Northumberland
Northumberland
Flag of Northumberland
Northumberland within England
Geography
Status Ceremonial county & Unitary district
Origin Historic
Region North East
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 6th
5,013 km2 (1,936 sq mi)
Ranked 1st
Admin HQ Morpeth
ISO 3166-2 GB-NBL
ONS code 00EM
NUTS 3 UKC21
Demography
Population
- Total (2010 est.[1])
- Density
- Admin. council
Ranked 44th
312,000
62 /km2 (160 /sq mi)
Ranked 21st
Ethnicity 99.9% White
Politics
Coat of arms of Northumberland County Council.png
Northumberland County Council
http://www.northumberland.gov.uk
Executive Liberal Democrat (council NOC)
Members of Parliament
Districts

N/A

Long Crag summit

Northumberland (play /nɔrˈθʌmbərlənd/) is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region (code UKC21) and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region. It borders Cumbria to the west, County Durham to the south and Tyne and Wear to the south east, as well as having a border with the Scottish Borders council area to the north, and a North Sea coastline of outstanding natural beauty[2] with a 64 mile (103 km) long distance path.[3] Since 1981, the county council has been located in Morpeth, situated in the east of the county.[4]

The historical boundaries of the county of Northumberland included Newcastle upon Tyne, the traditional county town, as well as Tynemouth and other settlements in North Tyneside, all areas transferred to Tyne and Wear in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. The historical county boundaries are sometimes taken to exclude Islandshire, Bedlingtonshire and Norhamshire (collectively North Durham), exclaves of County Durham which were incorporated into Northumberland in 1844.

Being on the border of England and Scotland, Northumberland has been the site of many battles. The county is noted for its undeveloped landscape of high moorland, a favourite with landscape painters, and now largely protected as a National Park. Northumberland is the most sparsely populated county in England, with only 62 people per square kilometre.

Contents

History

The area was once part of the Roman Empire and as Northumberland it was the scene of many wars between England and Scotland. As evidence of its violent history, Northumberland has more castles than any other county in England,[5] including the castles of Alnwick, Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh and Warkworth.

The region of present-day Northumberland once formed the core of the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia, which was later united with Deira south of the River Tees to form the kingdom of Northumbria. The historical boundaries of Northumbria under King Edwin stretched from the Humber in the south to the Forth in the north, though it was reduced to having its traditional northern border of the River Tweed after the area from the Tweed to the Forth was ceded to the Kingdom of Scotland in 1018, including Lothian, the region which contains Edinburgh. Northumberland is often called the "cradle of Christianity" in England, because it was on Lindisfarne, a tidal island north of Bamburgh, also called Holy Island, that Christianity flourished when monks from Iona were sent to convert the English. Lindisfarne was the home of the Lindisfarne Gospels and Saint Cuthbert, who is buried in Durham Cathedral.

Bamburgh is the historic capital of Northumberland, the "royal" castle from before the unification of England under one monarch. In contemporary times, although Northumberland County Council's offices are in Morpeth. Alnwick and Morpeth contest which of the two is the county town.[citation needed]

The Earldom of Northumberland was briefly held by the Scottish Royal Family via marriage from 1139–1157 and 1215–1217. Scotland relinquished all claims to the region as part of the Treaty of York. The Earls of Northumberland once wielded significant power in English affairs because, as the Marcher Lords, they were entrusted with protecting England from Scottish invasion.

Northumberland has a history of revolt and rebellion against the government, as seen in the Rising of the North in Tudor times. These revolts were usually led by the then Dukes of Northumberland, the Percy family. Shakespeare makes one of the Percys, the dashing Harry Hotspur, the real hero of his Henry IV, Part 1.

The county was[when?] also a centre for Roman Catholicism in England, as well as of Jacobite support after the Restoration. Northumberland became a sort of wild county, where outlaws and Border Reivers hid from the law. However, the frequent cross-border skirmishes and accompanying local lawlessness largely subsided after the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England under King James I in 1603.

Northumberland played a key role in the industrial revolution. Coal mines were once[when?] widespread in Northumberland, with collieries at Ashington, Bedlington, Choppington, Netherton, Ellington and Pegswood. The region's coalfields fuelled industrial expansion in other areas of the country, and the need to transport the coal from the collieries to the Tyne led to the development of the first railways. Shipbuilding and armaments manufacture were other important industries.

