Place:Rochester, Northumberland, England

Alt namesRochester Wardsource: alternate name for township
Byrnesssource: settlement in parish
Cottonshopeburnfootsource: settlement in parish
Ramshopesource: settlement in parish
TypeTownship, Civil parish
Coordinates55.267°N 2.267°W
Located inNorthumberland, England
See alsoElsdon, Northumberland, Englandancient parish in which it was a township
Coquetdale Ward, Northumberland, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Troughend, Northumberland, Englandcivil parish part absorbed into Rochester in 1955
Tynedale District, Northumberland, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area 1974-2009
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog

NOTE: As well as Rochester, there is also a village named Rudchester further south in Northumberland. One should be cautious because an archaic form of Rudchester was Rouchester.

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Rochester is a small village and civil parish in northern Northumberland, England. It is five miles northwest of Otterburn on the A68 road between Corbridge and Jedburgh. The village is the site of the Roman fort of Bremenium, built there to protect the important Roman road of Dere Street, which passes through the village.

The civil parish extends northwest of the village to the Scottish border. It includes the settlements of Byrness, Ramshope and Cottonshopeburnfoot, and the now closed Redesdale Camp, an army base in the Otterburn Training Area. In the 2001 UK census (when Redesdale Camp was open) the parish had a population of 358, reducing to 344 at the 2011 UK census.

Rochester was a township in the ancient parish of Elsdon and became a separate civil parish in 1866, but only existed as such until 1886. In 1955 it was reinstated as a civil parish and absorbed part of the very large civil parish of Troughend. In 1974 rural districts were abolished and Rochester became part of the Tynedale District until 2009 when Northumberland became a unitary authority. Rochester's status in the period 1886-1955 is unknown although it appears to have some links with the parish of Byrness.

A nineteenth century description

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Rochester from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"ROCHESTER, a village and a township in Elsdon parish, Northumberland. The village stands on Watling-street, near the river Reed, 5 miles N W of Otterburn; bears the name of High Rochester, to distinguish it from three other small places in the county; occupies part of the site of the Roman Bremenium, on the brow of a rugged eminence; and has a post-office, of the name of Rochester, under Newcastle-upon-Tyne. :"Bremenium was a great Roman station, and a stipendiary city; and has left extensive and interesting remains. The fortified area comprises about 6 acres; is still enclosed, on twosides, by three walls; has remains of an inner wall, 7 feet thick; retains well-preserved masonry of the W gate, and distinct traces of the street-lines and their houses; was excavated, shortly before 1864, by order of the Duke of Northumberland; and yielded, both then and previously, a great number and variety of Roman relics. Two peel-towers, built out of Roman masonry, are within the area.
"The township bears the name of Rochester-Ward, and comprises 22,068 acres. Population: 406. Houses: 74. Most of the land is moor and mountain. Horsley church is 1½ mile from the village; and there is a national school."

Research Tips

  • Northumberland Archives previously known as Northumberland Collections Service and Northumberland County Record Office. Now based within Woodhorn Museum in Ashington and providing free access to numerous records for local and family historians alike.
Full postal address: Museum and Northumberland Archives, Queen Elizabeth II Country Park, Ashington, Northumberland, NE63 9YF; Phone: 01670 624455
There is a branch office in Berwick upon Tweed.
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