Tritlington and West Chevington (Northumberland)
Tritlington Old Hall. Photo by Peter Ryder.
Archaeologists excavating at Chevington chapel in 1997. Photo by Northumberland County Council.
Tritlington and West Chevington parish lies in east Northumberland, in the North East coalfield. Although there are remains of the coal industry, there are also traces of much earlier human activity occupation.
The earliest remains are prehistoric. A number of flints have been found west of Red Row and they seem to have been made by knapping local materials. The Mesolithic lifestyle was based on seasonal resources, moving about the countryside as they became available, hunting, fishing and gathering plants. This site was probably used repeatedly and was also used in the Neolithic period.
Stone was also used in the Neolithic period and two stone axes have been found in Chevington Wood. They confirm the general clearance of trees that occurred in the Neolithic period. So far no ritual or settlement sites have been found of this period.
The oldest settlements in the parish are Iron Age with one excavated at Bullock's Hall in the 1990s. A series of enclosures that show up as cropmarks on aerial photographs at Causey Park Hag, south of Helm, near Tritlington, near Earsdon Moor, and north-east of Chevington Moor may also be the remains of early farmsteads that were occupied in Iron Age and Roman times.
In medieval times there were hamlets or villages at Earsdon, Fenrother, and West Chevington. The remains of a medieval chapel have been excavated near Bullock's Hall and another chapel is known to have stood near Causey Park, dedicated to St Cuthbert, but its exact site is unknown. Chevington Wood is thought to be a survivor of this time and is first mentioned in historic documents in the 14th century.
Defensive architecture was also needed to protect property and life against the Scots and a tower house was built in what is now Tritlington Old Hall and at Causey Park House.
The relative peace after the Union of the Crowns in 1603 encouraged people to build less defensive homes. Alterations were made to surviving structures at Causey Park House and Tritlington Old Hall and later a new country house was built at Tritlington Hall.
The post-medieval period saw a number of changes in the parish. The chapel was said to be in ruins, but this didn't stop people using the graveyard for burials. Elsewhere industrial developments took place, including a sawmill and Chevington Colliery. The main railway line passes through the parish and a station was built at Chevington Crossing. Improvements in farming in the 18th and 19th century are also evident in the parish with a planned farm built at Maiden's Hall.
Recent coalmining has taken the form of opencast mining, which has since removed some of the archaeological and historical sites mentioned above.
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