Keys to the Past

Local History

Shoreswood (Northumberland)

Shoreswood is a small parish in north Northumberland. Most of the parish is now given over to agriculture but there was once industrial activity based around coal mining.

The earliest remains in the parish are Iron Age. A settlement on Old Hill once stood as an earthwork with ramparts and hut circles, but it has now been ploughed away. Another enclosure may be Iron Age or Roman in date and survives as a cropmark as do several others across the parish.

In the medieval period Shoreswood lay in the path of border wars between England and Scotland. Tower houses were built at Shoreswood and Thornton for the defence of the local population. Rural settlements at Shoreswood and Thorntonpark now survive as earthworks and could have supplied goods to nearby Berwick and Norham.

The post-medieval period was one of improvement. Thortonpark seems typical of many; it was first recorded in the 15th century and abandoned by the 19th century when the present farm was built away from the old village. The wealth that landowners received from their enterprises was spent on fashionable country houses, such as Shoreswood Hall and new farmhouses like Thorntonpark Farmhouse. Industrial activities were never far away at this time with Scremerston coal seams extending as far west as Shoreswood in workable quantities. A small coalmine opened at Shoresdean Colliery in the 19th century, but this was not the first time coal had been mined as earlier bell pits at Shoreswood demonstrate.

More recent remains survive in the shape of World War II (1939-45) direction finders. The elevated position of the parish made it ideal for the installation that was used to locate enemy aeroplanes.

Reference number:N13835

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Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.