The Battle of Newburn Project

The Battle of Newburn Project began at Tyne Riverside Country Park at Newburn during 2004, and is being carried out by members of the Friend of Tyne Riverside Country Park and Newcastle City Council's Rangers.

The real battle took place in 1640, fought across the river Tyne at Newburn between the Scots and the English. Have a look at our history section to get a detailed account of the battle.

The Rangers at Tyne Riverside Country Park had long known about the 1640 conflict, but it wasn't until a large field (formerly a corn field) was added to the Park that we had room to consider a re-enactment event. Having heard about the Local Heritage Initiative (LHI) grants available, the 'Friends' were consulted about the possibility of making an application. The idea was received with enthusiasm, and so the project began. From initial discussions with an LHI advisor, it became clear that a battle re-enactment on its own would not meet their criteria for a grant. The ‘Friends’ and Rangers then started thinking of other activities which we could carry out and with levels of enthusiasm being high, the list became longer and longer!

The list included:

  • Research of all available material on the battle, leading to the production of a self-guided walk leaflet and a longer, more detailed booklet
  • Production of artwork associated with the battle - a hooky mat, life-size painted plywood soldiers to guide visitors around the re-enactment site, flags and cardboard armour made by local children.
  • A programme of public events led by Rangers, volunteers and experts (see Events)
  • An archaeological survey of the battle site, looking for signs of the remains of the English defensive works, or sconces (see Survey)
  • Building a memorial to the battle (this part of the project will commence in Autumn 2004)
  • Working with 5 local schools at the Country Park, to give them an idea of what life and warfare was like in the 16th century, and producing an education pack for schools use.
  • Producing display materials, interpretation boards and this website.
  • Building 'defensive works' for the battle re-enactment

The grant application to the LHI was successful, and the Friends of Tyne Riverside Country Park were awarded £19,740 to carry out the project. Interest in the project from local volunteers grew rapidly and soon small groups were formed to look at research, publicity and finance. The amount of work which has gone into the project so far is amazing.

If you are interested in joining us as a volunteer, it is not too late contact the Rangers at Tyne Riverside Country Park Visitor Centre on 0191 2648501 e-mail newburn.countrypark@newcastle.gov.uk we still have a lot of work to do and we'll be pleased to hear from you!

ohn Anderson, Ken Watson and John Croft discuss the possible positions of the English defensive
John Anderson, Ken Watson and John Croft discuss the possible postions of the English defensive works, or sconces.

A member of the team working hard during the research work period
Sandra Melia c ompiling research material for self guided walk, booklet and interpretation boards

ranger dance
Pleased with the results of their work, Rangers Ken and Gillian are in a good mood!

A hooky mat, made from recycled old clothes, is being worked to commemorate the Battle
This hooky mat, made from recycle d old clothes, is being worked to commemorate the Battle. Pictured are Elizabeth, Janet and Sandra

A finished rag rug depicting an Englishman and Scotsman fighting with a pike and musket
The finished hooky mat

Alan, a volunteer and noted local historian shows the battle ground on his model
Alan Watson is a volunteer and noted local historian. He presented a talk on the Battle to 32 people. His pyrotechnics went down very well – he used party poppers to represent cannon fire!

Volunteer Jimmy Brown surveys the field for resistivity
Volunteer Jimmy Brown surveys the field for resistivity

Alan Biggins of Timescape shows Jimmy Bell and Bob Speight how to use the e.d.m theodolite
Alan Biggins of Timescape shows Jimmy Bell and Bob Speight how to use the e.d.m theodolite

2344 Longbenton Squadron Air Training Corps helping to build defensive works for the Battle
2344 Longbenton Squadron Air Training Corps helping to build defensive works for the Battle. They also be helped us out as stewards

A gabion basket being made for the battle by two volunteers
Making gabion baskets as props for the re-enactment. They would be filled with soil to protect soldiers from cannon and musket fire