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Hexham (/ˈhɛksəm/ HEKS-əm) is a market toon and civil parish i Northumberland, England, on the sooth bank o the River Tyne, formed by the confluence o the North Tyne and the Sooth Tyne at Warden, near Hadrian's Waa. Hexham wes the administrative centre for the Tynedale district frae 1974 te 2009. I 2011, it had a population o 13,097.[1]

Smaaer toons and villages aroond Hexham includes Corbrig, Ridin Mill, Stocksfield and Wylam te the east, Acomb and Bellingham te the north, Allendale te the sooth and Haydon Brie, Bardon Mill and Haltwhistle te the west. Newcassel upon Tyne is 25 mi te the east and Carlisle 37 mi te the west.


The name Hexham derives frae the Awd English Hagustaldes ea and later Hagustaldes ham at the modren form (wi the "-ham" element) derives frae. Hagustald is related te the Old High German hagustalt, denotin a younger son at takes land ootside the settlement; the element ea means "stream" or "river" and ham is the Awd English form o the Modren English "home" (and the Scots and Northern English "hame").[2][3]


Hexham Abbey originated as a monastery foonded by Wilfrid in 674. The crypt o the original monastery survives, and incorporates mony stanes taen frae the Roman ruins nearby, aiblins frae Corbrig or Hadrian's Waa.[4]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Manuscript D: Cotton Tiberius B IV) records the murder o King Ælfwald by Sicga at Scythlecester (at may be modren Chesters) on 23 September 788:

This year Alfwald, king o the Northumbrians, wes slain by Siga, on the ninth[5] day afore the calends o October; and a hivenly leet wes often seen on the spot where he wes slain. He was baried at Hexham i the church.[6]
Her wæs Alfwald Norðhymbra cyning ofslægen fram Sigan on .viiii. Kalendas Octobris, 7 heofonlic leoht wæs lome gesewen þær þær he ofslægen wæs, 7 he wæs bebyrged on Hagustaldesee innan þære cyrican.

Like mony towns i the Anglo-Scottish border area and adjacent regions, Hexham suffered frae the border wars atween the kingdoms o Scotland and England, includin attacks frae William Wallace at burnt the toon i 1297. I 1312, Robert the Bruce, King o Scotland, demanded and received £2000 frae the toon and monastery se they may be spared frae the same fate. I 1346 the monastery wes sacked iv a later invasion led by King David II o Scotland.[7]

I 1464 durin the Wars o the Roses, the Battle o Hexham wes fowt somewhere te the sooth o the toon; the actual site is disputed. The defeated Lancastrian commander, Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke o Somerset, wes executed i Hexham marketplace. There is a legend that Queen Margaret o Anjou teuk refuge efter the battle i what is knawn as The Queen's Cave, where she wes accosted biv a robber; the legend formed the basis for an 18th-century play by George Colman the Younger (The Battle o Hexham); but it hes been established that Queen Margaret had fled te France by the time the battle teuk place. The Queen's Cave itsel is on the sooth side o the West Dipton Burn, te the soothwest o Hexham.[8]

St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Hexham

Until 1572, Hexham wes the administrative centre o the former Liberty or Peculiar o Hexhamshire.[9][10]

In 1715, James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl o Derwentwater, raised the standard for James Francis Edward Stuart i Hexham Market place.[11]

"Hexham" wes used i the Borders as a euphemism for "Hell". Hence the term "Te Hexham wi you an yer whussel!", recorded i 1873, and the popular expression "Gang te Hexham!".[12] "Hexham-birnie" is derived frae the term and means "an indefinitely remote place".[12]

Hexham riot[edit]

I 1761, the Hexham Riot teuk place i the Market Place when a crood protestin aboot changes te the criteria for sarvin i the militia wes fired upon by troops frae the North Yorkshire Militia. 45 protesters wes killed, earnin the Militia the sobriquet o The Hexham Butchers.[13]

Notable buildings[edit]

Hexham's airchitectural landscape is dominated by Hexham Abbey. The current church largely dates frae c. 1170–1250, i the Early English Gothic style ov airchitecture. The choir, north and sooth transepts and the cloisters, where canons studied and meditated, is aa frae this period.[14]

The abbey stands at the west end o the market place, at is hame te the Shambles, a covered market beelt by Sir Walter Blackett i 1766; it is a Grade II* listed beeldin.[15]

The Old Gaol

At the east end o the market place stands the Moot Haa, originaly commissioned as a gatehoose at wes pairt o the defences o the toon. The Moot Haa, at is considered ane o the best examples ov a medieval courthoose i Northren England,[16] is a Grade I listed building.[17]

The Awd Gaol, ahint the Moot Haa on Haagates, wes ane o the furst purpose-beelt jails iv England. It wes beelt atween 1330 and 1333 and is a Grade I listed beeldin.[18]

The Leazes on Shaws Lane is a Grade II listed mansion beelt i 1853 by John Dobson for William Kinsopp.[19]

The Queen's Hall

Hexham Library and the Queen's Haa Airt Centre can baith be fund i the Queen's Haa, completed i 1866. The beeldin contains the Brough Local Studies Collection at is the second-largest local history collection i the county.[20][21]

Dare Wilson Barracks, the hame ov X Company, 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, wes completed i 1891.[22]


Hexham is i the parliamentary constituency ov Hexham. Guy Opperman hes been the member o parliament for Hexham sin May 2010. The toon comes under Northumberland Coonty Cooncil and contains three wards: Hexham Central wiv Acomb, Hexham East and Hexham West.

  1. "Northumberland Knowledge Census Fact Sheet".
  2. Northumberland Place-Names, by Stan Beckensall, Butler Publishing 2004, Template:ISBN
  3. "Northern English – Cambridge University Press".
  4. Graham, Frank (1992). Hexham and Corbridge: a Short History and Guide. Thropton, Rothbury, Northumberland: Butler Publishing, 2, 4, 5. ISBN 0-946928-19-3. 
  5. By modren coontin, the 8th day afore. By Roman coontin the xth day was (y-x+1) days afore the yth day: see Roman calendar#Months.
  6. Kirby, pp. 153–154; Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Ms. D, s.a. 789.
  7. "Neville's Cross Campaign 1346". Battlefields Trust.
  8. Ordnance Survey OL43 map, 'Hadrian's Wall'.
  9. "Journal of the House of Lords May 1572".
  10. "Journal of the House of Commons May 1572".
  11. Gibson, William Sidney (1850). Dilston hall; or, Memoirs of James Radcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater. Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 58. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Roxburghshire word-book: being a record of the special vernacular vocabulary of the county of Roxburgh, with an appendix of specimens by George Watson, The University Press, 1923. p. 170
  13. "Hexham Riot".
  14. Template:NHLE
  15. Template:NHLE
  16. Arnold, Howard, Litton (2004). "Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers from the Moot Hall, Market Place, Hexham. Historic England Research Report 41/2004".
  17. Template:NHLE
  18. Template:NHLE
  19. Template:NHLE
  20. "Hexham Library". Northumberland Life.
  21. "Hexham Library". Northumberland County Council.
  22. "4th Battalion, The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers". Regiments.org.