Cromwell to Queen Anne : North East England

Cromwell to Queen Anne – 1646 to 1714

The Battle of Marston Moor near York in July 1644 was a turning point in the Civil War. By the end of October the Royalist strongholds of York and Newcastle were taken by Parliamentarian forces and the Royalist hold on the North was ended. When Charles finally surrendered in 1646, Newcastle was his first place of imprisonment. He would be executed in London three years later. Parliament ruled the country until 1660 when the Stuart monarchy returned. The Stuarts ruled until the death of Queen Anne in 1714.

👈 Civil War to 1644 | TimelineGeorgian era 👉

Blagraves House, Barnard Castle
Blagraves House (centre), Barnard Castle, visited by Oliver Cromwell in 1648 during the suppression of a rebellion © David Simpson 2021

May 13, 1645 – Civil War continues

Despite the great victory for the Parliamentarians at Marston Moor in 1644, the civil war battles raged on across Britain and Ireland during 1645 but with the Parliamentarians continuously in the ascendancy. One of the great Parliamentarian victories came at Naseby in Northamptonshire on June 14. North of the border the Scottish Covenanters defeated the Royalists at Philiphaugh in Tweeddale on September 13.

Map of Civil War battles in England, Scotland and Ireland 1640-1651
Civil War battle in England, Scotland and Ireland 1640-1651 © David Simpson and Tangled Worm 2022

May 9, 1646 – Charles surrenders

With everything all but lost for the Royalists, King Charles departed from his war base at Oxford on April 27. It was clear that Oxford was about to fall to the Parliamentarians. On May 9, the king handed himself over to the mercy of a Scottish army encamped at Southwell near Newark.

May 13, 1646 – Charles imprisoned at Newcastle

After King Charles surrendered to the Scots he was brought north to Newcastle as their prisoner on May 13.  The streets of Gateshead and Newcastle were lined with muskets as he entered the town and despite his imprisonment he received a warm reception with the sounding of trumpets, the lighting of bonfires and the playing of drums and bells.

Anderson Place, Newcastle
Anderson Place, Newcastle

May 1646 to Feb 1647 – King is Newcastle prisoner

Charles is imprisoned at Newcastle for just under ten months, a considerable period of time. His place of imprisonment is ‘Newe House’ (Anderson Place), a grand home in pleasant grounds enclosed within the town walls. It lay to the west of Pilgrim Street, where much later in the nineteenth century the Grainger developments such as Grey Street and Grainger Street would be built. The house was shared with General Leslie, the Scottish commander who held Charles prisoner here and used the house as a headquarters. The king’s children and attendants were also present.

May 1646 to Feb 1647 – King plays golf at Newcastle

Although guarded at all times by around three hundred horsemen, the king was given much reasonable liberty within the town walls. He was even allowed time to play golf or ‘goff’ as he called it, in the fields at Shield Field just outside the Newcastle town walls to the east. While indoors he enjoyed games of chess.

Plummer Tower, Newcastle Town Walls
Plummer Tower, a remnant of Newcastle’s eastern town walls © David Simpson 2021

May 1646 to Feb 1647 – Propositions of Newcastle

Despite the leisure pursuits at Newcastle, the king still had political pressures to deal with during his imprisonment. England’s Parliament offered him terms to consider for making peace called ‘the Propositions of Newcastle’ but he could not agree to terms that limited his powers. Scottish clerics were also pressuring him to accept Presbyterianism but he was determined to retain the Anglican faith.

The eastern side of Newcastle in 1745. The two valleys are that of the Ouseburn to the right and Pandon Burn to the left (with the town walls running along its edge. Shieldfield is the central area between the two valleys.

Feb 1647 – Scots leave as king handed over

Parliamentarian commissioners agree a price of £200,000 with the Scots for the handing over of the king in January. This is paid on January 28, when the Scots hand the king over to the commissioners who arrive at Newcastle from London. The Scots then depart from Newcastle and the North East and return to their home country ending several years of their occupancy and presence in the north. Charles is held by the commissioners at Newcastle until February 3rd when they leave, taking the king with them. He will be imprisoned at Holdenby House in Northamptonshire.

1647 – Sir Arthur Haselrig controls the North

Following the handing over of King Charles and the departure of the Scots who had controlled Northumberland and Durham, control of the region is transferred to a new Parliamentarian governor, Sir Arthur Haselrig. The Governor’s control of Durham had been stripped from Thomas Morton, the Bishop of Durham who is accused of High Treason by Parliament. The bishop’s Auckland Castle palace is sold to Haselrig who sets about the destruction of the fourteenth century chapel of Bishop Bek with the intention of building his own house, no doubt as a symbol of the new order.

Auckland Castle Bishop Auckland
Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland © David Simpson 2015

Oct 1648 – Royalist Rising

A Royalist rising takes hold in Scotland and the North, notably in Northumberland. Raby is besieged and Berwick is captured. Cromwell retakes Berwick on October 18 and visits Newcastle (Oct 19-22), Durham (Oct 20) and Barnard Castle (reputedly visiting Blagraves House) on (Oct 24) as he pursues the Royalist rebels.

Plaque, Blagraves House Barnard Castle
Plaque, Blagraves House Barnard Castle: Photo © David Simpson 2018

1648 – Tynemouth besieged, Lilburne executed

Sir Arthur Haselrig had installed a garrison at Tynemouth Castle under the governorship of Henry Lilburne, a Parliamentarian who switches his allegiance and joins the Royalist rising to support King Charles. Haselrig besieges Tynemouth and Lilburne is captured. Lilburne’s head is cut off and displayed outside the castle walls on a pole.

Tynemouth Castle Gatehouse
Tynemouth Castle Gatehouse © David Simpson 2015

Jan 30, 1649  –  King Charles executed

King Charles is accused of treason and beheaded in London on Cromwell’s orders. Cromwell abolishes the monarchy and becomes parliamentary ruler of England.

Feb 5, 1649 – Scots proclaim Charles the Second

The Scots, even those with Parliamentarian sympathies are infuriated by the execution of Charles I. He was their king too – and he has been executed by the English. At Edinburgh, the Scots proclaim King Charles’ son, King Charles II as the rightful king of England, Scotland and Ireland, though Charles is currently in exile in Europe.

Mar 1649 – Office of King abolished

The English Parliament abolish the office of King and abolish the House of Lords too.

Mar 26, 1649 – Newcastle witch trials

On March 26, 1649 some twenty-seven, out of thirty, suspected witches were found guilty of witchcraft at Newcastle. Fourteen were executed on the Town Moor. A man by the name of Matthew Bulmer accused of being a shape-shifting wizard (he could apparently transform into a black cat called Vinegar) was executed and burned. In this era of witch-fearing hysteria Newcastle town council requested the suspected witches be brought to trial, so the town’s magistrates sent for Scottish witch-finder or, ‘witch-pricker’ Cuthbert Nicholson. John the Bellman, who was responsible for delivering news and making proclamations to Newcastle’s populace, invited people to report anyone suspected of being a witch. Thirty women were brought to the Town Hall and stripped to their waist. Nicholson then pushed a pin into their skin. It was a simple, if rather dubious process. If they did not bleed they were declared witches. Nicholson, who is thought to have used a retractable pin, was later executed in Scotland for trickery. He confessed responsibility for the deaths of 220 women. He had been paid 20 shillings for each witch that he captured.

Sandhill 17th century merchants houses Newcastle
These former merchants’ houses at Sandhill in Newcastle upon Tyne date from the seventeenth century, a century of witch trials and civil war © David Simpson 2015

1649 – Ayre’s Quay

Robert Ayre builds a quay in Sunderland. The Ayre family have lived in the area since the 1300s.

Mar 28, 1649 – Leveller Lilburne imprisoned

Colonel John Lilburne, founder of ‘the Levellers’ political movement, is imprisoned by Cromwell. Lilburne’s family are important Sunderland merchants – his uncle is mayor. Lilburne, once a friend of Cromwell, now criticises Crowmell’s reforms as not radical enough. Lilburne has much support among Cromwell’s New Model Army and is seen by Cromwell as a dangerous threat. It is the fourth time this active pamphleteer has been arrested.

John Lilburne
John Lilburne

 

May 2, 1649 – Durham Castle sold

The castle at Durham, formerly belonging to the Bishop of Durham is sold to Thomas Andrews, the Lord Mayor of London for £1,267. Much confiscated property and lands will be sold off and redistributed in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Durham Castle above the River Wear
Durham Castle above the River Wear © David Simpson 2021

May 29, 1649 – ‘Commonwealth’

Oliver Cromwell’s Parliament proclaims England a ‘Commonwealth’ or a free state.

Aug 15, 1649 – Cromwell invades Ireland

Cromwell invades Ireland to quell a Royalist rising there.

Sept 21, 1649 – Gateshead sold

Gateshead and all its tolls are sold to a Thomas Redger for £2,559 along with Frankland Wood, Frankland Park and Colliery and meadows in Durham Moor all near Durham City.

1649 – Pilgrim Street ‘longest and fairest’

Gray’s Chorographia describes Newcastle’s Pilgrim Street as ‘the longest and fairest street in the town’.

Victorian view of Pilgrim Street
Victorian view of Pilgrim Street

March 11, 1650 – Cromwell’s college

Cromwell suggests, in a letter, that a college at Durham “would be a matter of great importance to promoting learning and piety in these rude and ignorant partes”. Cromwell will sign a writ of privy seal for a university at Durham but it is suppressed after objections from Oxford and Cambridge in 1657.

July 3, 1650 – Charles arrives in Scotland

Charles (King Charles II) lands in Scotland on return from exile in Europe.

July 14, 1650 – Cromwell arrives in Durham

Oliver Cromwell arrives in Durham with an army intending to challenge the Scots and he is greeted and entertained by the Northumberland and Durham governor, Sir Arthur Haselrig. From here Cromwell heads north and is at Berwick by July 25.

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

Sept 3, 1650 – Battle of Dunbar

After months of pursuit, a battle is engaged between Cromwell and the Scots under the leadership of General David Leslie. The battle takes place at Dunbar near the coast in the Scottish Borders to the north of Berwick. Scots outnumber English by two to one, but Cromwell launches a surprise attack and defeats them. Cromwell then seizes much of the Scottish lowlands area.

Sep 1650 – Scots prisoners at Newcastle

At least 3,000 Scots taken prisoner by Cromwell’s forces at Dunbar are brought into the North East. As the English army heads south, the prisoners are held in a walled garden at Morpeth where they are so starved, they eat leaves and raw cabbages. On the journey to Newcastle some die by the wayside. At Newcastle, they are held at the greatest church there (presumably St Nicholas). Prisoners are then taken south to Durham.

University Library, Palace Green
University Library, Palace Green. A mass grave of Scottish prisoners has been discovered nearby © David Simpson 2021

Sep 1650 – Scots prisoners at Durham

As Cromwell’s army head south from Newcastle to Durham at least 140 of the 3,000 or so Scottish prisoners prisoners are found to be sick. Several die on the journey to Durham. At Durham the prisoners are held in the cathedral, which the supporters of Cromwell do not see as a particularly sacred place. The Scots are desperately cold and starving. Much of the the cathedral woodwork is destroyed by prisoners for firewood, though a clock featuring the sacred Scottish thistle is spared. Tombs are defaced, the prisoners desperate to leave their mark with graffiti some of which can still be seen today. Centuries later in 2015, a mass grave on Palace Green between the cathedral and Durham castle is investigated. Being nothing more than a pit in which the bodies of up to 28 people were thrown, it was identified as that of the Scottish soldiers who had perished during their imprisonment in the cathedral.

Durham Cathedral clock featuring the Scottish thistle
Durham Cathedral clock featuring the Scottish thistle © David Simpson 2021

Dec 24, 1650 – Edinburgh surrenders

Edinburgh Castle surrenders to the army of Oliver Cromwell. The English parliament declares that Scotland will be incorporated into England.

Jan 1, 1651 – Charles crowned at Scone

Charles II is crowned at Scone, in Perthshire, the traditional place of coronation for the Scottish kings.

Aug 5, 1651 – Charles defeated in England

The newly crowned (in Scotland at least) King Charles II enters England from the north west via Penrith and Kendal with a Royalist army hoping to gather further support.  However he is defeated at the battle of Worcester by Cromwell’s men, who had also passed south from Scotland and defeated Charles at the battle of Worcester on September 3. The would-be king goes into hiding and is subsequently smuggled out of the country.

1652 – Stockton Castle destroyed

Cromwell orders the destruction of Stockton Castle It was a residence of the Bishop of Durham and had served as a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War.

Stockton Castle
Stockton Castle stood between the High Street and the river. There is probably a great deal of artistic licence in this picture

Jan 1652 – Durham witches executed

These are superstitious and religiously fearful times. At Durham City, a Frances Adamson and another by the name of Powle are executed for witchcraft.

June 5, 1653 – First MPs for Durham

Durham County and City, for so long dominated by the Prince Bishops, send their first MPs to Parliament. For the county the MP this year is Henry Davison and next year it is Robert and George Lilburne. In 1656 the city elects Thomas Lilburne of Offerton and James Clavering of Axwell (near Blaydon) in 1656. The Durham MPs are abolished when the monarchy returns.

July 20, 1655  – Newcastle objects to market

Newcastle attempts to petition Parliament to prevent the development of a market at North Shields which they see as a threat to their trade.

Sep 3, 1658 – Cromwell dead

On September 3, 1658, Oliver Cromwell, ‘the Lord Protector’ of England dies and is succeeded by his son, Richard, who proves to be a weak and ineffective leader.

May 1659 – Richard Cromwell resigns

Oliver Cromwell’s son Richard Cromwell resigns as Lord Protector. The country is left in a state of uncertainty and there are widespread calls to bring back the monarchy.

June 11, 1659 – Berwick Fire

Thirty-nine houses are destroyed in a fire at Berwick upon Tweed.

Old postcard showing Berwick
Berwick upon Tweed

Jan 1660 – Monck marches south from Coldstream

On January 6, Englishman, General George Monck, the 1st Duke of Abermarle, hoping to restore order in England crosses the Tweed from Coldstream in Scotland. A former close confidant of Oliver Cromwell, he receives the support of General Fairfax. Monck leads his troops south, heading for London. On his journey south he is greeted and warmly welcomed by the people of Newcastle on January 6. At Newcastle he had hoped to engage with the army of his opponent General Lambert who had been stationed around Newcastle in November but Lambert had departed long before Monck arrived. A section of Monck’s army will come to be known as the ‘Coldstream Guards’. On February 3rd Monck arrives in London.

Cornhill-on-Tweed church
Cornhill-on-Tweed on the English side of the Tweed near Coldstream © David Simpson 2021

Apr 4, 1660 – Charles makes declaration

Charles II, from his exile in the Netherlands makes the ‘Declaration of Breda’,  a statement designed to heal the wounds with his kingdom agreeing to liberty of conscience, amnesty, settlement of land claims and back pay for the army.

May 29, 1660 – Monarchy restored

General Monck, whose troops are occupying London and hoping to restore order, demands ‘a free Parliament’. The present parliament is known as ‘The Rump Parliament’ as it had been purged of those members who were sympathetic to the monarchy prior to the vote on the late king’s execution. General Lambert, whose authority was now crumbling, had attempted to install an alternative parliament that excluded the Rump members. Monck, whose authority is respected detected the potential for division and anarchy and arrived in London to restore order. Charles recent declaration is read in front of a full parliament that included the House of Lords and on May 1, parliament voted to restore the monarchy: ‘The Restoration’. After landing at Dover on May 25, the new king entered London on May 29.

Nov 1660 – Haselrig reign ends

Sir Arthur Haselrig, the Governor of Northumberland and Durham gives up his regiments in the two counties to General Monck and surrenders his rule of Berwick, Tynemouth and Newcastle on condition that his life and his estate are preserved, which is agreed.

1660 – Bishopric of Durham restored

The Bishopric of Durham that was abolished during the era of Cromwellian rule is restored, the first post-restoration Bishop is John Cosin who succeeds the previous bishop Thomas Morton, who was deprived of his see in 1647. Cosin wil be bishop until 1672.

Bishop Cosin's Library
Library of Bishop Cosin, Palace Green, Durham © David Simpson 2021

April 23, 1661 – CHARLES II finally crowned

King Charles II, who was restored as king last year is finally crowned King at Westminster Abbey. He would have ascended to the throne by right following the execution of his father in 1649, but the monarchy was deposed. Charles had, however, been crowned King of Scotland at Scone in January 1651. The era that follows King Charles ascendancy is called ‘The Restoration period’.

1662 – Parliament petitioned over mines

A petition is handed to parliament by 2,000 pitmen regarding mine ventilation, following the deaths of many miners due to underground gas.

June 1665 – Plague on Tyne and Wear

A plague is ravaging at Gateshead and Sunderland. Newcastle introduces measures to shipping, threatening to detain ships for forty days and imprison sailors who come ashore.

1666 – Bishop Cosin’s Almshouses

The Bishop of Durham, John Cosin establishes almshouses on Palace Green between Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle.

Inscription on Bishop Cosin's almshouses in Durham dated 1666
Inscription on Bishop Cosin’s almshouses in Durham dated 1666 © David Simpson

1669 – Croft spa

A small spa opens at Croft on Tees near Darlington. The village overlooks the Tees and is the site of a bridge linking Yorkshire and County Durham.

The River Tees from Croft Bridge
The River Tees from Croft Bridge © David Simpson 2021

1669 – Sleepwalker falls to death in Bedlington

A sleepwalking sufferer called Cuthbert Watson fell to his death after climbing a buttress of Bedlington church in the middle of the night. He woke from his slumber and fell after a passer-by spotted him and called out his name.

Bedlington church.
Bedlington church. Photo © David Simpson 2018

1672 – Clifford’s Fort

Part of the North Shields Fish Quay is surrounded by the moat of Clifford’s Fort which is constructed for defensive purposes during the ongoing Anglo-Dutch wars. The fort is named from an MP and statesman called Lord Thomas Clifford. It is built on the site of an earlier fort built during the Civil War.

Clifford’s Fort, North Shields.
Clifford’s Fort, North Shields. Photo © David Simpson 2018

1673 – Stormy seas

Around 40 ships are destroyed in storms off the North-East coast this year.

1675 – Jolly Rant

A pestilent disease called the ‘Jolly Rant’ kills 924 people in Newcastle.

June 1675 – MPs for Durham

Durham gets MPs once again. There had been MPs briefly in the 1650s during the break with the monarchy but MPs now become a permanent aspect of democracy in the County and City which was previously unrepresented by MPs. John Tempest of the Isle (near Sedgefield) and Sir Thomas Vane of Raby become the County MPs, though Sir Thomas dies two days later of small pox and is replaced by his brother Christopher. In 1678, the city of Durham also elects MPs, the first being Sir Ralph Cole of Brancepeth and John Parkhurst of Catesby, Northamptonshire.

Elvet Bridge
Durham City sent its first MPs to parliament in 1675 © David Simpson 2018

1676 – Sir William Turner’s Hospital

The impressive Sir William Turner’s Hospital at Kirkleatham near Redcar was founded in 1676 as alms-houses for the poor by Sir William. In truth it will be almost entirely rebuilt in 1742.

Turner Hospital, Kirkleatham
Turner Hospital, Kirkleatham © David Simpson 2021

1676 – Pier at Seaton Sluice

Sir Ralph Delaval constructs a small pier at Seaton at the mouth of the Seaton Burn and will subsequently build sluice gates on the burn to maintain high water in the haven at low tide

Seaton Sluice © David Simpson 2018

1677 – Port at Cullercoats

A small port is developed at Cullercoats by John Dove, a Quaker dissenter and Henry Hudson. They had opened coal mines in the neighbourhood at Whitley (Whitley Bay) and Cullercoats. It was officially recognised as a port by Newcastle thanks to the encouragement of one of its investors, Lady Percy. The port would close in the 1720s after the coal had been fully worked.

Cullercoats Bay.
Cullercoats Bay © David Simpson 2018

1680 – Duck Whittington

Sir John Duck, a man who made his fortune in Dick Whittington fashion becomes the Mayor of Durham. He will ultimately progress to the rank of a baronet to become Sir John Duck of Haswell on the Hill. Duck will develop mining interests that include the ownership of Duck’s Main colliery near Rainton.

1681 – Holy Jesus Hospital

The Holy Jesus Hospital is constructed in Newcastle on the site of an Augustinian Friary.

Holy Jesus Hospital Newcastle
Holy Jesus Hospital Newcastle. Photo: David Simpson

Aug 1684 – Brass farm murderer hanged

Andrew Mills, a farm hand who claimed to hear voices and took the lives of three young members of the Brass family in a particularly brutal fashion at a farm near Spennymoor in the January of 1683 is hanged at Durham and then gibbeted at Ferryhill.

Feb 6, 1685 – KING JAMES II

King James II ascends to the throne following the death of his brother, Charles II. James is openly Roman Catholic and begins to pack parliament with Catholic supporters.

June 1685 – West Country rebellion

The Duke of Monmouth, a Protestant and illegitimate son of King Charles II who had been in exile in Holland, arrives in the West Country and plots a rebellion against the new king, hoping to take the crown. He is defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor by John Churchill and executed in London in July.

1687 – James continues to promote Catholicism

Throughout 1686 and 1687, James II continued to reinstate Catholic dominance in Parliament and the military. He appoints Catholic peers; suspends penal laws against Catholics; receives a papal ambassador at Windsor and attempts to expel Fellows at Oxford’s Magdalen College for failing to catholicize. He even imprisons bishops, including the Archbishop of Canterbury who oppose his Catholic-focused reforms. The king’s policies are both arrogant and dangerous as Great Britain is mostly Protestant.

Jun 10, 1688 – ‘Old Pretender’ born

James II’s queen, Mary of Modena, gives birth to James Stuart, who will become a focus for the Jacobite cause in 1715 as the ‘Old Pretender’. Mary of Modena is the king’s second wife. His first wife, Anne, who died before he became king, was the mother of Mary and Anne who will be future Queens of Great Britain.

1688 – Wallington Hall

Wallington Hall is built in 1688, around the foundations of an old pele tower belonging to the Fenwicks, for Sir Williiam Blackett, a man with coal, lead mining and shipbuilding interests.

Wallington Hall.
Wallington Hall © David Simpson 2018

Jun 20, 1688 – Lumley one of ‘the immortal seven’

Seven influential peers of both Tory and Whig persuasion, disillusioned with James II send a letter in a risky, potentially treasonable request to William Prince of Orange in the Netherlands inviting him to ‘defend the liberties of England’ against James II. William, a Protestant is married to James’ daughter, Mary, also Protestant. The ‘Immortal Seven’ who send the letter include Richard, Viscount Lumley, Baron of Lumley Castle. He is an influential man who secures the support of Newcastle for William. The letter is a virtual request to depose the king.

Lumley Castle
Lumley Castle © John Simpson

Nov-Dec 1688 – ‘The Glorious Revolution’

Having accepted the invitation from Lumley and the other six signatories known as the ‘Immortal Seven’, William Prince of Orange invades England with an army of 14,352 men, landing at Brixham near Torbay on November 5. His army includes 3,000 Swiss and 200 men from Surinam. King James and his queen are forced to flee to France, particularly as the king’s chief military commander, John Churchill, switched allegiance to William. In January 1689, Parliament subsequently declares Kings James’s acts as illegal and agree that he has abdicated. In February James’s daughter Mary, who is William of Orange’s wife arrives in London and the two are proclaimed joint King and Queen. The whole series of events comes to be known as the ‘Glorious Revolution’ because in England it was a relatively bloodless revolution, though this will not be so in Scotland and Ireland.

1689 – KING WILLIAM III & MARY II

Dutchman William of Orange becomes King of Britain in joint rule with his wife Queen Mary II after the Catholic King James II was ousted in ‘The Glorious Revolution’. Queen Mary, the joint ruler is King James’s daughter but staunchly Protestant. In Newcastle, a celebratory mob forcefully remove a copper statue of King James II in Sandhill and throw it into the River Tyne.

Sandhill and St Nicholas Cathedral Newcast
Sandhill, Newcastle, a statue of King James was thrown into the Tyne © David Simpson 2017

1690 – South Shields glass making

Glass making is established in South Shields by John Cookson.

1691 – Crowley Works

Quaker, Ambrose Crowley opens a nail making works at Winlaton in the Derwent valley to the south west of Gateshead.

1691 – German Swordmakers

Lutheran swordmakers from Germany have settled near the banks of the River Derwent at Shotley Bridge at around this time where they will establish a swordmaking enterprise using local iron.

River Derwent at Shotley Bridge
River Derwent at Shotley Bridge © David Simpson 2018

1693 – Thomas Allan’s Wagonway

Thomas Allan develops a wooden wagonway from his collieries in the Allan’s Flatt area between Pelton and Chester-le-Street to the River Wear.

Aug 26, 1691 – Duck dies

John Duck, a former mayor of Durham City and resident of the city’s Silver Street, known as ‘Durham’s Dick Whittington’ has died. A butcher by trade, he had owned a coal mine at Rainton known as ‘Duck’s Main’ and had established a hospital at Great Lumley.

Plaque commemorating John Duck
Plaque commemorating  house of John Duck in Durham’s Silver Street © David Simpson 2020

1694 – Newcastle stops Jarrow development

The town of Newcastle takes the Dean and Chapter of Durham to court for establishing wharves at Jarrow Slake and South Shields. For centuries Newcastle has claimed all rights to port developments along the Tyne. Newcastle wins it claim.

Bridge across the River Don at Jarrow
Old bridge across the River Don at Jarrow © David Simpson 2015

Dec 28, 1694 – The Queen is dead, long live the King

Queen Mary II, a Stuart, who has ruled jointly with her Dutch husband, William III (William of Orange) dies at Kensington Palace. He will continue to rule alone.

1697 – MP beheaded

Northumberland MP Sir John Fenwick, is beheaded at Tower Hill, London for plotting against King William. He later gets posthumous revenge (see 1702).

John Fenwick MP

1698 – Sunday School for Stockton

Britain’s first Sunday School is established in Finkle Street, Stockton.

April 23, 1699 – Five inch hail

Hail stones five inches in diameter fall on Durham and the surrounding area.

1700 – Castle Howard

Castle Howard is being built in Yorkshire by John Vanbrugh on the site of Henderskelfe Castle which recently burnt down.

1701 – Keelmen’s Hospital

The impressive Keelmen’s hospital paid for by the Newcastle keelmen to care for their sick and elderly has opened in Newcastle.

