NOTES AND SOURCES for “Telling the Story of Alnwick”

Books are referred to in these notes by their author’s name with details given in the bibliography. Where authors have more than one book mentioned, they are distinguished by date of publication.


Lomas, 2009 is a general encyclopaedia of the North East containing much useful material. The history of Northumberland is covered in the 15 volumes published by the Northumberland County History Committee between 1893 and 1940. These do not cover Alnwick which had already been described by Tate. A much shorter history is Hepple.

For Alnwick, as noted in Telling the Story, the two most important books are Tate and Conzen. Tate collected a huge amount of information about Alnwick for his two volume work and it is really a source book rather than providing a narrative history. Conzen is an academic work of urban morphology and contains original work relating to the development of the town from earliest times. The earliest Alnwick history was written by Davison who description of the town in his own time, that is the beginning of the nineteenth century, is particularly useful.  More helpful, in general, are the two volumes by Skelly. For the 1830s, see also Middlemas.

For buildings, see Pevsner and the Historic England website ( which includes information on all listed buildings.

A further source for 1854 and later are local newspapers. The Alnwick Mercury was first published in that year. Its name changed to the Alnwick & County Gazette in 1883. It became the Northumberland & Alnwick Gazette in 1943 and assumed its present name, the Northumberland Gazette in 1947.

Pages 2 – 12:  Beginnings

A general introduction to the prehistoric period in Northumberland is provided in the English Heritage book by Waddington and Passmore. The archaeology of the Northumberland coast,  covering both prehistoric and later periods, is described by Hardie and Rushton and archaeology in the Northumberland National Park is the subject of a collection of essays edited by Frodsham. This last book covers all periods.

Howick Hut – This is included in Waddington and Passmore. More about the hut can be found on the website

Low Hauxley – Waddington, 2014 describes the excavations carried out at Low Hauxley in 2012.

Cup and Ring Marks have been catalogued by Beckensall.

Hillforts – Oswald and others describe hillforts principally within the Northumberland National Park.

Ptolemy’s description of the tribes of Britain (and elsewhere) is in his gazetteer and atlas of the Greco-Roman world, called Geography. A recent discussion of some aspects of the Votadini (or Uotadini) and their (possible) successors, the Gododdin, can be found in Fraser. There is little reliable information about either.


While there is an immense literature on various aspects of Hadrian’s Wall, little is known about the area just to the north apart from the Roman Roads. Roman roads, in Britain generally, are discussed by Davies. For the wall, Breeze and Dobson discuss its history and role. The end of the wall is discussed by Collins. See also Frodsham.

Devil’s Causeway – the line of the road, originally deduced by MacLaughlan, was subject to amendment for the five miles south by investigations in 1937-8. These are described by Wright. Gates and Hewitt describe the newly identified temporary camps.

Anglo-Saxons and Vikings

Recent accounts of the Kingdom of Northumbria are those by Rollason and Higham. Much is also to be found in the first two volumes of the New Edinburgh History of Scotland by Fraser and Woolf respectively. (Northumbria was, of course, partly in present day Scotland). The ancient sources are Bede (Ecclesiastical History of the English Church and People) and, after his death, the works attributed to Simeon of Durham (A History of the Church of Durham and A History of the Kings of England).

The kings of Northumbria, as well as the other Anglo-Saxon kings are discussed by Kirby and by Yorke. Bede is the main, and almost the only, source for Oswald. All aspects of Oswald and his time are covered by Stanbrooke. His brother and successor,  Oswiu is covered in detail by Fraser. The encyclopedia edited by Lapidge and others is the good starting point for all things Anglo-Saxon. There are many books about the Lindisfarne Gospels (such as Brown).

Rothbury and Alnmouth crosses – these have been catalogued, and discussed, by Cramp. The catalogue entries are also available on the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture website (

Alnwick Sword – the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s website ( describes the sword.

Battle of Carham – The entry in Lomas 2009 describes this battle.

