River Tyne - Newburn Bridge (1854)
built in 1893 for the Newburn Bridge Company.
lattice girder structure with four main spans of 31.5m and 5.5m wide,
Water & gas mains are carried on each side.
Traffic is single alternate way working - controlled by lights.
The only battlefield site within the County of Tyne and Wear.
Newburn was the lowest fordable point on the River Tyne at that time - there were in fact four shallow fords in this area - one on the line of the present bridge - the Riding ford just downstream - another near the mouth of the New Burn. The forth and lowest down river was at Stella Haughs.
Oliver Cromwell used this ford on his way south - since when it has been know as the Cromwell Ford.
In 1346 - a Scottish army under King David crossed here on their way to Neville's Cross - near Durham City - where they were defeated.
In August 1640 the "Battle of Newburn" took place here.
20,000 Scots encamped on the north bank at Heddon Law. On the south bank 300 English infantry and 1500 cavalry were assembled behind hastily erected earthworks along the river bank meadows.
As there were several choices for the Scots to attack the English forces were spread out, with each of the main earthworks - opposite each ford - garrisoned by 400 musketeers and four canon.
The Scots waited overnight before bringing their canon up - one gun was placed on the roof of the church tower at Newburn where it had a commanding view of the English defences. A waiting game began
A Scottish officer watering his horse by the river was shot at and wounded by an English sniper - this set off the battle with the bigger guns on both sides joining in.
The English defences were swiftly penetrated by the Scots guns who had the advantage of a superior elevation. By the time it was low water the larger of the English earthworks had been breached - inflicting severe casualties with many dead or wounded - whereupon the English retreated and when more were killed, they disobeyed their officers orders - turned tail and fled the battlefield.
A small Scottish scouting party crossed the river and was soon followed by two regiments of Scottish horse.
Most of the English now fled up Stella Banks to the Old Hexham Road, and from there to Newcastle, which was occupied by the Scots a few days later.
King Charles signed a treaty allowing the Scots to occupy Northumberland and County Durham. They were paid £806 a day for the privilege.
It was King Charles I's attempts to impose a new prayer book on the Scots which led to the conflict.
On the south side of river just upstream of Newburn Bridge there is an information board about the battle.
here to a photo of this information board