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Local Histories - K

Kenton

The discovery of some fifty Neolithic flints in 1978 (HER 4609) is the earliest recorded evidence for prehistoric human activity at Kenton. The first historic reference to Kenton is contained in a mid 12th century document stating that William of Newham gave Kenton (HER 1345) to his daughter. It was a member of the barony of Whalton, with six 6 taxpayers in 1296. The original shape of the hamlet is uncertain, but it was perhaps T-shaped, with a two-row layout at right-angles to another running southwards to the Town Moor. Other references to medieval Kenton include a late13th century windmill (HER 1346), a manor house (HER 1348) and a mid 14th century quarry which apparently remained in use until the mid-20th century (HER 1347) – Kenton Quarry (HER 4251), another early quarry site supplied material for the buildings of Grainger Town. Kenton has long been associated with mining. The remains of early mining exist on the adjacent Town Moor and major collieries are recorded there in the early 18th century. Mining continued in Kenton until well into the 20th century - the engine house known as Kenton Tower at the Kenton colliery was demolished in 1928 – and the sites of coal workings, engines and wagonways are shown on historic Ordnance Survey maps of the area (HER 3993, 4019,4247 and 4252). Kenton Lodge (HER 1872) was built in 1795 for John Graham Clarke, a local coal owner but in 1908 was replaced by the present neo-Georgian House. By the mid 19th century the medieval settlement had become elongated by the addition of post-medieval miners' dwellings, but on the fringes of the settlement farming continued alongside industrial practices – a number of 18th and 19th century farm complexes survive (e.g. HER 1934 and 5085). The recent history of Kenton is primarily as a residential centre serving Newcastle. Extensive housing estates, their associated public buildings – notably a Methodist chapel and Nat ional School - and an infrastructure of roads and services were built up to the mid-20th century in response to the housing demands of an increasing population during the industrial period. However there are a number of modern sites of cultural heritage importance, including the Kenton Bar Bunker (HER 5035) which was built in 1940 as a World War Two underground operations room and is now one of only five such well-preserved bunkers in the country (its sister-site, the filter room, survives at nearby Blakelaw). Pill boxes were also constructed in the same period (HER 5376-8), but do not survive.   

Kibblesworth     

The earliest recorded evidence of possible human activity at Kibblesworth is a single-ditched rectilinear enclosure visible on aerial photographs as a cropmark (HER 4843 and 4844). The first documentary reference to the name Kibblesworth (HER 648) is in a charter of Bishop Puiset, dated 1180, in which a Roger de Kibblesworth is named as a witness. In 1368 he died in possession of the ‘upper hall’ and half the vill, and his four heirs divided the property. The shape of the village, an irregular two-row plan with a green, is still apparent despite many later alterations. Ridge and Furrow cropmark features of medieval or later origin survive in places (HER 4611), although some of these remains have recently been partly built over. Moor Mill and Moor Mill Farm (HER 666 and 3769) are substantially 18th and 19th century in date, although the water mill at least may have its origins in the medieval period. Riding Farm (HER 972) also has medieval origins and a number of other farms in the vicinity, including Cooper House Farm (HER 4691) and Kibblesworth South and East farms farms may well also have origins earlier than their surviving structures suggest (HER 1928-9) – the latter has a date stone of 1744. Kibblesworth Colliery (HER 3770) opened in 1717 and mining continued in the area until the closure of Bewicke Main colliery in the 20th century. Traces of other industrial activities in the area are relatively slight (e.g. HER 1027) and, despite the development of some housing associated with the mining industry, Kibblesworth retained its rural character in the industrial period rather more than other parts of the county. Amongst later sites of interest, the remains of a rifle range (HER 5295) at Kibblesworth date to the early 20th century, predating the First World War, while the Second World War period is represented by a bombing decoy site.

Killingworth    

There is no recorded evidence for early human activity at, or in the immediate vicinity of Killingworth, although this is likely to be the result of lack of fieldwork opportunity in the area, rather than the absence of potential. The first documentary reference to Killingworth (HER 800) dates from 1242 when it was held by Roger de Merlay III. There were 9 taxpayers there in 1296, 8 in 1312, and 16 tenements are listed with the names of the owners or occupiers in a detailed survey of the whole township carried out in 1373. In the mid 19th century Killingworth was still a long, 2-row village with two or three farms on the north side of the street, strung out to the west of the junction of the Backworth road with that to Long Benton. A terrace of possible miners’ cottages had also been added by that time. Despite recent development it is still today identifiable as an early settlement, with a number of listed, 18th and 19th century, stone-built structures. Killingworth Common Fields (HER 801), enclosed in 1793, show evidence of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation features. Killingworth Moor (HER 1386), at that time unenclosed, was used to hold race meetings in conjunction with the Town Moor until 1794, after which the meetings were moved to Gosforth (in 1882). During the industrial age beginning in the late 18th century Killingworth became an important coalmining centre. A number of pits sprang up in the area (HER 1082, 1097 and 1103) opened along with brick and tile works (HER 1117, 1102 and 1092), quarries (HER 2160-1) and a saw mill (HER 1101). The collieries were was served by wagonways (HER 1083, 1091, 1098 and 2162), one of the earliest of whichserved Killingworth colliery and possible Bewick Pit, with its southern terminus at ‘Killingworth Staithes’, Wallsend (HER 2100) where there were at least four coal drops. The later history of Killingowrth is mainly as a residential district, although other sites of cultural heritage importance are recorded there, including a World War Two period supply depot (HER 1828).