Place:Haltwhistle, Northumberland, England

TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates54.983°N 2.433°W
Located inNorthumberland, England
See alsoTynedale Ward, Northumberland, Englandancient division in which it was located
Haltwhistle Rural, Northumberland, Englandrural district of which it was part 1894-1974
Tynedale District, Northumberland, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area 1974-2009
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Haltwhistle is a small town and civil parish in Northumberland, England, 10 miles (16 km) east of Brampton, near Hadrian's Wall. It had a population of 3,811 at the 2011 UK census.

Haltwhistle was an ancient parish in the Tynedale Ward which also became a civil parish in the 19th century. From 1894 it was part of Haltwhistle Rural District. In 1974 rural districts were abolished and Haltwhistle became part of the Tynedale District until 2009 when Northumberland became a unitary authority.

Haltwhistle was an ancient parish and included the following townships:


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Haltwhistle was probably in existence in Roman times, as it is one of the closest approaches of the River South Tyne in its upland reaches to Hadrian's Wall. The old Roman road or Stanegate passes just two miles to the north of the town.

The development of the town was based on its position on the main Newcastle to Carlisle road and on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway line.

The expansion of Haltwhistle in the 18th and 19th centuries was due to coal mining in the area and to a lesser extent the use of Haltwhistle as a loading point for metal ores coming from the mines on Alston Moor. In 1836 while some workmen were quarrying stone for the Directors of the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, on the top of Boreum, a high hill in the township of Thorngrafton and Parish of Haltwhistle, one of them found a copper vessel containing 63 coins, 3 of them gold and 60 copper. The gold coins were, one of Claudius Caesar, reverse Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus; one of Nero and one of Vespasian.

More recently, paint manufacture became a major commercial force in the town, but has now stopped major production. Current local employers include factories making plastic bottles and de-icing products.

In the 21st century, the tourist industry dominates the economy with Hadrian's Wall and walking and rambling counting among the principal interests of tourists.

A nineteenth century description

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

"HALTWHISTLE, a town, a township, a parish, a [registration] subdistrict, and a [registration]district, in Northumberland. The town lies on the South Tyne river, at the influx of Haltwhistle burn, and on the Carlisle and Newcastle railway, at the junction of the Alston branch, 1½ mile S of the Roman wall, 5½ E of the boundary with Cumberland, and 16½ W of Hexham. It consists chiefly of good modern houses; but contains a number of old ones, which retain traces of fortification. The Castle hill at it is a mound of earth, partly artificial; appears to have, at some early period, been fortified; and is encompassed, on all sides, except the south, by a breast work four feet high. A fine old peel stands near the Castle hill; and is said to have been a manor house. Another peel, of much strength, formerly stood on the west side of the bridge, and defended the entrance to the town. An edifice, in the Italian style, with magistrates' rooms, and with a public hall for lectares and meetings, in connexion with a mechanics' institute, was built in 1862. The church is early English; has three elegant lancet windows in its east end; and contains trefoiled sedilia, a curious gravestone of one of the Blenkinsops, and a remarkable altar tomb of the brother-in-law of Bishop Ridley. There are chapels for Presbyterians, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists, an endowed school with £32, other charities with £5, and a workhouse. The town has a post office under Carlisle, a railway station with telegraph, and good inns; and is a seat of county courts, and a polling place. A weekly market is held on Thursday; and fairs on 12 May, 17 Sept., and 10 Nov. The manufacture of baize and woollens, and the making of drain pipes and large bricks, are carried on.
"The township comprises 2,759 acres. Population in 1851: 420; in 1861: 749. Houses: 336.
"The parish contains also the townships of Hartleyburn, Coanwood, Featherstone, Plainmellor, Bellister, Ridley, Melkridge, Henshaw, Therngrafton, Blenkinsopp, Thirlwall, and Walltown. Acres: 5,229. Real property: £36,639; of which £?,685 are in mines, £100 in quarries, and £90 in gas works. Population in 1851: 5,379; in 1861: [not given]. Houses: 1,014. The property is much subdivided. The manor came recently into the possession of the Adamsons. The land is good, and the scenery fine, along the South Tyne; but the surface elsewhere is upland, bleak, and barren, and abounds with peat mosses. Haltwhistle burn issues from Greenlee Loch; runs about 7 miles southward to the Tyne; and is sometimes swelled by great freshets. Coal and lime are worked. Portions of the Roman wall exist in the northern townships; the well preserved and very interesting Roman station of Housesteads or Borcovicus is in the north-east; and several castles and other remains of the feudal times are in other parts. The living is a vicarage, with Greenhead chapelry, in the dio. of Durham. Value: £593. Patron: the Bishop of Manchester. The [perpetual] curacies of Beltingham and Featherstone are separate."

(Descriptions of the registration district and the sub-registration district have been omitted. Scanning of the original text omitted some figures in the statistics.)

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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