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Warkworth

WARKWORTH, a small town in the Wansbeck parliamentary division of Northumberland, England, 32 m. N. of Newcastleupon-Tyne by the North-Eastern railway. Pop. (1901) 712. It is beautifully situated in a hollow of the river Coquet, if m. above its mouth, where on the S. bank is AMBLE, an urban district (pop. 4428), with a harbour. An ancient bridge of two arches crosses the river, with a fortified gateway on the road mounting to the castle, the site of which is surrounded on three sides by the river. Of this Norman stronghold there are fine remains, including walls, a gateway and hall; while the remainder, including the Lion tower and the keep, is of the 13th and 14th centuries. Roger Fitz-Richard held the manor and probably built the earliest parts of the castle in the reign of Henry II. The lordship came to the Percies in Edward III.'s reign and is still held by their descendants the dukes of Northumberland, though it passed from them temporarily after the capture of the castle by Henry IV. in 1405, and again on the fall of the house of Lancaster. The foundation of Warkworth church is attributed to Ceolwulf, king of Northumbria (c. 736), who subsequently became a monk. It was the scene of a massacre by a Scottish force sent by William the Lion in 1 1 74. The church is principally of Norman and Perpendicular work, but remains of the Saxon building have been discovered. In the vicinity are remains of a Benedictine priory of the 13th century. By the side of the Coquet above the castle is the Hermitage of Warkworth. This remarkable relic consists of an outer portion built of stone, and an inner portion hewn from the steep rock above the river. This inner part comprises a chapel and a smaller chamber, both having altars. There is an altar-tomb with a female effigy in the chapel. From the window between the inner chamber and the chapel, and from other details, the date of the work may be placed in the latter part of the 14th century, the characteristics being late Decorated. The traditional story of the origin of the hermitage, attributing it to one of the Bertrams of Bothal Castle in this county, is told in Bishop Percy's ballad The Hermit of Warkworth (1771). At Amble are ruins of a monastic toll-house, where a tax was levied on shipping; and Coquet Island, i m. off the mouth of the river, was a monastic resort from the earliest times, like the Fame and Holy Islands farther north. The harbour at Amble has an export trade in coal and bricks, coal and fireclay being extensively worked in the neighbourhood, and an import trade in timber.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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