Vikings – Woolf devotes chapter 2 of his book to the Scandinavians and Northumbria.


Lomas 1996 covers the history of Northumberland from 1066 until 1647.

Death of Malcolm – The chronicles describing this event include those by Gaimar (L’Estoire des Engleis), Fordun (History of the Scottish Nation)  and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The Alnwick Abbey Chronicle is in Dickson.

The Norman conquest of the north is described by Kapell. He names Eustace Fitz John as the first baron of Alnwick, although Hedley names Ivo de Vesci, Eustace’s father-in-law. We have no information about Ivo and Eustace seems the more likely. The Barony of Alnwick (and other local baronies) was plotted by Hunter Blair.

Alnwick Castle – For the development of the medieval castle see Goodall. There is also Hartshorne and, of course, the Castle Guidebook.

Anglo-Saxon village of Alnwick – The location of the village was deduced by Conzen on the basis of the underlying geology and geography. Although he thought that the area around the modern market place the more likely, his alternative was around today’s Bailiffgate.

Alnmouth – The story of Alnmouth is covered by Bettes and Bettes. Almouth is one of the new towns discussed by Beresford (as is Felton). There was a chapel at Alnmouth associated with the parish church at Lesbury.

Alnwick Chapel – The foundation charter of Alnwick Abbey tells us that the parish church at Lesbury together with its chapels at Longhoughton, Alnmouth and Alnwick were given to the Abbey. Clarkson’s survey (of 1567, quoted in Conzen) tells us that a building in the Market Place, then three shops, was formerly a chapel. As no building earlier than Norman has been found at the present parish church, this is a likely candidate for the Anglo Saxon chapel.

Alnwick Abbey – The excavation of the Abbey site was carried out in 1884 by Sir William St John Hope. This was in the early days of archaeology and he was only able to establish the ground plan, and the only remaining building is the 14th century gatehouse. St John Hope, 1889 describes the abbey. See also Bondgate 2, and for the Premonstatensians in England, Colvin and the appropriate chapters of Knowles.

Eustace Fitz John and the Vescis – Eustace’s career is described by Dalton and all of the Vescis (including Eustace) by Stringer. See also various articles in The Bondgate, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and The Complete Peerage of England.

Battle of the Standard – the early account, written sometime before 1154, is by Richard of Hexham (The Acts of King Stephen and the Battle of the Standard).

William the Lion – the capture of William at Alnwick is described in Jordan Fantosme’s Chronicle (of the war between the English and the Scots in 1173 and 1174). See also Oram.

Magna Carta – Eustace de Vesci’s important role in the events leading to Magna Carta is discussed by Carpenter.

St Leonard’s Hospital – Pattinson gives an outline of its history and 1975 excavation.

Hulne Priory – St John Hope, 1890 describes the priory with some historical background. For the English Carmelites see Knowles.

Pages 13 – 20:  Early People

Sale of the barony of Alnwick – Hartshone is highly critical of Bishop Bek’s role. A more recent discussion is by Bean.

Percys – for the history of the Percys see Lomas 1997 (and for 1368-1408, Lomas, 2007), Rose and the Alnwick Castle Guidebook.

Invasions by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce – these are described by McNamee and Scammell respectively.

Wars of the Roses – the description follows Lomas, 1996.

Border Reivers – Fraser is a good general source.

Battle of Flodden – the 500th anniversary (2013) led to much interest and archaeological investigation. A modern source is Hallam-Baker and the Flodden Project website (

Fortifications – Alnwick walls are discussed by Skelly 1896 and by Conzen. Northumberlan’s bastles are covered by Grint.


Rebellions – additional sources are Moorhouse (Pilgrimage of Grace), Thornton (rising of the northern earls) and the website ( for the 1715 rebellion.

Pages 21 – 27:  The Developing Town

Guilds & Freemen – the main source is Tate, who was himself a freeman and underwent the initiation ceremony of leaping the well. Skelly 1889 is also useful.

