TYNEMOUTH, a municipal, county and parliamentary borough of Northumberland, England, including the townships of Chirton, Cullercoats, North Shields, Preston and Tynemouth. Pop. (1891), 46,588; (1901), 51,366. North Shields, Tynemouth and Cullercoats are successive stations on a branch of the NorthEastern railway. Tynemouth lies on the north bank of the Tyne, on a picturesque promontory, 85 m. E. of Newcastle. North Shields (q.v.) adjoins it on the W.; Chirton is to the W. again, and Preston to the N. of North Shields, while Cullercoats is on the coast ij m. N.N.W. of Tynemouth. Tynemouth is the principal watering-place on this part of the coast, and here and at Cullercoats are numerous private residences. On the point of the promontory there is a small battery called the Spanish battery, and near it is a monument to Lord Collingwood. Within the grounds, to which the gateway of the old castle gives entrance, are the ruins of the ancient priory of St Mary and St Oswin the principal remains being those of the church, which was a magnificent example of Early English work engrafted upon Norman. The priory and castle serve as the headquarters of the Tyne Submarine Engineers. The municipal buildings are in North Shields, which is also an important seaport. The coast is rocky and dangerous, but a fine pier protects the harbour (see NORTH SHIELDS). The municipal borough is under a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 4372 acres.
Tynemouth is supposed to have been a Roman station, from the discovery of Roman remains there, but its early history centres round the priory, supposed to have been founded by Edwin, king of Northumbria, between 617 and 633, and rebuilt by king Oswald in 634. In 651 it became famous as the burialplace of Oswin, king of Deira, afterwards patron saint of the priory. After the conquest Malcolm, king of Scotland, and Edward his son, who had been defeated and killed at Alnwick, were buried there. Earl Waltheof gave Tynemouth to the monks of Jarrow, and it became a cell to the church of Durham, but later, owing to a quarrel with the bishop, Robert de Mowbray granted it to the abbey of St Albans in Hertfordshire. The priory was probably fortified in Saxon times, and was strengthened by Robert de Mowbray so that it was able to sustain a siege of two months by William Rufus. After the Dissolution the fortifications were repaired by Henry VIII. In 1642 it was garrisoned for the king by the earl of Newcastle, but surrendered to parliament in 1644. It was converted into barracks at the end of the 18th century. Owing to their close proximity to Newcastle and to the ascendancy which the burgesses of that town had gained over the river Tyne, Tynemouth and North Shields did not become important until the 19th century; the privileges which they held before that time are contained in charters to the prior and convent, and include freedom from toll, etc., granted by King John in 1203-1204. In 1292 there were disputes between the citizens of Newcastle and the prior, who had built a quay at North Shields, but was obliged by act of parliament to destroy it. Edward IV. in 1463 confirmed the previous charters of the monks, and at the same time gave them and their tenants licence to buy necessaries from ships in the " port and river of Tyne," and to load ships with coal and salt " without hindrance from the men of Newcastle." After the Napoleonic wars the trade of North Shields rapidly increased. The borough was incorporated in 1849, and has returned one member to parliament since 1832. In 1279 the prior claimed a market at Tynemouth, but was not allowed to hold it; and in 1304 a fair, which had been granted to him in the preceding year, was withdrawn on the petition of the burgesses of Newcastle. A market and two fairs on the last Friday in April and the first Friday in November were established in 1802 by the duke of Northumberland. In the 17th century the chief industries were the salt and coal trades. The former, which has entirely disappeared, was the more important, and in 1635 the salt-makers of North and South Shields received an incorporation charter.
See Victoria County History, Northumberland; W. S. Gibson, The History of the Monastery founded at Tynemouth in the Diocese of Durham (1846-1847).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)