Place:Otterburn, Northumberland, England

Alt namesHorsley (near Otterburn)source: settlement in parish
TypeTownship, Civil parish
Coordinates55.217°N 2.167°W
Located inNorthumberland, England     (500 - )
See alsoElsdon, Northumberland, Englandancient parish in which it was a township
Coquetdale Ward, Northumberland, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Bellingham Rural, Northumberland, Englandrural district of which it was part 1894-1955
Troughend, Northumberland, Englandparish absorbed into it in 1958
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

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

Otterburn is a small village in Northumberland, England, 31 miles (50 km) northwest of Newcastle upon Tyne on the banks of the River Rede, near the confluence of the Otter Burn, from which the village derives its name. It lies within the Cheviot Hills about 16 miles (26 km) from the Scottish border. The parish of Otterburn is at the heart of Redesdale, a remote Northumbrian upland valley steeped in history and blessed with natural beauty. According to the UK census of 2011, the population of Otterburn was 654.

Otterburn was a township in the ancient parish of Elsdon and became a separate civil parish in 1866. From 1894 until 1974 the parish was part of Bellingham Rural District. In 1958 the parish was enlarged when the parish of Troughend was abolished. In 1974 rural districts were abolished and Otterburn became part of the Tynedale District until 2009 when Northumberland became a unitary authority.

A Vision of Britain through Time provides a very long description of Otterburn from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72 which has been condensed here:

"OTTERBURN, a village, a township, and a chapelry in Elsdon parish, Northumberland. The village stand son the river Reed, at the influx of a brook of its own name, near Watling-street, 4½ miles N by W of Woodburn [railway] station, and 8 N N E of Bellingham; is a pleasant place, screened by trees, at the foot of the Cheviot hills; figured, in the time of Edward I., as then possessing a corn mill; gives name to a famous battle fought in its vicinity, in 1388, between the English and the Scots; had a castle which the Scots, on the eve of that battle, "attacked so long and so unsuccessfully that they were fatigued, and therefore sounded a retreat;" and now has a post-office under Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a good inn, a cloth-mill, a church, and a United Presbyterian chapel.
"The surrounding estates, with the old castle, belonged to the family of Hall, long the head of a strong border clan; and were forfeited in 1715, when John Hall, popularly known as Mad Jock Ha', was executed at Tyburn for participatingin the rebellion of that year. A modern edifice, called the Tower, the seat of T. James, Esq., occupies the site of the ancient castle; encloses some remains of it; and has, in the porch, three fine Roman altars, brought from the Roman station at Rochester, 5 miles to the N W. The church was built in 1858, at a cost of £3,000, defrayed by Misses Davidson and Mrs. Askew; contains a richly carved stone screen; and has a fine Ememorial window, inserted in 1866, to the memory ofits founders. The [United Presbyterian] chapel was erected in 1834, and is a plain building. A very strong chalybeate spring is at the end of the village; a strong sulphurous one is about a mile to the S; and another spring, called the Wishing well, is in the vicinity. ... The township bears the name of Otterburn-Ward, and comprises 8,517 acres. Population: 378. Houses: 66. The manor belongs to T. James, Esq. The chapelry does not seem to have defined limits; and it was a separate charge, with income of £200, till 1868; but is now annexed to the rectory of Elsdon."

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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