Today, Northumberland is still largely rural. As the least densely populated county in England, it commands much less influence in British affairs than in times past. In recent years the county has had considerable growth in tourism due to its scenic beauty and the abundant evidence of its historical significance.

Physical geography

Physical geography of Northumberland and surrounding areas
N NE England SRTM.png

The physical geography of Northumberland is diverse. It is low and flat near the North Sea coast and increasingly mountainous toward the northwest. The Cheviot Hills, in the northwest of the county, consist mainly of resistant Devonian granite and andesite lava. A second area of igneous rock underlies the Whin Sill (on which Hadrian's Wall runs), an intrusion of Carboniferous dolerite. Both ridges support a rather bare moorland landscape. Either side of the Whin Sill the county lies on Carboniferous Limestone, giving some areas of karst landscape.[6] Lying off the coast of Northumberland are the Farne Islands, another dolerite outcrop, famous for their bird life.

There are coal fields in the southeast corner of the county, extending along the coastal region north of the river Tyne. The term 'sea coal' likely originated from chunks of coal, found washed up on beaches, that wave action had broken from coastal outcroppings.

River Coquet.

Being in the far north of England, above 55° latitude, and having many areas of high land, Northumberland is one of the coldest areas of the country. It has an average annual temperature of 7.1 to 9.3 °C, with the coldest temperatures inland.[7] However, the county lies on the east coast, and has relatively low rainfall, between 466 and 1060 mm annually, mostly falling in the west on the high land.[8] Between 1971 and 2000 the county averaged 1321 to 1390 hours of sunshine per year.[9]

Approximately a quarter of the county is protected as the Northumberland National Park, an area of outstanding landscape that has largely been protected from development and agriculture. The park stretches south from the Scottish border and includes Hadrian's Wall. Most of the park is over 240 metres (800 feet) above sea level. The Northumberland Coast is also a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Ecology

There are a variety of notable habitats and species in Northumberland including: Chillingham Cattle herd; Holy Island; Farne Islands; and Staple Island.

Economy and industry

Housedon Hill

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Northumberland at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added[10] Agriculture[11] Industry[12] Services[13]
1995 2,585 130 943 1,512
2000 2,773 108 831 1,833
2003 3,470 109 868 2,494

Northumberland has a relatively weak economy amongst the counties and other local government areas of the United Kingdom.[14] The county is ranked sixth lowest amongst these 63 council areas. In 2003 23% of males and 60% of females were earning less than the Council of Europe's decency threshold. As of May 2005 unemployment is at 2.3%, in line with the national average.[15] Between 1999 and 2003 businesses in the county grew 4.4% to 8,225, making 0.45% of registered businesses in Great Britain.[16]

A major source of employment and income in the county is tourism. The county annually receives 1.1 million British visitors and 50,000 foreign tourists who spend a total of £162million in the county.[17]

Education

Northumberland has a completely comprehensive education system with 15 state schools, two academies and one independent school. Like Bedfordshire, it embraced the comprehensive ideal with the three tier system of lower/middle/upper schools with large school year sizes (often around 300). This eliminated choice of school in most areas – as instead of having two secondary schools in one town, one school became a middle school and another became an upper school. A programme introduced in 2006 known as Putting the Learner First has eliminated this structure in the former areas of Blyth Valley and Wansbeck, where two tier education has been introduced. Although the two processes are not officially connected, the introduction of two tiers has coincided with the move to build academy schools in Blyth, with Bede Academy and in Ashington at Hirst. One response to these changes has been the decision of Ponteland High School to apply for Trust status.

Cramlington Learning Village has almost 400 pupils in each school year; making it one of the largest schools in England. Blyth Community College situated in south east Northumberland is able to hold 1500 students throughout the building. Astley Community High School which is situated in Seaton Delaval and accepts students from Seaton Deleval, Seaton Sluice and Blyth has been the subject of controversial remarks from politicians claiming it would no longer be viable once Bede Academy opened in Blyth, a claim strongly disputed by the headteacher. Haydon Bridge High School, in rural Northumberland, is claimed to have the largest catchment area of any school in England, reputedly covering an area larger than that encompassed by the M25 motorway around London.

The county of Northumberland is served by one Catholic High School, St. Benet Biscop Catholic High School, which is attended by students from all over the area. Students from Northumberland also attend independent schools such as the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle.

