On the Fourth of July, 1775

Taken from the book Local records; or, Historical register of remarkable events, effectively a blog from 1828 by one Mr John Sykes of Newcastle upon Tyne. One of those there old books scanned and epubbed by google.

drawing of an old tower from the medieval Tyne bridge


The workmen employed in taking down the ruins of Tyne-bridge, at Newcastle, found in the east corner of the pillar on which the tower on the bridge stood, the bones of a human skeleton.* And about eighteen inches lower was discovered a stone coffin, about six feet three inches in length, entirely empty. There was no inscription upon it. There were on this bridge, besides many houses and shops, three towers or gates, each formerly having had a portcullis: — one at the north end, called the Magazine-gate; a second, called the Tower on the bridge; and the third, at the south end, in Gateshead. Near this last had been a draw-bridge. The Magazine-gate had been pulled down a short time before the fall of the bridge to widen its north entrance. On the front of the tower adjoining Gateshead, were the arms, cut in stone, of Nathaniel Lord Crewe, bishop of Durham. This stone was preserved by the late Hugh Hornby, esq., alderman of Newcastle, and placed in his garden wall, in Pilgrim-street.

The tower on the bridge was a place of temporary confinement for disorderly persons. There was a stone with the town’s arms on it, placed on the south front, with the motto Ffortiter defendit triumphans, 1646. This stone was also preserved by Alderman Hornby, and placed in his garden-wall. The house and garden is now the property of Anthony Clapham, esq., who has paid every attention to the preservation of these relics of the old bridge; having built upon the garden ground, the stones are placed in the wall over two office doors. The above cut is taken from an original drawing, in the possession of Miss Hornby, daughter of the late Alderman Hornby.

* there appears to have been a hermitage on Tyne bridge, could this have been the skeleton of an anchorite who had been buried in his cell?

Ye Olde

It should by now be common knowledge that the use of Ye, for the, is based on a mistaking of the older orthographic rendering of the word the as Þe. Maybe it’s odd that an almost equally common misreading of ſ – the old long form for s, as an f, hasn’t produced a bunch of Ye olde tea fop from Þe Olde Tea ſhoppe, but the shop’s h probably stops that happening.

But Ye Olde has been around a lot longer than I thought. Here it turns up on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1887. They even had the quainty-wainty f-word (that’s Fayre) back then.

yeoldeshoppe600 This picture is an engraved illustration from The Graphic (1869 – 1932) of May 21 1887, reporting on the Newcastle Exhibition where they’d had the wherewithal to build a complete half-scale model of the heavily ſhoppe-laden medieval Tyne Bridge which had been washed away in the flood of 1771.

Said Jubilee is why Exhibition Park was born, and is also what spawned Newcastle Exhibition Ale