Keys to the Past

Local Histories

Starting with B - 44 Settlements found.

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U W

Baldersdale (County Durham)
The parish of Baldersdale sits in the south-east corner of County Durham. Most of the area is moorland and the River Balder, which gives the parish its name, runs through the centre of the parish....


Bamburgh (Northumberland)
The coastal village is dominated by the spectacular bulk of Bamburgh Castle which sits on a long-narrow outcrop of rock. From the castle it is possible to see across the surrounding sand dunes to Holy Island. Although the castle is such a significant element of the landscape of Bamburgh we have to turn elsewhere to find the earliest remains of human activity in Bamburgh....


Bardon Mill (Northumberland)
The parish of Bardon Mill is on the north side of the River South Tyne. Although the land along the river is low lying it quickly rises up to rough upland pasture through which a number of stone crags jut. Amongst this area of farming and common land a number of rare glacial lochs can be seen. These small lakes, Broomlee Lough, Grindon Lough, Greenlee Lough and Crag Lough are almost the only examples in Northumberland that have been formed by the action of glaciers scouring holes out from the underlying land surface. It is on the crags of Whin Sill, which overlook these lakes that the Hadrian's Wall runs along one of its most spectacular sections. The largest village in the parish is the small industrial village of Bardon Mill. Most of the settlements in the area are small isolated farmsteads or hamlets....


Barforth (County Durham)
The parish of Barforth stands in Teesdale, just on the south bank of the river. It is about half way between Darlington and Barnard's Castle....


Barmpton (County Durham)
The village of Barmpton just to the north of Darlington, stands in a deep valley on the left bank of the River Skerne. It was once part of the larger parish of Haughton-le-Skerne....


Barnard Castle (County Durham)
The picturesque town of Barnard Castle stands over the waters of the River Tees, which used to form the boundary between Durham and Yorkshire until 1974. The remains of the castle, which was built in the early 12th century, still tower over the river. Down below, the bridge, which was built in 1569, is still the main route over the Tees. The town dominates the roads into Teesdale and into the uplands of the North Pennines, but is also close to the Victorian industrial city of Darlington....


Barningham (County Durham)
The village of Barningham stands in lower Teesdale on the edge of the Pennines. It used to be in the North Riding of Yorkshire until 1974. The most of the parish is heather-covered moorland, but the scenery along Greta's banks is strikingly beautiful....


Bavington (Northumberland)
The parish of Bavington lies in central southern Northumberland. It stretches from Sweethope Moss in the north-west, through the crags of Sweethope, Bavington and Throckrington, to the pastureland and parkland of Little Bavington in the south-east. The parish is rich in remains of all periods from the Bronze Age to post-medieval period. Prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval field systems and farmsteads show the importance of agriculture in the area. In addition, the presence of post-medieval and modern quarries, for whinstone and limestone, are evidence of the natural resources of the parish....


Beadnell (Northumberland)
The small village of Beadnell surrounds its harbour amid sand dunes a few miles south of Bamburgh. Uniquely for a harbour on the east coast of Britain the harbour entrance faces west. Once a thriving fishing village it is now mainly a centre for holidaymakers, though some fishing still occurs. The land immediately around the village is low-lying, and typical of the flat coastal plain of Northumberland....


Beamish (County Durham)
Beamish lies to the east of Stanley. Like several other sites in Durham the village name is French in origin, meaning 'beautiful mansion' (bewmys). It was first recorded in 1287, and suggests that the settlement was probably founded by the Normans. Few remains from the earliest period of history survive, a single flint tool of prehistoric date has been found....


Bearpark (County Durham)
The parish of Bearpark stands close to the city of Durham. Although there was undoubtedly earlier settlement, the oldest remains to be found are some cup and ring marked stones from near White Park. These are probably of late Neolithic or early Bronze Age date. It is unusual to find such carved stones in this part of County Durham, they are usually found in areas of moorland....


