Local history & Archaeology
“For centuries, Northumberland was a lawless frontier where the Border Reivers raided, robbed and killed, reducing the region to penury. Now Northumberland is under threat again. The Reivers now wear suits and are armed with laptops and document cases rather than spears and broadswords. But their intent is the same – a quick killing with no regard to the land, the local people or their livelihoods.” – Don Brownlow, Windwatch.
To travel west from Morpeth, is to appreciate the truly special nature of this landscape and its buildings. An abundance of fortified defensible structures testify to the historical importance of the area. Within a 5km radius, we have the bastles at Newton Underwood and Low Angerton, the castles at Mitford, Morpeth, Ogle and Belsay and the remains of pele towers at Whalton and Whitton. Clearly, this area was central to a past torn apart by border reivers and feuds and the evidence is all around. Ancient earthworks are also prevalent; chiefly Romano-British settlements, Roman camps and forts as at Whalton Hill Head, Mitford Steads, East Coldside and Molesden. Deserted & shrunken Medieval village sites can be found at Shilvington, Ogle, Mitford, Meldon and Throphill with Iron Age settlements and sites of ancient markets such as a Bolam with moated sites at Ogle. And lastly, the Medieval Churches of Mitford, Meldon, Bolam, and Morpeth and the 17th C Manor House at Mitford, all contribute to the historical significance of the area. In terms of vernacular buildings, the area is characterized by 18th and 19th C farm steadings with gin gans, hemmels and threshing barns all built from the local sandstone.
This windfarm, if allowed to go ahead, will form an incongruous and alien backdrop to some of the most valuable environmental assets of the Morpeth area, impacting unacceptably on sites of historical and archaeological value. The traditional stone-built hamlets of Edington and Molesden are only 275m and 650m respectively, far too close for comfort for the residents who live in these settlements. There are over 25 sites of historic importance within a 2km radius. Marginally further afield, the villages of Mitford, Meldon and Whalton, all of which have Grade I and II* buildings to boast, will find that their mellow-stoned medieval Churches and Manor Houses, and Mitford’s ancient castle, will never look the same again, because of the dominating proximity of giant turbines on the skyline.