View of Elsdon village
|Population||258 (Local knowledge. 242, 2011 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE|
|EU Parliament||North East England|
Elsdon is a village and civil parish in the English county of Northumberland about 10 miles (16 km) to the southwest of Rothbury. The name is derived from the Old English meaning Elli's valley.
In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government, they are a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their combined form, the unitary authority. Civil parishes can trace their origin to the ancient system of ecclesiastical parishes which historically played a role in both civil and ecclesiastical administration; civil and religious parishes were formally split into two types in the 19th century and are now entirely separate. The unit was devised and rolled out across England in the 1860s.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
Northumberland is a unitary authority and a Historic County in North East England. The northernmost county of England, the unitary authority borders Cumbria to the west, County Durham and Tyne and Wear to the south and the Scottish Borders to the north. To the east is the North Sea coastline with a path 103 kilometres (64 mi) long. The county town is Alnwick, although the county council is based in Morpeth.
Formerly the capital of Redesdale, Elsdon contains a very fine example of a Motte and Bailey Castle, and a near perfect Pele Tower (fortified house of a type found in the border country) which is a private residence.
Redesdale is a valley in the western part of the county of Northumberland, in northeast England. This area contains the valley of the River Rede, a tributary of the River North Tyne. Redesdale includes the settlements of Elsdon, Otterburn, Rochester, Byrness and Carter Bar. A portion of Redesdale to the west and north of Otterburn now forms part of Northumberland National Park and includes the Redesdale Forest, the northernmost part of Kielder Forest.
Geographically, Elsdon lies in Redesdale and, as a market town, was once the primary settlement in the area.
A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host markets, which distinguished it from a village or city. In Britain, small rural towns with a hinterland of villages are still commonly called market towns, as sometimes reflected in their names.
Elsdon has a grim reminder of the past in the gibbet that rears its gaunt outline on the hill known as Steng Cross. Strangely enough this gallows has no connection with the Border raiders, many of whom met their death "high on the gallows tree". The present gibbet stands on the site of one from which the body of William Winter was suspended in chains after he had been hanged at The Westgate in Newcastle. Today this grisly relic is called Winter's Gibbet.Pieces of the gibbet were once reputed to be able to cure toothache, if rubbed on the gums.
In 1791, a very nasty murder of an old woman, Margaret Crozier, took place. The following quote from Tomlinson's Guide to Northumberland shows the enjoyment which the old writers took in recounting horrors in all their bloodthirsty detail. Tomlinson says:
Believing her to be rich, one William Winter, a desperate character, but recently returned from transportation, at the instigation, and with the assistance of two female faws [vendors of crockery and tinwork] named Jane and Eleanor Clark, who in their wanderings had experienced the kindness of Margaret Crozier, broke into the lonely Pele on the night of 29th August 1791, and cruelly murdered the poor old woman, loading the ass they had brought with her goods. The day before they had rested and dined in a sheep fold on Whisker-shield Common, which overlooked the Raw, and it was from a description given of them by a shepherd boy, who had seen them and taken particular notice of the number and character of the nails in Winter's shoes, and also the peculiar gully, or butcher's knife with which he divided the food that brought them to justice.
The shepherd lad must have had very good eyesight to count the number of nails in Winter's shoes!
Present on the village green is a Pinfold, where stray livestock were kept in years past, pending the payment of a fine by their owners. Also present is the site of an old cockfighting ring and at the North end of the village green is a stone, which once held a ring to which bulls were tied for bull baiting. Up to the late 16th century, this was an almost lawless place, confirmed by the signs of these "pastimes" and the marks just inside the church where parishioners sharpened swords and arrowheads on the church pillars! Between the Motte & Bailey Castle and the Pele tower is some flat land known as the Haugh, where in antiquity, the men of Elsdon practised archery. This is not the countryside of Morris Dancers and Cricket, but an area, which remained beyond the law long after England and Scotland were settled, and in some ways this harshness and the lack of facilities are what has preserved Elsdon as a truly unspoilt Northumbrian Village.
