Northumberland facts for kids

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Northumberland
County
Flag of Northumberland.svg Coat of arms of Northumberland County Council.png
Flag Coat of arms
Northumberland UK locator map 2010.svg
Northumberland in England
Coordinates: Missing latitude in Module:Coordinates.formatTest()
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region North East
Established Ancient
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Jane Percy
High Sheriff William Browne-Swinburne (2016-17)
Area 5,013 km2 (1,936 sq mi)
 • Ranked 6th of 48
Population (2005 est.) 311,400
 • Ranked 44th of 48
Density 62/km2 (160/sq mi)
Ethnicity 95.4% White British
Unitary authority
Council Northumberland County Council
Executive  
Admin HQ Morpeth
Area [convert: needs a number]
 • Ranked of 326
 • Ranked of 326
Density [convert: needs a number]
ISO 3166-2 GB-NBL
ONS code 00EM
GSS code E06000057
NUTS UKC21
Website www.northumberland.gov.uk
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police Northumbria Police
Time zone GMT (UTC)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)

Northumberland (RP pronunciation /nɔːˈθʌmbələnd/ local /nɔːˈθʊmbələnd/) (abbreviated Northd) is a county in North East England. The northernmost county of England, it borders Cumbria to the west, County Durham and Tyne and Wear to the south and Scotland to the north. To the east is the North Sea coastline with a 64-mile (103 km) long distance path. The county town is Alnwick although the county council is in Morpeth (for the moment, as there are plans to move it to nearby Ashington). The northernmost point of Northumberland and England is at Marshall Meadows Bay.

The county of Northumberland included Newcastle upon Tyne until 1400, when the city became a county of itself. Northumberland expanded greatly in the Tudor period, annexing Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1482, Tynedale in 1495, Tynemouth in 1536, Redesdale around 1542 and Hexhamshire in 1572. Islandshire, Bedlingtonshire and Norhamshire were incorporated into Northumberland in 1844. Tynemouth and other settlements in North Tyneside were transferred to Tyne and Wear in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972.

Lying on the Anglo-Scottish border, Northumberland has been the site of a number of battles. The county is noted for its undeveloped landscape of high moorland, now largely protected as the Northumberland National Park. Northumberland is the most sparsely populated county in England, with only 62 people per square kilometre.

History

Long Crag summit
Long Crag summit

Northumberland originally meant 'the land of the people living north of the River Humber'. The present county is the core of that former land, and has long been a frontier zone between England and Scotland. During Roman occupation of Britain, most of the present county lay north of Hadrian's Wall, and was only controlled by Rome for the brief period of its extension north the Antonine Wall. The Roman road Dere Street crosses the county from Corbridge over high moorland west of the Cheviot Hills into present Scotland to Trimontium (Melrose). As evidence of its border position through medieval times, Northumberland has more castles than any other county in England, including those of Alnwick, Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh, Newcastle and Warkworth.

Northumberland has a rich prehistory with many instances of rock art, hillforts such as Yeavering Bell and stone circles like the Goatstones and Duddo Five Stones. Most of the area was occupied by the Brythonic-Celtic Votadini people, with another large tribe, the Brigantes to the south.

Later, the region of present-day Northumberland formed the core of the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia (from ca. 547), which united with Deira (south of the River Tees) to form the kingdom of Northumbria in the 7th century. The historical boundaries of Northumbria under King Edwin (reigned 616–633) stretched from the Humber in the south to the Forth in the north, although in 1018 its northern part, between the Tweed and the Forth (including Lothian, the region which contains Edinburgh), was ceded to the Kingdom of Scotland.

Northumberland is often called the "cradle of Christianity" in England, because Christianity flourished on Lindisfarne—a tidal island north of Bamburgh, also called Holy Island—after King Oswald of Northumbria (reigned 634–642) invited monks from Iona to come to convert the English. Lindisfarne saw the production of the Lindisfarne Gospels (ca. 700) and it became the home of St Cuthbert (ca. 634–687, abbot from ca. 665), who is buried in Durham Cathedral.

Bamburgh is the historic capital of Northumberland, the "royal" castle from before the unification of the Kingdoms of England under the monarchs of the House of Wessex in the 10th century.