Demographics

At the Census 2001 Northumberland registered a population of 307,190,[18] estimated to be 309,237 in 2003.[19] In 2001 there were 130,780 households, 10% of which were all retired, and one third were rented. Northumberland has a very low ethnic minority population at 0.985% of the population, compared to 9.1% for England as a whole. 81% of the population reported their religion as Christianity, 0.8% as another religion, and 12% as having no religion.[20]

Being primarily rural with significant areas of upland, the population density of Northumberland is only 62 persons per square kilometre giving it the lowest population density in England.

Politics

Northumberland is a unitary local authority area and is the largest unitary area in England. The County Council is based in Morpeth.

Like most English shire counties Northumberland had until April 2009 a two-tier system of local government, with one county council and six districts, each with their own district council, responsible for different aspects of local government. These districts were, Blyth Valley, Wansbeck, Castle Morpeth, Tynedale, Alnwick and Berwick-upon-Tweed. The districts were abolished on 1 April 2009, the county council becoming a unitary authority.

Elections for the new unitary authority council took place on 1 May 2008.

Northumberland is represented in the House of Commons by four Members of Parliament, of whom one is a Conservative, one is a Liberal Democrat and two are Labour.

Northumberland is included within the North East England European Parliament constituency which is represented by 4 Members of the European Parliament.

Culture

Northumberland has traditions not found elsewhere in England. These include the rapper sword dance, the Clog dance and the Northumbrian smallpipe, a sweet chamber instrument, quite unlike the Scottish bagpipe. Northumberland also has its own tartan or check, sometimes referred to in Scotland as the Shepherd's Tartan. Traditional Northumberland music sounds similar to Lowland Scottish music, reflecting the strong historical links between Northumbria and the Lowlands of Scotland.

The Border ballads of the region have been famous since late mediaeval times. Thomas Percy, whose celebrated Reliques of Ancient English Poetry appeared in 1765, states that most of the minstrels who sang the Border ballads in London and elsewhere in the 15th and 16th centuries belonged to the North. The activities of Sir Walter Scott and others in the 19th century gave the ballads an even wider popularity. William Morris considered them to be the greatest poems in the language, while Algernon Charles Swinburne knew virtually all of them by heart.

One of the best-known is the stirring Chevy Chase, which tells of the Earl of Northumberland's vow to hunt for three days across the Border 'maugre the doughty Douglas'. Of it, the Elizabethan courtier, soldier and poet Sir Philip Sidney famously said: 'I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas that I found not my heart moved more than with a trumpet'. Ben Jonson said that he would give all his works to have written Chevy Chase.

Overall the culture of Northumberland, as with the north east of England in general, has much more in common with Scottish Lowland and Northern English culture than with that of Southern England. Firstly both regions have their cultural origins in the old Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria, this is borne out by the linguistic links between the two regions, which include many Old English words not found in other forms of Modern English, such as bairn for child (see Scots language and Northumbria).[21][22] The other reason for the close cultural links is the clear pattern of net southward migration. There are more Scots in England than English people north of the border. Much of this movement is cross-county rather than distant migration, and the incomers thus bring aspects of their culture as well as reinforce shared cultural traits from both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border. Whatever the case, the lands just north or south of the border have long shared certain aspects of history and heritage and thus it is thought by some that the Anglo-Scottish border is largely political rather than cultural.[22][23]

Attempts to raise the level of awareness of Northumberland culture have also started, with the formation of a Northumbrian Language Society to preserve the unique dialects (Pitmatic and other Northumbrian dialects) of this region, as well as to promote home-grown talent.[21][22]

Northumberland's county flower is the Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum) and her affiliated Royal Navy ship is her namesake, HMS Northumberland.

Flag

Northumberland flag

Northumberland has its own flag, which is a banner of the arms of Northumberland County Council. The shield of arms is in turn based on the arms mediæval heralds had attributed to the Kingdom of Bernicia (which the first County Council used until it received a regular grant of arms). The Bernician arms were fictional but inspired by Bede's brief description of a flag used on the tomb of St Oswald in the 7th century.[24]

The current arms were granted to the county council in 1951, and adopted as the flag of Northumberland in 1995.[25]

Media

Having no large population centres, the county's mainstream media outlets are served from nearby Tyne and Wear, including radio stations and television channels (such as BBC Look North, BBC Radio Newcastle, Tyne Tees Television and Metro Radio), along with the majority of daily newspapers covering the area (The Journal, Evening Chronicle). It is worth remembering however that although Northumberland, like many administrative areas in England, has been shorn of its geographical regional centre, that centre – Newcastle upon Tyne – remains an essential element within the entity we know as Northumberland. Newcastle's newspapers are as widely read in its Northumbrian hinterland as any of those of the wider county: the Northumberland Gazette, Morpeth Herald, Berwick Advertiser, Hexham Courant and the News Post Leader.