Bedlington (Northumberland)
Bedlington lies in south-east Northumberland. Although it is not a modern civil parish the town of Bedlington sites fairly centrally within an area bound on the south and east by the River Blyth, to the west by the Pegwhistle Burn, and to the north by the Sleek Burn and a mineral railway line....


Belford with Middleton (Northumberland)
Belford is a quiet, attractive village in north Northumberland. It lies mainly between the North Sea coast and the A1. It has long been a stopping place on the Great North Road and, until the 1980s, the A1 thundered through the centre of the village. However, a bypass has now been built and it has returned Belford to a more peaceful state....


Belford with Middleton (Northumberland)
The civil parish of Middleton lies on Northumberland's North Sea coast approximately 3km north of Bamburgh Castle....


Bellingham (Northumberland)
The parish of Bellingham lies in western Northumberland north of Hadrian's Wall. It stretches from high moorland in the north, across the River North Tyne, to the edge of Wark Forest in the south. The principal settlement is the town of Bellingham which sits on the north bank of the river. The uplands appear little explored, with few known archaeological remains when compared with other similar landscapes. The earliest evidence we have for human activity is mainly represented by finds, such as stone and bronze axes, and cup and ring marked stones, from the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The settlements and burial sites of the people who made these implements have not yet been found, with the exception of a single burial cairn....


Belmont (County Durham)
Because of population increases due to industrial development, Belmont Parish was formed in 1852 from the greater part of St Giles Parish to which its earlier history belongs. It consisted of Ravensflatt and most of the Kepier hospital manor lands of Caldecotes and Clifton, which were 12th century endowments by the bishops Flambard and Du Puiset for the upkeep of the hospital. Ravensflatt remained with "the Prior and Convent of Durham" until granted to the University following its foundation, and was sold in the 1960s for modern development. When the civil parish was formed in 1894, an area of Pittington (Hallgarth) Parish was added, and this was incorporated into the ecclesiastical parish in 1920....


Belsay (Northumberland)
'In terms of both its architecture and its landscape features, Belsay is one of the most important sites, not only in Northumberland, but in the whole country. It is an encapsulation of English history.' Nikolaus Pevsner (1992)....


Berwick upon Tweed (Northumberland)
The Berwick area is dominated by the beautiful town of Berwick-upon-Tweed and the smaller settlements of Tweedmouth and Spittal. The history of the three settlements is interwoven: all exploited the Tweed as a resource for fishing; Tweedmouth later provided a deep water dock for Berwick and was used as a base by the English king to attack and take Berwick from the Scots. In 1657, the Corporation of Berwick purchased the Manor of Tweedmouth and Spittal from the Earl of Suffolk for £570. Inevitably, the archaeological records are more extensive and detailed for Berwick; however, there is much of interest in the smaller towns too....


Bewick (Northumberland)
The small parish of Bewick lies on both sides of the River Breamish. Old Bewick sits to the north-east and New Bewick to the south-west. Unusually, the name of the river actually changes from the Breamish to the Till as it flows through this parish. This is recorded in an old rhyme:....


Birtley (Northumberland)
The parish of Birtley lies in central Northumberland. It stretches from the relatively fertile banks of the River North Tyne in the west to the open moorland of Buteland Fell to the north. The name Birtley derives from the Old English words for `bright clearing'. The importance of farming to this area is shown by the survival of prehistoric and medieval cultivation remains in the parish. These contrast with the industrial remains from ironstone, coal and lime extraction....


Bishop Auckland (County Durham)
Many of the villages within the parish of Bishop Auckland contain sites and buildings that were utilised in the war effort during the First World War, and since the war a number of sites, monuments and memorials have been created to commemorate the contributions made by the inhabitants of those places. Town memorials such as the statue at Coundon and the cenotaph at Newfield are centrally located and serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made whilst many of the local churches and public buildings contain additional memorials in the form of Rolls of Honour, books of remembrance and plaques dedicated to the memory of individuals. Bishop Auckland has many of these features as well as buildings like the Auckland Union Workhouse which served as the Oakland Military Hospital during WW1 and then a POW camp in WW2.