The Earldom of Northumberland was briefly held by the Scottish royal family by marriage between 1139–1157 and 1215–1217. Scotland relinquished all claims to the region as part of the Treaty of York (1237). The Earls of Northumberland once wielded significant power in English affairs because, as powerful and militaristic Marcher Lords, they had the task of protecting England from Scottish invasion.

Northumberland has a history of revolt and rebellion against the government, as seen in the Rising of the North (1569–1570) against Elizabeth I of England. These revolts were usually led by the Earls of Northumberland, the Percy family. Shakespeare makes one of the Percys, the dashing Harry Hotspur (1364–1403), the hero of his Henry IV, Part 1. The Percys were often aided in conflict by other powerful Northern families such as the Nevilles and the Patchetts; the latter were stripped of all power and titles after the English Civil War of 1642–1651.

After the Restoration of 1660, the county was a centre for Roman Catholicism in England, as well as a focus of Jacobite support. Northumberland was long a wild county, where outlaws and Border Reivers hid from the law. However, the frequent cross-border skirmishes and accompanying local lawlessness largely subsided after the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England under King James I and VI in 1603.

Northumberland played a key role in the Industrial Revolution from the 18th century on. Many coal mines operated in Northumberland until the widespread closures in the 1970s and 1980s. Collieries operated at Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Choppington, Netherton, Ellington and Pegswood. The region's coalfields fuelled industrial expansion in other areas of Britain, and the need to transport the coal from the collieries to the Tyne led to the development of the first railways. Shipbuilding and armaments manufacture were other important industries before the deindustrialisation of the 1980s.

As of 2015 Northumberland remains largely rural, and is the least-densely populated county in England. In recent years the county has had considerable growth in tourism due to its scenic beauty and the abundant evidence of its historical significance.

Physical geography

ShepherdPhysical1926Northumberland
Physical geography of Northumberland and surrounding areas
N NE England SRTM

Northumberland has a diverse physical geography. It is low and flat near the North Sea coast and increasingly mountainous toward the northwest. The Cheviot Hills, in the northwest of the county, consist mainly of resistant Devonian granite and andesite lava. A second area of igneous rock underlies the Whin Sill (on which Hadrian's Wall runs), an intrusion of Carboniferous dolerite. Both ridges support a rather bare moorland landscape. Either side of the Whin Sill the county lies on Carboniferous Limestone, giving some areas of karst landscape. Lying off the coast of Northumberland are the Farne Islands, another dolerite outcrop, famous for their bird life.

There are coal fields in the southeast corner of the county, extending along the coastal region north of the river Tyne. The term 'sea coal' likely originated from chunks of coal, found washed up on beaches, that wave action had broken from coastal outcroppings.

Rothbury, Northumberland
River Coquet.

Being in the far north of England, above 55° latitude, and having many areas of high land, Northumberland is one of the coldest areas of the country. It has an average annual temperature of 7.1 to 9.3 °C, with the coldest temperatures inland. However, the county lies on the east coast, and has relatively low rainfall, between 466 and 1060 mm annually, with the highest amounts falling on the high land in the west. Between 1971 and 2000 the county averaged 1321 to 1390 hours of sunshine per year.

Approximately a quarter of the county is protected as the Northumberland National Park, an area of outstanding landscape that has largely been protected from development and agriculture. The park stretches south from the Scottish border and includes Hadrian's Wall. Most of the park is over 240 metres (800 feet) above sea level. The Northumberland Coast is also a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Natural England recognises the following natural regions, or national character areas, that lie wholly or partially within Northumberland:

  • North Northumberland Coastal Plain
  • South East Northumberland Coastal Plain
  • Cheviot Fringe
  • Cheviot Hills
  • Northumberland Sandstone Hills
  • Mid Northumberland
  • Tyne Gap & Hadrian's Wall
  • Border Moors & Forests
  • Tyne & Wear Lowlands

Ecology

There is a variety of notable habitats and species in Northumberland including: Chillingham Cattle herd; Holy Island; Farne Islands; and Staple Island. Moreover, 50% of England's red squirrel population lives in the Kielder Water and Forest Park along with a large variety of other species including roe deer and wildfowl.

Demographics

At the Census 2001 Northumberland registered a population of 307,190, estimated to be 309,237 in 2003, The 2011 census gave a population of 316,028.

