Category Archives: Northumberland

North East England Quiz Number 10

Test your knowledge of North East England with quiz number 10.

Sage Gateshead
Question 1 photo © David Simpson 2018

1. What is the name of the beautiful building pictured above?

2. Which famous poet was married at Seaham?

3. What is the name of the legend involving a hapless knight, a secret cavern, a beautiful maiden, a wicked wizard, a sword and a couple of skeletons that is associated with Northumberland’s Dunstanburgh Castle?

Dunstanburgh Castle
Dunstanburgh Castle Photo © 2017 David Simpson

4. Which two North East rivers merge at Warden rocks and what do they become?

5. Friars Goose near Gateshead takes its name from what?

6. Underhill, once a private house and now a Gateshead care home in Low Fell was famous for which world first?

7. On whose body did sculptor Antony Gormley model the Angel of the North?

Angel of the North
Angel of the North Photo © 2017 David Simpson

8. On which plain would you find the ancient site of Maelmin, a Royal centre for kings of Northumbria?

Milfield Plain, site of Maelmin
The site of Maelmin Photo © David Simpson 2018

9. Where would you find Benebal Crag and King Edward’s Bay?

10. For what purpose was this eighteenth century building (below) at Westerton near Spennymoor built and who built it?

Observatory at Westerton
Westerton. Photo © David Simpson 2018

11. What was the name of the fenced-off Belgian village occupied by 6,000 French and Flemish speaking Belgian nationals during World War One and where in the North East was it located?

12. The mound of this Norman castle (below) can be found on the outskirts of which North East village?

Earthworks of motte and bailey castle at Bishopton
Earthworks of motte and bailey castle see question 12. Photo © David Simpson 2018

13. Who was the leader of the seventeenth century Levellers political movement who hailed from the North East?

14. Where will you find the memorial to the Felling Colliery disaster and the grave of the miners’ union leader, Thomas Hepburn?

15. Where in the region would you find the ballroom from the Olympic, the sister ship of the Titanic?

16. For what purpose was the building that now forms the famed art gallery BALTIC at Gateshead originally built and on what notable industrial site does it stand?

BALTIC Gateshead
BALTIC viewed from the Gateshead Millennium Bridge : Photo © David Simpson

17. What is the name of this eerie structure pictured below?

Winter's Gibbet, near Elsdon
Fancy a game of hangman? Photo © 2015 David Simpson

18. Where would you find the Kilted Magi and what are they?

19. What family name links the village of Longnewton near Stockton, Wynyard Hall, Seaham Harbour and Old Durham near Durham City?

20. What was the name of the son of William the Conqueror who built a castle of earth and wood at Newcastle in 1080?

21, What was unusual about William Cumin, Bishop of Durham who seized and fortified the hill top church of Kirk Merrington in County Durham during a siege in 1143?

Kirk Merrington church
Kirk Merrington church. See question 21. Photo © David Simpson 2018

22. What was the occupation of Clavering commemorated by Clavering’s Cross in the moors near Longhorsley, Northumberland and what happened to him?

23. What separates the Blackgate of Newcastle castle from the castle keep?

24. What was the name of the former border stronghold of the Prince Bishops of Durham on the banks of the Tweed in north Northumberland?

Norham Castle
Bishop’s border stronghold. See question 24.  Photo © David Simpson 2018

25. Born at Morpeth in 1508, who was known as ‘The Father of English Botany’?

26. Plummer Tower, Wall Knoll, Durham Tower and Morden Tower are all part of what extensive medieval structure?

27. What devastating Tyneside event took place on October 6, 1854?

28. What was the former name of the village centred on what is now Gosforth High Street?

29. With which North East town would you associate the legend of the Pollard Brawn?

Cleadon Windmill and Water Tower
Windmill and Water Tower : Photo © David Simpson

30. Where would you find the two towers pictured above?

31. Which County Durham church has an interior with a remarkable similarity to the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral and is thought to have been built by the same architect?

32. Where is the modern town centre area (below) called Trinity Square?

Trinity Square, Gateshead
Trinity Square: Photo © David Simpson

33. What is the name of the hill near Sunderland where the carriers of St Cuthbert’s coffin are said to have mysteriously ground to a halt, as the monks sought guidance in finding his final resting place?

