infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Hexham
latitude= 54.9715
longitude= -2.1015
population = 11,139
shire_district= Tynedale
region= North East England
shire_county = Northumberland
constituency_westminster= Hexham
post_town= HEXHAM
postcode_district = NE46
postcode_area= NE
dial_code= 01434
os_grid_reference= NY937638

Hexham is a market town in Northumberland, England, located south of the River Tyne. Hexham is the administrative centre for the Tynedale district, although in terms of population, Prudhoe is now Tynedale's largest town. In 2001 Hexham had a population of 11,139.

There are many smaller towns and villages that surround Hexham, such as Corbridge, Riding Mill, Stocksfield, Wylam to the east, Acomb and Bellingham to the north, Allendale to the south and Haydon Bridge, Bardon Mill and Haltwhistle to the west. The closest major city to Hexham is Newcastle upon Tyne and is approximately 25 miles (40 km) to the east.

Hexham is one of the three major towns in Tynedale along with Prudhoe and Haltwhistle.


Hexham originated as a monastery founded by Saint Wilfrid in 674. The crypt of the original monastery survives, and incorporates many stones taken from nearby Roman ruins, probably Coria or Hadrian's Wall. The current Hexham Abbey dates largely from the 11th century onward, but was significantly rebuilt in the 19th century. Other notable buildings in the town include the Moot Hall, the covered market, and the Old Gaol.

The "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" records the murder of King Ælfwald by Sicga at "Scythlecester" (which may be modern Chesters) on 23 September 788:

This year Elwald, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by Siga, on the eleventh day before the calends of October; and a heavenly light was often seen on the spot where he was slain. He was buried in the church of Hexham [Kirby, pp. 153–154; Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Ms. D, s.a. 789.]

The name of Hexham, as Donald A. Bullough shows in his article "The place name Hexham and its interpretation," "Notes and Queries," London, December 1999, (46:4), is one of the earliest Latin place names in Britain. Its meaning, according to Bullough, is "young warrior" or "Royal retainer." As such it is probably directly linked to the young Wilfrid before he entered the Church.

Like many towns in the North of England, Hexham suffered from the border wars with the Scots, including attacks from William Wallace who burnt the town in 1297. In 1312, Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, demanded and received £2000 from the town and monastery in order for them to be spared a similar fate.

In 1464, Battle of Hexham was fought somewhere to the south of the town in The Wars of the Roses. The defeated Lancastrian commander Duke of Somerset was executed in Hexham market place.

Until 1572, Hexham was the administrative centre of the former Liberty or Peculiar of Hexhamshire.

In 1715 James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater, raised the standard for James Francis Edward Stuart in Hexham Market place. The rising, however, was unsuccessful, and Derwentwater was captured and beheaded after the battle of Preston.

In 1761, the Hexham Riot took place in the Market Place when a crowd protesting about changes in the criteria for serving in the milita was fired upon by troops from North Yorkshire Militia. 51 protesters were killed, earning the Milita the soubriquet of The Hexham Butchers.

Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Hexham was a centre of the leather trade, particularly renowned for making gloves known as Hexham Tans - now the name of a vegetarian restaurant in the town.

Notable buildings

Hexham is dominated by Hexham Abbey. The current church largely dates from c.1170–1250, in the Early English style of architecture. The choir, north and south transepts and the cloisters, where canons studied and meditated, date from this period. The east end was rebuilt in 1860.

The Abbey stands at the west end of the market place, which is home to the Shambles a Grade II* covered market built in 1766 by Sir Walter Blackett.

At the east end of the market place stands the Moot Hall, a c15 gatehouse that was part of the defenses of the town. The Moot Hall is a Grade I listed building, and was used as a courthouse until 1838.

The Old Gaol, behind the Moot Hall on Hallgates, was one of the first purpose built jails in England. It is a mid c14 building and is a Scheduled Monument and is Grade I listed.


Hexham is part of the parliamentary constituency of Hexham. The current MP is the
Conservative Peter Atkinson.

Local media

The local newspaper serving Hexham and Tynedale since 1864 is called the Hexham Courant. It was first launched by J. Catherall & Co., and at that time espoused the Liberal cause. It later absorbed the Conservative-supporting Hexham Herald. In 1977, CN Group had taken over the business and has since continued to grow. From within the Hexham Courant office a webcam over-looking Hexham Abbey can be viewed on the following website: [http://www.hexham-courant.co.uk Hexham Courant] Hexham also has a town webportal called HexhamNet [http://www.hexhamnet.co.uk HexhamNet] . It was first launched in October 2003 and continues to attract web visitors from all over the world.It is managed by the Hexham Courant on behalf of the Hexham Community Partnership.The website is part of the North East Regional Webportal project whereby most of the market towns in the North East of England were to have a virtual gateway for attracting both local and external visitors to the website.


