The sources for finding out about the old country houses and estates of Northumberland, and the families who owned them, have always been fragmented and sometimes hard to track down. The growth of the internet has improved the availability of some of this material, if one knows what to look for. For some kinds of research, the classic reference works remain essential: county histories, genealogies, architectural guides.
Sometimes the research of other people may have drawn together these different strands in one place. See for example the online blog Landed Families of Britain and Ireland, described below.
A history of Northumberland (Northumberland County History Committee). 15 vols. 1893-1940. Online vols. for north Northumberland at Internet Archive:
Berwick and the immediate surrounding area between Norham and Holy Island were not included in the History of Northumberland because other histories were already in print:
James Raine. The history and antiquities of North Durham as subdivided into the shires of Norham, Island, and Bedlington … now united to the county of Northumberland. 1852. [Not online]
And histories of Berwick by Scott, Sheldon, Fuller, etc. See links at Books online.
For information about families, Burke’s Peerage and Landed Gentry are well-known but the latest editions are sometimes to be found only in print in large libraries. For online access to older editions:
Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage. Latest ed. 107th ed., 2004.
Burke’s Landed Gentry. Latest ed. 18th ed., 1965.
– – 9th ed. 1898. Online at HathiTrust.
Nikolaus Pevsner and Ian Richmond. Northumberland. (The Buildings of England). 2nd ed. repr. New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2002. [Not available online]
Landed Families of Britain and Ireland is an ambitious blog project to draw together information about the personal and architectural histories of landed families throughout the country. It is the work of Nicholas Kinsgley, archivist and former Secretary of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, and an architectural historian. Each blog posting is devoted to an individual family; the entry consists of:
There are also extensive indexes of the people and the houses described, as well as geographical and topical subject headings. The families are being undertaken alphabetically and the project is still very much a work in progress.
Among those families covered so far, one of particular interest in North Northumberland is the Askew family of Redheugh, Pallinsburn, and Ladykirk, situated just over the border in Scotland. Castle Hills house in Berwick is another of the family’s properties, described in this posting.
Other research on families in Northumberland and Berwickshire featured in the blog may also be of interest such as Coupland Castle and Howick Hall. There are also descriptions of Cragside and Bamburgh Castle in the section on the Armstrong family.