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Penbal 1 – Lee Stoneman

No air-built castles, and no fairy bowers,
But thou, fair Tynemouth, and thy well-known towers,
Now bid th’ historic muse explore the maze
Of long past years, and tales of other days.
Pride of Northumbria!—from thy crowded port,
Where Europe’s brave commercial sons resort,
Her boasted mines send forth their sable stores,
To buy the varied wealth of distant shores.
Here the tall lighthouse, bold in spiral height,
Glads with its welcome beam the seaman’s sight.
Here, too, the firm redoubt, the rampart’s length,
The death-fraught cannon, and the bastion’s strength,
Hang frowning o’er the briny deep below,
To guard the coast against th’ invading foe.
Here health salubrious spreads her balmy wings,
And woos the sufferer to her saline springs;
And, here the antiquarian strays around
The ruin’d abbey, and its sacred ground.

Jane Harvey
From ‘The Castle of Tynemouth. A Tale’ (1806)

Photograph: Lee Stoneman

Photograph: Lee Stoneman

Penbal.uk

No air-built castles, and no fairy bowers,
But thou, fair Tynemouth, and thy well-known towers,
Now bid th’ historic muse explore the maze
Of long past years, and tales of other days.
Pride of Northumbria!—from thy crowded port,
Where Europe’s brave commercial sons resort,
Her boasted mines send forth their sable stores,
To buy the varied wealth of distant shores.
Here the tall lighthouse, bold in spiral height,
Glads with its welcome beam the seaman’s sight.
Here, too, the firm redoubt, the rampart’s length,
The death-fraught cannon, and the bastion’s strength,
Hang frowning o’er the briny deep below,
To guard the coast against th’ invading foe.
Here health salubrious spreads her balmy wings,
And woos the sufferer to her saline springs;
And, here the antiquarian strays around
The ruin’d abbey, and its sacred ground.

Jane Harvey
From ‘The Castle of Tynemouth. A Tale’ (1806)

Penbal.uk
Penbal.uk

Finding Blake Chesters
The Next Camp East of Segedunum in North Shields

Many sources refer to a Roman station at North Shields, between Wallsend and Tynemouth. This has been shrouded in mystery for a long time, but in this paper we present overlooked evidence for the location of the site.

Benebalcrag, May 7th 794
by Robert Westall

Landing of the Danish Vikings near Tynemouth,, William Bell Scott, full version

A previously unpublished story by the North Shields novelist, documenting a Viking raid on Tynemouth.

A Close Look at an Early Chart of the the Tyne

These detailed maps of the Tyne, Blyth and Wear were created by Captain Greenville Collins in 1676, working under Trinity House and Samuel Pepys, and were commissioned by Charles II.

Things the Medieval Monks of Tynemouth Ate

We often think of medieval cookery consisting of oats and gruel, turnips etc, and that formed a big part of sustenance, but there was a larger menu than we give them credit for, with no shortage of delicacies.

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A Roman Dune Burial in Tynemouth

The location of The Plaza was the site of one of the most amazing yet overlooked historical discoveries in Tyne and Wear.

The Beginnings of Tynemouth

What is the earliest mention of Tynemouth in history? Bede’s story about Saint Cuthbert performing a miracle on Penbal Crag to save sailors from South Shields who were cut adrift in a storm. New post for Penbal by Gary Holland.

This is the ultimate piece of Tynemouth folklore. Here I’m going to share some bits of information that have passed down the annals of time, as well as add some new knowledge about the place.

The Devil’s Causeway, which splits from Dere Street and runs right through Northumberland, was itself a boundary line separating pro-Roman treaty beneficiaries from the anti-Roman cattle herding groups in the wilder, hillier land to the west.

There is a famous saying that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure. Therefore this post begins with the author in South Shields market sometime around the year 2002. I often used to go to the market on a Friday afternoon which was partly a flea market with house clearances, used goods etc, getting the ferry across from my home near North Shields.

A Roman Fort at Tynemouth? Saxton’s Map of 1637

A guest post by Gary Holland examining a 400-year-old map with some place names that are easily recognisable to us today in Tyne & Wear – Munkseton, Blakworth, Whitlathe, Chirtons and on the south side Jerro and Sheales.

