Category Archives: North Tyneside

North East Quiz 8

Test your knowledge of North East England with our latest North East quiz focusing on the history, geography and culture of the region.

Roman gatehouse at Arbeia
Reconstruction of a Roman gatehouse at Arbeia : Photo © David Simpson

1, Which place in the North East was known to the Romans as Arbeia meaning ‘place of the Arabs’? In Roman times it was home to a unit of bargemen from the River Tigris in what is now Iraq.

2, What is the name of the sculptor who created Tommy at Seaham and Fiddlers Green at North Shields?

‘Tommy’  at Seaham. Photo: © 2018 David Simpson

3. Which North East comedian was known as ‘The Little Waster‘?

4. Who was the Norton-on-Tees born director of Quadrophenia and creator or Auf Wiedersehen Pet (which he pitched to Ian La Frenais)?  He also created TV’s Master Chef.

5, What was the name of the community venture situated in a County Durham town that was sometimes known as the Pitmen’s Academy? It unearthed and encouraged the talents of pitmen like the writer, Sid Chaplin and local artists Norman Cornish and Tom McGuinness.

6. What is the name of the river local to Ashington and Morpeth?

River Wansbeck near Sheepwash, Ashington.
Here is the river at Sheepwash near Ashington. Question 6, Photo © David Simpson 2018

7. Which North East castle chillingly claims to be Britain’s most haunted?

8 .What was supposedly slain at Cleve’s Cross near Ferryhill by Hodge of Ferry around the year 1200?

9. Who was the author of De Temporum Ratione (The Reckoning of Time) that became the major influence for the way in which we still count our years today from the birth of Christ ?

10. What shapes feature on the ancient and mysterious prehistoric markings such as those found on Doddington Moor in north Northumberland?

11. Which famous entertainer and comedian once resided in Bishop Auckland and in North Shields’ Dockwray Square – where there is a statue to his honour?

Stan Laurel, Laurel Park, Dockwray Square, North Shield
Dockwray Square, North Shields. Photo © David Simpson 2018

12. What is the official name of the Lady of the North, a 44 acre landscape sculpture near Cramlington?

Northumberlandia, the Lady of the North
The Lady of the North. Photo Question 12. © David Simpson 2018

13. Where in the North East did King Cnut allegedly have his hair cut in the year 1031 before visiting St Cuthbert’s shrine at Durham?

14. What is the name of the Middlesbrough-born artist and former shipyard worker noted for his abstract art and ‘square sheep’?

15. In which Northumbrian dale can you find Otterburn?

16. In 1747 what did the Sedgefield vicar’s wife do to her deceased husband to ensure that she kept receiving payment for parish tithes?

17. Where on the North East coast would you find Sparrow Hall?

The remains of Sparrow Hall in the old part of Cullercoats.
The remains of Sparrow Hall. Photo © David Simpson 2018

18. Which frequently altered Northumberland village-name provided the inspiration for a lengthy comedy routine by the comedian Stewart Lee?

19. What famous painting by Velazquez was housed for many years in a grand hall near Barnard Castle from which it took its name?

20. What are the names of the twin rivers with valleys just to the west of Durham City that join together near the town of Langley Moor before joining the River Wear near Croxdale?

21. Which North East city has a place-name that is thought to mean ‘separated land’?

Jack Crawford nailing his colours to the mast, Mowbray Park
Jack Crawford nailing his colours to the mast. Question 22: Photo © David Simpson

22. Where would you find a monument to Jack Crawford, the hero of the Battle of Camperdown, nailing the colours to a ship’s mast?

23. The Prudhoe-born and Berwick-raised actor Henry Travers (1974-1965) is famous for playing which role in a black and white Christmas themed movie?

24. For what notorious activity was the Northumbrian village of Boulmer principally noted in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century?

25. Name the South Shields-born director (left)  whose movie credits include Blade RunnerGladiator, Thelma and Louise, Blackhawk Down and Alien?

 

26. What links the crags on which Hadrian’s Wall stands, Bamburgh Castle rock, the Farne Islands and High Force waterfall in Teesdale?

