Family Shields
Big Boots

The Town Trail

St Wilfrid's Gate to Sele School

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8. St Wilfrid's Gate This was originally the main entrance into the Hexham Priory precinct. There was a room above the gate, probably used to house important guests. The Priory was defended from here when Henry VIII’s Commissioners arrived in 1536 to take control of the Priory and its lands. The Master of Ovingham stood on the precinct wall here, armed with a bow and arrow, and sent the Commissioners away. They returned five months later to take control. The canons left, the site was stripped of most items of value and then handed over to the Carnaby family.

9. Swimming Baths Built in 1885 as a wool warehouse, it was converted to its present use in 1974.

  Swimming Baths

10. Cockshaw The site of the tanning industry. The two burns played a major role in the preparation of hides. A tanners' yard still exists behind the buildings at the bottom of Gilesgate and can be reached through a passage from Gilesgate, or up the burn from Glovers’ Place. 

Holy Island House

11. Holy Island House Dated 1657 but Elizabethan in style. The Cowgarth Burn runs in front of the house in a culvert and the Cockshaw Burn at the back - hence the name 'Island'. There is a pant (water source) at the end of the terrace.


12. House of Correction The Quarter Sessions records for the 18th Century include many requests from the people of Hexham, asking for a House of Correction for the town. Houses of Correction were first set up under Edward VI. They were originally designed to hold petty criminals and prostitutes, training them in useful trades and keeping them away from the hardened criminals in the town and county gaols.

  House of Correction

By the 18th Century they had become places to hold petty criminals and vagrants, and training had been replaced with hard labour. The House of Correction in Hexham was set up in a row of 18th Century cottages. The building was extended in 1820, and it is this extension that survives. It has the men's day cells on the ground floor and the night cells above. The original metal doors and fittings still remain. Visits can be booked via the Old Gaol (01434) 652349.


13. The Priest's House Dated 1688 and so called because the earliest Roman Catholic chapel in Hexham was behind it.

14. The Sele Well A gathering place for local people and a very important source of drinking water for Cockshaw. The well was used until the 20thCentury.


15. The Sele School This school was built here in 1856 to replace the earlier subscription school on the outskirts of town. It became a Board School in 1874. It was enlarged in 1887 and again in 1915. During the Second World War there was a large air raid shelter in the yard. Children from Cowgate in Newcastle were evacuated to Hexham. Some went to the Sele School, others to St Mary’s School.

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