Whilst some new building has been allowed, like many other small villages, Elsdon has suffered for the loss of its shop and Post Office in recent times. There is however still a public house, the Bird and Bush, and a tea room and cafe situated at the Northern end of the village, which is especially popular with cyclists and other visitors.
Elsdon Castle was a castle in the village and is a scheduled monument. It is probably the best preserved medieval motte and bailey castle site in Northumberland and was built by Robert de Umfraville, not long after the Norman Conquest. Impressive earthworks remain.
Elsdon Castle is a castle in the village of Elsdon about 10 miles (16 km) to the southwest of Rothbury, in Northumberland, England, and also known as Mote Hills. The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
In the United Kingdom, a scheduled monument is a nationally important archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorised change.
The Umfraville family were Anglo-Norman landowners, administrators and soldiers who were prominent from about 1120 to 1437 on the northern border of England, where they held the strategic lordships of Prudhoe and Redesdale in Northumberland. They held, for the English Crown, Tynedale to the Cumbrian Border up to the border with Scotland.
Elsdon Tower is a medieval tower house converted for use as a Rectory and is a Grade I listed building.The property was first recorded in the occupation of the Rector of Elsdon in 1415.
The tower was reduced in the 17th century to three stories with a steeply sloping roof above a castellated parapetIn the early 19th century Archdeacon Singleton built an entrance porch and a two-storey, two bayed house extension.
Close to the fortified vicarage is Elsdon's church which claims to have been a resting place for St. Cuthbert's body and is one of the many dedicated to his memory. Of much historical interest, it is also larger than many Northumbrian churches. In the nineteenth century when alterations were taking place, a large number of skeletons were discovered which appeared to have been buried in a communal grave, an indication that the bodies had been buried at Elsdon after the Battle of Otterburn.
Peel towers are small fortified keeps or tower houses, built along the English and Scottish borders in the Scottish Marches and North of England, mainly between the mid-14th century and about 1600. They were free-standing with defence being a prime consideration of their design with "confirmation of status and prestige" also playing a role. They also functioned as watch towers where signal fires could be lit by the garrison to warn of approaching danger.
Rothbury is a town and civil parish in Northumberland, England, on the River Coquet, 13.5 miles (21.7 km) northwest of Morpeth and 26 miles (42 km) of Newcastle upon Tyne. At the 2001 Census, it had a population of 2,107.
Morpeth is a historic market town in Northumberland, North East England, lying on the River Wansbeck. Nearby villages include Mitford, Clifton and Pegswood. In the 2011 census, the population of Morpeth was given as 14,017, up from 13,833 in the 2001 census. The earliest record of the town is believed to be from the Neolithic period. The meaning of the town's name is uncertain, but it may refer to its position on the road to Scotland and a murder which occurred on that road. An alternative origin is a derivation of 'murderers' path' from the time when the gallows were on the Common. The de Marley family was granted the Barony of Morpeth in c. 1080 and built two castles in the town in the late 11th century and the 13th century. The town was granted its coat of arms in 1552. By the mid 1700s it had become one of the main markets in England, having been granted a market charter in 1199, but the opening of the railways in the 1800s led the market to decline. The town's history is celebrated in the annual Northumbrian Gathering.
Northumberland, England's northernmost county, is a land where Roman occupiers once guarded a walled frontier, Anglian invaders fought with Celtic natives, and Norman lords built castles to suppress rebellion and defend a contested border with Scotland. The present-day county is a vestige of an independent kingdom that once stretched from Edinburgh to the Humber, hence its name, meaning literally 'north of the Humber'. Reflecting its tumultuous past, Northumberland has more castles than any other county, and the greatest number of recognised battle sites. Once an economically important region that supplied much of the coal that powered the industrial revolution, Northumberland is now a primarily rural county with a small and gradually shrinking population.