Alnwick Castle and grounds – besides the Alnwick Castle guidebook, the castle restorations are described by Worsley. For the grounds see Shrimpton 2006.


Pages 28 – 39:  The District at Work

Agriculture – the bondagers are described by Iredale.

Fishing – for Grace Darling see the website and the RLNI’s Grace Darling museum in Bamburgh.

Manufacturing – the website contains information about Hardy Brothers.

Printing and publishing – Isaac outlines Davison’s life and work and the collection of essays in Brake (and others) consider all aspects of Stead’s life and work.

Ports and harbours – the corn road is described by Rowland and, as a CD guide to travelling along the road, by Grundy. For Alnmouth itself, see Bettess.

Railways – the history of the line from Alnmouth to Alnwick is covered by Rippon and the Alnwick and Cornhill Railway is described by Addyman and Mallon.

Pages 40 – 50:  Nineteenth century town

The official report quoted is Rawlinson. Information about the fire brigade comes from a survey conducted by Young. Middlemas is the source for Percy Forster and his book includes all the Forster drawings.

1826 election – for the details of this election see the history of parliament website www.historyofparliamentonline/volume/1820-1832/constituencies/northumberland

This contains a full list of references.

Reform – Findlayson gives a general background to municipal reform though with no mention of Alnwick. Both Tate and Middlemas describe the Alnwick background.

Cholera – Full details are contained in the official report by Rawlinson. The “ghostly appearance” of the time is described by Tate who lived in Fenkle Street.

Local Board of Health – Both Tate, a member of the Board from its inception until his death in 1871, and Skelly 1889 describe the work of the Board.

Education – Skelly 1889 describes the town’s schools and educational institutions.

Games and Pastimes – see Middlemas. Alnwick’s annual shrove Tuesday football match is the subject of the Bailiffgate Museum’s DVD, the Lads and Lasses of Alnwick.

Page 51 – 54: World Wars and after

Hall 2014 outline Alnwick in the first world war and Hall 2013 described the remains of both wars.


For early chronicles, see note 1 at end of bibliography.

Addyman, John and Mallon, John The Alnwick & Cornhill Railway
North Eastern Railway Association, 2007

Alnwick Castle Guidebook – see Shrimpton

Bean, J M W The Percies’ Acquisition of Alnwick

Archaeologia Aeliana, 4, vol 32, 1954

Beckensall, Stan Prehistoric Rock Art in Northumberland


Beresford, M W New Towns in the Middle Ages

Lutterworth Press, c1967
Bettess, Gladys and Bettess, Fred The Story of Alnmouth
Penshaw Press, 2004
Bondgate – see note 2 at end of bibliography

Brake, Laurel, and others (editors) W T Stead: Newspaper Revolutionary

British Library, 2012
Breeze, David J and Dobson, Brian Hadrian’s Wall
Penguin Books, 2000

Brown, Michelle P The Lindisfarne Gospels: Society, Spirituality & the Scribe

British Library, 2003

Carpenter, David Magna Carta

Penguin Books, 2015

Colvin, H M The White Canons in England

Clarendon Press, 1950

Conzen, M R G Alnwick, Northumberland: a Study in Town-Plan Analysis

George Philip & Son Ltd, 1960

Cramp, Rosemary Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture: County Durham and Northumberland

Oxford University Press, 1977

Davies, Hugh Roads in Roman Britain

Tempus, 2002

Davison, William Descriptive and Historical View of Alnwick

W Davison, 1822

Dickson, William Cronica Monasterij de Alnewyke

Archaeologia Aeliana, 1, vol 3, 1844

Fraser, James From Caledonia to Pictland: Scotland to 795

Edinburgh University Press, 2009

Frodsham, Paul Archaeology in Northumberland National Park

Council for British Archaeology, 2004

Gates, Tim and Hewitt, Richard Some Newly Discovered Roman Temporary Camps in Northumberland and their Relationship to the Devil’s Causeway