27. What was the name of the Anglo-Saxon palace of King Edwin of Northumbria of which the outlines including an auditorium can be traced in aerial photographs in Glendale to the west of Wooler?

28. What is the surname of the Ryton-born folk duo sisters Rachel and Becky?

29. Hesleyside in North Tynedale was the principal seat of which North East border reiver clan?

30. Which famous North East MP, commemorated in song, once resided at Whitworth Hall near Spennymoor?

Whitworth Hall.
Whitworth Hall. See question 30. Photo © David Simpson 2018

31. Alnwick, Sedgefield and at one time Chester-le-Street are linked by which February tradition?

32. Where was the Dean and Chapter Colliery located?

33. Which famous North East ship, built at Wallsend In 1907 captured the Blue Riband prize for her eastbound transatlantic voyage that was achieved during the maiden voyage return? She then went on to claim the same prize for the westbound journey across the Atlantic during 1909.

Segedunum and the Tyne at Wallsend.
Segedunum Roman fort (bottom right). Photo © David Simpson 2018

34. Segedunum was the Roman name for the fort in which North East town?

35. What remarkable discovery was found at Howick on the Northumberland coast in 1983?

36. In terms of national boundaries what is unusual about the course of the river called the Bowmont Water in North Northumberland.

37. What was the name of the Bishop of Durham who founded Durham University? He was also, technically, the last ‘Prince Bishop’.

38. What links names such as Shaftoe, Storey, Robson, Charlton, Heron, Milburn, Collingwood, Armstrong, Elliot, Fenwick, Forster, Ridley, Nixon, Potts and Pringle?

39. Which Northumberland village gave its name to the battle of 1018 which resulted in the loss of much Northumbrian territory and more or less established the border with Scotland as it exists today?

Raby Castle
Raby Castle © David Simpson 2018

40. Brancepeth Castle near Durham, Raby Castle in Teesdale and Middleham Castle in Wensleydale in Yorkshire were the principal seats of which powerful northern family of medieval times?

Answers below

Answers

  1. South Shields.
  2. Ray Lonsdale.
  3. Bobby Thompson.
  4. Franc Roddam.
  5. The Spennymoor Settlement.
  6. River Wansbeck.
  7. Chillingham.
  8. The Brancepeth Brawn, a wild boar.
  9. The Venerable Bede.
  10. Cup and Ring markings.
  11. Stan Laurel.
  12. Northumberlandia.
  13. Trimdon.
  14. McKenzie Thorpe.
  15. Redesdale.
  16. She pickled him, to preserve his body and pretend he was still alive.
  17. Cullercoats.
  18. Shilbottle.
  19. The Rokeby Venus.
  20. The River Browney and River Deerness.
  21. Sunderland.
  22. Sunderland’s Mowbray Park.
  23. Clarence the Angel in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.
  24. Smuggling.
  25. Ridley Scott.
  26. The Great Whin Sill.
  27. Ad Gefrin (Yeavering).
  28. Unthank.
  29. The Charltons.
  30. Bobby Shafto.
  31. Shrove Tuesday football matches.
  32. Ferryhill.
  33. The Mauretania.
  34. Wallsend.
  35. Traces of a Stone Age house.
  36. The river begins in Scotland then heads northward – yes northward – into England.
  37. William Van Mildert.
  38. They’re all Border Reiver surnames.
  39. Carham on Tweed.
  40. The Nevilles.

North East Quiz 4

More quiz questions to test your knowledge of North East England. The fourth of our North East quizzes.

St Peter's church at Monkwearmouth, Sunderland
Quiz question 1,  Famous monastic site: Photo © David Simpson

1. What were the names and locations of the two monasteries founded by Benedict Biscop in the seventh century that were both associated with the famed monk and scholar, the Venerable Bede?

2. In medieval times these North East-based men with king-like powers could raise their own armies; appoint their own sheriffs and justices; administer their own laws; levy taxes and customs duties; create fairs and markets; issue charters; salvage shipwrecks; collect revenue from mines; administer the forests and mint their own coins. Who were they?

