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Mitford Parish, 1855

Extract from: History, Topography, and Directory of Northumberland...Whellan, William, & Co, 1855.



MITFORD, a parish partly in the west division of Morpeth Ward, and partly in the west division of Castle Ward, comprehends the townships of Benridge, Edington, High and Low Highlaws, Mitford, Molesdon, Newton Park, Newton Underwood, Nunriding, Pigdon, Spittle Hill, and Throphill. It is bounded by the parishes and chapelries of Long Horsley, Hartburn, Meldon, Whalton, Morpeth, and Hebron, and comprises an area of 9,595 statute acres. The population in 1801, was 676; in 1811, 630; in 1821, 625; in 1831, 701; in 1841, 733; and in 1851, 700 souls. This district possesses rich and fertile soil, and is well watered by the rivers Font and Wansbeck.


BENRIDGE is a township and hamlet containing 1,085 acres, the property of the Earl of Carlisle, and its rateable value is £680. The number of its inhabitants in 1801, was 54 ; in 1811, 45 ; in 1821, 57; in 1831, 53; in 1841, 70; and in 1851, 58 souls. THE HAMLET of Benridge is situated one mile and a half W.N.W of Morpeth.

DIRECTORY. The farmers are Daniel Anderson, Hole in the Wall; Randall Dixon, Lower Farm ; George Fenwick, Middle Farm ; E. Fenwick, West Farm; Henry Oliver Benridge Hagg; and John Urwin Benridge Moor. 


EDINGTON is a township and hamlet in this parish but locally situated in the western division of Castle Ward. It comprises an area of 631 acres, the property of Sir Charles Monck, Bart., and its rateable value is £631. Population in 1801 25; in 1811, 42; in 1821, 44; in 1831, 41; in 1841, 23; and in 1851, 24 souls. THE HAMLET of Edington is about three miles and a half south-west by west of Morpeth. The township consists of two farms,which are occupied by Robert Rutherford and William Patterson, farmers. 


HIGH AND LOW HIGHLAWS, or HEIGIILEY, is a township situated two miles and a half N.N.W of Morpeth. It contains 1,357 acres the property of William Ord, Esq., and its rateable value is £1,294. The number of its in-habitants in 1801, was 105; in 1811, 91; in 1821, 76; in 1831, 117; in 1841, 111; and in 1851, 101 souls. This township includes the villages of Epsley, and Highlaw-gate. 


Noble Edward, gardener

Rutherford Elizabeth, vict. & blacksmith 


Barlow Matthew, Baron House 

Bates John

Bean William

Brown Jonathan

Hedley Robert, and timber merchant 


MITFORD is a township and village in the parish of the same name, the property of Bertram Mitford, Esq. The area of the township, inclusive of that of Molesden, is 2,558 acres, and the rateable value is £2,038 19s. 0d. Its population in 1801, was 199; in 1811, 162; in 1821, 178; in 1831, 194; in 1841, 220; and in 1851, 217 souls. The manor of Mitford was held by a family that bore the local name, as early as the time of Edward the Confessor; but immediately after the Norman invasion the Conqueror gave Sibil de Mitford, the only daughter and heiress of Sir John de Mitford, in marriage to one of his Norman adventurers, Sir Richard Bertram, and upon her demise the manor of Mitford became the property of her eldest son, Sir William Bertram, during whose possession it was created a barony. This Sir William was succeeded by his eldest son Roger, who obtained the grant of a market from Henry II. The castle of Mitford was seized and the town destroyed by the Flemish allies of King John, in consequence of their proprietor having joined the confederacy of the barons. Henry III restored the castle to the Bertrams, and also granted an extension of the annual fair, from four to eight days on the payment of a fine of £100. Roger Bertram, the third Baron of Mitford, succeeded his father in 1242. He was afterwards taken prisoner among the insurgents at Northampton, in consequence of which his castle and estates were seized by the king, and never more restored to the family. The castle and a portion of the estates were granted to Eleanor Stanover, wife of Robert de Stoteville, who died in 1306. We find the barony held by the Earl of Pembroke, in the year 1318; and after his decease, it was possessed by his relict and heirs, and subsequently passed to Sir Henry Percy, Lord of Athol, who died in 1433, leaving two daughters, by whom this estate was transferred in marriage to Thomas Brough, Esq., and Sir Henry Grey. ln the reign of Henry VIII. we find Lord Brough the sole proprietor. In 1557, William, Lord Brough granted to Cuthbert Mitford and his heirs for ever, all his land at Mitford, reserving only to himself the royalties and site of the castle. The castle and royalties were afterwards the property of the Crown; but Charles II. granted them to Robert Mitford, Esq., with whose descendants they have since remained. The antique ruins of the old castle of Mitford occupy a considerable eminence on the south side of the Wansbeck, and are scattered, in confused heaps, over about an acre of ground. This castle is supposed to have existed before the Norman Conquest, and we find it possessed by Sir John Mitford, as early as 1068. It suffered severely from fire in 1215, but appears to have been subsequently restored, for we find it besieged by the Scots in 1217, when, in consequence of the bravery of the garrison, the enemy was compelled to abandon the place after a siege of several days. The present castle is a modern building, situated a short distance from the ruins of the old fortress. 

THE VILLAGE of Mitford is pleasantly situated at the confluence of the rivers Wansbeck and Font, two miles west of Morpeth, whence a road passes through this village to Elsdon, being here carried over the Font by a good stone bridge. On a hill above the village, there formerly stood St. Leonard's Hospital, which was founded by Sir William Bertram, in the reign of Henry I. THE CHURCH, a very ancient edifice, is situated a short distance south-west of the village, on the south bank of the Wansbeck, opposite to the old Castle. The parish register commences in 1667. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Lindisfarne, and deanery of Morpeth, valued in the Liber Regis at £10 6s. 8d.; gross income £95. It is in the patronage of the Bishop of Durham, and incumbency of the Rev. Charles C. Snowden. There is a parish school a short distance east of the village, under the patronage of Admiral Mitford, who subscribes £10 per annum towards its support, and £5 5s. for books. 

