B is for Barndale and Barresdale

Norton, 1624

Tate identifies Barresdale, in 1569, as referring to land west of the town wall near Pottergate tower, and he tells us that in 1567 the street we know as Pottergate was called Barresdale Street.

Robert Norton’s map of 1624 shows a field called Burndales. The boundary of Burndales broadly corresponds to the grounds of Barndale School today.

Tate refers to Barrinsdale in 1689, Barresdale, in 1702 and Barnedale Riggs in 1704. That field was labelled as Barnsdale Riggs on Wilkin’s map of 1773 and Thompson’s map of 1760, but by then it was shown (like many fields around Alnwick) as belonging to Captain George Farquhar and Miss Katherine Grey. Adjoining it, to the east, was another field known as Pottergate Close. In his map of 1827 Woods labels these fields as Barndale Ridges, and Ordnance Survey maps from 1897 to 1923 do the same.

Wilkin, 1773

Barndale House was built between 1827 and 1840 and was in residential use for the next century. It changed hands several times. Occupants included Edward Dale (a local magistrate) in the 1840s, Hugh Lisle until 1877 (another magistrate, originally call Hugh Moises – he took the surname of his wealthy wife when they married). Captain Charles Gandy (formerl of King’s Dragoon Guards) until 1880. Robert Middlemas and his wife lived there in the 1930s. It was offered for sale in 1939, and used as hostel for wartime evacuees from Newcastle. In 1943 it was considered for use as playing fields and a nursery school, then purchased by Northumberland County Council in 1950.

By the end of the second world war there was an acute housing shortage in Alnwick. Preparation of new housing schemes were well advanced by 1945, and were shown on Ordnance Survey maps published immediately after the war. At the time there was only one notable private housing development in Alnwick – the six Duke’s Memorial Cottages near the foot of Pottergate.  For the rest of the 1940s, 94% of new houses in Alnwick were built for the council. At Augur Terrace 50 prefabs were constructed in 1946. These were demolished in 1972 to build Cornhill Terrace. Building of 150 houses on Lower Barresdale began in 1947. By April 1948, considerable progress could be reported with 100 houses ready, of which 77 had already been occupied. Progress was also being made with the remaining 50. These were not built on the field that had been called Barresdale for hundreds of years. The field that became Lower Barresdale carried different names on different maps. Norton (1624) and Thompson (1620) labelled it St Thomas Field or Milne Field, but Wilkin (1773) labelled it Howling Closes.

Ordnance Survey, 1948

In 1948 another 28 homes were built at Ravensmede, and eight Bow Burn Cottages for older people. Then in the 1950s the private sector began to play a more significant role in building new houses. However, developments by the council still accounted for 80% of new homes. These included 42 houses at Alwynside (in 1952), and 68 houses at Windsor Gardens (in 1953).

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