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Ovingham (St. Mary)

OVINGHAM (St. Mary), a parish, partly in the union of Hexham, and partly in that of Castle ward, E. division of Tindale ward, S. division of Northumberland; containing 3429 inhabitants, of whom 257 are in Ovingham township, 11 miles (W.) from Newcastle. The parish comprises the townships of Dukershagg, Eltringham, Harlow-Hill, Hedley-on-the-Hill, Hedley-Woodside, Horsley, Mickley, Nafferton, Ovingham, Ovington, Prudhoe, Prudhoe-Castle, Rutchester, Spittle, Welton, Whittle, and Wylam. It is on both sides of the Tyne, on the borders of which river the soil is productive, and interspersed with wood; in some parts the land is bare of wood, and a strong clay soil. Several coal-mines are in operation; small quantities of ironstone are found, and freestone in most of the townships. The road from Newcastle to Hexham, and the old military road, now a public highway, pass through the parish. The township of Ovingham comprises 446 acres, and is situated on the north bank of the Tyne, parallel with which, on the south side, runs the Newcastle and Carlisle railway: in the village are a brewery, and a dye-house and bleaching-grounds. Fairs are held on 26th April and 26th October.

The living is a perpetual curacy, valued in the king's books at £5. 8. 4., and recently endowed by C. W. Bigge, Esq., who is patron and impropriator, with £21 per annum; total net income, £161. There is a glebe-house, with 39 acres of land; the house, which is ancient, occupies the site, and includes the remains, of a cell of Black canons, founded by one of the Umfravilles, and the revenue of which at the Dissolution was £13. 4. 8. The tithes of Ovingham township have been commuted for £78. The church is an elegant and commodious structure in the early English style, in the shape of a Greek cross, with a very ancient tower of the date 1180. At Hall-Yards, near Mickley, is a chapel, consecrated 31st August, 1824. The Wesleyans, Independents, and Presbyterians have places of worship; and numerous schools have been built. Thomas Bewick, the celebrated wood-engraver, was born in the parish; as was also John Jackson, one of the best wood-engravers of the present day.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.