Mitford, Northumberland

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Northumberland UK location map.svg
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Location within Northumberland
Population448 (2011 census) [1]
OS grid reference NZ175860
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MORPETH
Postcode district NE61
Police Northumbria
Fire Northumberland
Ambulance North East
UK Parliament
List of places
55°10′05″N1°43′34″W / 55.168°N 1.726°W / 55.168; -1.726 Coordinates: 55°10′05″N1°43′34″W / 55.168°N 1.726°W / 55.168; -1.726

Mitford is a village in the Wansbeck parliamentary constituency, in Northumberland, England, about 2 miles (3 km) west of Morpeth.



Although the foundation of Mitford is unknown, it was a barony during the Anglo-Saxon era. At the time of the Norman Conquest, the lord of the manor was John, labelled John de Mitford. He died in 1070 leaving a daughter, Sybilla, as his sole heir. William the Conqueror gave the heiress as bride to one of his knights, Sir Richard Bertram, who thus acquired the barony. At that time the territory stretched from Chopwell south of the River Tyne to an area in the Coquet Valley west of Rothbury. [2]

Around 1110 Mitford was granted a Market Charter, one of the first granted north of the River Tyne. It was earlier, and at one time a far greater market place for local people, than the market at Morpeth which did not receive a charter until 1199. Morpeth's market soon grew in prominence and Mitford fell from grace. This historic status of the two market town led to a folk rhyme:

Mitforde was Mitforde when Morpeth was none,
and Mitforde shall be Mitforde when Morpeth is gone.


The village lies within the Longhorsley Division of Northumberland County Council, represented since May 2013 by Cllr Glen Sanderson (Conservative) (200813 by Cllr David Towns, also Conservative) and the Wansbeck parliamentary constituency (Ian Lavery MP, Labour). The Boundary Commission unveiled proposals to transfer the village into the Hexham parliamentary constituency but the plans were abandoned when the reorganisation of constituency boundaries was halted by the government.


Mitford Castle was built in timber in the 11th century by William Bertram, and his son Roger was given permission to rebuild in stone in 1166. By 1323 was no longer used. Today it is in ruins, and has recently undergone a major programme of structural support works.

Religious sites

Church of St Mary Magdalene Church of St Mary Magdalene , Mitford - - 2157998.jpg
Church of St Mary Magdalene

The ancient church of St Mary Magdalene was rebuilt in 1875, but has preserved its Norman south arcade and 13th-century chancel. The church is believed to have the oldest bell in the Diocese of Newcastle cast no later than about 1150. [3]


In Light from Heaven, the last instalment of American author Jan Karon's contemporary Christian "Mitford Years" novel series (which is set in a fictional town in western North Carolina bearing the same name), the series' setting and the Mitford of this article become "sister Ovillages."

Notable people

The Mitford family held the Manor from Norman times. The ruins of their Manor House stand on the eastern side of the River Wansbeck. In about 1823 they abandoned the old Manor House for a new mansion house, Mitford Hall, which was designed by the famous Northern architect, John Dobson, and which was built on the opposite bank of the river and surrounded by woodland and a small deer park. The engraver James Thomson (17881850) was born in the village. [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

Northumberland County of England

Northumberland is a ceremonial county, historic county, and unitary authority in North East England. The latter has a headquarters at Morpeth. Northumberland borders Cumbria to the west, County Durham to the south, Newcastle upon Tyne and North Tyneside to the south and southeast, and the Scottish Borders to the north. The historic county town is Alnwick. Northumberland is a predominantly rural county, with the lowest population density of any county in England. The largest settlement in the county is the town of Blyth.

Tyne and Wear Metropolitan county in North East England

Tyne and Wear is a metropolitan county in North East England, situated around the mouths of the rivers Tyne and Wear. It came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. It consists of five metropolitan boroughs - Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and the City of Sunderland. The county is bordered to the north by Northumberland, to the south by County Durham and to the east of the county lies the North Sea. It is the smallest county in North East England by area, but by far the largest in terms of population.

Morpeth, Northumberland Human settlement in England

Morpeth is a historic market town in Northumberland, North East England, lying on the River Wansbeck. Nearby towns include Ashington and Bedlington. In the 2011 census, the population of Morpeth was given as 14,017, up from 13,833 in the 2001 census. The earliest evidence of settlement is believed to be from the Neolithic period, and some Roman artifacts have also been found. The first written mention of the town is from 1080, when the de Merlay family was granted the barony of Morpeth. 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. The de Merlay family 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 1200, 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.