The mystery Tynemouth U-boat lying at 55°01’40”N, 1°18’52”W is probably the reason why the older generation called the small Pebble Beach on the north side of the Pier, the ‘Submarine Beach’, as presumably well into the 1960s bits of it were still washing up on the Castle rocks.

We know from Leland that Caer Urfa was the name for South Shields. He learned this from the monks at Tynemouth Priory around the time of the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, to whom he was antiquary. He also learned a great deal of other local knowledge from the monks, such as the nature of the Danish invasions and that South Shields was a seat of royalty.

Caer Urfa and the Agate Bear

This is a Roman bear cameo from Arbeia. It’s cut from sardonyx stone, a type of agate. As well as being unbelievably detailed and beautiful, it offers a tempting clue about the place.

Segedunum was a critical fort in the military infrastructure of the island. It sits at a perfect apex above the river looking down two long navigable reaches, almost to the coast in the east and almost to Newcastle in the west. In this post, I offer a new theory on the meaning of the name.

The Tyne is a mighty river with an ancient name, but no one knows for sure what it means. Here are some possible answers to the mystery and my view.

There was a time when Welsh was spoken all across this country, and some of it remains in the very oldest features of the land. Take for example: Pen Bal Crag.

When the river was really busy, we that worked on or beside the water, or played in the harbour, learned to know the regular vessels that plied those waters. They became old friends, seen moving about their work.

A Discovery About a Priceless Roman Artefact

Finding Ad MurumPart I

The only mention in history of the Anglo-Saxon palace of Ad Murum (At-the Wall) is from the Venerable Bede, and its whereabouts has baffled antiquaries for centuries.

What the First ‘Shields’ Were Like

The early shield huts must have been basic and temporary, protecting dwellers from an easterly wind. Building these simple lodges, essentially dugouts with sod roofs, was probably the most the Prior could get away with.

In the 19th century, the rich coal beds of North Tyneside were being worked by the most ingenious industrialists and inventors of the time. Transporting black diamonds to the sea was no easy task though. It required huge waggons, or chaldrons, to glide for miles down to the river where the coal could be loaded onto keelboats. That was the easy bit. The chaldrons then had to make the journey up the gentle but long inclines that criss-crossed the land back to the pitheads.

Summary of a fascinating trial that took place against the backdrop of Tynemouth Castle and the lucrative North Shields salt pans. The case was between the feuding parties of the Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland and the brothers of Peter Delaval.

2022 marks 1900 years since work on Hadrian’s Wall commenced in 122 AD. This post seeks to shed light on an important question of Roman presence on Tyneside and the social and political context around why was Tynemouth was largely left alone by the Romans.

Colonel Henry Villiers (1677-1707) is a name that is infamous for his role as Governor of Tynemouth Castle. Both Henry and his father Sir Edward Villiers (1620-1689) were responsible for most of the destruction of the Priory in order to build the lighthouse and nearby living quarters.

As with most things connected to Tynemouth’s deep history, there’s a whole load of mystery, complexity and confusion surrounding the issue.

A collection of 19th century paintings of this well-practised view.

The Romans wouldn’t go to all the effort of building Arbeia, one of the most important forts in the region, directly across the water and not even have a unit of legionaries stationed opposite in a prime spot beside an inlet just at the point the river narrows.

Point Pleasant, the Site of a Roman Dock?

“For reasons not understood, the names ‘Cold Harbour’ and ‘Mount Pleasant’ are found very frequently on Roman roads or Roman sites.”

Large sections of the Castle grounds remain unexplored and Collingwood Bruce wrote of a Roman well near the Gatehouse.

One thing many don’t realise about Tynemouth is that it has a very high water table. And I often wonder what the landscape was like before the village was really settled.

The Governor’s Tree is a familiar Tynemouth fixture that sits in a recess in the wall towards the bottom of Correction Bank—the stretch of Tynemouth Road between the Mariners’ Asylum and the Tynemouth Lodge.

Divide et Impera — Another Way to Look at Hadrian’s Wall

Rather than purely defensive fortifications, these should also be thought of as foreign policy instruments used to undermine and disrupt existing tribal political networks and power structures in the territories that were most challenging to Rome.