Local Historical Stories

A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL ARTICLES THAT FIRST APPEARED IN THE ALSTON MOOR NEWSLETTER

INTRODUCTION
Early in 1996 Alastair Robertson - one of our local historians was asked if he would write a couple of historical articles for the Alston Moor Newsletter. He thought he could manage three or four but in the event, over 20 years later, they were still going. Once, and only once, he received an unsolicited article from an outside source, this was the reminiscence of a school for wartime evacuees at Nent Hall that came from Mr. Michael Dickinson and it was gratefully included in the series.

They’re a real mixed bag, too random to put into a book, but they’re still worth keeping in a more permanent form, so the Historical Society website seemed the perfect place to have them.

Material for the articles came largely from local sources, from the Alston Moor Historical Society Archives, St. Augustine’s Church Records, Alston Library, the Cumbria County Records Office in Carlisle and the County Records Office Northumberland.

There has been editing in some cases that will be noted at the beginning of each item, otherwise the articles have been left as they were written, complete with occasional references to such things as cement lorries, the millennium, and foot and mouth disease, which are themselves now things of the past (?).
Read on …


Story No 11: The Alston with Garrigill Workshouse

Alston Workhouse
The Alston with Garrigill Workhouse. A place to house the elderly and poor and make the idle realise the error of their ways……… Established in 1739 by overseers of the Parish……..
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Story No 12: Lord Alston of Nenthead

Lord Alston
“Lord Alston of Nenthead in the County of Cumberland”, on account of family associations with Alston many years ago; and expressing the hope that his assumption of this title would be agreeable to the town of Alston.”
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Story No 13: Alston Moor - Or is it?

Stacks Image 308638
ALSTON MOOR - OR IS IT?

Alastair Robertson writes: When I first came to live in Alston I lived at Hundy Cottage on Front Street and I was puzzled by the name ‘Hundy’. I asked my landlady, the late Gertrude Maddison, if she knew what ‘Hundy’ meant. Gertrude didn’t know for certain, but at one of the Historical Society meetings, the speaker had given a talk on place names, and she had asked him. He hadn’t known off hand, but promised to try to find out for her. Some time later, she received a letter from him, saying that the best explanation he could give was that the word ‘Hundy’ came from old Norse, and could mean “the clearing in the woods where the hounds were kept”.
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Do you have a historical story of your own or that you know of ? Please contact us to share it with the Society!

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Story No 14: Priorsdale

Stacks Image 308590
Alston Moor is a bit of a one-off in many respects. In administrative terms, for example, it is mainly covered by Cumbria, but two other counties, Northumberland and Durham, have a hand in it. Within this anomalous area lies another anomaly - Priorsdale: At least it was so until the eighteenth century..……..
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Story No 15: Four Dargue, Five Dargue, Six Dargue, More

Dargues
FOUR DARGUE, FIVE DARGUE, SIX DARGUE, MORE

It’s not often that the origin of a place name can be dated to within a few years, but with Four Dargue, a ruined steading above Banks Farm near Alston, we can do just that.

To begin with, what is this strange word, “dargue”? Is it French? Did somebody have a disagreement, a “darguement” about it in the past? The answer is neither. It is pronounced “darg” and comes from the Anglo-Saxon ‘doeg-weorc’, meaning a day’s work………….
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Story No 16: Home thought from abroad

Australia
This was going to be a general article about emigration from Alston Moor, but when it came to selecting extracts from the following letter from the Alston Moor Historical Society Archives, I (Alastair Robertson) couldn’t do it, because the whole letter is so interesting…………….
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Story No 17: The Alston Clockmakers

Stacks Image 308705
THE ALSTON CLOCKMAKERS

High up and surrounded by hills, Alston Moor could be regarded as England’s equivalent of the Swiss Alps, and the similarity does not end there, because Alston Moor was once the abode of clockmakers……………
Read more - click below
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Story No 18: Alston's Bank Raid

Alston Market Place

ALSTON BANK RAID; 3 DEATHS



Shot manager dies: gunman kills himself in car

The Alston bank manager shot dead in a raid yesterday died shortly after the gunman killed himself in a taxi he had hired.

The three dead are Mr. A.J. Steel (59), the bank manager; Mr. Ernest Ingram of Front Street, Sacriston, the taxi-driver; and Charles Corbett Kennedy (24), of Thorp Avenue, Morpeth, the gunman…………
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Story No 19: Millennia

Stacks Image 308753
The turn of the Millenium seems so far away now; we’re quite familiar with the not-so-new century. At the time of writing in 1999 it was interesting to look back a hundred years to the previous century.

The mention of cement lorries shows an aspect of history that was once part of our own daily lives, and now banks are even a thing of the past, something which would have been unimaginable not too long ago……….
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Story No 20: Mediaeval Gravestones Of Alston Moor

medieaval gravestones
During the filming of Dicken’s Oliver Twist in Alston in 1991, Peter Ryder, a Northumberland-based archaeologist, had to be called in to oversee the digging of a false grave in St. Augustine’s churchyard. In the event, a real unmarked grave was found, so, in order to leave the bones undisturbed, only a shallow grave could be dug on that spot for the film set. The bones that were uncovered, incidentally, would have been of no one that we knew since the last interment was in 1860.
We need photographs to illustrate these posts. Do you have something suitable? If so, and you are happy to share it, please upload it in the box at the bottom of the page.

Do you have a historical story of your own or that you know of ? Please contact us to share it with the Society!

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We are adding a story every few weeks, so bookmark this page to come back for more………..


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We would appreciate any contribution you could give us to help us with our work.
About Us
Alston Moor Historical Society was founded in 1973 and, due to the nature of Alston Moor, it is a member of both the Northumberland Association of Local History Societies and the Cumbria Federation of Local History Societies.
Alston Moor Historical Society
LOCATION
Alston Moor, Cumbria
Alston Moor Historical Society - Alston Stories