Keys to the Past

Gefrin (Kirknewton)

This is the site of the seventh century Anglo-Saxon royal palace of Gefrin, mentioned in the histories written by the Anglo-Saxon monk Bede. The earliest structure on the site was a timber fort surrounded by an outer palisade. They were probably built in the second half of the sixth century. A settlement grew up outside the fort in the early seventh century, including a large timber hall and a pagan temple. There was also a large timber building used for holding important meetings or religious ceremonies. At a later period the timber hall was replaced by an even larger hall, though these larger buildings were destroyed by a fire. This may have been a deliberate act, possibly by the Welsh king Cadwallon who was fighting a war with the Anglo-Saxons of Northumberland. The site was then rebuilt, and a possible church was constructed. This was surrounded by a cemetery. Some more buildings were destroyed by fire in the mid-seventh century and finally abandoned around 685. A number of earlier features were found in the excavations, including a Neolithic round barrow, Bronze Age cremation burials and stone circle. This is a Scheduled Monument protected by law.

Reference number:N2008
Historical period: Roman (43 to 410)
Early Medieval (410 to 1066)
Neolithic (4000BC to 2200BC)
Bronze Age (2600BC to 700BC)
Iron Age (800BC to 43AD)
Legal status:Scheduled Ancient Monument

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See also:
Source of Reference
Local History of Kirknewton


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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.