Border Villages.  



Two miles north west of Bellingham Charlton is situated on the unclassified road on the north side of the North Tyne River.

Map ref: 80 810 849


At nearby Hesleyside there was a strong tower built in the 16th century.

At one time, it garrisoned 50 men ready to repel the Scots.

Charltons, one of the foremost reiving families in Tynedale lived here and it is said that, on one occasion, when the larder was empty, the squire’s wife presented her husband and sons with a bowl containing a pair of spurs.

It was time for them to be off on another raid.

The Charlton family can trace their roots back to the reign of Richard I. Initially, they had occupied a site near Charlton village but in the 14th century they moved south across the river and established their home at Hesleyside where the family now lives. There, they built a tower, feeling more secure on the south side of the river.

By the 16th century, the hey day of reiving times, the had become the most powerful family in the North Tyne valley and the most feared. They earned a reputation for thieving and violence far beyond Tynedale.

With the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the Charltons, with other factious families were guided into leading a more peaceful life. The name is quite common in Northumberland today.

In 1711, a certain William Charlton was involved in a quarrel with Henry Widdrington of Buteland and the latter as killed. His body was taken to the church and buried by the door of the Charlton’s pew which would require Charlton to step over the grave every time he attended church.

That he was put off entering church may have been no great sacrifice.


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