Alnwick, Northumberland Family History Guide

Table of Contents

Alnwick is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Northumberland.

Other places in the parish include: Whitehouse, Snipe House, Shieldykes, Rugley, Park-Farm, Hulne Park, Hulne Abbey, Hulme Park, Hobberlaw, Heckley Grange, Heckley Farm, Heckley, Gumwell's Park, Grumwells Park, Greensfield, Friars Buildings, Denwick, Cauledge Park, Canongate, Canledge Park, Broomhouse, Alnwick South Side, and Abbey Lands.

Parish church: St. Mary and St. Michael

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1645
  • Bishop's Transcripts: 1777

Adjacent Parishes

Nonconformists include:

  • Baptist
  • Church of Scotland/Scottish Presbyterian
  • Independent/Congregational
  • United Secession Relief congregation
  • Methodist New Connexion
  • Presbyterian
  • Primitive Methodist
  • Roman Catholic
  • Unitarian
  • United Presbyterian Church of Scotland
  • Wesleyan Methodist.

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

ALNWICK, a town, a castle, two townships, a parish, a subdistrict, and a district, in Northumberland. The town stands on the river Alne, at the terminus of a branch railway of 3 miles from the Bilton Junction of the Northeastern, 34 miles by road, and 38½ by railway, N by W of Newcastle-on-Tyne. Its name signifies "the town on Alne." The town probably dates from the time of the Romans; or, at least, grew up as a dependency of a strong baronial mansion, the original castle, in the time of the Saxons. The barony belonged to William Tyson, who fell at the battle of Hastings; it was given by the Conqueror to Ivo de Vesco, the ancestor of the De Vescis; and it passed, in 1310, to the family of Percy, the ancestors of the Dukes of Northumberland. Malcolm III. of Scotland besieged the town in 1093; and was killed before its walls in 1098. David of Scotland captured it in 1135. William the Lion besieged it in 1174; but was surprised by Ralph de Glanville, and taken prisoner to London. King John burnt it in 1215. Gualo, the Pope's legate, convoked a meeting of the Scottish bishops at it in 1220. Robert Bruce's nobles, Douglas and Randolph, besieged it without success in 1328. Additional fortifications of both the town and the castle were made in 1411. The Scots took the town and burnt it in 1448, in revenge for the burning of Dumfries. The Earl of Warwick laid siege to the castle in 1463, after the battle of Hexham; and Sir George Douglas, with a considerable force, came to its relief, and enabled its garrison to retire unmolested.

The town stands chiefly on a declivity on the south bank of the Alne. It is well laid out; and has a spacious market-place in the centre. The streets are wide and well paved. The houses are chiefly modern; mostly built of freestone; many of them of considerable elegance. Four gates formerly pierced the town walls; and one of them, Bondgate, is still standing, and gives name to a street. A handsome stone bridge of three arches, erected by the Duke of Northumberland, takes the high way over the Alne. The town hall, on one side of the market-place, is a large edifice, surmounted by a square tower. Another building, on another side, is a modern structure, disposed below in meat and fish market, and containing above an elegant assembly-room and a spacious reading room. The corn exchange was opened in 1862. The prison contains accommodation for 12 male and 6 female prisoners. The parish church is a large edifice, of the 14th century, with richly groined chancel and carved stalls; and was restored by the fourth Duke of Northumberland, at a cost of £6,000. St. Paul's church was built in 1846, at a cost of £20,000; is a handsome edifice, in the decorated English style; has a memorial window to the third Duke of Northumberland, produced at Munich in 1856; and contains an effigies of the Duke in Caen stone by Carew. The English Presbyterians or Free Churchmen, the United Presbyterians, the Independents, the Wesleyan Methodists, the New Connexion Methodists, the Unitarians, and the Roman Catholics have places of worship; and there are a mechanics' institute, a dispensary and infirmary, two endowed schools with £22 a year, and other charities with £37.

