- source: Family History Library Catalog
Elsdon is a village and civil parish in Northumberland, England about 10 miles (16 km) to the southwest of Rothbury. The name is derived from the Old English meaning Elli's valley.
Formerly the capital of Redesdale, Elsdon contains a very fine example of a motte-and-bailey castle, and a near perfect pele tower (fortified house of a type found in the border country) which is a private residence.
Geographically, Elsdon lies in Redesdale and, as a market town, was once the primary settlement in the area.
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A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Elsdon from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:
- "ELSDON, a village, a township, and a sub-district in Rothbury [registration] district, and a parish in Rothbury [registration] and Bellingham [registration] districts, Northumberland. The village stands on an affluent of the river Reed, near the line of projected railway northward from Scots Gap, 8 miles NNW of Scots Gap [railway] station, and 9 ½ SW of Rothbury; and has a post office under Newcastle-on-Tyne, and a fair on 26 Aug.; and is a polling-place. Its site is supposed to have been a Roman station, probably the first of a chain of forts between Watling-street and the Devil's causeway; and a conical moated entrenchment, at a short distance to the NE, is supposed to have been a Roman watch-hill and place of sepulture. The township includes the village, and bears the name of Elsdon-ward. Acres: 6, 404. Population: 266. Houses: 56.
- "The parish includes also the townships of Monkridge-ward and Woodside-ward in Rothbury [registration] district, and the townships of Rochester-ward, Otterburn-ward, and Troughend-ward in Bellingham [registration] district. Acres: 74,917. Real property: £20,195; of which £55 are in mines. Population: 1,521. Houses: 277. The property is much subdivided. The area is about 23 miles in length, and 12 in greatest breadth; comprises a long vale, flanked by heathy hills; seems to have once been almost entirely covered with forest, some small remnants of which still exist in the vale; was, not long ago, little else than a desolate series of neglected heaths and morasses; but now exhibits cheering effects of extensive reclamation, enclosing, and improvement. Limestone and ironstone, of superior quality, abound; and some good seams of coal exist.
- "Elsdon Castle was built in the time of Henry III., by David, king of Scotland; presents, on its front, the arms of the Umfravilles; is a strong tower, with circular stair-case at one corner; was once the residence of Dr. Dutens, the editor of Leibnitz; and is now the parsonage house. The living is a rectory, united with the p. curacies of Horsley and Otterburn, in the diocese of Durham. Value: £803. Patron: the Duke of Northumberland. The church is ancient, cruciform, and good; and, at a clearing away of earth at its north transept, a few years ago, remains of upwards of one hundred human skeletons were found there, regularly deposited in double rows. The [perpetual] curacy of Byrness is a separate benefice. There is an United Presbyterian church. Tradition speaks of a giant of the name of Ella, who lived at Elsdon, and committed great devastations."
Townships in parish
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