IN THE VERY EARLY
Amongst the earliest evidence of human
activity in this area are the cup and
ring carvings at Jacks Rock, near
Morwick. These markings are
thought to be late Neolithic. An artists
impression (pictured right) shows
carvers at work.
Human bones from the Bronze Age were
found in a field near Barnhill. A
spearhead belonging to an Ancient Briton
was found at Acklington Park. A
prehistoric Iron Age settlement existed
at the Chester House farmstead area.
Rake Lane runs through
the parish and is almost certainly a
relic of the Roman Road which connected
Druridge Bay to The Devil’s Causeway
(one of the main Roman Roads in the
north of Britain). The Romans used
Druridge Bay as a port for landing
supplies for the soldiers stationed in
this part of Northumberland.
Locals today often refer to Rake Lane as
"Green Lane" - and looking at the
picture opposite it is not hard to see
Ever since the sons of an
Aeccel built homes for their
families on an area of land, slightly
higher than the boggy land which partly
surrounded it, there has been a village
at Acklington. The sons farmed the land
and it is believed their home became
known as Aecceley or Acley.
As the village grew the name of the site
changed to Acleytun then
Akleton and over the years to
Finally the present day name of
Acklington evolved and, for the time
being at least, that is what the village
and our parish is called.
It is only since
Anglo-Saxon times that accurate records
have been kept about our Parish.
We know that in 1147 a priory was
founded at Brainshaugh for nuns who
belonged to the Premonstratensian Order.
The chapel ruins are still visible
(pictured left) but all other buildings
survive only as buried foundations. The
chapel was dedicated to St Wilfred of
Gysnes and the nearby village adopted
the name “Gysnes” which later
became “Guyson” and then changed
over the years to “Guizance” and
IN THE MIDDLE AGES.....
The coming of the Normans helped conditions
to improve very slowly. When Warkworth Castle
was built in the 12th Century, Acklington and
Guyzance fell into the hands of the Norman
family Clavering and the villagers became bond
tenants of the Lords of Warkworth (first
Claverings and the Percies).
This meant that the tenants had to pay
rent to the Lords and to work for the
Lords by carrying out jobs such as
harvesting and carrying loads of
firewood to Warkworth.
There is a fairly full account of the
village in the archives of Alnwick
Castle. In 1248 there were 21 Bond
Tenants of Acklington each holding 30
acres. They were allowed to farm this
land, but there were certain conditions,
an annual rent of three shillings and
sixpence had to be paid;
tenants had to keep some of the Lords
horses and cattle on their land;
they had to work for the Lord for
three days per week;
they had to provide a fowl or 1d to the Lord at Christmas.
During the 14th Century the Scots
proved very troublesome. They raided
Northumberland frequently, carrying off anything
of value. This was usually sheep and cattle for
the cottages had nothing else worth taking.
These times were very dangerous and the only
place of safety was the castle at Warkworth. If
the villagers knew in time that the Scots were
coming they could drive their animals to the
castle for safety. Then the Scots set fire to
the cottages of Acklington. The village suffered
badly in 1316 at the hands of Robert the Bruce
and in 1342 at the hands of King David. On both
occasions Northumberland was devastated. Crops
were stolen or destroyed and people were so near
starvation that they ate cats and dogs. As a
result of the devastation, nine of Acklington’s
farms lay waste for some years.
Farming has always been the staple
economic activity within the parish. In 1567
there were 17 tenant farmers holding 30 acres of
land and 8 cottage tenants holding land from
quarter of an acre up to 6 acres. Gradually the
farms were grouped together and by about 1800
there were 7 farms around Acklington village, as
follows: Chester House, Cavil Head, Whirleyshaws,
Field House, Town Farm, Coal Houses and
Cavil Head means the head of the cavils,
strips of land given to or cavilled among the
early settlers. Coal Houses got its name
from the then adjacent pit.
From the introduction of
Christianity in this district until 1859,
Acklington was in the parish of Warkworth.
During this period inhabitants went to Warkworth
Church where they were also christened, married
and buried. At funerals, those who could not
walk all the way to Warkworth would walk with
the corpse as far as the Lower Well Tree (the
tree and the well are now gone). Matthew Purvis
wrote a poem called “The La’ Well Tree” in 1858,
just a few years before his own corpse was
carried past the La’ Well Tree on its way to its
last resting place. There is an inscription to
him on a gravestone in Warkworth churchyard.
A few years after the death of Matthew Purvis,
Acklington finally had its own church. The
church was erected in 1861, from designs by
James Deason, at the Duke of Northumberland’s
expense. There is much more about the
history of Acklington Church under the "Recent