Tyne and Wear HER(5636): Gateshead, possible Early Medieval settlement - Details
Gateshead, possible Early Medieval settlement
No indisputable physical evidence for settlement at this period has been found, but the street name 'Bottle Bank' is suggestive of the Saxon word, botle meaning village habitation or dwelling. Other streetnames ending with 'gate' (Oakwellgate, Hillgate, St Mary Gate) and the name Gateshead itself, also suggest a pre-Conquest presence. The earliest recorded use of the placename 'Gateshead' occurs in Bede's Ecclesiastical History 653 AD, which mentions Adda the brother of "Utta… a renowned priest and abbot of Gateshead". No other documentary references to Utta or the monastery (HER 273) are known. The only possible indication of an early medieval, possibly pre-Conquest, origin for Gateshead is provided by a short length of curving, double ditch, located on the east side of Oakwellgate in 1999. The ditches may be part of a curvilinear enclosure extending from near the east end of Church Chare, across High Street, along Bailey Chare and swinging north-east along the line of Mirk Lane to Low Church Chare and around the north side of St Mary's Church. If such an enclosure exists, it may define a lay, or even the hypothetical monastic settlement.
<< HER 5636 >> E. MacKenzie, 1827, A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Town and Country of Newcastle, Vol 1, p 749 J.R. Boyle, 1890, Vestiges of Old Newcastle and Gateshead, p 223 B. Radice, (ed) 1968, Bede, A History of the English Church and People, p 177 H. Bourne, 1736, History of Newcastle J. Brand, 1789, History of Newcastle, Vol 1 J. Sykes, 1866, Local Records, Vols I and II, p 26 J. Nolan & J. Vaughan/Arcus, 2002, Excavations at the site of the Regional Music Centre, Oakwellgate, Gateshead, Draft Report; NPA, 2010, Gateshead Visitor Centre, St. Mary's Church, Gateshead - Archaeological evaluation, excavation and watching brief report