Northumberland History


Northumberland, England's northernmost county, is a land where Roman occupiers once guarded a walled frontier. In 793 Vikings landed on the island and burnt the settlement, killing many of the monks who had previously settled. The survivors, rebuilt the church and continued to live there until 883, when, through fear of a second invasion of the Danes, they fled inland, taking with them the body of Cuthbert and other holy relics.

The kingdom of Northumbria ceased to exist in 927, when it was incorporated into England as an earldom by Athelstan, the first king of a united England.

The Normans rebuilt the Anglian monasteries and founded Norman abbeys. Many castles were built. From the Norman Conquest until the union of England and Scotland under James I and VI, the Scots attempted invasion many times, causing devastation to the region. In 1513, King James IV of Scotland was slain in the battle of Flodden Field on Branxton Moor.

Reflecting its tumultuous past, Northumberland has more castles than any other county and the greatest number of recognized battle sites. It was once an economically important region that supplied much of the coal that powered the industrial revolution.