Tyne is in Tyne and Wear and Newcastle has not been in Northumberland since the city was give its own county charter in 1400.

Towns In Northumberland

Because the large county of Northumberland does not have a single city, the towns are an important focal point for retail, business, services and employment. Some are market towns which received market charters a thousand years ago.

The towns in Northumberland are:

  • Alnwick‎ 
  • Amble‎ 
  • Ashington‎
  • Bedlington‎ 
  • Berwick-upon-Tweed‎ 
  • Blyth
  • Cramlington‎ 
  • Haltwhistle‎ 
  • Hexham‎ 
  • Morpeth
  • Newbiggin-by-the-Sea‎ 
  • Prudhoe‎
  • Rothbury‎ 

What is the biggest town in Northumberland? Blyth is Northumberland’s biggest town, with 37,000 residents, followed by Cramlington and Ashington with roughly 28,000 people each.

Over time we will be collating links to interesting videos of these towns and adding them to this site.

Villages And Hamlets of Northumberland

  • Abberwick, Acklington, Acomb, Acton, Akeld, Allendale, Allenheads, Alnham, Alnmouth, Alwinton, Ancroft Northmoor, Anick, Ancroft, Apperley Dene, Aydon, Ayle
  • Bamburgh, Bardon Mill, Barrasford, Bassington, Baybridge, Beaconhill, Beadnell, Beal, Beanley, Bearsbridge, Beauclerc, Bebside, Belford, Bellingham, Bellshill, Belsay, Beltingham, Benthall, Berrington, Berwick Hill, Biddlestone, Bilton, Bilton Banks, Bingfield, Birtley, Birling, Black Heddon, Blanchland, Bolam, Bolam West Houses, Bolton, Bomarsund, Bothal, Boulmer, Bowsden, Bradford, Branch End, Brandon, Branton, Branxton, Bridge End, Brinkburn, Broomhaugh, Broomhill, Broomley, Brownieside, Brunton, Burradon, Burton, Butteryhaugh, Byrness, Bywell, Bywell Saint Andrews, Bywell Saint Peters, Byker (inner city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
  • Callaly, Cambo, Cambois, Capheaton, Carr Shield, Carter Bar, Carterway Heads, Cartington, Catton, Causey Park Bridge, Charlton, Chathill, Chatton, Chesterwood, Cheswick, Cheswick Buildings, Chillingham, Chollerford, Chollerton, Choppington, Christon Bank, Clennell, Clifton, Coalcleugh, Coanwood, Cottonshopeburnfoot, Collingwood, Colpitts Grange, Colwell, Corbridge, Cornhill-on-Tweed, Coupland, Cowpen, Craster, Cresswell, Crookham
  • Dalton (nr Hexham), Dalton (nr Ponteland), Dissington(nr Ponteland), Duddo, Dunstan
  • Eachwick, Earle, East Cramlington, East Ord, Eglingham, Elsdon, Embleton, Ellington, Eshott, Etal
  • Fallodon, Falstone, Felton, Ford, Ford Forge
    Glanton, Goswick, Great Bavington, Greenhaugh, Greenhead, Guide Post, Guyzance
    Hadston, Harbottle, Hartley, Haydon Bridge, Hazon, High Angerton, High Buston, High Callerton, High Church, High Newton-by-the-Sea, Highfields, Holburn, Holystone, Holywell, Horsley (nr Prudhoe), Horsley (nr Redesdale), Horton, Housedon Hill, Housesteads, Howdon, Howtel, Howick, Hartburn, Humshaugh,Humbleton(Homildon)
    Ilderton, Ingram
    Kielder, Kilham, Kirkharle, Kirkwhelpington, Kirkley
    Langley, Linton, Little Bavington, Longframlington, Longhirst, Longhorsley, Low Alwinton, Low Angerton, Low Brunton, Low Buston, Low Cocklaw, Low Newton-by-the-Sea, Lowick, Lucker, Lynemouth
    Marshall Meadows, Middle Ord, Middleton, Mindrum, Mitford, Murton
    Nesbit, Netherton, Netherwitton, New Bewick, New Hartley, Newton-by-the-Sea, North Blyth, North Charlton, North Seaton
    Ogle, Old Bewick, Once Brewed, Otterburn
    Pegswood, Ponteland
    Radcliffe, Ramshope, Red Row, Redesdale, Ridsdale, Riverside, Rochester
    Scremerston, Seahouses, Seaton Delaval, Seaton Sluice, Sheepwash, Shilbottle, Shipley, Snitter, South Beach, South Broomhill, South Charlton, Stakeford, Stannington, Stobswood, Stocksfield, Stonehaugh, Seghill
    Tughall, Twizell Castle, Tynemouth
    Ulgham, Unthank (near Alnham), Unthank (near Haltwhistle)
    Vindolanda
    Wall, Wark on Tweed, Wark on Tyne, Warkworth, West Chevington, West Woodburn, Whalton, Widdrington, Whittingham, Wooler, Wylam
    Yarrow