The town is well served by Hexham railway station on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway. As well as this, Hexham is bypassed by the A69 road, linking it to Carlisle, It is also linked to Newcastle and the A1 by the A695. The 685 and 602 bus routes link the town to Tyneside and Carlisle.

A special tourist bus operates from Hexham tourist office up to the main sites on Hadrian's Wall - the route number is AD122 - the date of the building of the wall.

Hexham is also well seviced by several taxi firms, the largest of these being [http://www.advancedtaxis.com/ Advanced Taxis] . There are two taxi ranks in the town, one in the town centre on Priestpopple and one at Hexham railway station.


Hexham won the Town award in the 2005 Britain in Bloom awards. In the same year Hexham was also named * [http://www.tynedale.gov.uk/residents/newsviewsdetails.asp?newsid=448 'England's Favourite Market Town'] by the magazine "Country Life".


In Hexham the Subskimmer was first designed and made, by Submarine Products Ltd. The town is also the site of a chipboard factory owned by the Austrian firm Egger Retail Products GmbH.


Hexham has a notably picturesque racecourse at Yarridge Heights in the hills above the town, with National Hunt (steeplechase) races throughout the year

Twin towns

List of people from Hexham

*Ann Cook - Innkeeper and author of Professed cookery.
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/northeast/series7/south_pole.shtml Conrad Dickinson - Polar explorer]
* Pete Doherty formerly of, The Libertines, currently of Babyshambles, was born in Hexham.
* Andy Duncan captain of Cambridge United F.C.
* Mark Elder - Conductor
* Gabriel Fielding - Novelist
* Wilfrid Gibson - Poet
*Hannah Glasse - Author of The Art of Cookery
* Daniel Ainsleigh - Actor
* Robson Green - Actor
* William Hewson - Surgeon and anatomist
* John of Hexham - Chronicler
* Joseph Parker (1830–1902) - Congregationalist preacher and writer
* Richard of Hexham - Chronicler
*Joseph Richardson (British politician) - 'Well-natured Richardson', writer and MP

Matt Wells - Olympic rower
*Pete Wells - Olympic rower

See also

* Battle of Hexham
* Hexham (constituency)
* Ailred of Rievaulx
* Acca of Hexham
* Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle
* Eata of Hexham
* Richard of Hexham
* Hexham railway station
* Hexham Old Gaol
* John of Hexham
* Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle
* Devil's Water
* Battle of Heavenfield
* Battle of Neville's Cross


External links

* [http://www.hexhamabbey.org.uk/ Hexham Abbey]
* [http://www.hexhamnet.co.uk HexhamNet]
* [http://www.hexham-courant.co.uk Hexham Courant the local newspaper]
* [http://www.tynedale.gov.uk Tynedale District Council Website]
* [http://www.hexham-meeting.org Hexham International Combined Events (Decathlon) Meeting Since 1997]
* [http://www.tynedaleharriers.com Tynedale Harriers & Athletics Club]
* [http://www.northumberland.gov.uk Northumberland County Council Website]
* [http://www.qehs.net Queen Elizabeth High School]
* [http://www.qehsrowing.co.uk Queen Elizabeth High School Rowing Club]
* [http://www.hexhamrc.co.uk/ Hexham Rowing Club]
* [http://www.tynedalehockey.com/html/site.htm Tynedale Hockey club]
* [http://www.hexhamtrinity.com Hexham Trinity Methodist Church Website]
* [http://www.hexhamphotographic.org.uk Hexham and District Photographic Society]
* [http://www.hexham-tyne-bridge.com/ Hexham Tyne Bridge Webcam]
* [http://www.northumberland-cam.com/hexham/index.htm Hexham Photos ~ Northumberland Cam]
* [http://www.queenshall.co.uk Queens Hall Arts Centre]
* [http://www.northumberlandlife.org/hexham-local-history-society Hexham Local History Society]
* [http://www.hexhamsquash.org Hexham Squash Club]
* [http://hexham.play-cricket.com/home/home.asp Hexham Leazes Cricket Club]
* [http://www.taxisinhexham.com/ Taxis In Hexham]
* [http://www.northumbrian-railways.co.uk/index.php?page=hexham Northumbrian Railways]
* [http://www.hexham-racecourse.co.uk/]
* [http://www.northofthetyne.co.uk/HexhamCastle.html Images of Hexham Castle Site, Moot Hall & Old Gaol]

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