The History and Geography of Longhirst
The History of Longhirst Village
The history of Longhirst goes back a good 6000 years, but much of the archaeological data is now obliterated by the extensive OPENCAST mining of the last 30 years. Click here for a very brief sketch of the history since the conquest. From the Norman Conquest till 1875 the township was in the medieval or indeed Saxon parish of Bothal. A fascinating history of Bothal was given by Roland Bibby in his "Bothal Observed" (1973) (See also an excellent website http://www.northofthetyne.co.uk/BothalCastle.html).
From 1800 till 1950 the village of Longhirst was dominated by two names: Lawson and Joicey. The discovery of coal in the area brought wealth to the Lawson family who held the manorial rights. This led them to build for themselves the much praised Longhirst Hall (designed John Dobson; completed 1824). (Now an hotel and conference centre - http://www.longhirst.co.uk/). (For some historic photos of Longhirst see pegswoodahistory)
For further notes click on School, Smithy, Pub, Population, Church and Vicarage, Notable Houses, Agriculture.
The Geography of the Longhirst Area
The Lower Coal Measures are exposed in a thin wedge widening as it runs south from Amble to Barnard Castle; the best coals (like the High Main seam) lie in these. They slope gradually downward towards the coast and are overlaid by the Middle coal measures. Longhirst lies near the junction between the eastern edge of the Lower and western edge of the Middle coal measures. These also slope downwards as you travel east and in their turn are overlaid, at the present coastline at Cresswell, by non-coal-baring Permian rocks. But the coal measures continue on under the permian and have been mined several miles out to sea. Coal at Pegswood was know back in 1742, and mined progressively at Longhirst, Ulgham, Pegswood and Ashington throughout the 19th certuary. (http://www.dmm.org.uk/colliery/l022.htm, http://www.dmm.org.uk/colliery/l052.htm) (the opening of the Pegswood colliery, ca. 1872. The colliery shut in 1969,: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegswood)
School, Smithy, Pub, Population, Church and Vicarage, Notable Houses, Geography