Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead. Originally published by Mackenzie and Dent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827.
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THE PRESENT STATE OF THE TOWN AND COUNTY OF NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE.
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE is sometimes emphatically styled the Metropolis of the North. It is situated on the north banks of the river Tyne, and is distant 8 miles west from the sea, 273 miles north-north-west from London, 56 miles east from Carlisle, and 117 miles south-east from Edinburgh. Dr. Hutton, in his Plan of Newcastle, places it in 55 degrees north latitude, and in 1 degree 17 minutes west longitude. But Mr. John Bruce, an able teacher, of this town, found this statement of the latitude was incorrect. This was also ascertained to be the case by that eminent mathematician, Mr. Henry Atkinson, who likewise corrected the longitude, from repeated observations made on the passage of the moon over the meridian and on the satellites of Jupiter. Since then, the true position of Newcastle has been ascertained with the utmost accuracy, by Mr. Edward Riddle, of Greenwich, while master of the Trinity School here. He drew the meridian line in the tower of St. Nicholas' church; and, by excellent instruments, found it to be in 54 degrees, 58 minutes, 30 seconds, north latitude; and in 1 degree, 37 minutes, 30 seconds, west longitude. This agrees exactly with the Trigonometrical Survey of England.
The situation of Newcastle, however well chosen it may once have been for the purposes of security, is but ill adapted to answer those of neatness and convenience. The lower parts of the town seem to have been embanked from the river; and the higher parts stand upon three steep and lofty eminences. The western ridge terminates exactly in front of the bridge, on which the Romans, Saxons, and Normans, have successively erected their chief fortress, the first probably in imitation of the ancient Britons, who evinced great skill in the selection of their military positions. This mount was separated by a deep ravine, lately converted into an elegant street, from the middle ridge, which, stretching northward, is bounded by another deep ravine formed by a brook, or burn, that nearly separates the whole of Newcastle, properly so called, from its extensive eastern suburbs.
The town is usually reckoned to extend along the banks of the river (from the Skinner-burn to St. Peter's Quay) at least two miles from west to east: about one half of this may be taken for the base of a triangle, the northernmost point of which is near a mile from the bridge; within which, though with several irregularities and vacant spaces, the great body of the town may be conceived to be comprehended.
The boundaries of Newcastle by land were undoubtedly fixed when it was first made a county of itself, and are described as follow:—From a small brook, or course of water, called the Swerle, on the east side of the town, along the shores of the Tyne into Elswick fields; thence into the fields of Fenham, Kenton, Coxlodge, Jesmond, to Barras Bridge; then down a lane to Sandiver Bridge, and through Shieldfield into a lane leading to the Tyne. But in the 2d and 3d of Edward VI. all that ground from the Swerle in Sandgate, by the river Tyne, to St. Laurence Quay, and sweeping away on the north side, from thence to Stoney-ford, and through Great and Little St. Ann's Closes, Durham Close, Baxter's Close, and Lumley Close, till it again join the Swerle, running towards Sandgate, was added to the town and county of Newcastle.
From the common council books, it appears that a set of march or bounder stones were set up in the year 1648; and in 1751, an order in the town's council was passed, that, in future, "the bounders of the corporation be rode every three years," in order to preserve the rights and property of the corporation. (fn. 1) This order has been punctually observed.
The boundaries of the jurisdiction and of the property of the town of Newcastle are two distinct considerations. It is observable that round the moor the boundary stones are placed a little within the hedge that separates the grounds of other proprietors from those of the town of Newcastle.