34. Who gave Jesmond Dene as a gift to the people of Newcastle?

35. What was first performed on June 5th 1862?

36. To which saint is Newcastle cathedral dedicated?

St Nicholas Cathedral Newcastle
Cathedral, Newcastle. Photo © David Simpson 2018

37. A circle of heads of which creature can be seen peering over the lantern tower of Newcastle Civic Centre?

38. What often riotous event last took place on September 28, 1916?

39. Who was Dickie of Kingswood?

40. Why is Newcastle’s Dean Street so named?

Answers below




  1. Sage, Gateshead.
  2. Lord Byron.
  3. Sir Guy the Seeker.
  4. The North Tyne and South Tyne merge to become the Tyne.
  5. Friar’s Goose is another name for gorse (or broom).
  6. It was Joseph Swan’s house, the first private house in the world to be lit by electricity.
  7. Antony Gomley modelled the Angel on his own body.
  8. Milfield Plain near Wooler.
  9. Tynemouth.
  10. It’s an observatory built by astronomer Thomas Wright.
  11. Elisabethville at Birtley.
  12. Bishopton, near Stockton-on-Tees.
  13. John Lilburne.
  14. Heworth churchyard.
  15. The White Swan Inn, Alnwick.
  16. It was originally a Joseph Rank Flour Mill. In earlier times this spot was the site of Hawk’s (Haaks) Gateshead iron works (1858-1890).
  17. Winter’s Gibbet, near Elsdon, Northumberland. The body of a local murderer called William Winter was hung here after he was executed at Newcastle in 1791.
  18. Medieval stone carvings of three wise men wearing kilts at Kirknewton church near Wooler.
  19. Vane Tempest (Marquess of Londonderry’s family name).
  20. Robert Curthose.
  21. He was a usurper bishop who had seized the County Palatine of Durham under the direction of King David of Scotland. He was not the rightful bishop.
  22. Robert Clavering, a High Sheriff of Northumberland who was shot dead at this spot in November 1586.
  23. A railway line.
  24. Norham Castle.
  25. William Turner.
  26. Remnants of Newcastle’s medieval town walls.
  27.  The great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead.
  28. Bulman Village.
  29. Bishop Auckland.
  30. Cleadon, South Tyneside.
  31. St Lawrence church, at Hallgarth, Pittington.
  32. Gateshead.
  33. Warden Law
  34.  William, Lord Armstrong.
  35. Geordie Ridley’s song ‘The Blaydon Races’, the song itself mentions the actual races which took place on June 9th a few days later.
  36.  St Nicholas.
  37. Seahorses.
  38.  The Blaydon Races – horse racing event was always a rather riotous occasion.
  39. A notorious mosstrooper, horse and cattle thief from Allendale.
  40. Because it follows the course of the dene or valley of a stream called the Lort Burn. The spelling should perhaps be ‘dene’ rather than ‘dean’.

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


  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 7

Old Bridge, Berwick.
A North East town. Quiz Question 1 © David Simpson 2018

1. Which North East town changed hands between Scotland and England 13 times but has been permanently part of England since 1482?

2. What was the name of the famed Newcastle-born admiral who was second in command to Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar? His prominent statue stands near the mouth of the Tyne.

3. What is the name of the 200 feet long Teesdale Waterfall situated at the eastern end of Cow Green Reservoir?

4. Which London football club takes its name from Henry Percy, the thirteenth century Northumbrian battle hero, who was the son of the Earl of Northumberland?

Dog Leap Stairs, Newcastle
Dog Leap Stairs, Newcastle. Photo David Simpson

5. The Dog Leap Stairs on Newcastle Quayside are mentioned in which song by Dire Straits?

6. In which North East town would you find the Percy Tenantry Column, otherwise known as the ‘Farmers’ Folly’?

7.  Ad Caprae Caput meaning  ‘head of the goat’ was the name the Venerable Bede used for which North East town?

8.  William Wouldhave and Henry Greathead of South Shields were noted for the invention of what?

9. Which North East village with its notable castle was named from a Northumbrian queen called Bebba?

10. What was the name of the Newcastle merchant’s daughter who eloped with the future Lord Chancellor, John Scott, after escaping from the upper window of a Newcastle Quayside house using a ladder in November 1772.

Bessie Surtees
Quayside elopement

11.  What 320 million year old fossilised feature can be found in a churchyard at Stanhope in Weardale?

12. In historic times criminals who sought protection of sanctuary at Durham Cathedral for 37 days were then escorted to which North East port before they were banished abroad forever?

Peter Lee
Question 13. Gave his name to a North East town.

13.  What was the name of the trade union leader (1864-1935) who was head of England’s first all Labour County Council that assembled at Durham? His name was later adopted as the name of a North East town.

14. Where did the Allendale miner known as ‘Jack the Blaster’ reside from around 1782.

15.  Which glam-rock singer was born in Washington in 1945?

16.  Which famous poet was married at Seaham in 1815?

17.  Which South Tynedale town has a name that derives from the meaning ‘high fork’ probably from a junction of the river and a neighbouring burn?

