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Tyne and Wear HER(3945): Newcastle to Carlisle Road (Westgate Road/Hexham Road) - Details

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Newcastle to Carlisle Road (Westgate Road/Hexham Road)




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Documentary Evidence

Ancient routeway from Carlisle through a gap in the Pennines made by the River Tyne and following the Roman Wall into Newcastle.The first reference to "Westgate" is 1163-80). There was a Nevyll Inne on Westgate in 1441. It was important enough to merit a gateway in the town walls (the West Gate HER 1528) when they were built in the late C13. On the south side of Westgate was the Hospital of St Mary the Virgin of C12 date (HER 1502) and on the opposite side, was St John's Church (HER 1481). Bourne describes Westgate Street as "retired" (quiet) because there were no industries in this street. It was a residential street with large houses for the clergy and gentry (including the Earl of Westmorland and the Bishop of Carlisle, Lady Clavering, Utrick Whitfield Esq, Thomas Ord, Mr Abraham Dixon, George Grey). Construction of a toll road from Carlisle to Newcastle - commonly called the Military Road - on the same alignment as the ancient route, began in 1751. This was a belated response to the second Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, when a lack of servicable east-west communication prevented the Royal army based at Newcastle from relieving the beseiged town of Carlisle. Despite protests from the Antiquary William Stukely the road was partly built over Hadrian's Wall (which survives under Hexham Road and is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument). Within the medieval town walls the street became a prime residential area in the 18th century, attracting many grand houses and the new Assembly Rooms. Westgate Road is the only ancient radial road into Newcastle that still penetrates to the heart of the City, all others have been diverted by major road works in the later C20. Oliver describes Westgate Street as "long airy and genteel"




<< HER 3945 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, 1865, 6 inch scale, Northumberland 87 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, 1864, 6 inch scale, Northumberland, 97 Northern Counties Archaeological Services, 2001, Throckley Middle School, Hexham Road, Throckley, Archaeological Assessment J. C. Bruce, 1966, Handbook to the Roman Wall, 12th edition

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