Newbiggin by the Sea

Newbiggin Beach
Newbiggin from the West end of the bay
newbiggin-cobles.jpg (12700 bytes)
Fishing cobles on the beach

It would appear that Newbiggin by the Sea has a long and varied history, the first recorded reference it being in 1199, when it was a toft, or homestead.   It's hard to believe now that in 1240 Newbiggin was a shipping port of equal importance to that at Newcastle.  For the next few hundred years, the ownership of the Newbiggin estates passed through various hands.

During the 19th century Newbiggin's fishing industry went from strength to strength.  In 1626 there had been 16 fishermen working four cobles (fishing boats) out of Newbiggin, by 1831 there were almost 30 boats and in 1869 over 140. 

Life for the fishing families was hard and all the family would be involved: mending the nets and lines, collecting bait, baiting the hooks on the lines, hauling the boats by hand over the beach and cleaning and selling the fish.

Newbiggin was also known as a holiday destination and there are many postcards showing the beach and the streets crowded with visitors.  Recent reinforcements to the sea defences have reduced the beach dramatically in size - there is no way those numbers of people would fit on it now!

The coal mines were the main employers in the town in more recent times, although the mines are virtually all gone now, for example Woodhorn colliery is now a museum.  When I was a child living in Newbiggin the pits were a familiar sight to me.

St. Bartholomew's, Newbiggin
St. Bartholomew's Church,
Newbiggin by the Sea
St. Mary's, Woodhorn
St. Mary's Church, Woodhorn

These two Churches feature prominently in the history of my family.   For generations, Christenings, marriages and funerals were held at one or other of them.  All of my Grandparents are buried in the Churchyard of St. Bartholomew's, which stands in a magnificent position on the "point" at the end of the bay.   Over the years the sea has been getting closer to the Church as the cliffs are eroded.

Newbiggin Bay December 2001
Newbiggin Bay, December 2001
Through the Needles Eye, Newbiggin
Through the Needles Eye
Front Street, Newbiggin by the Sea
The main street in Newbiggin
The Lifeboat House, Newbiggin by the Sea
Newbiggin Lifeboat House

Northumberland | Newbiggin by the Sea | Near Newbiggin
Inland Northumbria | Tyne and Around

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