Place:Knaresdale, Northumberland, England

Alt namesKnarsdalesource: spelling variation
Burnstonessource: hamlet in parish
Ealssource: hamlet in parish
Slaggyfordsource: hamlet in parish
Town Greensource: hamlet in parish
Williamstonsource: hamlet in parish
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates54.875°N 2.508°W
Located inNorthumberland, England     ( - 1955)
See alsoTynedale Ward, Northumberland, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Haltwhistle Rural, Northumberland, Englandrural district of which it was part 1894-1955
Knarsdale with Kirkhaugh, Northumberland, Englandcivil parish into which it was merged in 1955
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog

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

Knarsdale, historically Knaresdale, is a village in Northumberland, England about 5 miles (8 km) north of Alston. The village takes its name from the Knarr Burn: Knarr means 'rugged rock'. The population in the UK census of 2011 was 279.

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

"KNARESDALE, a parish in Haltwhistle [registration] district, Northumberland; on the South Tyne river and the Alston railway, 7 miles SSW of Haltwhistle. It contains Slaggyford [railway] station; includes Slaggyford, Burnstones, Eals, Town Green, and Williamston hamlets; and extends westward to the boundary with Cumberland. Post town: Alston, under Carlisle. Acres: 17,144. Real property: £1,984. Population in 1851: 917: in 1861: 532. Houses: 104. The property is subdivided. The manor belongs to the trustees of Lord Wallace. Knaresdale Hall was the seat of the Pratts, the Swinburnes, and the Wallaces; and is now a farm house. A streamlet, called the Knare, descending to the South Tyne, gives to the parish its name of Knaresdale. An extensive forest anciently spread around, and was well replenished with red deer. Most of the land is moor and mountain. A medicinal spring, called Snope well, is on the side of a fell. A lead mine is supposed to have been worked within the parish by the Romans. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Durham. Value: £150. Patron: the Lord Chancellor. The church was rebuilt in 1835. A Wesleyan chapel is at Slaggyford; and a national school is at Town Green."

Knaresdale was an ancient parish and a civil parish since 1866. The hamlets within its borders never became independent civil parishes. From 1894 until 1974 Knaresdale parish was part of Haltwhistle Rural. In 1955 it was merged with the neighbouring parish of Kirkhaugh to become the civil parish of Knarsdale with Kirkhaugh. (The spelling of Knaresdale changed officially in 1955 if not before.)


The manor of Knarsdale was held in medieval times by the Swinburn family, and in 1313 Hugh de Swinburn was rector of Knarsdale. It was later held by the Wallis family, who sold it in 1730 to John Stephenson, a Newcastle merchant. In 1769 Knarsdale was sold to James Wallace, a distinguished lawyer. His son Thomas, for services to his country, was created Baron Wallace of Knarsdale. The family also owned Featherstone Castle. Today the stone buildings on top of a high mound dominate the scene and are strongly built. The mullioned windows seem to have been inserted into an older hall.

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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