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Ovingham, Northumberland

Historical Description

Ovingham, a village, a township, and a parish in Northumberland. The village occupies a good site sloping to the N bank of the river Tyne, a quarter of a mile N of Prudhoe railway station, 2 miles S of the Roman wall, and 10 E of Hexham. It was anciently called Ofingasham; was once a market-town; is now a small but pretty place, contrasting brightly with the colliery villages in its vicinity, and commanding a fine near view of the verdant slopes, the ruined fortress, and the wooded heights of Prudhoe; and has a post and money order office (R.S.O.) The township includes the village, and comprises 522 acres of land and 33 of water; population of township, 328; of ecclesiastical parish, 2262. The parish contains also the townships of Wylam, Horsley, Nafferton, Spittle, Welton, Whittle, Ovington, and Harlow Hill. There is a parish council consisting of five members. The manor belongs to the Duke of Northumberland. A priory of Black canons was founded at Ovingham by one of the Umfravilles, and was a cell to Hexham Abbey. A castle was founded at Nafferton in the time of King John by Sir Philip D'Ulecote, was built out of materials from the Roman wall, and consists of a keep 20 feet square and two outer baileys. An ancient building stood in Whittle Dean, is said to have been the abode of robbers during the Wars of the Roses, and has left some remains among thickets. Prudhoe Castle is a grand feature, but will be noticed in its own alphabetical place. Coal is largely worked. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Newcastle-on-Tyne; net value, £149. The church is cruciform and Early English; was restored in 1857; consists of chancel, nave of three bays, aisles, and transepts; has a fine lofty triplet E window filled with stained glass; a pre-Norman low W tower built of large stones; and contains. trefoil-headed sedilia and part of a sepulchral cross. The churchyard contains the grave of the celebrated engraver Bewick. A cemetery was formed in 1879, has two mortuary chapels, and is under the control of a burial board.

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 parishOvingham St. Mary 
Poor Law unionHexham 

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Ovingham from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Ovingham 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 districtNE42
Post TownPrudhoe