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Haltwhistle, Northumberland

Historical Description

Haltwhistle, a town, a township, and a parish in Northumberland. The town lies on the South Tyne river, and has a station on the Carlisle and Newcastle section of the N.E.R. at the junction of the Alston branch, 1½ mile S of the Roman wall, 5½ E of the boundary with Cumberland, and 16½ W of Hexham, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Carlisle. It consists chiefly of good modern houses, but contains a number of old ones, which retain traces of fortification. The Castle Hill is a mound of earth, partly artificial, and appears to have been fortified at some early period, and is encompassed on all sides except the south by a breastwork four feet high. A fine old peel tower stands near the Castle Hill, and is said to have been a manor house. Another peel, of much strength, formerly stood on the west side of the bridge, and defended the entrance to the town. The Town-hall is a building in the Italian style, with magistrates' rooms, a public hall for lectures and meetings, and a police station and a Mechanics Institute. The church is Early English; has three elegant lancet windows in its east end; and contains trefoiled sedilia, a curious gravestone of one of the Blenkinsops, and a remarkable altar-tomb of the brother-in-law of Bishop Ridley. In 1871 it was restored, a new organ added in 1877, and The interior was redecorated in 1881. There are Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, and Primitive Methodist chapels, and a workhouse. A weekly market is held on Thursday, and fairs on 14 May, 17 Sept., and 22 Nov. The manufacture of baize and woollens, and the making of drain pipes and large bricks and varnish are carried on.

The township comprises 3133 acres; population, 2305. The parish contains also the townships of Hartleybum, Coanwood, Featherstone, Plainmellor, Bellister, Ridley, Melk-ridge, Henshaw, Thomgrafton, Blenkinsopp, Thirlwall, and Walltown. Acreage of the parish, 58, 512; population, 6249. The manor belongs to the Adamsons. The land is good and the scenery fine along the South Tyne, but the surface elsewhere is upland, bleak, and barren. Haltwhistle bum issues from Greenlee Loch, runs about 7 miles southward to the Tyne, and is sometimes swelled by great freshets. Coal and lime are worked. Portions of the Roman wall exist in the northern townships, the well-preserved and very interesting Roman station of Housesteads or Borcovicus is in the north-east, and several castles and other remains of the feudal times are in other parts. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Newcastle; net value, £472. Patron, the Bishop.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyNorthumberland 
Ecclesiastical parishHaltwhistle Holy Cross 
Poor Law unionHaltwhistle 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Haltwhistle from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Northumberland is available to browse.


Online maps of Haltwhistle are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers related to Northumberland online:

RegionNorth East
Postal districtNE49
Post TownHaltwhistle