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Malcolm Robinson

The 'nail.'

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Lost in the mists of time. The Nail is almost as far as it goes in the "history books".

It has been moved (twice?) though. All in the spirit of civic vandalism which always seems to have permeated the place. "List" what's of no particular historic interest, and destroy the actual heritage in the name of progress - which in the end never happens - has long been the game. Unsurprising when you note the sort of people that have formerly been put in charge! Planning Department! The Third Reich would have done a better job, and destroyed far less!

So, I suppose we just have to be thankful that it's still there at all. I seem to remember Mrs Potts (Independent Councillor, and then Post Mistress) had a lot to do with it being saved from "the planners".

I never understood why Trotter's Memorial had to be sidelined. It's not as if the Front Street at that point wasn't more than wide enough. And, it was a very distinctive symbol of the Town; you knew you'd arrived in Bedlington. But the world needed another large roundabout - presumably to cope with the huge volume of traffic routing to our prosperous shops? Then another change in policy and the bypass. Or was it that someone who could, woke up one morning and did? Certainly I'm not aware of anyone who had to live with this being consulted!

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I remember asking something similar years ago, can't remember the exact details but from what I do remember, it's history has something to do with the saying "pay on the nail". Don't know if this was truth or not however.

If anyone can enlighten I for one would be interest to know (again, cos me memory is lousy)

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That's about what "the books" say Andy. But in the end it's speculation; there's no real evidence anywhere anyone seems to be aware of. Bit like William Shakespeare really; but don't let the S on A tourist trade hear you say that! wink.gif

The Michael Longridge history is far better documented, and more socially relevant. But, guess what happened to the heritage he left the town?

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If we can go back to around 900AD in recorded history and find Bedlington already as a place name why can't I find it in the Doomsday Book?

If Bishop Walcher was granted rights by Willian the BXXXXXXd over it, surly it follows it must have been substantial and if so would have been included in his tax assessment?

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Wasn't there one school of thought that said there may have been a Celtic cross on top of the upright?

Was this before or after the Martians placed their homing beacon in it? ;)

If we can go back to around 900AD in recorded history and find Bedlington already as a place name why can't I find it in the Doomsday Book?

If Bishop Walcher was granted rights by Willian the BXXXXXXd over it, surly it follows it must have been substantial and if so would have been included in his tax assessment?

Are you complaining that we've been passed over for taxation? blink.gif Think we are about to play catch-up here! mellow.gif

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Was this before or after the Martians placed their homing beacon in it? ;)

Are you complaining that we've been passed over for taxation? blink.gif Think we are about to play catch-up here! mellow.gif

Don't think we have ever been missed on the taxation front GGG!

I just don't understand why what must have been a substantial settlement looks to have been missed out in the records? Bedlington as a place was mentioned in 915AD so unless those pesky Martians put a force field around it how come it doesn't seem to be listed in 1086AD

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That's about what "the books" say Andy. But in the end it's speculation; there's no real evidence anywhere anyone seems to be aware of. Bit like William Shakespeare really; but don't let the S on A tourist trade hear you say that! wink.gif

The Michael Longridge history is far better documented, and more socially relevant. But, guess what happened to the heritage he left the town?

GGG

I asked on here when it was the 'old'* site, and really can't remember who it was who said it. So can't remember if it was quoted what they said, or where the info was from.

* About 12-13 years ago

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...

I just don't understand why what must have been a substantial settlement looks to have been missed out in the records? Bedlington as a place was mentioned in 915AD so unless those pesky Martians put a force field around it how come it doesn't seem to be listed in 1086AD

Well, as I remember, it's in my historical atlas on a couple of distant dates (at least once as Belintun ?) but there definitely is a distinctive force-field shown around the place too - an ecclesiastical one!

Maybe yours say Printed in Assintun?