Alnwick claims to be a borough by prescription; and is governed by four chamberlains and 24 common councilmen. It is a seat of quarter sessions, and a polling place; and has a head post office, a telegraph station, four hotels, and an office of the Alnwick and county bank. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs are held on Palm-Sunday-Eve, 12 May, the last Monday in July., the first Tuesday in Oct., 28 Oct., and the Saturday before 25 Dec. Trade in corn and cattle is extensive; tanning and brewing are carried on; and brick-works, limestone quarries, and building-stone quarries are in the neighbourhood. Two monthly newspapers are published. Earl Beverley, who became fifth Duke of Northumberland in 1865, is Baron Alnwick. The friar Martin of Alnwick and the Bishop William of Alnwick were natives. Pop., 5,670. Houses, 837.

Alnwick Abbey, beautifully situated on the north bank of the Alne, was the first house of the Premonstratensian canons in England. It was founded in 1147 by Eustace Fitz-John, and dedicated to the Virgin; and, at the dissolution of monasteries, it had about 13 canons, and was valued at £190. It became the seat of successively the Brandlings and the Doubledays; and then was sold to the Duke of Northumberland. A gateway tower of it still stands, and has armorial shields of the Percys, crosses, and a niche richly canopied with open Gothic work.

Alnwick Castle, the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, situated on an eminence on the south side of the Alne, is a most imposing pile. It retains some vestiges of Saxon architecture, but probably none of the original castle; and, after having passed almost to ruin by the shocks of war and the wear of time, it was reconstructed and embellished, at a modern period, in the Gothic style, and has just been undergoing extensive renovations, partly in a very fine light-tinted stone, after designs by the Commendatore Canina of Rome. It consists mainly of freestone or moonstone, covers or encloses about five acres, is disposed in three courts, exhibits sixteen towers and turrets, and is altogether a most noble and magnificent specimen of a great baronial seat. A notice of it in 1860 said,-"The new grand staircase forms the approach to the vestibule, in which the recesses will be filled with illustrations of the ballad of Chevy Chase. The ceiling will be painted with a subject from English history. Stettin damask hangings line the walls of the domestic apartments. The drawing-room has a ceiling of carved wood, gilt and coloured. The dining-room, 60 feet by 24, stands on the site of the old banqueting-hall. The foundation-stone of the Prudhoe tower was laid on 25 Nov. 1854. It now rises 20 feet above the cluster of towers, breaks the hitherto long uniform skyline, and forms a fine bold feature in the landscape. In the SW front is a deeply recessed triple-corbelled window. The high-roofed chapel, early English, has a stone vault and an apsidal west end, and will be furnished with marbles and mosaics from Rome. It contains a tomb to the Duchess Elizabeth, danghter of Alvernon, Duke of Somerset. In the state apartments are exquisite carvings by Bulleti; copies, by Nueci, of slaves from Constantine's Arch and the Greek Camephora, and coloured friezes by Mantovani; inlaid wood, pure white marbles, and carved walnut panels contribute to the magnificence of these rooms. A vaulted kitchen has been built on the SE side, which rivals a mediæval structure of the sort. The octagonal Donjon tower contains a square dungeon, 11 feet by 9¾." The grounds connected with the castle lie along both sides of the Alne; are upwards of 3 miles long; exhibit great wealth and variety of both natural and artificial beauty; and contain the remains of Alnwick and Hulne Abbeys, a picturesque cross on the spot where King Malcolm of Scotland fell, a monument on the spot where William the Lion was taken prisoner, and the tower of Brislee, 66 feet high, erected in 1762, and commanding a superb extensive view.

The two townships of Alnwick are Alnwick and Alnwick-South-Side. The former comprises 4,504 acres, the latter, 4,760; and the latter includes the hamlets of Canledge-Park, Greensfield, Grumwells-Park, Hobberlaw, Rugley, Shieldykes, and Snipe-House. Pop. of A. township, 5,958. Houses, 876. Pop. of A. S. S. township, 268. Houses, 53. The parish includes also the townships of Abbey-Lands, Canongate, Denwick, and Hulme-Park. Acres, 16,250. Real property, £31,183. Pop., 7,350. Houses, 1,110. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Durham. Value, £175. Patron, the Duke of Northumberland. The chapelry of St. Paul's was constituted in 1846; and is a perpet. curacy, with salary of £200, in the patronage of the Duke of Northumberland. The subdistrict differs only so far from the parish as to include a small additional township. Acres, 16,484. Pop., 7,359. Houses, 1,112.

