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Tyne and Wear HER(14505): Marsden, Quarry Lane, White Horse - Details

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S Tyneside

Marsden, Quarry Lane, White Horse



Religious Ritual and Funerary

Hill Figure

Early Modern



There are many stories about the white horse but the following account, taken from South Shields: A History of the Town and its People, is thought to be the most likely: Whitburn nobleman Sir Hedworth Williams and his wife would go riding along the beach at Marsden and picnic at a spot near Darding Lake. But one day Sir Hedworth had to leave on business so Lady Williams went out on her white mare alone. She was seen galloping towards Marsden Rock, which was then attached to the mainland and was last spotted riding into an opening in the rock. Search parties found no trace of her but Sir Hedworth carried on looking for two years until he accepted that the tide must have carried out both the bodies of his wife and her horse out to sea. Heartbroken, he lost all interest in his estate and gave all his horses to an ostler, Wareham, and his money to his gamekeeper, Peter Allen, who later became tenant of the Marsden Grotto. The Williamson family gradually faded out of the scene, but while Peter Allen made money at the Grotto out of visitor's curiosity about Lady Williamson's disappearance, Wareham thought of a more fitting tribute. As a memento to his former master's kindness, he scratched out a white horse with tar and limewash for all to remember. LOCAL LIST




SOUTH TYNESIDE LOCAL LIST REVIEW 2011: REFERENCE NUMBER: LSHA/72/SS; Northern Archaeological Associates, 2015, The Cleadon Village Atlas; Janis Blower, 11 October 1990, Sad story of white horse, Cookson Country, Gazette, p 8

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