POST OFFICE, MITFORD, George Heppell, Postmaster. Letters arrive from Morpeth, at 9-30 a.m., and are despatched thereto at 3 p.m. 


Blair Thomas, farmer, Dean House 

Boyd John, gardener, Mitford Cottage

Bullock Mrs. Hannah

Charlton Matthew, farmer 

Creigh Thomas H. schoolmaster

Harbottle Bartholomew, gardener

Heppell George, wheelwright & and shopkeeper 

Lilburn Thomas, vict. and joiner, Plough

Mitford Mrs. Fanny, Mitford Castle

Price Thomas and William, blacksmiths

Smith Richard, tailor 

Snowden Rev. Charles C. vicar, Vicarage

Thompson Mr. Robert

Trotter John, farmer 


MOLESDON is a township and hamlet in this parish, but locally situated in the western division of Castle Ward. It is the property of Admiral Mitford, who is also lord of the tnanor. Population in 1801, 38; in 1811, 29; in 1821, 21; in 1831, 36; in 1841, 40; and in 1851, 25 souls. The area of the township is returned with that of Mitford. This township has been in the possession of the same family, since the year 1370, when it was granted by the Earl of Athol, to Sir John de Mitford. THE HAMLET of Molesdon is three miles west by south of Morpeth. The township contains two farms, occupied by Margaret Potts, and William Potts, farmers.


NEWTON PARK township, is situated two miles west by south of Morpeth, and is the property of the Mitford family. It contains 341 acres and its rateable value is £250. The population in 1801, was 11; in 1811, 19; in 1821, 15; in 1831, 16; in I841, 15; and in 1851, 17 souls. This township consists of one farm occupied by William Thompson, farmer. 


NEWTON UNDERWOOD is a township an. hamlet, containing 869 acres, the property of H. R. Mitford; Esq., and Benjamin Bullock, Esq. The rateable value is £1,210. The number of inhabitants in 1801, was 78; in 1811, 97; in 1821, 75; in 1831, 85; in 1841, 92; and in 1851, 95 souls. THE HAMLET of Newton Underwood is situated three and a quarter miles west of Morpeth and north of the Wansbeck. The tithes were commuted in 1839. 


Craggs Thomas, woodman and constable 


Brown Edward and John

Orrage Thomas, Light Water House

Robertson George, and miller

Scott James, Newton Red House 

Tindell Thomas, and land agent


NUNRIDING, or NUNRIDGE, a township situated four and a half miles W.N.W. of Morpeth, contains 648 acres, and its rateable value is £223 10s. It is the property of Thomas Fenwick. Esq. Population in 1801, 43; in 1811, 39; in 1821, 39; in 1831, 37; in 1841, 41; and in 1851, 31 souls. NUNRIDING HALL is now in a state of great dilapidation, and is occupied by a hind of Mr. James Dands, of Togston, who farms a great portion of the property.

DIRECTORY. Thomas Sinclair, Red Moor; and Joseph Robson, Coal Houses, farmers.


PIGDON is a township and hamlet, the property of Aubone Surtees, Esq. The area of the township is 1,084 acres, and its rateable value £790. In 1801, it contained 47; in 1811, 30; in 1821, 36; in 1831, 33; in 1841, 50; and in 1851, 46 inhabitants. THE HAMLET of Pigdon is situated three miles north-west by west of Morpeth, Tithes commuted in 1839, aggregate amount £50.

DIRECTORY. John Buddies, woodman ; George Heslop, farmer; Aubone Surtees. Esq., Pigdon Cottage; and Honeywood Surtees, farmer.


SPITTLE HILL, a township in the above parish, is situated on the north side of the river Font, opposite to Mitford. It is the property of Benjamin Bullock, Esq.; its rateable value is £179 12s. 2d., and it contains 160 acres. Population in 1801, 6; in 1811, 9; in 1021, 9; in 1831; 11; in 1841, 12; and in 1851, 18 souls. Tithes commuted in 1839, aggregate amount £16 13s. SPITTLE HILL HOUSE, the seat and property of Benjamin Bullock, Esq., is delightfully situated on an eminence opposite to Mitford Castle. It occupies the site of the ancient hospital of St. Leonard, and has been the residence of the same family for upwards of four centuries. Benjamin Bullock, Esq., J.P., Spittle Hill House, is the principal resident.


THROPHILL, or THROPPLE, is a township and hamlet, the property of H.R. Mitford, Esq., and Captain Fairfoot. The township comprises an area of 862 acres, and its rateable value is £840 17s. 6d. The number of its inhabitants in 1801, was 69; in 1811, 67; in 1821, 75; in 1831, 78; in 1841, 59 ; and in 1851, 71 souls. THE HAMLET of Throphill is situated four miles west of Morpeth. 

DIRECTORY. Edward Charlton, carrier John Mitchell, carrier; and George Thompson, farmer. 


Mitford Civil Parish Molesden Mitford Parish, 1848 West Benridge Newton Park, Northumberland Newton Underwood, Northumberland Benridge Hagg East Edington West Edington Spital Hill, Mitford Nunriding Throphill East Benridge Pigdon Mitford Heighley Gate and Highlaws, near Morpeth Morpeth Ward, 1855 Northumberland Parishes and Townships - 1855


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