In 2001 there were 130,780 households, 10% of which were all retired, and one third were rented. Northumberland has a very low ethnic minority population at 0.985% of the population, compared to 9.1% for England as a whole. In the 2001 census, 81% of the population reported their religion as Christianity, 0.8% as "other religion", and 12% as having no religion.

Being primarily rural with significant areas of upland, the population density of Northumberland is only 62 persons per square kilometre, giving it the lowest population density in England.

Culture

Northumberland has traditions not found elsewhere in England. These include the rapper sword dance, the Clog dance and the Northumbrian smallpipe, a sweet chamber instrument, quite unlike the Scottish bagpipe. Northumberland also has its own tartan or check, sometimes referred to in Scotland as the Shepherd's Tartan. Traditional Northumberland music has more similarity to Lowland Scottish and Irish music than it does to that of other parts of England, reflecting the strong historical links between Northumbria and the Lowlands of Scotland, and the large Irish population on Tyneside.

The Border ballads of the region have been famous since late mediaeval times. Thomas Percy, whose celebrated Reliques of Ancient English Poetry appeared in 1765, states that most of the minstrels who sang the Border ballads in London and elsewhere in the 15th and 16th centuries belonged to the North. The activities of Sir Walter Scott and others in the 19th century gave the ballads an even wider popularity. William Morris considered them to be the greatest poems in the language, while Algernon Charles Swinburne knew virtually all of them by heart.

One of the best-known is the stirring Chevy Chase, which tells of the Earl of Northumberland's vow to hunt for three days across the Border 'maugre the doughty Douglas'. Of it, the Elizabethan courtier, soldier and poet Sir Philip Sidney famously said: 'I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas that I found not my heart moved more than with a trumpet'. Ben Jonson said that he would give all his works to have written Chevy Chase.

Overall the culture of Northumberland, as with the north east of England in general, has much more in common with Scottish Lowland and Northern English culture than with that of Southern England. One reason is that both regions have their cultural origins in the old Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria, a fact borne out by the linguistic links between the two regions. These include many Old English words not found in other forms of Modern English, such as bairn for child (see Scots language and Northumbria). The other reason for the close cultural links is the clear pattern of net southward migration. There are more Scots in England than English people north of the border. Much of this movement is cross-county rather than distant migration, and the incomers thus bring aspects of their culture as well as reinforce shared cultural traits from both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border.

Whatever the case, the lands just north or south of the border have long shared certain aspects of history and heritage; it is thus thought by some that the Anglo-Scottish border is largely political rather than cultural.

Attempts to raise the level of awareness of Northumberland culture have also started, with the formation of a Northumbrian Language Society to preserve the unique dialects (Pitmatic and other Northumbrian dialects) of this region, as well as to promote home-grown talent.

Northumberland's county flower is the Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum) and her affiliated Royal Navy ship is her namesake, HMS Northumberland.

Flag

Flag of Northumberland
Northumberland flag

Northumberland has its own flag, which is a banner of the arms of Northumberland County Council. The shield of arms is in turn based on the arms medieval heralds had attributed to the Kingdom of Bernicia (which the first County Council used until was granted its own arms). The Bernician arms were fictional but inspired by Bede's brief description of a flag used on the tomb of St Oswald in the 7th century.

The current arms were granted to the county council in 1951, and adopted as the flag of Northumberland in 1995.

People

GeorgeStephenson
George Stephenson was born in Northumberland

Famous people born in Northumberland

Ashington was the birthplace of the three famous footballers Bobby and Jack Charlton in 1937 and 1935 respectively; and Jackie Milburn previously in 1924. In 1978 Steve Harmison, an international cricketer was born here.

Mickley was the birthplace of Thomas Bewick, an artist, wood engraver and naturalist in 1753 and Bob Stokoe, a footballer and F.A. Cup winning manager (with Sunderland in 1973) born 1930.

