Local History

Little is known about the parish in early pre-historic times. A flint core, dating back to the Mesolithic period, found on Wandylaw Moor is the earliest evidence of human activity in the parish.

Neolithic evidence is found in the form of rock carvings (cup and ring marked stones) which are also found upon Wandylaw Moor. A bronze axe and polished stone hammer are good evidence of bronze age inhabitants within the parish and the first signs of early agriculture is evident in the clearance of stones from fields - usually indicated by the piling of stones in the form of cairns some of which survive on Wandylaw Moor.

Beyond this into the Iron Age and Roman periods the parish has little evidence remaining but it is fair to assume that the area did not change much as the parish lies some 45 miles to the north of Hadrians Wall and thus was outside the influence of the empire.

Moving through into medieval times there is much evidence to confirm that the parish would have been well populated including several settlements at Ellingham, Tynely, Preston and Newham with the landscape being extensively farmed. Today the ridge and furrow fields can see be seen surrounding the village of Ellingham.

Into the 18th and 19th Centuries many smallholdings and farms were created and agriculture intensified within the parish increasing the prosperity of its inhabitants. Examples of these new farms and dwellings are Newham South Buildings, Wandylaw, Newham Hall and Preston Tower.

During this period other forms of commercial activity took place including coal workings on Wandylaw Moor, a millstone quarry and during the latter part of this period the rail network stretched into the parish with the opening of the line between Berwick upon Tweed and Newcastle upon Tyne - the station at Chathill is still operational today.

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