Mitford Parish, 1848
MITFORD, a parish, in the union of Morpeth, partly in the W. division of Castle ward, in the S., and partly in the W. division of Morpeth ward, in the N., division of Northumberland, 1¾ mile (W. by S.) from Morpeth; containing 733 inhabitants, of whom 220 are in the township of Mitford. This manor, in the time of the Saxons, belonged to the family of Mitford, and at the Conquest was part of the possessions of John, lord of Mitford, whose only daughter, Sybil, was married by the Conqueror to Sir Richard Bertram, son of the lord of Dignam, in Normandy. The family of Bertram became very numerous, and acquired large estates in this part of the kingdom, which they retained till the reign of John, when, taking part with the barons against that monarch, their castle here, and also the town, were burnt, and the lands laid waste, by the Flemish allies of the king; the barony, becoming forfeited to the crown, was bestowed upon Philip de Hulcoates. The possessions were subsequently restored by Henry III. to the Bertrams; but after the death of Roger de Bertram in 1242, his son and successor being taken prisoner among the insurgents at Northampton, the castle and estates were seized by the king, and never regained. The castle was taken and dismantled by Alexander, King of Scotland, in 1318, and the barony, at that time the property of the Earl of Pembroke, after his decease passed to Sir Henry Percy, lord of Atholl, whose two daughters conveyed the manor of Mitford, by marriage, to Thomas Brough and Sir Henry Grey. The whole of the manor, in the reign of Henry VIII., belonged to William, Lord Brough, who in 1557 granted the estates to Cuthbert Mitford and his heirs for ever, reserving to himself only the site of the castle and the royalties, which, afterwards falling to the crown, were granted by Charles II. to Robert Mitford, with whose descendants they have since remained. The town of Mitford was of considerable importance, and had a charter of incorporation at a very early period; the records were most probably destroyed in the wars between John and the barons.
The parish consists of the townships of Benridge, Edington, Highlaws, Mitford, Molesden, Newton-Park, Newton-Underwood, Nunriding, Pigdon, Spittle-Hill, and Throphill. It comprises by computation 9,500 acres, of which 600 are woodland, and the remainder arable, meadow, and pasture. The surface is finely varied; the river Wansbeck intersects the parish from west to east, and the river Font, after skirting the northwestern portion of it, falls into the Wansbeck at the village. The substrata are chiefly coal, limestone, and sandstone. The present manor-house, erected in 1828, after a design by Mr. Dobson, is a handsome mansion of white freestone, beautifully situated on the brow of the north bank of the Wansbeck, opposite to the remains of the ancient manor-house, on the other side of the river. The village now consists only of a few neat cottages. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10. 6. 8.; net income £100, with a glebe of 10 acres; patron, the Bishop of Durham. The church is an ancient and venerable structure: the nave is in the Norman style, and appears to have been damaged by fire, probably during the assault of the castle; the chancel is in the early English style.
Extract from: A Topographical Dictionary of England comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate and market towns, parishes, and townships..... 7th Edition, by Samuel Lewis, London, 1848.