Other notable births include:

  • Thomas Addison, a physician born at Longbenton in 1793
  • George Airy, an astronomer and geophysicist born at Alnwick in 1802
  • Alexander Armstrong, a comedy actor born at Rothbury in 1970
  • Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, landscape and garden designer born at Kirkharle in 1715
  • Josephine Butler, social reformer born at Milfield in 1828
  • Basil Bunting, a poet born at Scotswood-on-Tyne in 1900
  • Eric Burdon, singer and leader of The Animals and War born at Walker-on-Tyne in 1941
  • Cuthbert Collingwood, Ist Baron Collingwood born at Newcastle upon Tyne in 1748
  • Grace Darling, a heroine born at Bamburgh in 1815
  • Pete Doherty, a musician born at Hexham in 1979
  • Bryan Donkin, an engineer and industrialist born at Sandhoe in 1768
  • Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, a poet born at Hexham in 1878
  • Daniel Gooch, an engineer and politician born at Bedlington in 1816
  • Sir Alistair Graham (1942–), noted public figure
  • Tom Graveney, former England cricketer and President of the Marylebone Cricket Club 2004/5, born in Riding Mill in 1927.
  • Robson Green, an actor and singer born at Hexham in 1964
  • Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister born at the family seat of Howick Hall in 1764
  • William Hewson, British physician, "Father of Haematology", at Hexham, 14 Nov 1739
  • Jean Heywood actress born at Blyth best known for Our Day Out and All Creatures Great and Small.
  • Marie Lebour (1876–1971), British marine biologist
  • Matt Ridley, a journalist, writer, and businessman, and son of Viscount Ridley
  • John Rushworth (1793–1860), an historian born at Acklington Park, Warkworth
  • George Stephenson, an engineer born at Wylam in 1781
  • Trevor Steven, footballer born in Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1963
  • Percival Stockdale, poet and abolitionist
  • Ross Noble, a stand-up comedian born and raised in Cramlington in the 1970s and 1980s
  • Hugh Trevor-Roper (1914–2003), an historian, born at Glanton
  • William Turner, ornithologist and botanist born at Morpeth in 1508
  • Sid Waddell, a sports commentator and children's television screenwriter born at Alnwick in 1940
  • Veronica Wedgwood (1910–1997), an historian, usually published as C. V. Wedgwood
  • The Rt Rev Dr N. T. Wright, Anglican theologian and author, born in Morpeth in 1948
  • Gordon Dodds (1941–2010), Provincial Archivist of Manitoba and author, born in Wideopen
  • Kevin Whately, actor born in Humshaugh, near Hexham in 1951.
  • Richard Pattison, climber born in Ashington in 1975.

Famous people linked with Northumberland

Algernon Charles Swinburne sketch
Algernon Charles Swinburne, the poet, was raised in Northumberland
  • Charles Algernon Parsons, inventor of the steam turbine while living in Wylam, Northumberland
  • Thomas Burt, one of the first working-class members of parliament and was secretary of the Northumberland Miners' Association in 1863
  • Matthew Festing, 79th Grand Master, the Order of Malta.
  • Mark Knopfler, guitarist and frontman of Dire Straits, was raised in his mother's hometown of Blyth, Northumberland.
  • Gordon Sumner, better known by his stage name of Sting, a schoolteacher turned musician was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1951
  • Henry 'Hotspur' Percy (1365–1403), borders warlord and rebel
  • Billy Pigg, a 20th-century musician who was vice-President of the Northumbrian Pipers Society
  • Alan Shearer footballer, lives in Ponteland.
  • Algernon Charles Swinburne, a poet raised at Capheaton Hall
  • Kathryn Tickell, a modern-day player of the Northumbrian smallpipes
  • Turner, Thomas Girtin and John Cotman all painted memorable pictures of Northumberland. Turner always tipped his hat towards Norham Castle as the foundation of his fame and fortune.
  • Jonny Wilkinson, English rugby player, currently lives in rural Northumberland.
  • Ragnar Lodbrok, Legendary Viking leader
  • Allan Holdsworth, guitarist, originated from Newcastle upon Tyne before moving to California.

The site [1] contains exhaustive detailed entries for famous deceased Northumbrians.

Settlements

See also: List of places in Northumberland and List of settlements in Northumberland by population

Parishes

NOTE: New parishes have been added since 2001. These are missing from the list.

