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Blenkinsopp

BLENKINSOPP, a township, in the parish and union of Haltwhistle, W. division of Tindale ward, S. division of Northumberland, 1½ mile (W.) from Haltwhistle; containing 845 inhabitants. This has long been the property of the Blenkinsopp family. In 1399 "Thomas de Blencansopp" had a license to fortify his mansion: it occurs in the list of border castles about 1416; and in 1488 its proprietor committed the custody of it to Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, at that time warden of the west and middle marshes, when it is supposed that the Blenkinsopps abandoned it finally as a residence. The township comprises 4725 acres, whereof 3844 are common or waste; and is situated on the road from Newcastle to Carlisle, and near the site of the Roman station Magna, now called Caer Voran, which latter name it must have received from the ancient Britons, probably from having been placed under the tutelage of the virgin goddess Minerva, Caer Vorwen or Morwen signifying Maiden's fort. The foundations of buildings and traces of streets are still evident to the view; the Roman wall is strongest near this station, and at the distance of a quarter of a mile is more than twelve feet high and nine broad. The geological features of the district are generally interesting, and the township abounds in mineral wealth: coal of good quality is very extensively wrought by a company, and near the collieries are quarries of grey slate and limestone. The Newcastle and Carlisle railway passes through the township, and attains its summit level a mile and a half to the northwest of the village of Greenhead (which see), where four locomotive engines are usually stationed. Blenkinsopp Castle, the seat of the ancient family of that name, and now in the possession of their descendant, John Blenkinsopp Coulson, Esq., is a venerable pile of grey massive walls, with a farmhouse attached, used as the residence of the agent of the colliery.

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