The district of Alnwick comprehends the subdistrict of Warkworth, containing the parishes of Lesbury and Shilbottle, and parts of the parishes of Warkworth and Felton; the subdistrict of Alnwick, containing the parish of Alnwick and a township of the parish of Eglingham; and the subdistrict of Embleton, containing the parishes of Embleton, Howick, Long-Houghton, and Edlingham, and parts of the parishes of Whittingham, Eglingham, and Ellingham. Acres, 98,935. Poor-rates in 1866, £9,860. Pop. in 1841, 18,799: in 1861, 21,053. Houses, 3,800. Marriages in 1866, 90; births, 595, of which 60 were illegitimate; deaths, 355, of which 92 were at ages under 5 years, and 15 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 905; births, 6,389; deaths, 3,915. The places of worship in 1851 were 13 of the Church of England, with 4,375 sittings; 3 of the United Presbyterian Church, with 1,248 s.; 2 of the Presbyterian church in England, with 1,158 s.; 2 of Independents, with 1,080 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 210 s.; 7 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,339 s.; 2 of the New Connexion Methodists, with 370 s.; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 350 s. The schools in 1851 were 35 public day schools, with 2,488 scholars; 22 private day schools, with 590 s.; 37 Sunday schools, with 2,512 s.; and 4 evening schools for adults, with 36 s.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Leonard's Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Alnwick, 311 m. N.N.W. London. Mrkt. Sat. P. 6626

Source: Leonard's Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850

Parish Records

People from Alnwick, Northumberland have been found in the following online records

Birth, Marriage, & Death Records - FamilySearch

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-200857,723 results
England Births and Christenings, 1538-197548,684 results
England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-200736,569 results
England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-200534,213 results
England, Northumberland, Parish Registers, 1538-195023,392 results
England Marriages, 1538–197313,797 results
British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices9,202 results
England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-19774,350 results
Find A Grave Index1,528 results
England Deaths and Burials, 1538-19911,348 results
British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries534 results
BillionGraves Index106 results
Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-194745 results
British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-199313 results
England, Warwickshire, Parish Registers, 1535-19637 results
Australia Marriages, 1810-19806 results
British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-19386 results
Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-19476 results
Utah Deaths and Burials, 1888-19465 results
England, Staffordshire, Church Records, 1538-19444 results
United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-20144 results
England, Cheshire, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1606-19003 results
Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-19943 results
South Africa, Pietermaritzburg Estate Files 1846-19503 results
Australia Deaths and Burials, 1816-19802 results
England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-19912 results
New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-19492 results
California, Oakland, Alameda County, Newspaper Record Collection, 1985-20111 results
Canada Marriages, 1661-19491 results
England, Cheshire Parish Registers, 1538-20001 results
Florida Deaths, 1877-19391 results
Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-19881 results
Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-19401 results
Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-19401 results
Indiana Marriages, 1811-20071 results
Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-19521 results
New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-19401 results
Ohio Deaths, 1908-19531 results
United States Western States Marriage Index1 results
Utah, Obituaries from Utah Newspapers, 1850-20051 results
Wisconsin, County Marriages, 1836-19111 results
World Miscellaneous Births and Baptisms, 1534-19831 results

Census Records - FamilySearch

Migration Records - FamilySearch

Military Records - FamilySearch

Other Records - FamilySearch

Probate & Court Records - FamilySearch

South Africa, Cape Province, Probate Records of the Master of the High Court, 1834-19893 results
Ireland Calendar of Wills and Administrations, 1858-19201 results
South Africa, Transvaal, Probate Records from the Master of the Supreme Court, 1869-19581 results


Alnwick The Universal British Directory 1791 - Google Books

Alnwick Northumberland Principal Inhabitants Universal British Directory 1791

The principal inhabitants are as follow:


Alder Robert, Esq.