Otterburn is a small village in Northumberland, England, 31 miles (50 km) northwest of Newcastle upon Tyne on the banks of the River Rede, near the confluence of the Otter Burn, from which the village derives its name. It lies within the Cheviot Hills about 16 miles (26 km) from the Scottish border. The parish of Otterburn is at the heart of Redesdale, a Northumbrian upland valley.
Ponteland is a village in Northumberland, England, 15 km north of Newcastle upon Tyne. The name means "island in the Pont", after the River Pont which flows from west to east and joins the River Blyth further downstream, before flowing into the North Sea. Newcastle Airport is 2.5 km to the south of the village.
Aldingham is a village and civil parish in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria, England. Historically in Lancashire, it is situated on the east coast of the Furness peninsula, facing into Morecambe Bay, and is about 8 miles (13 km) east of Barrow-in-Furness, and 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Ulverston. The parish includes the nearby villages of Baycliff, Dendron, Leece, Gleaston, Newbiggin, Roosebeck, Scales and a number of smaller hamlets. According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 1,187, reducing to 1,105 at the 2011 Census.
Thropton is a small village in Northumberland, England, situated about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Rothbury near the junction of the Wreigh Burn and the River Coquet. In the village is a fine bridge over the Wreigh Burn which was built in 1811. There is a haugh to the south of the village, and imposing views of Simonside, a long low crag south of the Coquet that runs between Rothbury and Thropton.
Edlingham is a small village and civil parish in Northumberland in the north of England. At the 2001 census it had a population of 196, which had reduced slightly to 191 at the 2011 Census. The road to Alnwick passes close by the village and the town of Rothbury is about 6 miles (10 km) away.
Callaly Castle is a Grade I listed building and a substantial country house to the north of the village of Callaly, which is some 14.5 km (9.0 mi) to the west of Alnwick, Northumberland, England.
Chipchase Castle is a 17th-century Jacobean mansion incorporating a substantial 14th-century pele tower, which stands north of Hadrian's Wall, near Wark on Tyne, between Bellingham and Hexham in Northumberland, England. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.
The Selby family is a prominent and prolific family in the English gentry that originated in Selby, Yorkshire, but largely settled in Northumberland and County Durham. At various points through history, the family owned Biddlestone Hall and Twizell Castle in Northumberland in addition to the manor houses Ightham Mote in Kent and at Beal, Northumberland. The family had two baronetcies; the Selby and the Selby-Bigge but both are now extinct.
Bellister Castle is a National Trust owned castellated 19th-century mansion house attached to the ruinous remains of a 14th-century tower house, situated near Haltwhistle, Northumberland, England. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.
While there are many castles in South Yorkshire, the majority are manor houses and motte-and-bailey which were commonly found in England after the Norman Conquest.
Elsdon Tower is a medieval tower house converted for use as a Rectory situated at Elsdon, Northumberland. It is a Grade I listed building.
Hepple is a small village and parish in rural Northumberland, 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Rothbury, which provides most of its local services. It is on the edge of the Northumberland National Park, and lies on the bank of the river Coquet, at a location which was on the Coquet Stop Line, of which a pillbox remains. It is on the road between Rothbury and Otterburn. The village contains a Church, village hall and post office.
Otterburn Tower is a Grade II listed castellated, three star country house hotel in Otterburn, Northumberland. It is set in 32 acres (13 ha) of deer park and woodland in the Northumberland National Park in northeastern England. Founded by a cousin of William the Conqueror in 1086, it was later owned by the Clan Hall, before being rebuilt in 1830 by Thomas James, a magistrate, on the site and using some of the stones from the Otterburn Castle. Nearby Otterburn Hall was built in 1870 on land given to a Lord Douglas as recompense for the death of his ancestor Lord William Douglas in the Battle of Otterburn.
St Cuthbert's Church is located in Elsdon, Alnwick, northeast England. The church was one of the resting places of St. Cuthbert's body in the wanderings of the monks. It is one of the many dedicated to his memory. St Cuthbert's Church is a Grade I listed building in Northumberland.
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