Archaeologists believe that Neolithic people lived in the Knarsdale area between roughly 4000 and 6000 years ago.  A cup-marked standing stone and cup-marked rock outcrop found in Knarsdale are believed to have been made by Neolithic people.  Two barrows and a cairn at Kirkhaugh were found and excavated in the 1930s.  A gold ear ornament was found at the site.

There are two standing stones near Highshield and Butter Well which may have been erected between 3000 and 6000 years ago.

The Romans occupied the area and established a fort, Epiacum (Whitley Castle).  The fort lay on the Maiden Way.  A bathhouse and several altars were found during excavations of Epiacum.

Roman occupation ended in AD 410 and the Anglo-Saxons eventually settled the area.  An Anglo-Saxon stone cross stands in the Kirkhaugh churchyard and archaeologists believe that a village existed at that time.

There were villages at Kirkhaugh and Knarsdale but were abandoned over time.  At one time (1666), Knarsdale had over 50 houses, many of which were spread throughout the two parishes.  Now, Knarsdale consists of six houses, a farmstead and a rectory.  The 14th century Church of St Jude and the 13th century Church of Holy Paraclete were both demolished in the 1800s.  Gravestones can still be found around St Jude's.


circa 13th century
John Prat to Roland de Vall in free marriage with Margaret his daughter all his land of Softly (Softley) with these boundaries - from the water of the Tyne upwards through Fefnehope as far as the water of the mill, and then past that water upwards through Sleggileche to Maydengate and through Meidengate northwards to Glendew (Glendue) and past Glendew descending to the Tyne and by the Tyne upwards to the watercourse of the said Fefnohope and the grantor wills that Roland and his heirs by Margaret shall hold the said Softely in fee and inheritance of the grantor and his heirs with all appurtenances, liberties, common pastures and easements of all the grantor's land of Knaresdale with his men remaining within but reserving to the grantor and his heirs the site of his mill in Softley with the pond and running water. And Roland and his heirs by the grantor's daughter shall hold the marriage portion as freely and quietly as any other marriage portion is given or possessed by any other knight in Tindale. [NRO ZSW/1/26]


circa mid 13th century
Reginald Prath to William de Swyneburne for his homage and service all his land of Haluton and of Huntelaund with all appurtenances without any reservation, with all the right he may have from the said lands and all liberties and easements belonging to the lands in the woods, fields, meadows, pastures, moors, streams, ponds, mills, fisheries, vineries elsewhere whether named or not; To hold to William and his heirs or assigns in fee and inheritance of Reginald and his heirs or assigns of Cnaresdale quit of all secular services, exactions, etc., as freely as the grantor and his ancestors have held them of the lord king; rendering annually to the Lord King one soar sparrow hawk and to the grantor and his heirs of Knaresdale one pair of gilt spurs or 12 pence at Pentecost for all customary services. Witnessed by Lord Hugh de Bolebayth, Nicholas de Bolteby, John de Avwilton, knights, Nicholas de Veteri Ponte then steward of Tyndale, Laurence his brother, then the grantor's steward, William Bluniville, William de Kyrchalu, Roger de Sutlington [NRO ZSW/1/7]


circa 1257
Reginald Prath to William de Swyneburne for his homage and service all his land of Haluton with all his right to have four shielings in them as they were granted to his predecessors by the charter of King William. To hold to William and his heirs or assigns of the grantor and his heirs of Knaresdale forever as fully in homages and services as in all other things pertaining to the lands without reservation and as fully as the grantor and his ancestors held them. [NRO ZSW/1/11]


