"OVINGHAM is a parish comprising the townships of Dukeshagg. Eltringham, Harlow-hill, Hedley, Hedley-Woodside, Horsley, Mickley, Nafferton, Ovingham, Ovington, Prudhoe, Prudhoe Castle, Rouchester, Spittle, Welton, Whittle, and Wylam. It is bounded by the parishes of Stamfordham, Heddon-on-the-Wall and Bywell St. Andrew and St. Peter, except on the south-east, where it is separated from the County of Durham by the Stanley and Milkhouse Burn. It is about seven miles in length by five in breadth, and comprises an area of 15,740 acres. Its population in 1801, was 2,628; in 1811, 2,810; in 1821, 2,742; in 1831, 3,019; in 1841, 3,418; and in 1851, 3,962 souls. The parish is interesected by the river Tyne, and is beautifully diversified by gentle elevations." [From History, Topography, and Directory of Northumberland, Whellan, 1855]



  • The Story of Ovingham on Tyne by Frank Atkinson published by Northern Books, 2001, ISBN 0 953 5730 1 X.
  • Mid Tyne villages of Northumberland a history in photographs Douglas Mennear 1993


Thomas Bewick  1753 - 1828  Cherryburn, Mickley
Born 11 August 1753 to John and Jane Bewick, the eldest of eight children, he attended school at Ovingham, showing a talent for drawing from an early age, and was apprenticed to Ralph Beilby an engraver of Newcastle, becoming a partner in Beilby's workshop in 1776
he married Isabella Elliott of Ovingham in 1786 and had four children Robert Elliott (who also became an engraver and Partner in the firm), Jane Isabella, and Elizabeth
Bewick died on 8 November 1828 and is buried in Ovingham churchyard
He published several illustrated books including a history of quadrupeds and a History of British Birds.
John Jackson 1801 - 1848 born in Ovingham Engraver,
apprenticed to Thomas Bewick, 
Older brother of Mason Jackson
Mason Jackson 25 May 1819 - 28 Dec 1903 Engraver
Born Ovingham, taught engraving by his brother John, he was appointed editor of the Illustrated London News in 1860. a post that he held for thirty years.


Northumberland Record Office hold records for

  • Ovingham Civil Cemetery: - Burial Registers 1879-1994, Purchased Graves Registers 1880-1955 and Grave Spaces Register 1879-1984.
  •     Prudhoe Civil Cemetery: - Burial Registers 1903-1984 and Burials Grant Books 1912-1956.


  • Northumberland County Record Office holds copies of Census Returns 1841 - 1891 and provides a useful User Guide
  • The 1851 Census Index (microfiche CN14 and CN15) Bywell, Ovingham, Shotley, Blanchland and Whittonstall (PRO piece HO107/2414 folios 1-268) (Type A) (Book)
  • The 1891 Census Northumberland – Bywell (Broomley, Healey, High Fotherley, Espershields, Whittonstall, Newlands, Bywell, Styford, Newton, Stelling, Ovington, Newton Hall, Welton, Broomhaugh, Riding, Newbiggin, Blanchland, Shotley Low Quarter, Nafferton, Ovingham, Wylam, Hedley, Dukershagg and part of Prudhoe) (PRO piece RG12/4244) (Type B) (Book) (Volume 54)  BOTH published by the https://www.ndfhs.org.uk/ may be of value to researchers interested in this parish.

Church History

  • The parish church is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and was consecrated about the year 1050. It is thought that it was built on the site of an even earlier Christian meeting place marked by a standing cross, a fragment of which is under the church pulpit. The building has three distinct architectural styles - a Saxon tower, a Norman doorway and early English Nave and Chancel. The registers date from 1679. Part of the former vicarage, located to the south of the church, dates from around 1378. In 1823 a Chapel of Ease dedicated to St George was built in the village of Mickley and this became a distinct parish in 1867. Ovingham Parish was further subdivided with the formation of the parishes of Prudhoe, St Mary Magdalene in 1880 and Wylam, St Oswin in 1886.
  • The Ancestral Indexes website provides information about Mickley, St George, Prudhoe, St Mary and Wylam, St Oswin.
  • Offa's Church: St Mary the Virgin Ovingham, 1,300 years of Christian History, (St Mary the Virgin Church) 1984

Church Records


Civil Registration

  • This area is divided between Northumberland West Registration District and Northumberland Central Registration District.
  • Certificates of birth, death and marriage can be ordered Locally from Northumberland County Council.

Description & Travel

  • Photographs of Wylam and Whittle Dene Reservoirs from Les Bell's Northumberland Cam website.
  • Prudhoe Castle photographed by Ray Urwin.
  • The Northumberland Communities website includes pages relating to Ovingham and Prudhoe and Wylam. They provide "a range of learning resource material that reflects Northumberland's heritage, providing a base for studying the County's history. The website provides a starting point for understanding the development of communities in Northumberland. It also seeks to illustrate the range of sources for family and local history research that are available via Northumberland Archives Service."
You can see pictures of Ovingham which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Ovingham has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



  • The history of Ovingham Parish is included in:- Northumberland County History Committee, History of Northumberland, Volume 12. Newcastle, A. Reid, 1926. (Available on fiche from Ancestral Indexes).
  • Information on the History of Prudhoe provided by Prudhoe Community Partnership.


  • Ovingham - Maps - links and information.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NZ083625 (Lat/Lon: 54.957414, -1.871795), Ovingham which are provided by:


Military Records

8 August 1943  Edward Denis Tootal Barff, Sergeant(Pilot) RAF Volunteer Reserve 657987, age 24 son of Reverend HH Barff M.A. and Mrs A I Barff [grave 501]
20 September 1942  Sydney Elliott, Cpl 657986 RAF Volunteer Reserve, age 27, son of Robert and Alice Smith of Wylam [grave 825]
27 Sep 1943   Robert McVay, Driver T/14329025 Royal Army Service Corps, age 19 son of John William and Lavinia Scott McVay of Ovington [grave 791]
12 Nov 1918   Thomas William Ward, Driver 284457 Royal Field artillery age 17 [grave Y2 C 20]
2 Dec 1942   Peter Bell,  Cpl 1920130 Army Catering Corps attd Royal Engineers, age 28 son of Peter and Margaret Bell of Mickley Square [grave 10/1]
Mickley St George
26 September 1916   Joseph Edward Heslop, Private 8/2117 1st/9th Bn Durham Light Infantry, age 26 son of the late Edward and Elizabeth Heslop of Chopwell [grave North West section]
12 Nov 1917  Matthew Christer, Private 200805 Northumberland Fusiliers 4th Bn, age 44  son of Joseph and Elizabeth Christer (nee Hebbron) of Mickley  husband of Florence Christer (nee Pick) of Mickley Square [grave N.W. part}
Prudhoe New Cemetery
22 Nov 1914    Ernest William Judd, Gunner 44207 Royal Field Artillery No 1 Depot [grave 2/723]
10 October 1947   George Leslie Bestford, Fusilier 4275647 Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, age 28 son of Georgina Margaret Bestford husband of Hannah Evelyn Bestford of Prudhoe [grave 2391]
22 Dec 1914   John Natrass,  Leading Aircraftman 646852 RAF 403 (RCAF) Squadron, son of Mrs C Natrass of Prudhoe  [grave 2266]

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Almost all of Ovingham Parish was included in Hexham Poor Law Union. The Union Workhouse was located at Peth Head, Hexham. Some useful records are held at Northumberland Record Office