3. What was bred by the brothers Charles and Robert Colling of Ketton Farm near Darlington around 1796 and taken on a tour of the whole country?

The Durham Ox
Question 3. What was this called?

4. What was the Rookhope Ryde?

5. The first ever video to feature on MTV was written and performed by a musician from Houghton-le-Spring. What was his name, what was the song and what was his group called?

6. Which village near Ogle in Northumberland is noted for its annual summer time baal ceremony which dates back to pagan times?

7. What was the apparent true identity of James Drummond who worked as a ferryman on the River Wear at Fatfield near Washington from around 1746?

8. In 1031 who walked barefoot from the County Durham village of Garmondsway (near Coxhoe) on a pilgrimage to St Cuthbert’s shrine?

9. The historic town of Alston in the valley of the South Tyne is situated in which county?

Market Cross, Alston
Market Cross, Alston. Photo © David Simpson 2018

10. William of Durham, the thirteenth century rector of Wearmouth was the founder of which esteemed educational institution?

11. Where will you find one of the oldest churches in Britain, built with stones from the nearby Roman fort of Binchester?

12. North Shields-born William Harbutt (pictured) is famous for inventing which malleable substance popular with children?

 

 

13. A staggering 130,000 turned out to see the Tyneside funeral of revered sportsman Harry Clasper in 1870. What was his sport?

14. What magnificent French chateaux style building opened near the County Durham town of Barnard Castle in 1892?

15. The ‘Sunday for Sammy‘ charity entertainment event commemorates the memory of which North East actor and musician?

16. Where would you find Blast Beach, Chemical Beach and Nose’s Point?

Blast Beach, Seaham
Blast Beach, Question 16. Photo © David Simpson 2018

17. Where in the North East can you find a Saxon church on a hilltop village with an extensive chemical works nearby?

18. What kind of ancient feature would you find at Whitley Castle in South Tynedale?

19. Which beautiful North East castle was described by William Shakespeare as a “worm-eaten hold of ragged stone”?

20. Which notable female campaigner for women’s rights who died in 1913 lived in the village of Longhorsley near Morpeth and what was her fate?

21. Wor Nanny’s a Maizor’, The Trimdon Grange Disaster, ‘The Oakey Strike Evictions’, ‘The Durham Strike’, ‘Stanla Markit’, ‘The Cat Pie’, ‘Sheeld Raw Flud’ and ‘Dorham Gaol’ were works by which North East songwriter, known as ‘the Pitman Poet‘?

22. What was the name of the Sir Walter Scott poem that alludes to the Teesdale area with lots of references to the dale’s Viking connections?

23. What monument was built to commemorate John George Lambton, the First Earl of Durham?

St. Andrew Auckland at South Church
South Church. Photo © David Simpson 2018

24. What is the dedication of the church at South Church in County Durham?

25. Where might you be welcomed upon entrance by the 35 feet tall, ‘Tiny Tim’ weighing 90 tons?

26. Name the Dunston-born singer with rock band AC/DC?

27. Which York-born Sunderland MP was known as ‘The Railway King

28. Which Middlesbrough-born footballer and TV presenter’s father came from Sierra Leone?

29. Bruce’s Ladder, Gunner’s Pool, Black Bull’s Hole, Kissing Frog Stones, Devil’s Lapstone, Devil’s Bridge, Devil’s Scar, Seven Chambers and Pegjellimas Cave are all features in which North East beauty spot?

30. Who were the Votadini and the Brigantes?

31. Sportsman, Charles W. Alcock (pictured) who established the FA Cup competition and organised the world’s first international football and cricket competitions was born in which North East town?

32. Who and what features on the statue at the centre of Newcastle’s Old Eldon Square?

33. What is the name of the once-elusive particle predicted by the Nobel prize-winning Newcastle-born physicist Peter Higgs?

34. What did Mrs Clements of Durham City invent in 1720?

35. What does Bigg mean in relation to the name of Newcastle’s Bigg Market?

36. The song ‘My Grandfather’s Clock ‘ (1878), from which all long case clocks now take their name was inspired by a clock situated in an inn in which North East village?