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it wants pulled down! you could fit 4 cars on there! :D

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it wants pulled down! you could fit 4 cars on there! :D

Nah, if it's pulled down it'll become a hairdressers, solicitors or takeaway

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I remember asking something similar years ago, can't remember the exact details but from what I do remember, it's history has something to do with the saying "pay on the nail". Don't know if this was truth or not however.

If anyone can enlighten I for one would be interest to know (again, cos me memory is lousy)

Theres

nothing definite for sure on this piece of history. Its a shame really. However, i can confirm that many a great speech was done from this spot and it got the attraction for the narrator. Thomas Burt i can say was one of them.

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Hmmm, well nothing for sure, but just think, the cross is actually a NAIL, upside down, and that is facts. Could it have been that in the past farmers, being a very old profession, brought their livestock to this place and others bought their livestock by paying on that spot, The Nail. Or, had it anything to do with the nailers who had premises not only in the town but the Furnace. In the town Gibson was a prominent business for that. I just don't know until some proof comes forward and it aint yet. In the past many a great speech was done from that spot. I have records of a good few prominent people who did from that spot. Its true that the Market Cross has been moved, but only once do i have written proof of it. Think when Bedlington was being developed. Firstly the side where the Market Cross was removed from, and for those who do not know, i am actually talking about the Market Place Club, was a quarry, as was all the way on that side. The stone was used to build the buildings we have on other side of the road. I can say for sure that the Market Cross was beside the Market Place Club at one time as i only have records to say that, but not twice. The Market Place Club was actually built on the site of the old Quarry. However, and it would be nice to say for sure, but when we talk about Market Place, it means that, and farmers did bring their livestock to the Market to sell. It was the same at Morpeth too, and that is facts that are proven.

Sadly we aint got the proof and its a mystery, but we have our opinions. I can also say about the Market Place that in the past there was stocks and pillories there. What a subject now. If you did wrong you were put in either of these and the locals would throw dead mice, rats, stones at you if you were in them. I got proof of that. And, many an eye was put out to with this barbaric action too. There is also the old Pele Tower and it had its gaol. But what really intrigues me is in memoirs which i have i can say that when you were arrested for being drunk, you were put in what the called a "Drunkards Cloak" This was a beer barrel that had two holes cut in the side. Then it was put over the drunks head, his arms put through and chained to stop him/her escaping. They were then left to roam the town and were laughed at by people in the community. Maybe David Cameron should bring back that instead of thinking about putting the price of alcohol up by the minimum charge per unit for this binge drinking and getting drunk. I think that would stop it as i am sure non of us would like going around the town in a beer barrel. Just think if someone asked you to pee in the corner to relieve yourself, haha, that would be something wouldn't it ?

well that's it basically, hope we can get proof on its origins, but i have looked for many years to no avail.

Lets start a new topic, What was the purpose of Pele Towers and we had one at Bedlington ? I know and you may too, but lets have a conversation on that, and we could expand it a little more as we talk about it. I have so much information on Bedlington Pele Tower and i think it will be of interest to talk about it. Lets have some views on it from our members and i will add some info later on it.

Hope i have helped a little here and hope i don't bore you, but isn't it nice to talk about our heritage ? I am a lousy speaker at events,I think i am, but on this superb forum its so much easier as i don't face anyone its me and the computer screen, haha

Get some pics online and if your not sure what they are we maybe get some answers. If someone explains how to add video content, i will get some online too. I just found out by a nice member how to add pics and have succeeded in the Barrington topics. I thank him very much for his help.

Take care all and get some topics going we are running out.

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Malcolm have a look on our website at http://www.sixtownships.org.uk

Go to our archives and Our Colliery Villages from 1873 and choose Bedlington and see what was said about the Market Cross then and Bedlington as a whole. We are now beginning to put all our archives online for everyone and all free. It'll be a huge collection too and take the best part of this year and maybe longer. The Forum is up and running too. Just register and get instant access Malcolm.

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The Market Cross stood on the opposite side to where it is now. In this writting i have it was moved in 1782.