Bishop Middleham (County Durham)
The village of Bishop Middleham lies in a valley about 9 miles south-west of Durham. Although much of County Durham had probably first been settled in the Mesolithic period, the first evidence for occupation in the parish dates to the Neolithic or Bronze Age. At least two simple flint tools, including an arrowhead, have been found in the area. The arrowhead was probably used by an early hunter, though by the Bronze Age farming would have been widespread. By the Iron Age we have our first evidence for burials in the parish- at least six graves were found in a small cave. A small glass beaddecorated with white spiral patterns may also have come from an early of middle Iron Age grave, though it may have been lost in another way....


Bishopton (County Durham)
The village of Bishopton is stands on a slight hill about six miles north-west of Stockton. Although there was undoubtedly settlement in the area since the prehistoric period, no remains of this early occupation has survived. It is thought that the Roman road from Great Stainton to Chester-le-Street runs through the parish, but no other Roman remains have been discovered....


Blanchland (Northumberland)
Blanchland parish lies in south Northumberland, deep in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on the boundary with County Durham. The landscape is quite varied with the wooded valley of the River Derwent in the south rising northward to high moorland on Blanchland Moor....


Blyth (Northumberland)
Blyth is best known as an industrial port in south-east Northumberland. It lies on the south bank of the River Blyth and the range of finds made here extend its history back thousands of years....


Bournmoor (County Durham)
The parish church of St. Barnabus contains a number of features that are dedicated as war memorials commemorating members of the community who served and died during the First World War. The clubhouse of the village cricket club is also known to contain a memorial dedicated to members of the club who served in the conflict.


Bowes; Bowes Moor (County Durham)
The parish of Bowes has not always been in County Durham. Until 1974 it was on the northern edge of North Yorkshire. It stands on the edge of Stainmoor on the banks of the River Greta. It stands on the main pass across the North Pennines, linking North Yorkshire with Cumbria....


Bowsden (Northumberland)
The parish of Bowsden lies in north Northumberland on a ridge of rising ground which marks the western limit of the level coastal plain. It is one of the smaller parishes in Northumberland yet contains a reasonable cross-section of archaeological and historic remains, from prehistoric burials and a Roman road to post-medieval lime kilns. The name Bowsden probably means `Boll's valley or hill'....


Bradbury (County Durham)
The small village of Bradbury stands on the River Skerne, two and half miles to the west of Sedgefield. The surrounding area is known as the Isles, as when the river floods there are a number of small islands of land, which remain above the floodwaters. The largest of these 'isles' is Great Isle on which Great Isle farm stands....


Brancepeth (County Durham)
The village of Brancepeth lies to the south-west of Durham. The parish was once very large, including the villages of Brandon, Byshottles, Helmington Row, Tudhoe Stockley and Willington, as well as Brancepeth....


Brandon (County Durham)
The colliery village of Brandon lies to the south-west of Durham, not far from Brancepeth. It was once part of the parish of Brancepeth, but became a separate parish when the population increased in the 19th century after the colliery opened in mid-19th century....


Branxton (Northumberland)
The parish of Branxton lies in north Northumberland, close to the Scottish border, within the region known as Glendale. The name Branxton derives from a personal name `Brannoc'. It seems to have had a very quiet history until the 16th century, lying as it does off the beaten track. The only exceptions were periodical raids by the Scots with the earliest recorded incident in 1340. Branxton is famous in British history as the scene of a battle in 1513 which is now commonly called the Battle of Flodden....


Brignall (County Durham)
O Brignall's Banks are wild and fair....


Brinkburn and Hesleyhurst (Northumberland)
The parish of Brinkburn lies in central Northumberland and is divided by the River Coquet. At its western end the parish stretches from just outside the fringes of Rothbury along the valley of the Coquet to Weldon Bridge. In the north, the parish lies on rising ground on the edge of Longframlington Common. The name `Brinkburn' probably means `Brynca's burn, burh or spring', or `the burn, burh or spring beneath the brink or hill'. And, to digress a little, Brinkburn is said by one tradition to be the burial place of the Northumbrian fairies....