Archaeologia Aeliana, 5, vol 36, 2007

Goodall, John The Early Development of Alnwick Castle, c1100-1400

In: Newcastle and Northumberland: Roman and Medieval Architecture and Art, British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions XXXVI

Grint, Julia Bastles: An Introduction to the Bastle Houses of Northumberland

Ergo Press, 2008

Grundy, John The Corn Road from Hexham to Alnmouth (CD travelogue)

What’s Special About Northumberland, 2010

Hall, Ian Relics of War: a Guide to the 20th Century Military Remains in the Northumnerland Landscape

Wanney Books, 2013

Hall, Ian Alnwick in the Great War

Wanney Books, 2014

Hallam-Baker, Clive The Battle of Flodden: Why & How

Remembering Flodden Project, 2012

Hardie, Caroline and Rushton, Sara. The Tides of Time: Archaeology on the Northumberland Coast
Northumberland County Council, 2000

Hartshorne, Charles Henry Feudal and Military Antiquities of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders

Bell and Daldy, 1858

Hedley, W Percy Northumberland Families

Society of Antiquities of Newcastle, 1968-70

Hepple, Leslie W A History of Northumberland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Phillimore, 1976
Higham, N J The Kingdom of Northumbria: AD 350 – 1100
Alan Sutton, 1993

Hunter-Blair, C H Baronys and Knights of Northumberland AD1166 – c. AD1266

Archaeologia Aeliana, 4, vol 30, 1952

Iredale, Dinah Bondagers: The History of Women Farmworkers in Northumberland and South-East Scotland

Glendale Local History Society, 2008

Isaac, Peter C G William Davison of Alnwick: Pharmacist and Printer 1781-1858

Clarendon Press, 1968

Kapelle, William E The Norman Conquest of the North: The Region and its Transformation, 1000-1135

Croom Helm, 1979

Knowles, David The Religious Orders in England

Cambridge University Press, 1948-59

Kirby, D P The Earliest English Kings

Routledge, 1991
Lapidge, Michael and others The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England

Lomas, Richard County of Conflict: Northumberland from Conquest to Civil War

Tuckwell Press, 1996

Lomas, Richard. A Power in the Land: The Percys

Tuckwell Press, 1999

Lomas, Richard The Fall of the House of Percy, 1368-1408

John Donald, 2007

Lomas, Richard An Encyclopaedia of North-East England

Birlinn, 2009

MacLaughlan, Henry Memoir Written during a Survey of the Eastern Branch of Watling Street.

1864 (reprinted by Wanney Books, 2015)

McNamee, C J William Wallace’s Invasion of Northern England in 1297

Northern History, vol 26, 1990

Middlemas, Keith As They Really Were: the Citizens of Alnwick 1831

Frances Lincoln, 2011

Moorhouse, Geoffrey The Pilgrimage of Grace: the Rebellion that shook Henry VIII’s Throne

Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2002

Northumberland County History Committee History of Northumberland


Oram, Richard Domination and Lordship: Scotland 1070 – 1230

Edinburgh University Press, 2011

Oswald, Al, Ainsworth, Stewart and Pearson, Trevor Hillforts: Prehistoric Strongholds of Northunberland National Park

English Heritage, 2006

Pattinson, Tom Saint Leonard’s Hospital Alnwick: Outline History & Excavation Report

Gazette Printing Works, c1975

Pevsner, Nicholas The Buildings of England: Northumberland

Penguin Books, 1957. 2nd edition, revised by John Grundy, Grace McCrombie, Peter Ryder, and Humphrey Welfare, 1992

Rawlinson, Robert Report to the General Board of Health, on a Preliminary Enquiry into the Sewerage, Drainage, and Supply of Water, and the Sanitary Condition of the Inhabitants of the Townships of Alnwick and Canongate in the County of Northumberland