Burrell James, Esq.

Charleton Wm. Esq. Justice of Peace

Carr Richard, Esq.

Davison Nicholas, Esq.

Farquhar George, Esq.

Forster Thomas, Esq.

Gallon Edward, Esq. Justice of Peace

Pearson Mr. Jacob

Selby George, Esq.


Cook Rev. Mr.

Marshall Rev. Mr. Boarding Schoolmaster

Reed Rev. Mr. Curate of Embleton

Johnson Rev. John, Curate of Alnwick Church


Davison Henry, Surgeon

Falder Joseph, Surgeon

Pringle Mr. Physician

Towns Robert, Surgeon

Wardle Mr. Surgeon

Wilson John and William, Surgeons


Adams Thomas, Attorney

Brown Mr. Attorney

Carr Thomas, Attorney

Harriott Mr. Attorney

Lambert Anthony, Attorney

Lindsay John, Attorney

Richardson Robert, Attorney

Selby George, Attorney

Traders, &c.

Abercromie Andrew, Currier

Annett Ralph, Grocer, Dealer in Flax, Wood, Iron, Spirits, and Wine

Atkinson William, Victualler

Appleby William, Victualler

Allen William, Peruke-maker

Anderson John, Shoe-maker

Allison Thomas, Shoe-maker

Bell Henry, Victualler

Bolam John, Victualler

Beall Thomas, Victualler

Baird William, Grocer and Tea Dealer, Dealer in Flax, Wood, Malt, Iron, Wine, and Spirits

