Lying on the Anglo-Scottish border
, Northumberland has been the site of a number of historic battles. The county is noted for its undeveloped landscape of high moorland, now largely protected as the Northumberland National Park
. Northumberland is the least densely populated county in England, with only 62 people per square kilometre.
An early mention of Northumberland as norð hẏmbra land "north of Humber land" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Later, the region of present-day Northumberland formed the core of the Anglian
kingdom of Bernicia
(from about 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. After the battle of Nechtansmere
its influence north of the Tweed began to decline as the Picts gradually reclaimed the land previously invaded by the Saxon kingdom. In 1018 its northern part, the region between the Tweed
and the Forth (including Lothian
that contains present-day 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. A monastery at Lindisfarne was the centre of production of the Lindisfarne Gospels
(around 700). It became the home of St Cuthbert
(about 634–687, abbot from about 665), who is buried in Durham Cathedral
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 retaliation for English invasions.
Northumberland has a history of revolt and rebellion against the government, as seen in the Rising of the North
(1569–1570) against Elizabeth I
. 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 by the victorious Parliamentarians 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
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
. 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
manufacture were other important industries before the deindustrialisation of the 1980s.
Northumberland remains largely rural, and is the least-densely populated county in England. In recent years the county has had considerable growth in tourism. Visitors are attracted both to its scenic beauty and its historical sites.
Nearly 2000-year-old Roman
boxing gloves were uncovered at Vindolanda
in 2017 by the Vidolanda Trust experts, led by Andrew Birley
. According to the Guardian, being similar in style and function to the full-hand modern boxing gloves, these two gloves found at Vindolanda look like leather bands date back to 120 AD. It is suggested that, based on their difference from gladiator gloves, warriors using this type of gloves had no purpose to kill each other, and that the gloves probably were used in a sport for promoting fighting skills. The gloves are currently displayed at Vindolanda's museum.
Physical geography of Northumberland and surrounding areas
Northumberland has a diverse physical geography. It is low and flat near the North Sea
coast and increasingly mountainous toward the northwest. 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. However, the county lies on the east coast, and has relatively low rainfall, with the highest amounts falling on the high land in the west.
The Northumberland Coalfield
extends across the southeast corner of the county, from the River Tyne as far north as Shilbottle
. There were smaller scale workings for coal
within the Tyne Limestone Formation as far north as Scremerston
The term 'sea coal' likely originated from chunks of coal, found washed up on beaches, that wave action had broken from coastal outcroppings.
Ecology and environment
Northumberland's green belt
is in the south of the county, surrounding Cramlington and other communities along the county border, to afford a protection from the Tyneside
conurbation. The belt continues west along the border, past Darras Hall
, and on to Hexham, stopping before Haydon Bridge
. Its border there is shared with the North Pennines
AONB. There are also some separated belt areas, for example to the east of Morpeth. The green belt was first drawn up in the 1950s.
Economy and industry
Northumberland's industry is dominated by some multi-national corporations: Coca-Cola
, MSD, GE
all have significant facilities in the region.
Tourism is a major source of employment and income in Northumberland. In the early 2000s the county annually received 1.1 million British visitors and 50,000 foreign tourists, who spent a total of £162 million.
Pharmaceuticals, healthcare and biotechnology Pharmaceutical
, healthcare and emerging medical biotechnology
companies form a very significant part of the county's economy.
Many of these companies are part of the approximately 11,000-worker Northeast of England Process Industry Cluster
(NEPIC) and include Aesica Pharmaceuticals,
, Piramal Healthcare
, Procter & Gamble
, Shire Plc
(formerly SCM Pharma),
Shasun Pharma Solutions,
and Thermo Fisher Scientific
. The cluster also includes Cambridge Bioresearch, GlaxoSmithKline, Fujifilm Dyosynth Biotech, Leica Bio, Data Trial, High Force Research, Non-Linear Dynamics, and Immuno Diagnostic Systems (IDS). The towns of Alnwick, Cramlington, Morpeth, Prudhoe all have significant pharmaceutical factories and laboratories.
and Northumbria University are the leading academic institutions nearby. The local industry includes commercial or academic activity in pre-clinical research and development, clinical research and development, pilot-scale manufacturing, full-scale active pharmaceutical ingredient/intermediate manufacturing, formulation, packaging, and distribution.