Facebook Groups For Northumberland Local History

Berwick Loved and Remembered

“Post photographs old and new, memories you have about Berwick, what you like about the Town, all welcome.”

Forgotten Berwick

“What else can you remember??”

Morpeth History Matters

“The aim is to allow the sharing of interesting snippets, photos, information and thoughts on Morpeth’s rich and varied past”.

Morpeth’s Listed Buildings

“A group to showcase the listed buildings of Morpeth, Northumberland.”

Seahouses & Local Area History Group

“An open group to complement the “Seahouses fishing boats and harbour” group to discuss and share photographs of other parts of Seahouses and surrounding area and its history….”

Northumberland Local History Resources

This list includes resources for County Durham, Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne. The borders of Northumberland has changed over the centuries so many communities have moved from one county to another. In addition, many of the communities on county borders had interaction with their neighbours which could be relevant to any family history searches you are doing in Northumberland.

  • Allen Banks & Staward Gorge (National Trust)
  • Alnwick Castle (Duke of Northumberland)
  • Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland
  • Association of Northumberland Local History Societies
  • Aydon Castle (English Heritage)
  • Bamburgh Castle
  • Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens (English Heritage)
  • Berwick Advertiser (on Northumberland Archives site)
  • Berwick Museum & Art Gallery
  • Black Middens Bastle House
  • Cherryburn (National Trust)
  • Chesters Roman Fort
  • Cragside (National Trust)
  • Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project
  • Dunstanburgh Castle (National Trust & English Heritage)
  • Dunston Staiths Friends
  • Edlingham Castle (English Heritage)
  • Etal Castle (English Heritage)
  • Friends of Discovery Museum
  • Friends Of Puffing Billy
  • Friends of Saltwell Park
  • Friends of Segedunum
  • Friends of St George’s, Jesmond
  • Friends of Walker Park
  • Gateshead Local History Society
  • George Stephenson’s Birthplace – National Trust
  • Gibside (National Trust)
  • Hexham Abbey
  • Hexham Old Gaol
  • Housesteads Roman Fort and Hadrian’s Wall (National Trust)
  • Institution of Civil Engineers North East Region Heritage Panel
  • Killingworth Local History Society
  • King’s Own Scottish Borderers Regimental Museum
  • Kirkharle Courtyard
  • Lady Waterford Hall
  • Land Of Oak & Iron
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Lindisfarne Priory
  • Literary & Philosophical Society of Newcastle
  • Low Fell Forum
  • Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum
  • Mr George’s Museum Of Time
  • Natural History Society of Northumbria
  • Newcastle City Guides
  • Newcomen Society – North East
  • Norham Castle
  • North of England Civic Trust
  • North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers
  • Northumberland and Newcastle Society
  • Northumberland Archives (Northumberland County Council)
  • Ouseburn Trust
  • Paxton House
  • Path Head Water Mill
  • Ponteland Civic Society
  • Ponteland Local History Society
  • Prudhoe Castle (English Heritage)
  • Robert Stephenson Trust
  • Roman Army Museum
  • Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Seaton Delaval Hall (National Trust)
  • St James’ Heritage & Environment Group, Benwell
  • St Mary’s Heritage Group, Gateshead
  • Sunderland Antiquarian Society
  • Tanfield Railway
  • Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust
  • Tyneside Society of Model & Experimental Engineers
  • Wallington (National Trust)
  • Warkworth Castle (Duke of Northumberland)
  • Warkworth Hermitage (Duke of Northumberland)
  • Woodhorn Museum

National Resources For Local History 

We have a separate page showing an extensive list of national resources for family historians and local history enthusiasts. Many of them will include information about Northumberland.

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Thanks to Littlerich for use of the image at the top of this page.