Tyne and Wear HER(6569): Newcastle, The Close - Details
Newcastle, The Close
Road Transport Site
Documentary evidence suggests that the waterfront was not fully developed until the late 13th century/14th century. There is archaeological evidence to support the view that some reclamation was necessary before the two streets, The Close and the Quayside could be laid out in their present form. The Close was a true street with houses on both sides. The highway must have emerged between the date of two grants in 1230-40 and 1276-7. The document of 1276 relates to land lying between highway and river "in the Close". Levelling-up was necessary before building on the new street line. Even when completed, The Close led only to open ground at the Skinner Burn, and no medieval suburb seems to have developed outside Close Gate. It was connected to the upper part of the town by Tuthill Stairs, Long Stairs and Castle Stairs. The residents of The Close were wealthy "Gentlemen of Figure" (Bourne) - those of the post medieval period included Sir John Marly, Sir William Blackett, The Earl of Northumberland and Sir Mark Milbank. The houses were magnificent and grand, with large stately rooms. Opposite Tuthill Stairs was the Mansion House, the official House of the Mayors of Newcastle. At the Close Gate end of the street there was factory belonging to a Mr Thomlinson, a pot-house belonging to Mr Joseph Blenkinsop and Ralph Harl, and a glas-house belonging to Mr Dagley and Co (see also HER 5069 and 5076).
H. Bourne, 1736, History of Newcastle; B. Harbottle and P. Clack, 1976, Newcastle upon Tyne: Archaeology and Development, in D.W. Harding (ed), 1976, Archaeology in the North; Jack and John Leslie, 2001, Bygone West Quayside & The Close; Barbara Harbottle, 2009, The Medieval Archaeology of Newcastle in Diana Newton and AJ Pollard (eds), 2009, Newcastle and Gateshead before 1700, pages 29-30, 31; R. Fraser et al, 1995, Excavation on the Site of the Mansion House, Newcastle, 1990, Archaeologia Aeliana, 5th Series, Vol. 23 (1995), pp 145-213; Newcastle Courant 8 December 1865, p 5 'Newcastle Town Council - The Widening of The Close'; J. Slade's notes on The Close (held by HER); North Country Lore & Legend, Vol 3, p 351 and Vol 2, 9 418; Welford, History of Newcastle and Gateshead, Vol 2, p 258-9; Archaeologia Aeliana 3rd Series, Vol XIII, p 49-50