Mary Wade, busy reading her memoirs at moment, said that "Nobody seems to have an authentic story of its origins, but history has it that it was indeed rebuilt a hundred years ago, 1884, It was also reputed to have been the resting place for the body of St. Cuthbert while en route for buriel at Durham.

"A huge grey stone base built fairly high above the ground, holds the tapered column which is featured on so many old photographs. The Cross has been a landmark for many generations, but it is interesting to locals to see how the background to old pictures has changed, even over a compararatively short piece of time.

"At the east facing side of the column there are a few steps up to a type of platform. As children, we could never pass the Cross without mounting the steps and trying to jump from the highest point. Quite a lot of promising preachers and poloticians have delivered a speech from the famous spot."

Just an interesting piece for the members to reflect upon of its origins i thought.

Really enjoying reading these memories. A little at a time and i am finding it so full of information on Bedlington.

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An interesting article from 1920 gives an insight into some of the history connected with Bedlington Market Cross. This is what was said.

Passing the old market cross the other evening, I noticed a crowd which was being addressed by speakers, men and women of the Unionist Labour Party. There was nothing noteworthy about the meeting save the unmoved and evidently indifferent attitude of the audience.

How different to the meetings of the former days! The old cross, which has stood there for centuries, would seem to have been designed for the benefit of the orators, for at its expansive base there is a broad stone platform where a dozen people may be comfortably placed.

What interesting reminiscences might be recalled at this spot? Here stood Joseph Cowan, who poured forth his rugged eloquence when he had for associates Orsine and Mazzini, who were heroes with the old Bedlington Radicals.

It was also from this cross that the Franchise Association was launched, which was the precursor of the great agitation for the extension of the suffrage.

Here it was where Alderman Fairbairn proposed the resolution that Mr. Thomas Burt be asked to go to Parliament, and the motion was carried with enthusiasm, and many a time and oft has the venerable leader of the miners spoken there.

Thomas Glassey, who was a Bedlington miner and became a Queensland Senator, the late Dr. James Trotter, and John Bryson, the eloquent miners' leader, were to stand on this spot, and talk.

Many a noisy and turbulent scene was seen thirty years ago when Home Rule for Ireland was the theme, for it was in this locality where the first Home Rule Association in Great Britain was formed, when Isaac Butt was leader of the Irish Parliamentary party when Bedlington was the centre of Radicalism in the North of England.

The thing that strikes one now is the quiescence of the crowd, who display no feeling, hostile or favourable, but listen in stoned silence, which is a contrast to the old order of meetings held at the historic cross.

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The Market Cross at Otterburn is very similar to that of Bedlington.

It is said that it was a medievil custom to erect a cross marking the place where the coffin of an important person rested each night

on its homeward journey.

Its very interesting to know, but could the body of St. Cuthbert have been laid where the Market Cross was originally.

We may never know, but this medievil custom gives a interesting point of discussion.

If it is true, could the original Cross have been made of wood ?

We know for sure that the original St. Cuthberts was made of wattle and daub.

The wattle is made of thin branches or slats in upright stakes.

The wattle is then daubed with some sticky material like mud, clay, sand or animal dung combined with straw.

This method is still in use today in certain countries not well off, and has been in use for over 6000 years.

As i say, we know that the original church was built this way, but could a certain Cross have been made this way as it was a medievil custom ?

Then as the years went by a more purpose built Cross may have been built as we know it today.

But, just think about this medievil custom of building a Cross where a body was laid on its way home ?

You never know, we can't say for sure, but it does look plausible to me now.

As i say, we may never know, but with what Mary Wade said in her memories this could well be the purpose of the Cross.

No one has ever put this medievil practice to me before, and its just with this topic on the Cross that i have began to look further afield on my

quest for an answer.

What do the members think of this now.

Lets know, and you never know we could well come up with the answer, thats if it hasn't been solved now by knowing about this medievil custom.

It really makes me believe it more now, but i will keep looking to see if there is anything else i can come up with.

But, hey, St. Cuthbert, what an important person he was, and this really has me buzzing now.

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