Northumberland has a completely comprehensive
education system, with 15 state schools
, two academies and one independent school. Like Bedfordshire
, it embraced the comprehensive ideal with the three-tier
system of lower/middle/upper schools with large school year sizes (often around 300). This eliminated choice of school in most areas: instead of having two secondary schools in one town, one school became a middle school and another became an upper school. A programme introduced in 2006 known as Putting the Learner First has eliminated this structure in the former areas of Blyth Valley and Wansbeck, where two-tier education has been introduced. Although the two processes are not officially connected, the introduction of two tiers has coincided with the move to build academy schools in Blyth, with Bede Academy
and in Ashington at Hirst. One response to these changes has been the decision of Ponteland High School
to apply for Trust status.
Cramlington Learning Village
has almost 400 pupils in each school year, making it one of the largest schools in England. The Blyth Academy
in southeast Northumberland can hold 1,500 students throughout the building. Astley Community High School
in Seaton Delaval
, which accepts students from Seaton Delaval, Seaton Sluice
, has been the subject of controversial remarks from politicians claiming it would no longer be viable once Bede Academy opened in Blyth, a claim strongly disputed by the headteacher. Haydon Bridge High School
, in rural Northumberland, is claimed to have the largest catchment area of any school in England, reputedly covering an area larger than that encompassed by the M25 motorway around London.
This article needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (September 2018)
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 an 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
Northumberland County Council
Northumberland is a unitary authority
area and is the largest unitary area in England. The County Council is based in Morpeth
Elections for the new unitary authority council first took place on 1 May 2008. The County Council elections in 2017 returned the following results:
House of Commons
Northumberland is represented by four UK Parliamentary constituencies: Berwick-upon-Tweed, Blyth Valley, Wansbeck and Hexham. The 2019 General Election produced the following results:
2016 European Union Referendum
On 23 June 2016, Northumberland took part in the UK-wide referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. In Northumberland a majority voted to leave the European Union. At Westminster constituency level the only area in Northumberland to vote Remain was Hexham
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 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 Northumbrian dialect
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 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 it 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.
Having no large population centres, the county's mainstream media outlets are served from nearby Tyne and Wear
, including radio stations and television channels
(such as BBC Look North
, BBC Radio Newcastle
, Tyne Tees Television
and Metro Radio
), along with the majority of daily newspapers covering the area (The Journal
, Evening Chronicle
). It is worth remembering however that although Northumberland, like many administrative areas in England, has been shorn of its geographical regional centre, that centre—Newcastle upon Tyne—remains an essential element within the entity we know as Northumberland. Newcastle's newspapers are as widely read in its Northumbrian hinterland as any of those of the wider county: the Northumberland Gazette
, Morpeth Herald
, Berwick Advertiser
, Hexham Courant
and the News Post Leader
Born in Northumberland
Other notable births include:
- Thomas Addison, the physician who first described Addison's Disease, born at Longbenton in 1793
- George Airy, Astronomer Royal and geophysicist, born at Alnwick in 1802
- Alexander Armstrong, comedy actor and presenter, 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, 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, 1st Baron Collingwood, naval commander at the Battle of Trafalgar, born at Newcastle upon Tyne in 1748
- Grace Darling, sea-rescue heroine, born at Bamburgh in 1815
- Pete Doherty, musician, born at Hexham in 1979
- Bryan Donkin, engineer and industrialist, born at Sandhoe in 1768
- Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, poet, born at Hexham in 1878
- Daniel Gooch, engineer and politician, born at Bedlington in 1816
- Sir Alistair Graham (1942–), trade unionist and civil servant
- Tom Graveney, former England cricketer and President of the Marylebone Cricket Club 2004/5, born in Riding Mill in 1927.
