Hexham is a market town and civil parish in Northumberland, England, south of the River Tyne, and was the administrative centre for the Tynedale District during its existence from 1974 to 2009. In the UK census of 2011, the town had a population of 11,829.
Smaller towns and villages around Hexham include Corbridge, Riding Mill, Stocksfield and Wylam to the east, Acomb and Bellingham to the north, Allendale to the south and Haydon Bridge, Bardon Mill and Haltwhistle to the west. Newcastle upon Tyne is about 25 miles (40 km) to the east.
Hexham Abbey originated as a monastery founded by Wilfrid in 674. The crypt of the original monastery survives, and incorporates many stones taken from nearby Roman ruins, probably Coria or Hadrian's Wall. The current Hexham Abbey dates largely from the 11th century onward, but was significantly rebuilt in the 19th century.
Like many towns in the Anglo-Scottish border area, Hexham suffered from the border wars between the kingdoms of Scotland and England, including attacks from William Wallace who burnt the town in 1297. In 1312, Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, demanded and received £2000 from the town and monastery in order for them to be spared a similar fate. In 1346 the monastery was sacked in a later invasion led by King David II of Scotland.
In 1464 during the Wars of the Roses, the Battle of Hexham was fought somewhere to the south of the town; the actual site is disputed. The defeated Lancastrian commander the Duke of Somerset was executed in Hexham market place. (Note: There is no reference to this execution in the Wikipedia article entitled "Duke of Somerset.)
Until 1572, Hexham was the administrative centre of the former "Liberty or Peculiar of Hexhamshire" (see Hexhamshire.
In 1715, James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater, raised the standard for James Francis Edward Stuart, the "Old Pretender", in Hexham Market place. The rising, however, was unsuccessful, and Derwentwater was captured and beheaded after the Battle of Preston.
In 1761, the Hexham Riot took place in the Market Place when a crowd protesting about changes in the criteria for serving in the militia was fired upon by troops from North Yorkshire Militia. Fifty-one protesters were killed, earning the Militia the soubriquet of "The Hexham Butchers".
Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Hexham was a centre of the leather trade, particularly renowned for making gloves known as "Hexham Tans".
A Vision of Britain through Time provides a long 19th century description of Hexham from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72. (The descriptions of places available on the website A Vision of Britain through Time were electronically scanned. These scans have not always been proofread as well as they might have been.)
Townships in the Parish
The five townships cover a very large area to the south and southwest of Hexham itself.