Parishes of Northumberland
Name Population (2001) Former district/borough
Acklington 467 Alnwick
Acomb 1,184 Tynedale
Adderstone with Lucker 195 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Akeld 82 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Allendale 2,120 Tynedale
Alnham 99 Alnwick
Alnmouth 562 Alnwick
Alnwick 7,767 Alnwick
Alwinton 71 Alnwick
Amble 6,044 Alnwick
Ancroft 885 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Bamburgh 454 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Bardon Mill 364 Tynedale
Bavington 99 Tynedale
Beadnell 528 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Belford 1,055 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Belsay 436 Castle Morpeth
Bewick 69 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Biddlestone 88 Alnwick
Bowsden 157 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Branxton 121 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Brinkburn 200 Alnwick
Callaly 150 Alnwick
Capheaton 160 Castle Morpeth
Carham 347 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Cartington 97 Alnwick
Chatton 438 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Cornhill-on-Tweed 318 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Craster 342 Alnwick
Cresswell 237 Castle Morpeth
Denwick 266 Alnwick
Doddington 146 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Earle 89 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Easington 139 Berwick-upon-Tweed
East Chevington 3,192 Castle Morpeth
Edlingham 196 Alnwick
Eglingham 357 Alnwick
Ellingham 282 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Ellington and Linton 2,678 Castle Morpeth
Elsdon 205 Alnwick
Embleton 699 Alnwick
Ewart 72 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Felton 958 Alnwick
Ford 487 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Glanton 222 Alnwick
Harbottle 235 Alnwick
Hartburn 198 Castle Morpeth
Hauxley 220 Alnwick
Hebron 679 Castle Morpeth
Heddon-on-the-Wall 1,518 Castle Morpeth
Hedgeley 322 Alnwick
Hepple 139 Alnwick
Hepscott 898 Castle Morpeth
Hesleyhurst 30 Alnwick
Hollinghill 90 Alnwick
Holy Island 162 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Horncliffe 374 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Ilderton 94 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Ingram 148 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Kilham 131 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Kirknewton 108 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Kyloe 323 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Lesbury 871 Alnwick
Lilburn 106 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Longframlington 979 Alnwick
Longhirst 446 Castle Morpeth
Longhorsley 798 Castle Morpeth
Longhoughton 1,442 Alnwick
Lowick 559 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Lynemouth 1,832 Castle Morpeth
Matfen 495 Castle Morpeth
Meldon 162 Castle Morpeth
Middleton 136 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Milfield 243 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Mitford 431 Castle Morpeth
Morpeth 13,833 Castle Morpeth
Netherton 194 Alnwick
Netherwitton 272 Castle Morpeth
Newton-by-the-Sea 242 Alnwick
Newton on the Moor and Swarland 822 Alnwick
Norham 536 Berwick-upon-Tweed
North Sunderland 1,803 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Nunnykirk 138 Alnwick
Ord, Northumberland 1,365 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Pegswood 3,174 Castle Morpeth
Ponteland 10,871 Castle Morpeth
Prudhoe 11,500 Tynedale
Rennington 305 Alnwick
Roddam 77 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Rothbury 1,740 Alnwick
Rothley 136 Alnwick
Shilbottle 1,349 Alnwick
Shoreswood 163 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Snitter 114 Alnwick
Stamfordham 1,047 Castle Morpeth
Stannington 1,219 Castle Morpeth
Thirston 510 Castle Morpeth
Thropton 409 Alnwick
Togston 340 Alnwick
Tritlington and West Chevington 218 Castle Morpeth
Ulgham 365 Castle Morpeth
Wallington Demesne 361 Castle Morpeth
Warkworth 1,493 Alnwick
Whalton 427 Castle Morpeth
Whittingham 406 Alnwick
Whitton and Tosson 223 Alnwick
Widdrington 158 Castle Morpeth
Widdrington Station and Stobswood 2,386 Castle Morpeth
Wooler 1,857 Berwick-upon-Tweed

Although not on this list, the population of Cramlington is estimated at 39,000.

Historic areas

Some settlements which were historically part of the county now fall under the county of Tyne and Wear:

Tyne and Wear Killingworth, Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Shields, Tynemouth, Wallsend, Whitley Bay

Surnames

Most common surnames in Northumberland at the time of the United Kingdom Census of 1881, by order of incidence:

  1. Thompson
  2. Smith
  3. Brown
  4. Robson
  5. Bell
  6. Scott
  7. Wilson
  8. Hall
  9. Taylor
  10. Armstrong

Images for kids


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