Lionheart FM, a community radio station based in Alnwick, has recently been awarded a five-year community broadcasting license by OFCOM. Radio Borders covers Berwick and the rural north of the county.

People

George Stephenson was born in Northumberland

Famous people born in Northumberland

Ashington was the birth place of the three famous footballers Bobby and Jack Charlton in 1937 and 1935 respectively; and Jackie Milburn previously in 1924. The basketballer Alan Hoyle was born here in 1983 whilst in 1978 Steve Harmison, an international cricketer was born here.

Mickley was the birth place of Thomas Bewick, an artist, wood engraver and naturalist in 1753 and Bob Stokoe, a footballer and F.A. Cup winning manager (with Sunderland in 1973) born 1930.

Other notable births include:

Famous people linked with Northumberland

Algernon Charles Swinburne, the poet, was raised in Northumberland

The site [2] contains exhaustive detailed entries for famous deceased Northumbrians.

Settlements

Parishes

NOTE: New parishes have been added since 2001. These are missing from the list.

Parishes of Northumberland[26]
Name Population (2001) Former district/borough
Acklington 467 Alnwick
Acomb 1,184 Tynedale
Adderstone with Lucker 195 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Akeld 82 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Allendale 2,120 Tynedale
Alnham 99 Alnwick
Alnmouth 562 Alnwick
Alnwick 7,767 Alnwick
Alwinton 71 Alnwick
Amble 6,044 Alnwick
Ancroft 885 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Bamburgh 454 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Bardon Mill 364 Tynedale
Bavington 99 Tynedale
Beadnell 528 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Belford 1,055 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Belsay 436 Castle Morpeth
Bewick 69 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Biddlestone 88 Alnwick
Bowsden 157 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Branxton 121 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Brinkburn 200 Alnwick
Callaly 150 Alnwick
Capheaton 160 Castle Morpeth
Carham 347 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Cartington 97 Alnwick
Chatton 438 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Cornhill-on-Tweed 318 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Craster 342 Alnwick
Cresswell 237 Castle Morpeth
Denwick 266 Alnwick
Doddington 146 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Earle 89 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Easington 139 Berwick-upon-Tweed
East Chevington 3,192 Castle Morpeth
Edlingham 196 Alnwick
Eglingham 357 Alnwick
Ellingham 282 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Ellington and Linton 2,678 Castle Morpeth
Elsdon 205 Alnwick
Embleton 699 Alnwick
Ewart 72 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Felton 958 Alnwick
Ford 487 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Glanton 222 Alnwick
Harbottle 235 Alnwick
Hartburn 198 Castle Morpeth
Hauxley 220 Alnwick
Hebron 679 Castle Morpeth
Heddon-on-the-Wall 1,518 Castle Morpeth
Hedgeley 322 Alnwick
Hepple 139 Alnwick
Hepscott 898 Castle Morpeth
Hesleyhurst 30 Alnwick
Hollinghill 90 Alnwick
Holy Island 162 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Horncliffe 374 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Ilderton 94 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Ingram 148 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Kilham 131 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Kirknewton 108 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Kyloe 323 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Lesbury 871 Alnwick
Lilburn 106 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Longframlington 979 Alnwick
Longhirst 446 Castle Morpeth
Longhorsley 798 Castle Morpeth
Longhoughton 1,442 Alnwick
Lowick 559 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Lynemouth 1,832 Castle Morpeth
Matfen 495 Castle Morpeth
Meldon 162 Castle Morpeth
Middleton 136 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Milfield 243 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Mitford 431 Castle Morpeth
Morpeth 13,833 Castle Morpeth
Netherton 194 Alnwick
Netherwitton 272 Castle Morpeth
Newton-by-the-Sea 242 Alnwick
Newton on the Moor and Swarland 822 Alnwick
Norham 536 Berwick-upon-Tweed
North Sunderland 1,803 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Nunnykirk 138 Alnwick
Ord, Northumberland 1,365 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Pegswood 3,174 Castle Morpeth
Ponteland 10,871 Castle Morpeth
Prudhoe 11,500 Tynedale
Rennington 305 Alnwick
Roddam 77 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Rothbury 1,740 Alnwick
Rothley 136 Alnwick
Shilbottle 1,349 Alnwick
Shoreswood 163 Berwick-upon-Tweed
Snitter 114 Alnwick
Stamfordham 1,047 Castle Morpeth
Stannington 1,219 Castle Morpeth
Thirston 510 Castle Morpeth
Thropton 409 Alnwick
Togston 340 Alnwick
Tritlington and West Chevington 218 Castle Morpeth
Ulgham 365 Castle Morpeth
Wallington Demesne 361 Castle Morpeth
Warkworth 1,493 Alnwick
Whalton 427 Castle Morpeth
Whittingham 406 Alnwick
Whitton and Tosson 223 Alnwick
Widdrington 158 Castle Morpeth
Widdrington Station and Stobswood 2,386 Castle Morpeth
Wooler 1,857 Berwick-upon-Tweed

