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Tyne and Wear HER(1067): Great North Road - Details

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Newcastle and N Tyneside

Great North Road




Road Transport Site



Documentary Evidence

Post medieval toll road (turnpiked in 1747) from Newcastle to Morpeth. Enters/leaves the County at NZ 2299 7517. Also part of the Great North Road from London to Edinburgh. Ran across the High Fell in Gateshead to Durham. The Great North Road was in existence in the medieval period {Hadcock 1939, 153-5}. However Bidwell and Snape (2002) argue that it was of Roman origin (pre-Hadrianic), lying on the line of Margary's route 806, which linked Brough on Humber to Newcastle. This idea was first put forward by Hafemann in 1956 (page 150). Blaise Vyner says that through Yorkshire and at least as far north as the River Wear the route is probably prehistoric in origin. This theory is based on the fact that there are prehistoric monuments in the Vale of York along a long-distance route southwards and northwards. In Tyne and Wear he lists the barrows at Hasting Hill and Copt Hill (and in Durham a Neolithic enclosure at Chester-le-Street) as being part of a monument group where the route crosses the River Wear. Vyner (2007, 77) says there is a possibility of a further monument group on the River Tyne. David Heslop says the prehistoric route probably went up to Scotland. Bronze Age metalwork was deposited in the River Tyne as votive offerings at the point at which the road would have crossed the river and a short distance away at King's Meadows island. In the Iron Age a log-boat was deposited in a stream not far from the Great North Road (HER 1377). A round house was discovered during excavations in 2001 on High Bridge. This lies immediately adjacent to Pilgrim Street (on the Great North Road).




<< HER 1067 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, 1864, 6 inch scale, Northumberland, 80; Newcastle City Council, 2002, Gosforth Conservation Area Character Statement, p 14; Hadcock, 1939, A map of medieval Northumberland and Durham, Archaeologia Aeliana, Series 4, Vol XV, pp 148-218; Paul Bidwell and Margaret Snape, 2002, The History and Setting of the Roman Fort at Newcastle upon Tyne, p 257 in Archaeologia Aeliana, Series 5, Vol XXXI; Hafemann, D, 1956, Beitrage zur Siedlungsgeographie des romischen Britannien, I: Die militarischen Siedlungen, p 150; Grace McCombie, 2009, Newcastle and Gateshead - Pevsner Architectural Guide, p. 18; Blaise Vyner, 2007, A Great North Route in Neolithic and Bronze Age Yorkshire: The Evidence of Landscape and Monuments, Landscapes (2007), I, pp. 69-84; B.E. Vyner, 2000, Lost horizons: the location of activity in the later Neolithic and early Bronze Age of north-east England in J. Harding and R. Johnston, Northern Pasts: Interpretations of the Later Prehistory of Northern England and Southern Scotland, British Archaeology Reports British Series 302, pp. 101-10; R. Welford, 1879, A History of the Parish of Gosforth; D.H. Heslop, Newcastle and Gateshead before AD 1080 in Diana Newton and AJ Pollard, 2009, Newcastle and Gateshead before 1700, pages 1-22

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