Famous Names in North East England

Published: 25 April 1999

St Aidan brought the Christian Gospel to Northumbria in 635, and with his successors St Cuthbert and St Bede, the region became a centre of learning. During Tudor times, the Border became almost a separate state with its own laws to control constant unrest between the English and the Scots. The direct ancestors of American President George Washington lived at Washington Old Hall. Thomas Bewick,Captain Cook and Lord Armstrong are famous for wood engraving, exploration and inventions.

St Aidan brought the Christian Gospel to Northumbria in 635, and with his successors St Cuthbert and St Bede, the region became a centre of learning. During Tudor times, the Border became almost a separate state with its own laws to control constant unrest between the English and the Scots. The direct ancestors of American President, George Washington, lived at Washington Old Hall. Thomas Bewick, Captain Cook and Lord Armstrong are famous for wood engraving, exploration and inventions.

One of the holiest sites of Anglo-Saxon England, St Aidan founded a monastery at Lindisfarne when he brought Christianity to North East England in 635. The famous Lindisfarne Gospel originated here. Now in the British Library, these are unique illuminated manuscripts with complex and colourful designs. Award winning site museum.

The tombs of St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede are at Durham Cathedral. The Treasury contains relics of St Cuthbert, embroidered vestments, the 11th century sanctuary knocker, manuscripts, altar plate and seals. The Cathedral is a World Heritage Site, noted for its striking Norman architecture.

Bede (673-735) was one of Europe’s greatest scholars.Bedes World explores his life and achievements. You can see St Paul’s Church and Monastic Site, exhibits about early Northumberland and the monasteries in the new museum, and a recreated Anglo-Saxon farm with rare breeds and replica buildings.

Meet the colourful and violent Border families of the 15th and 16thcenturies. The Border History Museum displays in the Old Gaol introduce the Wardens who tried to control the Border Reivers who crossed the border to steal cattle and sheep, burn, pillage and collect their “blackmail” from the families who lived under their protection.

Washington Old Hall, a small 17th century Manor House, includes the 12th century remains of the home of George Washington’s direct ancestors. It was from here that they adopted their surname Washington.

James Cook the explorer was born at Marton, Middlesbrough, in 1728. The museum describes his life and times, and his 3 epic voyages to Australia, the Antarctic and the Bering Sea. There is a collection of ethnography from Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Canada.

Thomas Bewick, Northumbria’s greatest artist, wood engraver and naturalist, was born at Cherryburn in 1753. Alongside exhibitions of his work and life, there are demonstrations of wood engraving, printing and bookbinding.

Cragside, the Victorian mansion built for the 1st Lord Armstrong, is a showcase of Victorian art,architecture and technology. Lord Armstrong made his fortune in engineering and used many innovations at Cragside; the house was the first in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity, which was produced on the estate.