Haydon Bridge: A Brief History

By , November 28, 2009 03:19

We provide taxis near Haydon Bridge, a Northumbrian village built around a bridge that was destroyed in 1773. It has many interesting historical buildings and claims some notable former residents.

A market was once held at Old Haydon but was broken up in 1835. It was however the centre of a mining and industrial area. The Haydon Bridge Iron Works were established in 1843 and belonged to William Benson of Allerwash House. He employed many men here and at his works at Fourstones and Prudham. Three miles north east of Haydon Bridge were two noted lead mines at Settlingstones and Stonecroft which employed many men and boys. Three miles south west were the Langley Smelt Mills.

The Old Church is located about half a mile north where the medieval village once lay. Its nave was pulled down in 1795 and the stone used to build a new church in the middle of the village. The chancel fell to ruin but was rebuilt around 1882. It was first built about 1190 with a chantry chapel added to the south in the 14th century. Many of the stones in the building are of Roman origin taken from one of the camps nearby. At the end of the chancel is a triplet of small lancet windows separated by round pillars. At the east end of the chapel is a beautiful window with delicate tracery. In the floor on the south of the sanctuary is a fine monumental stone inscribed with leaded letters to the memory of John de Elrington alongside a carved

The church in the village, dedicated to Saint Cuthbert was built in 1796. It is comprised of a small square tower with a pagoda-shaped spire. Above the porch can be found a sun dial inscribed as follows – non nisi caelesti radio (not save by a ray from heaven do I tell the time).

A grammar school was established at Haydon Bridge in 1685 and endowed by the Rev. John Shaftoe. Here any boy or girl within the chapelry of Haydon Bridge an Woodsheels could claim to be taught free, English grammar, writing, geography, mathematics and the art of navigation. For an additional penny per quarter instruction in Latin and Greek was given.

The most famous person associated with Haydon Bridge was undoubtedly Thomas Spence. He was born on the Newcastle Quayside in 1750 and died in 1814 in London. He was a pioneer of socialist ideas, the first man to suggest land nationalisation and the supporter of many radical causes. He grew up in severe poverty but despite this was able to educate himself. In 1776 he found a post at the school in Haydon Bridge. He went to London where he became a radical publisher and bookseller. His writings are today considered highly significant in the social development of the country. The main inn of Haydon Bridge is the Anchor Hotel a large white building on the south bank of the Tyne near the old bridge.

This short article has hopefully whetted your appetite about Haydon Bridge and inspired you to visit if you are ever in this lovely part of Northumberland.

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