Apr 16    Made in the Court of the Lord King at Nunewich on Monday following the Sunday after Easter in the eighth year of the reign of King Alexander, son of King Alexander, before John de Eslington and Richard de Birkyrton itinerant justices of the King for all pleas and quarrels, and other faithful men of the King there present, between William de Swyneburne plaintiff and Reginald Prath deforciant concerning the third part of the manor of Haluton and all the lands which Reginald held in Le Hundteland both in demesnes as well as in services and homages and also all the Manor Willameston in the fee of Knaresdale by these boundaries, as le Stochilburne falls into the Tyne and so by Stochilburne to high Wardlawe beyond le Wytheneschawe and so by the Wardlawe to the head of Hathericlow and then by Hathericlouhened toward the east in a line to le Mere and then by the Mere to KerneKelloch and by Kerne Kelloch to Swynerhopburne and so by Swynerhopburne descending to the Tyne, and by the Tyne descending to where Stochilburne falls into the Tyne; and concerning also all the land which John Hoke and Robert Daribald hold of Reginald within the enclosures of Slagingford on the west side of the Tyne in the fee of Cnaresdale. It was then pleaded etc.,... and Reginald acknowledged that he had no claim and that the lands belonged by right to William without any reservation except the lands belonging to the church of Knaresdal, and with all proper pastures and commons and all easements and liberties pertaining to the tenement of Knaresdale free from all secular services, suits of court, wardship and reliefs, exactions, burdens and demands. Rendering for them annually to Reginald and his heirs or assigns of Knaresdale two pair of gilt spurs or two shillings, and to the lord king annually one soar sparrow hawk as is customary given for all other customary services, etc. And for this recognition and fine William gave Reginald 15 silver marks; and since Reginald held the said lands in chief of the King, the King's bailiff claimed them for the king and seised them into the king's hands. And for the good will and licence and confirmation of the King and to have peaceful seizin of the lands and on account of the above claim of the bailiff, William gave 20 marks of silver to the King. [NRO ZSW/1/12]

Jun 24    Alexander, King of the Scots, confirms the grant made by Reginald Prat, knight to William de Swyneburn for his homage and service of the lands of Halutoun with appurtenances and all the land Reginald has in Le Hunteland both in demesnes and in services, and of the whole manor of Wyllamestun with appurtenances in the fee of Knaresdale, and of all the lands which John Hok and Robert Darybald hold of Reginald within the boundaries of Slaghingford on the west side of the Tyne in the fee of Knarisdall. To hold to William and his heirs or assigns and their heirs of Reginald and his heirs or assigns of Knarisdall, as freely, etc., in the same boundaries as is set forth in Reginald's charter to William, but reserving the King's service, and as it is contained in a final concord concerning the lands made before John de Exlingtun and Richard de Bygertun itinerant justices in Tindall 1257. [NRO ZSW/1/16]


May 1    Alexander, King of the Scots, confirms the grant which Reginald Prath knight made to William de Swyneburn for his homage and service of the lands of Haluchton with appurtenances and of the whole land with appurtenances which Reginald held in Le Huntland and of the whole land of Williamiston with appurtenances in the fee of Knarisdal and of the whole of his land with appurtenances which John Hok and Robert Darybald held of Reginald within the boundaries of Slaggingford on the west side of the Tyne in the fee of Knarisdale. To Hold to William and his heirs or assigns and their heirs of Reginald and his heirs or assigns of Knarisdal as fully and freely in the same boundaries as the charter of Reginald granting the lands to William shows saving the King's service and as fully as it is comprised in a final concord made before John de Exlington and Richard de ByKirton itinerant justices in Tyndal 1257. [NRO ZSW/1/22]


Nov 22    Bartholomew Prat for himself and his heirs remises and quitclaims forever to Lord William de Swyneburn all his right and claim in the manor of Williamston in the fee of Knarisdaleand the lands which William holds within the enclosures of Slaginford (Slaggford) in the same fee by the grant from Reginald Prat grandfather of the grantor. To hold to William and his heirs or assigns freely and quietly, etc., without any reservation. Rendering annually to the grantor and his heirs or assigns one pair of gilt spurs or twelve pence if it should be demanded in any year at Pentecost for all services. [NRO ZSW/1/27]


Jan 16    Because Sir William de Swyneburn at the request (?) of Cecile who was the wife of William de Swyneburn will take for the goods which belonged to her husband in Knaresdale what she expends for everything she did there according to their agreement (?) Now she binds herself by this deed to save Sir William harmless over this matter before all men and she has sworn upon saints to do this. Dated at Newcastle upon Tyne, 16 January, 1314 [NRO ZSW/1/65]