Lindisfarne or Holy Island
Question 37. © David Simpson 2015

37. What shocking event occurred in the year AD 793 that shook the region to the core and was supposedly preceded by ‘terrible portents’, that ‘sorely affrighted the inhabitants’?

38. Hairy Biker TV chef Si King was born in which North East village near Gateshead?

39. Which town is the North East birthplace of Monty Python comedian and actor, Eric Idle?

Bede's Tomb, Durham Cathedral
Galilee Chapel and tomb, Durham Cathedral. Question 40 Photo © David Simpson 2017

40. The prominent tomb of whom can be found in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral?

Answers below

 

Answers

  1. Wearmouth and Jarrow. Respectively the monasteries of St Peter and St Paul.
  2. The Prince Bishops of Durham.
  3. The Durham Ox (or Ketton Ox).
  4. A ballad that commemorates a raid by Tynedale mosstroopers on Rookhope in Weardale in the year 1569.
  5. Trevor Horn. The song was Video Killed the Radio Star and the group was called The Buggles.
  6. Whalton.
  7. He was the Earl of Perth, a Jacobite rebel in hiding.
  8. King Cnut.
  9. Cumbria.
  10. University College, Oxford.
  11. Escomb.
  12. Plasticine.
  13. He was a rower.
  14. Bowes Museum.
  15. Sammy Johnson.
  16. Seaham.
  17. Billingham.
  18. A Roman fort.
  19. Warkworth.
  20. Emily Wilding Davison. She was killed by the King’s Horse at the Epsom Derby.
  21. Tommy Armstrong.
  22. Rokeby.
  23. Penshaw Monument.
  24. St Andrew (St Andrew’s Auckland).
  25. Beamish Museum.
  26. Brian Johnson.
  27. George Hudson.
  28. Chris Kamara.
  29. Castle Eden Dene.
  30. Northern tribes in Roman Britain.
  31. Sunderland.
  32. St George and the Dragon.
  33. Higgs Boson particle.
  34. English style mustard.
  35. It’s a kind of barley.
  36. Piercebridge.
  37. The Viking raid on Lindisfarne.
  38. Kibblesworth.
  39. South Shields.
  40. The Venerable Bede.

Blessed with Beaches

When you’re out with a young teenage kid it’s hard to beat the beaches of the North East coast. DAVID SIMPSON explores some of the best beaches in our region.

Bamburgh Castle and beach,
Bamburgh Castle and beach. Photo © David Simpson 2018

“Wow look at this view” you might hear me say as I drive through some lovely spot in the fabulous Northumberland and Durham countryside. My thirteen year old who says she loves it when I take her for drives in the countryside lifts her head, momentarily, from her phone, to see the lovely winding River Coquet up in the Northumberland dales, glistening in the summer sunshine. “That’s nice”, she says, before quickly returning to the engaging glow of that tiny screen.

Whitley Sands, Whitley Bay.
Whitley Sands, Whitley Bay. Photo © David Simpson 2018

It’s hard to inspire young people about our region’s wonderful scenery but at least when I test her patience by leaping out of the car (parking up first) to take a quick snap of an interesting castle, village, dale or vale, she can still maintain the undisturbed contact with her digital world.

“Is it ok if I take a quick picture?” I ask, though the question is rhetorical, I’m going to take that picture.

“So long as I don’t have to get out of the car”, she sighs.

Now I’m not complaining. I remember a distinct lack of passion for endless nature, knowledge, views and visitor centres in the distant days of my own youth out on those long day trips with my mum and dad. My feelings of indifference weren’t that much different to what my daughter feels now and there were no digital distractions for us kids back then.

Whitley Bay
Whitley Bay, sandcastle sculpture by Richard Broiderick. Photo © David Simpson 2018

Head to the beach though and things are quite different, just as I’m sure they were for me:

“Here dad can you look after my phone while I explore?”

The beach, I’ve found, is the best place to bond with the girl. It’s just unbeatable.

It’s not just about bonding with your kids though. I’m single and in my occasional, mostly unsuccessful, ventures into online dating I’ve discovered just about every lovely lady out there in our region declares an interest in their online profile for “exploring the Northumberland Coast”.