Brinkburn and Hesleyhurst (Northumberland)
The parish of Hesleyhurst consists largely of upland moorland, descending to the Maglin Burn at its southern extent. The Forest Burn runs from east to west through the parish, dividing Ward's Hill from Garleigh Moor. There are no centres of population within Hesleyhurst. The nearest village is Rothbury, to the north....


Broomhaugh and Riding (Northumberland)
Broomhaugh and Riding parish is located in southern Northumberland on the south bank of the River Tyne just south-east of Corbridge. The northern part of the parish is bounded by the River Tyne and the southern part rises towards Broomley Fell. The valley of the March Burn cuts across the north-western side of the parish on its route to the Tyne and separates the main settlements of Broomhaugh and Riding Mill. The name Broomhaugh derives from the broom that grew there; Riding probably derives from the Latin term for a clearing, Riding Mill being the mill by the clearing....


Broomley and Stocksfield (Northumberland)
The parish of Broomley and Stocksfield lies in south Northumberland on the south bank of the River Tyne. It is divided in two by the Stocksfield Burn, which runs off the watershed near Minsteracres to the River Tyne at Stocksfield. Stocksfield is the largest settlement in the parish, stretching as it does from the banks of the River Tyne up the Stocksfield Burn. The name Broomley derives from the broom that grew there; and Stocksfield seems to mean `field by, or marked by, the posts.'....


Burnhope (Weardale) (County Durham)
Burnhope lies in upper reaches of Weardale due west of Wearhead. The area runs from the main road along Burnhope Burn up to Burnhope Moor. This is quite a remote upland area dominated today by hill sheep farming....


Burnopfield (County Durham)
Until the 19th century Burnopfield was part of the larger parish of Tanfield. Like many Durham villages it expanded in size with the growth of the coal industry - this population growth led to it becoming a separate parish....


Butsfield (County Durham)
The villages of East and West Butsfield lie close to Lanchester amid beautiful countryside. The earliest occupation in the area may date to the Mesolithic period when the first settlers were beginning to settle in this part of County Durham. Some flint tools of this date have been found on Butsfield Fell. These may have come from the site of an early hunting camp. These first settlers may not have settled here permanently, and probably moved between several different camps, so they could collect food from a range of different environments....


Butterknowle (County Durham)
The parish contains a number of sites in various locations that commemorate the First World War and later conflicts in a variety of ways. Many of the local churches including the church of St. John the Evangelist in Lynesack and the Methodist Church in Butterknowle contain war memorials in the form of parish rolls of honour listing those who served and died in war. Butterknowle also has a village memorial obelisk located in front of a line of bungalows on Pinfold Lane whilst the Village Hall at Copley bears two plaques that were presented by families in memory of lost relatives.


Butterknowle (County Durham)
Butterknowle lies in the Gaunless valley. There are no remains from the prehistoric or Roman period, though the area was undoubtedly occupied in this period. The village itself was probably not formed until the Anglo-Saxon period - the name of the village comes from the Old English for 'hill where the butter is made'....


Byers Green (County Durham)
The parish of Byers Green lies to the west of Spennymoor. The first settlers probably moved into this area in the Mesolithic period, though no remains from this period have been found. A small flint tool has been found, but it is probably of Neolithic date. By the Bronze Age people were certainly living - and dying - in the area. A large stone burial cairn used to stand in the parish, but opencast coal mining has now destroyed it....


Bywell (Northumberland)
The parish of Bywell lies in southern Northumberland and its southern edge is defined by the River Tyne. From the low-lying riverside edge, the eastern side of the parish rises to North Acomb and then towards Hadrian's Wall, but the rise is gentler on the western side. The village of Bywell is the main settlement and gives the parish its name, which means `by the spring'. It was described at the end of the 19th century as 'a lovely patch of Arcadia preserved to the modern world amid all the industrial changes that have transformed some of the fairest scenes in Northumberland into black and hideous wastes. Bywell has not changed greatly since that time....
A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U W