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Harbottle, Northumberland

Historical Description

Harbottle, a village and a township in Holystone parish, Northumberland. The village stands in a hollow, amid rnggid heathy hills, 8 miles WNW of Bothbury town and station, and has a post and money order office under Rothbury; telegraph office, Alwinton; an inn, and an English Presbyterian church. The township comprises 2380 acres; population, 113. Harbottle House, a modern mansion, the seat of the Clennells, is near the village. Harbottle Casti e crowns a lofty, isolated, green mound above the river Coquet; consists now of the shattered and leaning walls of a keep; had formerly an outer bailey, with a deep fosse, crossed by a drawbridge; was built in 1155-89 by theUmfravilles; passed to the Tailleboys and the Ogles; was sacked in 1175 by the Scots; underwent refortification, and in 1296 resisted a second siege by them; was attached and demolished by the Scots after the battle of Bannockbum; was afterwards rebuilt, and was generally the residence of the warden of the Middle Marches; was the place to which the widowed queen of James IV. retired after her marriage to the Earl of Angus, and the birthplace of her daughter, Lady Mary Douglas, afterwards Countess of Lennox. Harbottle was the birthplace also of General Handyside, whose regiment is noticed in " Tristram Shandy." The Drake stone, a relic of the Druidical times, is a quarter of a mile from the village, and a Druidical rock basin is beside a neighbouring small tarn. A custom still or recently prevailed of passing sick children over the Drake stone, and may be regarded as very probably a traditional continuance of a Druidical ceremony.

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 
Civil parishHallystone 
Poor Law unionRothbury 

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Harbottle from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Harbottle 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 districtNE65
Post TownMorpeth