National Gazetteer (1868) - Wooler


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"WOOLER, a parish, township, and small market town in the E. division of Glendale ward, county Northumberland, 18 miles N.W. of Alnwick, 16½ S. of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and 11 from Belford station on the York and Berwick railway. It is situated near the border of the county, in a country varied with hills and glens, principally belonging to the range of the Cheviots, the Humbleton, Hedgehope, and Beamish Head hills. One of the head streams of the Till flows through Wooler in a north-western course to join the Beaumont and College rivers. The town, which contains many old thatched houses, but has recently been much improved, occupies an elevated site at a short distance from the Edinburgh and Newcastle road, from which it is approached by a bridge of four arches. In the reign of Henry I. it was granted to Robert de Muscamp, and game through the noble families of Scrope, D'Arcy, Percy, and Grey, to the Earl of Tankerville, who is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The parish includes, besides the town of Wooler, the township of Fenton, and several hamlets. On several of the surrounding hills are traces of camps or cairns, especially at Humbledon Heugh, near the pillar which marks the spot where Percy defeated Douglas, the "Tine man," in 1302. The town has never entirely recovered from having been partially consumed by fire in 1722, but recently several buildings have been erected, including Glendale union workhouse, built in 1837; the register office, where the poor-law guardians meet; the new prison, erected in 1850 at a cost of £1,000, where prisoners are confined preliminary to their committal to Morpeth jail. There are besides a post-office, branch bank, dispensary, mechanics' institute, with library and reading rooms, brewery and corn mills. The population in 1861 was 1,697, many of whom are employed in agriculture and in sheep herding, for which the neighbouring hills and moors afford scope. Petty sessions are held at Wooler and Ford alternately, and a new county court monthly at the "Anchor Inn." It is also a polling place for the county elections. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Durham, value £460, in the patronage of the bishop of Chester. The church, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, was rebuilt in 1765. In the interior are an antique font, a mural tablet to the late vicar, the Rev. W. Haigh, and a painted E. window. The Roman Catholic church, dedicated to St. Ninian, contains a carved altar of Caen stone, an E. window of four compartments, and two painted mortuary windows. The Free Kirk, Presbyterians, United Presbyterians, and Baptists have chapels. There are National schools, built in 1837. Market day is Thursday. Fairs are held on 4th May for cattle and horses, third Monday in May and 17th October for cattle and sheep, 27th September for sheep, second and third Thursdays in July for wool, and first Thursday in March for hiring servants."

"FENTON, a township in the parish of Wooler, E. division of the ward of Glendale, county Northumberland, 4 miles N.W. of Wooler. The river Till passes in the neighbourhood."

"ST. NINIAN'S, a seat in the parish of Wooler, ward of East Glendale, county Northumberland, 43 miles N. by W. of Newcastle. It is situated under the Cheviot Hills, and is the property of Sir H. St. Paul, Bart.

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]