- Robson Green, 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, the "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
- Robert Morrison (1782-1834), Protestant missionary and sinologist
- Richard Pattison, climber, born in Ashington in 1975
- Matt Ridley, peer, science writer, and businessman, and son and heir of the 4th Viscount Ridley
- John Rushworth (1793–1860), historian, born at Acklington Park, Warkworth
- George Stephenson, pioneering railway engineer, born at Wylam in 1781
- Trevor Steven, footballer born in Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1963
- Percival Stockdale, poet and slave-trade abolitionist, born 1736 in Branxton, Northumberland
- Ross Noble, stand-up comedian, born and raised in Cramlington in the 1970s and 1980s
- Hugh Trevor-Roper (1914–2003), Oxford historian, born at Glanton
- William Turner, ornithologist and botanist born at Morpeth in 1508
- Sid Waddell, sports commentator and children's television screenwriter, born at Alnwick in 1940
- Veronica Wedgwood (1910–1997), historian, usually published as C. V. Wedgwood
- N. T. Wright, Anglican theologian and author, former Bishop of Durham, born in Morpeth in 1948
- Kevin Whately, actor, born in Humshaugh, near Hexham in 1951
- Billy Younger (1940–2007), footballer
Linked with Northumberland
- William Armstrong, engineer and inventor, born at Newcastle in 1810, built Cragside, one of the first houses powered by hydroelectric technology, near the town of Rothbury in 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.
- Kitty Fitzgerald (born September 25, 1946) is an Irish born writer living in Northumberland.
- Allan Holdsworth, guitarist, originated from Newcastle upon Tyne before moving to California.
- Mark Knopfler, guitarist and frontman of Dire Straits, was raised in his mother's hometown of Blyth, Northumberland.
- Charles Algernon Parsons, inventor of the steam turbine while living in Wylam, Northumberland
- 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.
- Gordon Sumner, better known by his stage name of Sting, a schoolteacher turned musician was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1951
- Algernon Charles Swinburne, a poet raised at Capheaton Hall
- Kathryn Tickell, a modern-day player of the Northumbrian smallpipes
- J. M. W. Turner, Thomas Girtin and John Cotman all painted memorable pictures of Northumberland. Turner always attributed Norham Castle as the foundation of his fame and fortune.
- Jonny Wilkinson, English rugby player, currently lives in rural Northumberland.
The site 
contains exhaustive detailed entries for notable deceased Northumbrians.
NOTE: New parishes have been added since 2001. These are missing from the list.
Parishes of Northumberland
Although not on this list, the population of Cramlington is estimated at 39,000.
Some settlements that is part historic county of Northumberland now fall under the county of Tyne and Wear
Notes and references
- ^ "No. 62943". The London Gazette. 13 March 2020. p. 5161.
- ^ "Northumberland definition and meaning - Collins English Dictionary". Collinsdictionary.com.
- ^ "Northumberland Coast Path – LDWA Long Distance Paths". Ldwa.org.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- ^ "Alnwick". Northumberland County Council. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- ^ Northumberland County Hall moved from Newcastle upon Tyne to Morpeth on 21 April 1981 (see notice in "No. 48579". The London Gazette. 10 April 1981. p. 5337.)
- ^ "History of Newcastle upon Tyne" (PDF). Local Studies Factsheet No. 6. Newcastle City Council. 2009. p. 2. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- ^ Daniell, Christopher (2013). "Tudor Expansion of the County of Northumberland". Atlas of Early Modern Britain, 1485–1715. London: Routledge. p. 5. ISBN 978-0415729246.
- ^ "The palatinate of Durham". Durham University Library Special Collections Catalogue. Durham University. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- ^ Bosworth, Joseph (1898). An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary: Based on the Manuscript Collections of the Late Joseph Bosworth. Clarendon Press. p. 725.
- ^ Long, B. (1967). Castles of Northumberland. Newcastle, UK: Harold Hill.
