Keys to the Past



also known as North Durham
Norhamshire was a detached part of County Durham. It was the lands, based on the grants of land to the Lindisfarne priory, in the northernmost triangle of Northumberland south of the Tweed River. Clockwise the boundaries were the coast from Tweedsmouth to Budle Bay, then from Budle Bay west to Tillmouth, and back along the Tweed to Tweedsmouth.

This was administered as part of Durham - but had it's own courts and jurisdiction from Norham castle. The entity existed from before 995AD till 1846AD. It suffered some loss of legal and land ownership privileges at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, as it was ruled by the Bishop of Durham - but continued to exist, sending votes to County Durham elections.

'Bedlingtonshire' was also a detached part of the bishopric. This lay between the Rivers Blyth and Wansbeck, from the coast to about Morpeth area. However, this was only a manor and treated as part of Chester(-le-Street) ward, therefore it only possessed some legal systems and privileges. It was sold after the English Civil War - but reacquired by the Bishops. If a Norhamshire or 'Bedlingtonshire' militia was raised, (see 1715 rebellion and 1745 rebellion), it would be used to defend County Durham. The Bishops of Durham also acquired land at Crayke, Northallerton and Howden, (all in Yorkshire), Scotland and Lincolnshire, as overnight stops for journeys elsewhere. These areas finally ended in 1846AD as part of governmental reorganisation, though lands apart from Norhamshire and 'Bedlingtonshire' had been lost in Scotland because of the Anglo-Scottish Wars, seized and sold before. Early county histories will deal with these areas as part of Durham.

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