Dunstanburgh castle from the beach at Embleton Bay. Photo © David Simpson 2015

There you’ll find it in profile after profile, like there’s some kind of hidden sponsorship deal. The coast is so predictably popular (though understandable given its ‘romantic’ beauty) that it makes me wonder how many couples wandering Amble, Alnmouth, Bamburgh, Beadnell, Whitburn, Whitley or wherever are only recently acquainted courtesy of findyournortheastcoastmate-dot-com if there’s such a thing.

Beautiful Bamburgh.
Beautiful Bamburgh. Photo © David Simpson 2018

Anyway, I digress. When I’m out with the teenager the beach is a definite best choice and there are so many to choose from. I only see her properly at weekends every couple of weeks and during this glorious summer or even back in the winter, we have often ended up strolling along one of the region’s beautiful beaches.

Beach at Seaburn / Roker
Beach at Seaburn – Roker : Photo © David Simpson 2015

Our coast really is stunning and not just in Northumberland. The beaches and coastline north and south of the Tyne as well as along the Durham coast or around the cliffs of Cleveland are all different and simply marvellous in so many ways.

So far this year we’ve done Marsden, Whitley Bay, Whitburn,  Seaburn, Saltburn, Tynemouth, Alnmouth, Bamburgh, Druridge Bay then Seaham, Seahouses, Seaton Carew and Crimdon and of course we’ve found the rocky shorelines around places like Craster or the Cleveland cliffs just as appealing. Some days were sunny, some days were winter grey and grim, but it never seems to spoil the fun.

Seaburn, Sunderland during the 2018 Tall Ships race.
Seaburn, Sunderland during the 2018 Tall Ships race. Photo © David Simpson 2018

You don’t have to spend lots of money to enjoy our splendid coast. Just take a packed lunch, though I admit a lovely fish shop, café or perhaps enjoying a bite on the beach with table service from Riley’s Fish Shack at bustling Tynemouth or an enormous ‘posh’ fish finger sandwich at the Marsden Grotto pub can be part of the delight.

Simply pottering about just seems to pass the time when I’m with the girl. This delighted beach dad can enjoy the views and take the occasional snap shot of spectacular scenes, passing ships or shapely sea shells but is just as happy gathering together a collection of countless coloured stones to make a mosaic on the beach or searching for crabs and limpets in a rock pool.

The North East coast simply rocks
The North East coast simply rocks and is never more than a stone’s throw away. Photo © David Simpson 2018

The girl loves this kind of thing too or perhaps just writing her name or mine or her mum’s in huge letters in the sand. It’s good simple fun and so too is ‘plodging in a pool’, to use a North East phrase.

My daughter found a nice pool formed by one of those huge concrete cubes, designed to keep the Germans out, though in fairness I saw no beach towels here. This was on the beach at Alnmouth and she was strangely engrossed by that pool. A great place for her to test her briefly reclaimed phone’s waterproof photography credentials (it fortunately passed), before it was returned to me and forgotten again.

Whichever beach you choose, simply wandering along the shoreline with the mesmerising sound of crashing waves is just so peaceful and life affirming and if there also happens to be an extraordinarily majestic giant sand castle called Bamburgh looming in the distance, well that’s just a bonus.

Now we’re not going to choose a favourite beach or coastal spot because, well, we couldn’t possibly be forced into any particular coastal corner. They’re all so different anyway with their own individual charms, so I’ll start by mentioning the last beach we visited at Alnmouth.

View of Alnmouth
View of Alnmouth. Photo © David Simpson 2018

We do love Alnmouth. So often people comment on how pretty it seems from the passing car as they head north along the coastal route but if you take a right turn and actually get out and explore this place it really is rather charming.

River meets the sea at Alnmouth
River meets the sea at Alnmouth. Photo © David Simpson 2018

Park up near the golf course to the north but watch out for golf balls. From here you can wander south along the beach, which then continues slightly inland along the little estuary of the River Aln itself and then onwards into the harbour with its moored up boats. From there you can wander into the delightful little village of Alnmouth itself – or is it, perhaps, a very tiny town?