Bowmaker James, Bricklayer

Bowmaker William, Bricklayer

Burrell Palfray George, Banker

Bolton James, Butcher

Burn - , Currier

Busby Thomas, Butcher and Drover

Bolton J. Shoe-maker & Tallow Chandler

Bolton George, Shoe-maker

Bogue J. Glazier, Tinner, & Plumber

Burn James, Hatter

Currey William, Grocer, Tea Dealer, and Tobacconist

Crawford – , Taylor

Cozens David, Peruke-maker

Coward John, Tallow Chandler

Castles Dorothy, Milliner

Daglish Thomas, Victualler

Davison Matthew, Victualler

Dent Roger, Victualler

Dodds and Smith, Linen and Woollen Drapers

Daglish Joseph, Watch-maker

Dand John, Skinner and Breeches-maker

Downey John, Taylor

Douglas John, Shoe-maker

Elder James, Grocer, Tea Dealer, and Dealer in Flax, Iron, Wine, & Spirits

Foord John, Victualler

Forster Jane, Victualler

Finlay George, Dealer in Spirits

Finley Mrs. Peruke-maker

Forster John, Linen and Woollen Draper, Dealer in Tea and Spirits

Grey John, Victualler

Graham Ralph, Victualler

Graham John, Victualler

Gladstains James, Grocer & Tea Dealer

Gough – , Stay-maker

Gibson Thomas, Baker

Gibson John, Shoe-maker

Graham James, Stationer

Graham – , Common Carrier

Henderson Andrew, Victualler

Hall Joseph, Victualler

Hudson William, Victualler

Henderson Ralph, Grocer, Tea Dealer, and Flax Dresser

Hastings David, Watch-maker

Hodgson Mrs. Keeper of the Post-office

Hindmarsh Luke, Tanner

Hindmarsh Matthew, Butcher & Drover

Harrison T. Tinner, Glazier, & Plumber

Hall Joseph, Victualler

Hindmarsh Michael, Hardware-man

Hunter Richard, Stay-maker

Hindmarsh George, Shoe-maker

Horsley John, Clogger, and Dealer in Butter and Cheese

Huntley John, Shoe-maker

Hardy Tho. Linen & Woollen Draper

Jobson John, Victualler

Johnson Robert, Victualler

Johnson Edward, Taylor

King Thomas, Watch-maker

Knox George, Gardener and Seeds-man

Knox James, Gardener and Seeds-man

Kane Francis, Shoe-maker

Lindsay Wm. Grocer, and Dealer in Flax

Lillie Robert, Taylor

Lindsay Thomas, Justice’s Clerk

Lamonby William, Skinner

Leathead William, Cabinet-maker and House Carpenter

Liddell Thomas, Taylor

Lindsay George, Butcher

Lindsay – , Schoolmaster

Mills Matthew, Victualler

Moore Robert, Victualler

Moody J. Shoe-maker, & County Bailiff

Manners – , Gardener to the Duke of Northumberland

Moses – , Cabinet-maker

Milne William, Baker

Moore R. Skinner and Breeches-maker

Moore Robert, Breeches-maker and Victualler, Black Swan

Marshall John, Dyer

Mattison Luke, Hardware-man

Moffatt Thomas, Hatter

Nesbitt George, Mason

Nicholson Thomas, Butcher

Nevill Isabel, Victualler

Neall Stanton, Shoe-maker

Pringle John, Grocer, Tea Dealer, and Flax Dresser

Purvis Samuel, Grocer, Tea Dealer, and Tallow Chandler

Purvis James, Brewer

Patterson R. Linen and Woollen Draper

Rankin Thomas, Grocer, Tea Dealer, and Dealer in Cheese and Butter

Russell James, House Carpenter

Rogerson John, Shoe-maker

Rennison Thomas, Wheelwright and House Carpenter

Reay Timothy, Butcher

Reaveley Robert, Baker

Redhead Alice, Milliner

Swan James, Grocer and Tea Dealer

Samp Edward, Grocer, Tea Dealer, and Dealer in Flax, Iron, and Malt

Scott Gavin, Tobacconist, Grocer, and Tea Dealer

Strother Thomas, Grocer, Tea Dealer, and Dealer in Spirits and Wine

Sanderson John, Grocer, Tea Dealer, and Flax Dresser

Sewell – , Cabinet-maker

Sutheran John, Peruke-maker

Scott T. Tobacconist & Tallow Chandler

Strafford Thomas, Plaisterer

Stanniford William, Plaisterer

Smith George, Dealer in Spirits

Scott Gavin and Son, Linen Drapers

Sutheran Thomas, Peruke-maker

Shepherd Vincent, Cabinet-maker and House Carpenter

Skelly Joseph & Benjamin, Shoe-makers

Thew William, Victualler

Thirlwell John, House Steward of Alnwick Castle

Thompson Andrew, Taylor

Thompson William, Butcher

Wilson George, Victualler, White Swan

Wallace Henry, House Carpenter

Wilkin Thomas, Land Surveyor to the Duke of Northumberland, &c.

Wilson William, Shoe-maker & Currier

Waddle J. Tinner, Glazier, & Plumber

Wilson Wm. Linen & Woollen Draper

Weatherburn Ann, Victualler

Weatherburn John, Wheelwright

Wilson Geo. Wine and Spirit Merchant

Source: The Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce, and Manufacture 1791. Vol. 2.

Bailey's Northern Directory 1781

Camble James, linen and woollen draper

Cunningham David, grocer and brandy merchant

Dorset Francis and Co. cast iron founders, Bedlington furnace

Elder Ralph, grocer and brandy merchant

Forster Matthew, woollen draper and mercer

Hardy Thomas, linen and woollen draper

Henderson Ralph, grocer and brandy merchant

Hindmarch Michael, ironmonger

Mattison John and Luke, ironmongers,

Strother Richard, iron and timber merchant, and wholesale grocer.

Wilson George, wine and brandy merchant

Wilson William, woollen and linen draper and mercer

Source: Bailey's Northern Directory 1781


Historical Maps


  • County: Northumberland
  • Civil Registration District: Alnwick
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Durham (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Durham
  • Rural Deanery: Alnwick
  • Poor Law Union: Alnwick
  • Hundred: Coquetdale Ward
  • Province: York