Bedlington (St. Cuthbert)

BEDLINGTON (St. Cuthbert), a parish and division, in the union of Morpeth, N. division of the county of Northumberland, 5½ miles (S. E. by S.) from Morpeth; containing 3155 inhabitants, of whom 2023 are in the township of Bedlington. This district was purchased about the beginning of the tenth century by Cutheard, second bishop of Chester, who gave it to the see, by which means it was annexed in jurisdiction to the body of the county palatine of Durham lying between the Tyne and the Tees; it anciently had courts and officers of justice within its own limits, appointed under commission from the Bishop of Durham. The town or village stands on high ground, in a pleasant situation, and consists principally of one long street of considerable width, forming a kind of sloping avenue to the river Blyth, which glides past, between steep banks. The parish, commonly called Bedlingtonshire, and including the townships of North Blyth, Cambois, Choppington, Netherton, and East and West Sleckburn, is on the coast of the North Sea, and is bounded on the north by the Wansbeck, and on the south by the Blyth, which is navigable for small craft, and affords facility of conveyance for the produce of the Bedlington iron-works. At these works, which are among the oldest and most extensive in the kingdom, are manufactured chain-cables, bolts, bar and sheet iron, and all the heavier articles in wrought iron, which are conveyed to the port of Blyth, where they are shipped for London: the buildings occupy an exceedingly romantic site, the banks on each side of the river rising to a considerable height, while the impatient waters hasten rapidly along, and, in passing over a dam, form a very beautiful cataract. There are also some extensive collieries, and several quarries producing grindstones, scythe-stones, and whetstones of superior quality. Petty-sessions are held occasionally. The living, of which the net income is £454, is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £13. 6. 8., and in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Durham, who are also appropriators. The great tithes of the township have been commuted for £361. 10., and the vicarial for £40. 8. 4.; there are 234 acres of vicarial glebe. The church is dedicated to St. Cuthbert, whose remains are said to have rested here, on the flight of the monks from Durham upon the approach of the Conqueror, in 1069; it was enlarged and repaired in 1818. At the eastern extremity of the village is a petrifying spring, called Spinner's Well.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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