18.  In North East dialect what is a booler?

19.  Din Guaire (or Din Guayroi) was the Celtic name for which North East castle site and is sometimes associated with the legendary Joyous Guard, the reputed castle of Sir Lancelot, the Arthurian knight?

20.  Who were the two North East mayors respectively known as ‘Newcastle’s Dick Whittington’ and ‘Durham’s Dick Whittington’?

Village near Darlington. Question 21 © David Simpson 2018

21.  Which pretty North East village was a popular place of retirement for Darlington residents, has a Jacobean hall and an historic church that reputedly stands on the site of a Northumbrian chieftain called Ida or Eda?

22.  What place was known to the Romans as Concangis and to the Anglo-Saxons as Conecaster?

Hexham Abbey
Hexham Abbey Photo © 2018 David Simpson

23.  Which Northumbrian saint links Hexham Abbey and Ripon Cathedral?

24.  In the 13th century which town was described as “So populous and of such commercial importance that it might rightly be called another Alexandria, whose riches were the sea and the water its walls”?

25.  Which North East song begins with the words “As aa cam’ thro’ Sandgate, Thro’ Sandgate, thro’ Sandgate, As aa cam’ thro’ Sandgate’ Aa heard a lassie sing”?

26.  Which well-known North East drink is sometimes known as ‘Dog’?

Souter Lighthouse
Electric Lighthouse, Question 27: Photo © David Simpson

27.  What was  the first lighthouse in the world to be purposely built to be powered by electricity and the first to use alternating current?

28.  By what name is the George V bridge in Newcastle better known?

29.  In historic times what North East town was often labelled as being ‘in the dirt’ from the poor state of its roads?

30.  What battle took place near Durham City in 1346 in which the Scottish king, David II was captured?

31.  Built in 1796 by Roland Burdon of Castle Eden, which bridge was then the biggest single-span bridge in the world?

32.  What disease was discovered by this Longbenton-born physician and scientist in 1855 and takes its name from his surname?


33.  Which bishop began the building of Durham Cathedral commenced in 1093?

Durham Cathedral viewed from Gilesgate
Durham Cathedral viewed from Gilesgate. Photo: ©  David Simpson

34.  Who officially opened the present Redheugh Bridge in Newcastle in May 1983?

35.  Who wrote the lengthy, much acclaimed North-East themed poem ‘Briggflats‘ in 1966?

36.  The verses of which peculiar nonsense poem that appeared in Lewis Carroll’s Alice through the Looking Glass were written at Croft on Tees near Darlington and at Whitburn near Sunderland and appear to be inspired by which North East worm legends?

37.  What was the name of the TV entertainer and magician born in 1938 who hailed from South Bank on Teesside?

38.  The residents of which North East town are known as ‘Sand Dancers’?

Gargoyles, Wallington
Strange gargoyles, Question 39.  Photo © David Simpson 2018

39.  Where would you find these strange creatures (above) and in which city did they originate?

40.  What was the surname of the Bernard (or Barnard) from which the Durham town and castle of Barnard Castle takes its name?

Answers below




  1. Berwick on Tweed.
  2.  Cuthbert Collingwood.
  3. Cauldron Snout.
  4. Tottenham Hotspur named from Harry Hotspur.
  5. Down to the Waterline.
  6. Alnwick.
  7. Gateshead.
  8. Lifeboat.
  9. Bamburgh.
  10. Bessie Surtees.
  11. A tree stump.
  12. Hartlepool.
  13. Peter Lee whose name was adopted for the town of Peterlee.
  14. The cliff at Marsden near South Shields where we now find the Marsden Grotto.
  15. Bryan Ferry, lead singer with Roxy Music.
  16. Lord Byron.
  17. Haltwhistle.
  18. An iron hoop used and stick used as a children’s toy.
  19. Bamburgh.
  20. Roger Thornton (Newcastle); Sir John Duck (Durham).
  21. Gainford.
  22. Chester-le-Street.
  23. St Wilfrid.
  24. Berwick on Tweed.
  25. The Keel Row.
  26. Newcastle Brown Ale.
  27. Souter Lighthouse near South Shields.
  28. The Tyne Bridge.
  29. Darlington.
  30. Neville’s Cross.
  31. The original Wearmouth bridge at Sunderland.
  32. Thomas Addison: Addison’s Disease.
  33. William St Carileph (or St Calais) a Bishop of Durham.
  34. Diana, Princess of Wales.
  35. Basil Bunting.
  36. The Jabberwock apparently inspired by the Lambton Worm and Sockburn Worm legends.
  37. Paul Daniels.
  38. South Shields.
  39. Wallington Hall in Northumberland, they are originally from London.
  40. Balliol.