Incidentally, my favourite fact about Alnmouth is that it was once fired upon by American privateer John Paul Jones during the American War of Independence when he came by in his passing warship. The cannonball missed the village church , bounced a couple of times and hit a farm building. Nobody was harmed.

Down at Saltburn in the far south of the region (a part of Yorkshire we especially love) there’s a slightly stony stream that cuts across the beach to enter the sea where you can roll up your trousers, take off your socks and shoes and plodge across. Ah, the simple pleasures!

Saltburn.
Saltburn. Photo © David Simpson 2018

Here at Saltburn the daughter and I spent quite a lot of time at the end of the pier just watching kids effortlessly catching crabs in nets on long fishing lines dropped into and raised from the sea below. The daughter was delighted when she spotted a curious whiskered seal that popped its head out of the water to watch a couple of kids paddle by in a dinghy.

Saltburn Pier.
Saltburn Pier. Photo © David Simpson 2018

The sands of Northumberland’s Druridge Bay at five miles long are a delightful find that are perhaps not so well-known. They’re relatively sedate, quite different to the buoyant beaches of say Whitley Bay or South Shields to the south. Part of a country park, Druridge Bay has the added bonus of the lovely Ladyburn Lake, a substantial freshwater lake to the rear of the Druridge dunes.

Druridge Bay
A grey day won’t stop play at Druridge Bay. Photo © David Simpson 2018

Tynemouth and Cullercoats are always firm favourites and justifiably popular. Whitley Bay looked lovely and lively in the sunshine on our recent visits even before they reopened the beautiful, elegant revamped Spanish City.

St Mary's Island near Whitley Bay.
St Mary’s Island near Whitley Bay. Photo © David Simpson 2018

We love the sandcastle sculptures there which are quite quirky and as for St Mary’s Island, I’m sure it’s been said so many times before but it’s simply picture postcard perfect.

Marsden Bay near South Shields.
Marsden Bay near South Shields. Photo © David Simpson 2018

South of the Tyne, Marsden Bay is still a great spot and the novelty of the lift down the cliff to the grotto pub and beach below never loses its simple appeal.

Further south, Sunderland is a city of super beaches which are always good for a wander. We recently walked down from wonderful Whitburn to Seaham and Roker during the Tall Ships Race as the ships headed out to sea and it was certainly a serene sight to see.

Crimdon Beach
Crimdon beach looking towards Hartlepool and the distant cliffs of the Cleveland coast beyond. Photo © David Simpson 2018

The Durham coast, once shunned by tourists for its industrial blight of now distant times has emerged as a new jewel following decades of intensive clean up and has several smashing beaches to explore. Many are still largely unknown even to residents of that county.

The unique terrain and natural environment formed by the meeting of the Magnesian limestone and the sea  makes the Durham coast a special spot for nature especially when coupled with the beautiful neighbouring wooded denes that are a regular feature of this particular coast.

The town of Seaham Harbour has seen a stunning transformation and despite the rather industrial names of two of its  beaches –  ‘Blast Beach’ and ‘Chemical Beach’, –  the names are in fact quite misleading as it is nature that now rules.

Blast Beach, Seaham
Blast Beach, Seaham Photo © David Simpson 2018

Speaking of jewels you may find pretty gems of many colours washed up on a beach here at Seaham. These wave-weathered, smooth, rounded pieces of glass were discarded into the sea by a Victorian glass works that once stood hereabouts and create a delightful little treasure to hunt for if you know where to look.

Indeed the whole North East coast could be described as a wonderful gem in itself. I’m always flabbergasted to hear even the best-known beaches of our region described as ‘the best-kept secret’.  For me and my girl it’s no secret at all, the North East coast is our familiar friend and a place where happy memories are made.

External sites:

Northumberland Coast AONB:

http://www.northumberlandcoastaonb.org/

Durham Heritage Coast: 

www.durhamheritagecoast.org/

A North East Beach Guide:

www.thebeachguide.co.uk/north-east-england

England Coast Path: 

www.nationaltrail.co.uk/england-coast-path