HMSO, 1850

Rippon, Bartle The Alnwick Branch

Kestral Railway Books, 2008

Rollason, David W Northumbria, 500 – 1100: Creation an Destruction of a Kingdom

Cambridge University Press, 2003

Rose, Alexander Kings in the North: The House of Percy in British History

Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2002

Rowland, T H The Alemouth or Corn Road: Alnwick – Alnmouth

Northumberland Gazette, 1982

St John Hope, W H On the Premonstratensian Abbey of St Mary, at Alnwick

Archaeologia Aeliana, ns, vol 13, 1889

St John Hope, W H On the Whitefriars or Carmelites of Hulne, Northumberland

Archaeological Journal, volXLVII, 1890

Scammell, Jean Robert I and the North of England

English Historical Review, CCLXXXVIII, 1958

Shrimpton, Colin A History of Alnwick Parks and Pleasure Grounds

Heritage House Group, 2006

Shrimpton, Colin Alnwick Castle

Hudson’s Heritage Group, 2012


Skelly, George A Historical Guide to Alnwick, and its Immediate Neighbourhood

Alnwick County Gazette, 1889

Skelly, George Alnwick in the Past, being a Review of the Habits and Customs of the Inhabitants of Alnwick in the Early Part of the 18th Century, together with an Historical Description of the Various Churches and Other Places of Religious Worship, and the Old Buildings of the Town

Alnwick and County Gazette, 1896

Stanbrook, Clare and Cambridge, Eric Oswald: Northumbrian King to European Saint

Paul Watkin, 1995

Stringer Keith J Nobility and Identity in Medieval retain and Ireland: The de Vecsy Family, c1120 – 1314

In: Britain and Ireland 900 – 1300, edited by Brendan Smith

Cambridge University Press, 1999

Tate, George The History of the Borough, Castle and Barony of Alnwick

Hunter Blair, 1865-9

Thornton, George The Rising in the North

Ergo Press, 2010

Waddington, Clive Rescued from the Sea: An Archaeologist’s Tale

Archaeological Research Services, 2014
Waddington, Clive and Passmore, Dave Ancient Northumberland
English Heritage,2004

Woolf, Alex From Pictland to Alba 789 -1070

Edinburgh University Press, 2007


Worsley, Giles Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

Country Life, December 1988

Wright R P The Devil’s Causeway from Rimside Moor (Longframlington) to Bridge of Aln

Archaeologia Aeliana, 4, vol 17, 1940

Yorke, Barbara Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England

Seaby, 1990

Young, Charles Frederic Fires, Fire Engines and Fire Brigades

Lockwood & Co, 1866

Note 1: Early Chronicles

A number of early chronicles are referred to in the notes. Details of these are:

Alnwick Abbey Chronicle – see Dickson. This includes an English translation.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – this is made up of a number of annals written in a number of monasteries. There are a number of translations available such as G N Garmonsway’s published in 1954 (2nd edition).

Bede The Ecclesiastical History of The English People. This was translated by Bertram Colgrave in 1969. It is available with introduction and notes in Oxford World’s Classics Series, 1994.

Fordun – John of Fordun’s Chronicle of the Scottish Nation (Chronica Gentis  Scotorum) is a 5 volume work ending in 1153. There is a free ebook available in a translation by W F Skene published in 1872.

Gaimar – Geoffrey Gaimar’s (rhyming) L’Estoire des Engleis was written 1136-40. It contains much material taken from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Jordan Fantosme – Fantosme’s Chronicle of the War between the English and the Scots in 1173 and 1174 is available as a free ebook in a translation dating from 1840.

Richard of Hexham – The Acts of King Stephen and the Battle of the Standard was translated by J Stevenson and included in volume IV of his Church Historians of England, 1856.

Simeon of Durham – the two books attributed to Simeon (A History of the Church of Durham and A History of the Kings of England) were probably written by a series of monks at Durham. They are also available in translations by J Stevenson and included in Church Historians of England.

Note 2: The Bondgate

The Bondgate, the magazine of the Alnwick and District Local History Society, it has been published twice a year since 2008. It contains articles relating to the local history of the Alnwick area.