May 3    Edward (II) King of England, etc., for the good and faithful service done in the past and to be done in the future by Robert de Swyneburn in Scotland, grants the manor of Knaresdale with appurtenances within the liberty of Tyndale which belonged to John Prat the enemy and rebel against the King and which has come into the King's hands through the forfeiture of John. To hold to Robert and his heirs of the King and his heirs forever for the same services that John held the manor of him before its forfeiture. [NRO ZSW/1/25]


Jun 29    Thomas Swynborn knight appoints his friend Sir William Swynborn knight, Symkyn the Proctor and William Tesdale of Knaresdale his attornies to demand, receive and appraise ("presewer") all the debts which he has in the county of Northumberland and in Tyndale. And for the money ("lez deners") from the debts received by them they shall make acquitances and he confirms what Sir William, Symkyn and William shall do in his name in this matter. Dated at Mersey in Essex on Sunday in the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul in the 16th year of reign of King Richard II [NRO ZSW/1/83]


Between Thomas lord of Dacre and of Gillesland knight of the one part and William de Swynburne knight of the other. Witnesses that whereas William granted to Thomas and his heirs and assigns all his lands and tenements in Williamston in Knaresdale within the liberty of Tyndale as shown in his charter, now Thomas for himself and his heirs grants that if William pays to him or his heirs, etc., 10 marks on some day after this deed then the above charter to be void, etc. Witnessed by Thomas Blenkensopp, Nicholas Redlegh, Richard Fetherstonehalgh, Rowland de Threlewall, Robert Walasse esquires. Dated the last day of September, 16 Henry VI [NRO ZSW/1/151]


Aug 1    William Swynburn knight grants to John Swynburn all his lands, tenements, rents and services in the township of Williamston in Knarisdale within the lordship of Tyndale to hold to John and his heirs and assigns forever of the chief lord of the feel etc. And he grants also an annual rent of 10 marks out of the manor and township of Great Heton in Co. Northumberland to be received at Pentecost and St. Martin to hold to John and his heirs and assigns forever; and if the rent is not paid at any time John may distrain for it etc. Dated at Heton the 1st August 16 Henry VI [NRO ZSW/1/152]


William Hilton, of Hylton, knight. v. Henry Wales, of Knarsdale, Northumberland.: Detention of deeds relating to the manor of Alston More.: Durham, Cumb.  The National Archives, Kew [C 1/241/45 ]


April 3  Will of Richard WALLAS of Kirkhaghe.  Mentioned in the will are:  Annas (his wife); Henry RAMSHOWE of the Eille; Robert WALLIS; Robert PARKER; John BELL; Lucke BELL; Henry DICKENSON; Richard SMITHE; John WALLAS of Meryknow; John DICKHISONNE; William WALLAS; Edward WALLAS; Rychard WALLAS; John WHYT; Roland STOIRHIE of Todall woodd; Rychard BESSINWETH; Luke SNOWDON; Edward SPROTT; Thomas BLENKENSOPP; John TEISDELL of Whithe; George WALLAS of the Barnes; Raulf WHITFIELD, esquire; Marke WALLIS; Margery WHIT; John TEISDELL of the Raw; Hearie MUSGRAVE; gentilman; William STOBART; Henrie WALTON; Edward WALLAS, lord of Knardell; John WHETFEILD; Thomas HILTON, esquire; Cuthbert WALTON; James ARSTRENGE of the Sobie Neise; Alexander FETHERSTONHAUGH, esquire; Rychard ELES; Alexander WALLIS; John COILERD; James NOBLE; Thomas WALTON, Christofor RAMSHAW and Nicolas TEISDELL.

