The town of Corbridge in the Tyne valley grew from one of the most northerly settlements in the Roman Empire called Corstopitum. Variations of the name were prevalent throughout history with Coria becoming a popular name of the town just to the north of the River Tyne.
It was a place of strategic importance that intersected the north / south Dere street with the east / west Stanegate road as it supplied the troops on Hadrian's Wall.
I'll leave you to decide why it became Corbridge at a later date.
Village life evolved around St Andrews church, originally built in the 7th century by St Wilfred and his monks.
During the following centuries there were structural and decor changes with influences from the Vikings and The Normans. The church was later upgraded in the 13th century.
One of the lesser photographed stained glass windows portraying the washing of the disciples feet by Jesus.
The Kings Oven was a communal oven on the side of the church used by villagers for the baking of their bread and meat. It's first recorded use was in the Royal Borough of Corbridge in 1310 and it was last used in the 19th century.
The fortified rectangular Vicar's Pele tower with one room to each story was built within the perimeter wall of the church yard in 1318. This was used as an early vicarage. (seen above to the right)
It was a built as a stronghold to protect against the invading Scots raids which began from 1296. The building is three storeys high, has a parapet walk on the top level and was later abandoned, remaining ruined until 1910. After this point in time the Duke of Northumberland restored and re-roofed the tower.
The ground floor is a barrel vaulted chamber with a drawbar tunnel entrance which on this occasion of visiting was open for the sale of antiques. In all my years of visiting Corbridge, this was the first time I saw inside the interior of the tower.
As a variation on a theme, my mother always used to tell me that it's good to have some red in a photo !!
The market square is adjacent to the entrance of the churchyard with a lane that runs alongside Vicar's Pele Tower ...
The Pant in the market place was a drinking fountain erected by Hugh Percy Duke of Northumberland in 1815 building on previous supplies dating back to the 13th century. The fountain was discontinued in 1973.
Over the years Corbridge has developed a range of shops with character and individuality that attract tourists throughout the year.
In more recent years the town has initiated a Christmas shopping night where all the traders enter the festive spirit by decorating the shop windows. These come alive at night to enhance the event and the season.
The Corbridge Cookshop (parent company JF Walton and son) is one of the modern day attractions for the visitor who loves the finer kitchen utensils. It also has an extensive range of household hardware and garden accessories around surprising corners.
The festive goodwill is also extended to the market place
.... and main street which are transformed in preparation for the shopping night.
On the outskirts of Corbridge on the modern Stanegate road (aka The A69), visitors can enjoy the pleaures of picking a variety of fruit including Strawberries, Raspberries and Gooseberries at Brockbushes... http://www.brocksbushes.co.uk
This farm has taken off in recent years with more luxury food produce and has gained recognition throughout the area.
This year I visited the Christmas market for the first time and was particularly impressed by the quality of the traders' goods.
Lastly there were also some imaginative and well thought out stalls ...
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas.