List of Reports
Deserted Medieval Villages
A talk by Allan Colman
Wallington Hall and its Residents
A talk by Elizabeth Finch, a volunteer speaker from the National Trust.
The Northern Pre-Raphaelite: William Bell-Scott and his Art
On 13th March 2019, Michael Thomson spoke on this northern artist, who showed the history of the North-East through his art.
Deserted medieval villages outing
On Saturday March 30th 2019 a group of 12 members and visitors went on a tour of four villages in the Glendale area, led by Allan Colman as a follow-up to his talk on deserted medieval villages in January.
The King's Shilling: Old English folk musicians
In the last meeting of our season of talks, on 10th April Glendale Local History Society members were treated to a presentation by the folksong and history group, Old English. They described the experience of those who took ‘The King’s Shilling’ by joining the Army in the 18th and 19th centuries and of those who recruited them.
Using a mixture of talk and song, the Group gave us a feeling for the ‘Recruiting Officer’, a common figure in the period. In contrast to the Navy, which required capable seaman, army recruiters just needed able bodied people. Recruiting parties went round the country, enticing people with the offer of the King’s Bounty, worth much more than the pay of a farm labourer, and, according to the sales patter, with a freer lifestyle and access to ‘wine, women and song’. Some recruits were attracted by the thought of escaping family obligations, and unattractive apprenticeships. Yet despite this, the Army was not popular. It had a reputation for corruption. Some army recruits were put off by the calibre of others. So the Recruiting Officer had to work hard at the arts of persuasion. They dressed in a colourful way, cultivated a good sales talk, and went to many of the less respectable places of the time in search of recruits. Not surprisingly, the character of the Recruiting Officer featured in folksongs and in plays of the time, usually as rumbustious figure of fun.
Life was not so easy for the army recruit. The reality of army life was not quite as the Recruiting Officer described. Many folksongs are laments about leaving loved ones behind. There were a good few deserters. One song described a roguish piper from Rothbury, who signed up, then deserted, and then signed up again, a repeated pattern which allowed him to get the King’s shilling each time he signed up. But many were killed and, unlike the world wars of the twentieth century, there were no war memorials to remember them. Reflecting the class divisions of the time, the ordinary soldier was disposable manpower. Only casualties of the officer class were remembered. At times of great need of army recruits, especially during the Napoleonic wars, additional volunteer infantry militias were created. The Duke of Northumberland’s tenants were expected to join the Percy Tenantry Volunteer Infantry. But the more affluent could buy their way out of this commitment by paying someone else to take up their obligation. This practice was greatly resented by the poorest groups, especially as these militia were deployed after the Napoleonic war to put down riots and other disturbances among those experiencing the high cost and scarcity of food supplies.
The Old English group illustrated the talk with slides and with many songs, encouraging us to sing the choruses. This proved a very enjoyable way to end our season.
May 29th 2019
Wooler’s new oak tree ─ commemorating sacrifices made by many during WW1
Glendale Local History Society hosted a celebratory gathering following the planting of an Oak Tree to commemorate the end of World War 1 and the coming of peace at that time. Members of the Society, together with invited guests from Lilburn Estates and Wooler Parish Council, heard Professor Patsy Healey OBE, newly elected chair of GLHS, thank all concerned “… for bringing this project to realisation over the past year”, Lilburn Estates for generously providing, planting and guarding the fine Quercus rubor standard tree and Wooler Parish Council for agreeing the planting site on their riverside land beside the A697. Patsy hoped, “The tree, in time, will grow into a stately feature in the landscape” and with the plaque (thanks to retiring chairman, Mike Allport) to remind and remember sacrifices made by many during World War 1.
Society Secretary, Pam Ratcliffe, explained the consequences of WW1 ─ dubbed “The war to end all wars” – and discussed how it had shaken Europe and the long-established order of European life, hostilities on 11th November 1918 with the hope for lasting peace. She explained the Paris Peace conference, which lasted 12 months, proving a huge investment to make the world a better place for 27 countries, all with competing claims and complaints and with seemingly intractable problems. The four Allied heads of government present for 5 months (cf summits such as the G7 now) were from France (Clemenceau), USA (Woodrow Wilson), Italy (Orlando) and Britain (Lloyd George); Japan’s prince absented himself from matters not directly relevant to Japan.
She highlighted international legislation – e.g. on waterways, railways, aviation, finance. The League of Nations was formed to resolve international disputes, by considering when nations have a right and duty to intervene and to validate and resolve competing claims for territory where there are groups of mixed identities. The conference also had to deal with bolshevism, actual & threatened revolutions, ethnic nationalism, public opinion, reparations and immense change in the social and economic systems, including labour, class and the role of women, plus the then current problems: violent strikes, revolutions (Russia, Hungary, Bavaria) and threats of revolution (Romania, Ireland). The ratification of treaties took time e.g. the Treaty of Versailles: Germany - 28th June, St Germain: Austria - September 1919, Neuilly: Bulgaria - November 1919; treaties with Turkey and Hungary were finally agreed in 1920. Pam concluded by giving the audience an imaginative mental image of end-of-war celebrations held in Wooler, by describing details from an original programme ─ “a procession of floats decked as ‘Allies’, a fancy dress competition, an evening fancy dress ball, all concluded with a much later evening, hilltop bonfire”.
Finally, before refreshments were enjoyed, the reading of three poems, by members of the Society (Eileen Lyons, Allan Colman and Frank Mansfield), reflected on remembrance of wartime and the coming of peace.
The new season of talks and other activities starts on the 11th September.
The Home Front in World War I – What we in the North East would have experienced
by Anthea Lang
Northumberland Place Names
by Dr Jonathan West
Trench Art in the North East
by Dr Andrew Marriott
The History of Sugar & the Social Changes it has Influenced
Presented by Jean Findlay
The Fortifications of Berwick upon Tweed + Outing
‘Hens that want to crow’: Suffragists & Suffragettes of the North-east 1866–1918. Women’s struggle for votes and other campaigns in the 19th century.
Farming in Glendale: 1800 to the present
Dr Ian Roberts
Zoo-archaeological material in Anglo-Saxon society: products of daily life
Animals bone discoveries and what they can tell us about daily life in that era.
The Greys' Tomb at Chillingham
The Ancient Craft of Laying a Hedge
14th September 2016
Freemen of Berwick
Captain Jim Evans
Outing to the Ouseburn Valley and the Victoria Tunnel
The Romantic North: picturesque landscape before photography
The Origins of the Post Office and the Hobby of Philately
Wooler Weather – Past, Present and in the Future
Anecdotes from the Napoleonic Wars
Visit to RAF Boulmer
Sir Edward Grey and the "War to end all Wars"
Street names of Newcastle
Biddlestone Chapel & the Selby family
Speaker: Tony Henfry
11th November 2015
War time laws in Northumberland
Vita vinum est: life is wine. Romans and their wine.
List of Archive Material held in Society Archives
Clothing & History: An Anglo-Saxon and Viking perspective
North East War Memorials
From Barrow to Bunker
Visit to Barmoor Estate
Visit to MoD Otterburn Ranges
Round County Day 21st June 2014
Farming and the Railways in Glendale 18th to 20th Centuries
North-East airfields – aviation history 1910–2003
A predilection for steep banks - the Morpeth to Coldstream turnpike road
The Lindisfarne Gospels: their making and meaning
History of Northumbrian Music
A talk illustrated with music by Alistair Anderson
Equal on the turf
The Alnwick Freemen & The Dukes - 1757 to date
A talk by Cliff Pettit
England's Rough Wooing
Rights of Way in Northumberland
A history of bee-keeping & tales from Chain Bridge Honey
A talk by William Robson