Castle Morpeth Borough in England

Castle Morpeth was a local government district and borough in Northumberland, England. Its administrative centre was the town of Morpeth.

Haltwhistle Human settlement in England

Haltwhistle is a market town and civil parish in Northumberland, England, 10 miles (16 km) east of Brampton. It had a population of 3,811 at the 2011 Census.

River Wansbeck River in Northumberland, England

The River Wansbeck runs through the county of Northumberland, England. It rises above Sweethope Lough on the edge of Fourlaws Forest in the area known locally as The Wanneys ; runs through the town of Ashington before discharging into the North Sea at Sandy Bay near Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

Wansbeck (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1983 onwards

Wansbeck is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Ian Lavery, a member of the Labour Party.

Bothal Human settlement in England

Bothal is a village in Northumberland, in England. It is situated between Morpeth and Ashington. There is a castle, a church, a vicarage opposite the church gates, some stepping stones over the River Wansbeck, and a few houses.

Riding Mill Human settlement in England

Riding Mill is a village near Hexham in Northumberland, England. It is part of the civil parish of Broomhaugh and Riding. It is served by Riding Mill railway station and by a frequent bus service on the route from Hexham to Newcastle.

Newburn Human settlement in England

Newburn is a semi rural parish, former electoral ward and former urban district in western Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England. Situated on the North bank of the River Tyne, it is built rising up the valley from the river. It is situated approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) from the city centre, 14 miles (23 km) east of Hexham and 13 miles (21 km) south south west of Morpeth. In the 2001 census, the population was given as 9,301, increasing to 9,536 at the 2011 Census. Newburn is in the Newcastle upon Tyne district of Tyne and Wear and is part of the parliamentary constituency of Newcastle upon Tyne North.

The Blyth and Tyne Railway was a railway company in Northumberland, England. It was incorporated in 1853 to unify several private railways and waggonways that were concerned with bringing coal from the Northumberland coalfield to Blyth and to the River Tyne. Over the years, it expanded its network to include Ashington, Morpeth and Tynemouth. As coal output increased, the company became very prosperous in hauling the mineral to quays for export and, in addition, a residential passenger service based on Newcastle built up.

Stanton, Northumberland Human settlement in England

Stanton is a small hamlet in Northumberland, England which is located 7 miles (11 km) north west of Morpeth, and 15 miles (24 km) north of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Stanton is surrounded by scenic countryside, and is only 9 miles (14 km) from the Northumberland National Park (NNPA).

Bothal Castle

Bothal Castle is a castle and stately home in the village of the same name near the River Wansbeck, between Morpeth and Ashington in the English county of Northumberland. Botl is Old English for a dwelling. Bothal could refer to a particular dwelling or hall. It was fortified before the Norman conquest, and renovated and remodelled a number of times. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.

Mitford Castle

Mitford Castle is an English castle dating from the end of the 11th century and located at Mitford, Northumberland. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building, enlisted on 20 October 1969. The castle is also officially on the Buildings at Risk Register. The Norman motte and bailey castle stands on a small prominence, a somewhat elliptical mound, above the River Wansbeck. The selected building site allowed for the natural hill to be scarped and ditched, producing the motte.

Mitford Old Manor House

Mitford Old Manor House is an historic English manor house at Mitford, Northumberland and is a Grade II* listed building. The Manor of Mitford was held from ancient times by the Mitford family.

Ashington Town and parish in Northumberland, England

Ashington is a town and civil parish in Northumberland, England, with a population of 27,864 at the 2011 Census. It was once a centre of the coal mining industry. The town is 15 miles (24 km) north of Newcastle upon Tyne, west of the A189 and bordered to the south by the River Wansbeck. The North Sea coast at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea is 3 miles (5 km) away.

The Ogle family were prominent landed gentry in Northumberland. The earliest appearances of the family name were written Hoggel, Oggehill, Ogille and Oghill.

The Wansbeck Railway was a single track railway line in Northumberland, England, that ran from Morpeth to Reedsmouth, where it made a junction with the Border Counties Railway. Conceived as part of a through trunk route for the North British Railway, it never achieved its potential. It opened in stages from 1862 to 1865. The population was sparse and mineral traffic kept the line going.


  1. "Parish population 2011" . Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  2. Gubbins, Bridget. de Merlay Dynasty.
  3. Purves, Geoffrey (2006). Churches of Newcastle and Northumberland. Stroud, Gloucestershire, England: Tempus Publishing Limited. p. 67. ISBN   0-7524-4071-3. Archived from the original on 13 January 2016.
  4. 'Obituary: Mr. James Thomson', The Art Journal , January 1851, p. 30.