[From "Durham WIlls and Inventories" by George Ornsby]


Nov 4    Indictment: Edward Armstrong, f. of Willerowe co. Cumberland, alias Anthony Edwardes, yeoman; William Armstrong, alias Andreys Will of Willerowe, yeoman; Rinian Armstrong, alias Andrew Rynion of Willerowe, yeoman; Andrew Armstrong of Unmanrowe, [ ] yeoman; at Knaresdale broke into and burgled the dwelling of John Noble of Knaresdale at about 10 p.m., and stole five cows of v.c. worth 40s., each and 20 sheep worth 8 between them, the property of John Noble. [NRO QSI/1, f7r (46)]

Nov 21    Presentment: Walter Grayme, f. of Spyttle, yeoman. William Armstrong of Wilyeva in the County of Cumberland, yeoman, alias Andrew Will. Rinian Armstrong of Wilyeva in the County of Cumberland. yeoman. John Armstrong, alias John Stawlinges, of Wilyeva in the County of Cumberland, yeoman. Rinian Armstrong, alias the Sowter's Rynger, of Grensborne, County of Cumberland, yeoman. Andrew Armstrong, alias Ingram's Andrewe, f. of Unman [ ], County of Cumberland, yeoman. Thomas Armstrong, alais George's Thorn f. of Wilyeva in the County of Cumberland, yeoman. broke into the dwelling of Robert Wallyce of Merye Knowe in Knaresdale, County of Cumberland, put the whole household in great danger and mortal fear of their lives and stole six cows of v.c. worth 40s. each, three heifers of v.c. worth 40s; each, one "white grey" mare worth 3. 6s. 8d., the property of Robert Wallyce, John Whyte and Henry Parker. Walter Grayme, f. of Spyttle, yeoman; William Armstrong of Wilyeva, yeoman; Robert Grayme f. of Spyttle; entertained them at Spyttell on 21 November. [NRO QSI/1, f5v (37)]


May 20    Presentment: Nicholas Blenkinsope of Darleys, yeoman at Snaharp, Knaresdale pa., broke into a close of Richard Wallis about 10 p.m., and stole from him a "blacke gray" mare worth 4. [NRO QSI/1, f146r (669)]


Jun 12    Will of Richard NOBLE of Knarsdaile [TNA PROB 11/235 (available online)]  Persons mentioned in this will are:  Richard NOBLE (his youngest son), Margaret NOBLE (a daughter), John NOBLE (a son), Thomas NOBLE (a son), Matthew WALTON, Ralph WHITFIELD, Robert WALTON, Margaret WILSON (his sister), Thomas NOBLE (his brother), John WALLAS of Slaggiford, Margaret (his wife), Henry WILLAS (guardian), John DICKONSON (witness) and Robet JACKSON (witness).


Assault by Dr. Thomas Walton, minister of the parish of Knaresdale. [NRO QSB/4]


Apr 28  Removal order - Isobel Madgen, widow, and John her son aged about 6, from Alston, to Knarsdale in Northumberland. Dated 28 April 1731. Armorial seals Ponsonby, Whelpdale. Quash'd. [CRO Carlisle Q/11/1/162/15 [n.d.]]


Removal order - Christopher Coulthard from Alston to Knarsdale, Northumberland Adjourned till next Sessions, then confirmed. [CRO Carlisle Q/11/1/212/18 [n.d.]]



John Johnson of Knaresdale, Leadminer for Conspiring to obtain 4s 4d, 2 Quarts of Ale and a black mare by false pretences. [NRO QSI/350]

John Johnson of Knaresdale, Lead miner for Conspiring to obtain 5/- &a black mare by false protences. [NRO QSI/351]



Ann Gowen of Hanging Shaw, Knaresdale PA, Labourer's Wife for Assault upon Margaret Pearson. [NRO QSI/366]

Alexander Armstrong of Farmerhouse Knaresdale PA, Farmer for Assault upon Henry Moses. [NRO QSI/367]



John Armstrong of Intack, Knaresdale, Labourer for Assault upon Lancelot Todd. [NRO QSI/423]



Revd. Thomas Todhunter of Knarsdale, Clerk for Assault upon Walter Batey. [NRO QSI/445]



Rev. Thomas Todhunter for Failing to allow access to a common footway through Knaresdale churchyard. [NRO QSI/447]


John Vickers
Born Knaresdale, Northumberland
Served in 1st Foot Guards
Discharged aged 44
[TNA WO 97/214/124]


Jersey cow