Sandgate, Newcastle
Keelmen’s Hospital, Sandgate, Newcastle © David Simpson 2021

Mar 8, 1702 – King dies after horse accident

William III dies after falling from a horse called Sorrel which had once belonged to an opponent, the executed Northumberland MP, John Fenwick.

Mar 8, 1702 – QUEEN ANNE

Anne becomes Queen, following the death of King William III at Kensington Palace. Anne’s sister, Mary, who had reigned jointly with William, had passed away in December 1694.

1704 – Crewe’s Castle

Bamburgh Castle is purchased by Nathaniel, Lord Crewe, the Bishop of Durham from the Forster family.

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle © David Simpson 2018

Oct 3, 1705 – Thirty-one dead at Gateshead Colliery

Thirty-one lives are lost in a mine explosion at Gateshead Colliery.

1705 – Dame Allan’s Schools

Dame Eleanor Allan, the daughter of a goldsmith establishes schools for poor boys and girls in the parishes of St Nicholas and St John in Newcastle. They are located near St Nicholas church.

1706 – Wool combing at Darlington

A Quaker family of West Yorkshire origin called the Peases begin the development of Darlington’s wool combing trade.

River Skerne and church of St Cuthbert, Darlington
River Skerne and church of St Cuthbert, Darlington © David Simpson 2020

1706 – Daniel Defoe moves to Gateshead

Robinson Crusoe author took up lodgings on the riverside at Hillgate, Gateshead where he resided from 1706 to 1710.

Gateshead 1854
Gateshead viewed from Newcastle in the early nineteenth century.

Dec 1706 – 148-year-old man

A man named George Peacock of Aislaby in the County of Durham allegedly died at the age of 148 years this year and was buried at Sadberge.

Aug 18, 1708 – Colliery disaster at Fatfield

Sixty-nine lives are lost in a mine explosion at Fatfield Colliery near Washington.

Fatfield Bridge and Penshaw monument
Fatfield Bridge and Penshaw monument © David Simpson

1709 – Keelmen strike

The Newcastle keelmen strike in what is described as a ‘mutiny’. They bring the coal trade, which is reliant on their transportation of coal along the river to collier ships, to a stand still.

1709 – Kirkleatham school

Kirkleatham School, a free school is built near Redcar with money bequeathed by Sir William to his nephew Sir Cholmley Turner (it will become Kirkleatham Old Hall Museum in 1981).

Kirkleatham Old Hall
Kirkleatham Old Hall © David Simpson 2021

1709 – Plessey wagonway

A wooden wagonway is recorded in use for the transportation of coal from mines in the Plessey area to Blyth in south east Northumberland. It is thought to have been commenced in the 1690s.

1710 – Dean Hedworth’s Wagonway

Dean Hedworth’s Wagonway’ is built linking Pelton to Fatfield and Chartershaugh on the River Wear.

1710 – Yarm Town Hall

The Dutch style Town Hall at Yarm on Tees is built by Viscount Fauconberg, the Lord of the Manor of Yarm.

Yarm Town Hall
Yarm Town Hall Photo © David Simpson

1710 – Colliery disaster at Bensham

A colliery explosion at Bensham near Gateshead claimed the lives of at least 70 people though the details and date of this incident are not clear.

1711 – Newcastle Courant

A thrice weekly newspaper called The Newcastle Courant is launched at Newcastle, established by John White. At this time it is the only newspaper north of the Trent.

1712 – Stockton parish

Stockton, an agricultural port, gains independent parish status. It was previously part of Norton.

Stockton parish church of 1712.
Stockton parish church of 1712. Photo © David Simpson 2018

Aug 1, 1714 – Queen Anne dies

Queen Anne dies. She is the last of the Stuart line and is succeeded by George I, a German Protestant of the House of Hanover. King George’s grandmother was Elizabeth, a sister of King Charles I,  who was beheaded in 1649.

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