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Table 8a Mid-2010 Population Estimates: Selected age groups for local authorities in the United Kingdom; estimated resident population.". Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2010. Office for National Statistics. 3 June 2011. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-231847. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Northumberland Coast Path – LDWA Long Distance Paths". Ldwa.org.uk. http://www.ldwa.org.uk/ldp/members/show_path.php?path_name=Northumberland+Coast+Path. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Northumberland County Hall moved from Newcastle upon Tyne to Morpeth on 21 April 1981 (see notice in London Gazette: no. 48579. p. 5337. 10 April 1981.)
  5. ^ Long, B. (1967). Castles of Northumberland. Newcastle, UK: Harold Hill.
  6. ^ Northumberland National Park Authority, n.d. "The topology and climate of Northumberland National Park."
  7. ^ Met Office, 2000. "Annual average temperature for the United Kingdom."
  8. ^ Met Office, 2000. "Annual average rainfall for the United Kingdom."
  9. ^ Met Office, 2000. "Annual average sunshine for the United Kingdom."
  10. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  11. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  12. ^ includes energy and construction
  13. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  14. ^ Northumberland County Council, 2003 "Northumberland in context.". MS Word, HTML (Google)
  15. ^ Northumberland InfoNet, 2005. "Unemployment Statistics."
  16. ^ Northumberland InfoNet, 2004. "Key Statistics: Businesses." (PDF)
  17. ^ Northumberland InfoNet, 2004 "Key Statistics: Tourism." (PDF)
  18. ^ Office for National Statistics, 2003. "Update on 2001 Census figures." (PDF)
  19. ^ Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2003. "Local Government Finance Settlement 2005/06." (PDF)
  20. ^ Office for National Statistics, 2001. "KS07 Religion: Census 2001, Key Statistics for local Authorities."
  21. ^ a b "North East England History Pages". Northeastengland.talktalk.net. http://www.northeastengland.talktalk.net/GeordieOrigins.htm. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  22. ^ a b c "Northumbrian Language Society". Northumbriana.org.uk. http://www.northumbriana.org.uk/langsoc/about.htm. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  23. ^ "Lowlands-L • a discussion group for people who share an interest in languages and cultures of the Lowlands". Lowlands-l.net. http://www.lowlands-l.net/english.php. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  24. ^ Bede's Ecclesiatical History of the English People, Book III, Ch. 11: "And to furnish a lasting memorial of the royal saint, they hung the King's banner of purple and gold over his tomb."
  25. ^ "The Northumberland Flag Northumberland Northumbria England UK GB (page 113)". Web.archive.org. 24 June 2005. Archived from the original on 24 June 2005. http://web.archive.org/web/20050624074238/http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/vg/flag.html. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  26. ^ Neighbourhood Statistics. "Office for National Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/viewFullDataset.do?instanceSelection=03070&productId=779&$ph=60_61&datasetInstanceId=3070&startColumn=1&numberOfColumns=8&containerAreaId=790203. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 

Bibliography

  • Sharp, Thomas (1937). Northumberland and Durham – a Shell Guide. B.T. Batsford. 
  • Tomlinson, W.W. (1968) [1888]. Comprehensive guide to the county of Northumberland. Trowbridge: Redwood. 
  • Thompson, Barbara; Norderhaug, Jennifer (2006). Walking the Northumberland Dales: Hadrian's Wall Country. Sigma Press. ISBN 1850588384. 

External links

Coordinates: 55°18′N 1°41′W / 55.30°N 1.68°W / 55.30; -1.68


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