- ^ Adams, Sharon; Goodare, Julian (2014). Scotland in the Age of Two Revolutions. Woodbridge: Boydell. pp. 38–39. ISBN 9781843839392.
- ^ Alberge, Dalya (19 February 2018). "Rare Roman boxing gloves found near Hadrian's Wall". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
- ^ Met Office, 2000. "Annual average rainfall for the United Kingdom."
- ^ "National Character Area profiles: data for local decision making". Gov.uk. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
- ^ Northumberland National Park Authority, n.d. "The topology and climate of Northumberland National Park."
- ^ "Northumberland nIV.NW (includes: Ancroft; Ord; Tweedmouth.)". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
- ^ "Tyne Limestone Formation". BGS Lexicon of Named Rock Units. British Geological Survey. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
- ^ "Geoindex Onshore". British Geological Survey. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
- ^ "The leading companies shaping Northumberland's business landscape". Arch. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- ^ Hexham Courant 10 January 2014 'Villagers admit defeat after 15 years battling opencast'
- ^ "Major Hexham employer Egger UK". Chroniclelive.co.uk.
- ^ "Hexham employer Egger UK posts rise". Chroniclelive.co.uk.
- ^ "Invest in Northumberland: Key sectors". ARCH. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- ^ NEPIC Directory 2013 Pharmaceuticals: Manufacturing Creates Value. Northeast of England Process Industry Cluster. May 2013. p. 33.
- ^ Farrows. "CDMO for APIs & finished dosage forms". Aesica-pharma.com. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
- ^ "Northumberland-based SCM Pharma's trading assets acquired". Thejournal.co.uk. Archived from the original on 12 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
- ^ "Sterling Pharma Solutions". Shasun.com. Archived from the original on 28 November 1999.
- ^ "Unlicensed Medicines Supplier - Specials Medicines Manufacturing". Specialslab.co.uk.
- ^ "Invest in the Northumberland business landscape". Archnorthumberland.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- ^ "Pharmaceuticals Brochure" (PDF). Northeast of England Process Industry Cluster. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 September 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- ^ Office for National Statistics, 2003. "Update on 2001 Census figures Archived 13 September 2005 at the Wayback Machine."
- ^ Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2003. "Local Government Finance Settlement 2005/06." (PDF)
- ^ "Local Authority population 2011". Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
- ^ Office for National Statistics, 2001. "KS07 Religion: Census 2001, Key Statistics for local Authorities Archived 21 December 2003 at the Wayback Machine."
- ^ a b "North East England History Pages". Northeastengland.talktalk.net. Archived from the original on 24 February 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- ^ a b c "Northumbrian Language Society". NorthumbrianLanguageSociety.co.uk. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- ^ "Lowlands-L • a discussion group for people who share an interest in languages and cultures of the Lowlands". Lowlands-l.net. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- ^ Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book III, Ch. 11: "And to furnish a lasting memorial of the royal saint, they hung the King's banner of purple and gold over his tomb."
- ^ "The Northumberland Flag Northumberland Northumbria England UK GB (page 113)". 24 June 2005. Archived from the original on 24 June 2005. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- ^ Wilford, N. (1993). The life and work of William Hewson, haematol- ogist and immunologist. In: Medicine in Northumbria; Essays on the History of Medicine in the North East of England (Chapter 8). New- castle-upon-Tyne.: Pybus Society for the History and Bibliography of Medicine. ISBN 978-0952209706.
- ^ Neighbourhood Statistics. "Office for National Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- Sharp, Thomas (1937). Northumberland and Durham – a Shell Guide. B.T. Batsford.
- Tomlinson, W.W. (1968) . Comprehensive guide to the county of Northumberland. Trowbridge: Redwood.
- Thompson, Barbara; Norderhaug, Jennifer (2006). Walking the Northumberland Dales: Hadrian's Wall Country. Sigma Press. ISBN 1-85058-838-4.
Last edited on 5 May 2021, at 07:06
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