Tyne and Wear HER(5240): Gateshead, Windmill Hills, Civil War Camp - Details
Gateshead, Windmill Hills, Civil War Camp
Three days after the battle of Newburn Ford (28 August 1640) on the 31 August 1640, the Scottish commander General Alexander Leslie established his camp on 'Gateshead Hill', another name for the Windmill Hills. This was the beginning of the Scottish army's occupation of Newcastle. The Scots were back on Windmill Hills four years later, when the Earl of Callendar, having defeated the Royalists at Marston Moor, advanced from Usworth to Newcastle on the 27 July 1644. The Newcastle garrison took up position at the top of the hills and deterred an advance party of Callendar's troops. The following day the rest of the Scottish army drove the defenders from the hill, forcing them back across the bridge into Newcastle, thus beginning the siege which lasted until October 1644. Five batteries of artillery were erected by the Scots 'along the Bankhead'. These were assumed to have been sited on the Windmill Hills, but they were probably positioned on high ground closer to the riverside, spread out on the east and west sides of Gateshead town, rather than being concentrated on the west, which would have left much of Newcastle's Quayside inadequately covered. No evidence can be found to indicate the siting of any Civil War siegeworks on the Windmill Hills, although it is almost certain that at least one Scottish battery would have been placed in the vicinity to fire into the western parts of Newcastle. The vestry book of St Mary's records that the Scots destroyed the rectory and the church was left in a deplorable state. Durings the wars with France in the late 18th century and early 19th century the Windmill Hills were used as an exercise ground for the Gateshead Volunteers, formed 1797 and reconstituted in May 1803 under Robert Shafto Hawkes.
<< HER 5240 >> Northern Counties Archaeological Services, 1999, Windmill Hills, Town Park, Assessment of the Archaeological Potential; Northern Counties Archaeological Services, 2001, Riverview: Greenesfield, Gateshead, Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Statement in WSP Environmental Ltd. Environmental Statement