Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Story of the 25ft Wall That Protected City and Its People; How Old Newcastle Was Once Surrounded and Protected by a Mighty Town Wall, around 25 Feet High and Seven Feet Thick, by DAVE MORTON

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Story of the 25ft Wall That Protected City and Its People; How Old Newcastle Was Once Surrounded and Protected by a Mighty Town Wall, around 25 Feet High and Seven Feet Thick, by DAVE MORTON

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE MORTON

For anyone who's ever strolled up to St James' Park, via Bath Lane, or enjoyed a Chinese meal on Stowell Street, you'll probably have noticed the nearby remains of the Town Wall and its towers.

Maybe you've never really given it a second thought. But why and when were they built? Just imagine Newcastle encircled by a huge fortified wall with flags aflutter and 100 soldiers patrolling the towers and turrets.

That's how the old town used to be.

Back in an age when England was fearful of the separate kingdom of Scotland to the North, the Town Wall was built as a defence during the course of the 13th and 14th centuries.

For marauding Scots venturing deep into enemy England, what were they up against when they approached mighty Newcastle? In the 1500s, one visitor declared: "The strength and magnificence of the walling of this town far passeth all the walls of the cities of England, and most of the towns of Europe."

Surrounding the whole town - apart from a short section alongside the natural defence of the Quayside - the walls were two miles long.

They stood around 25ft high. They were around seven feet thick. There were six main gates (we've all heard of Westgate Road and Newgate Street, which were named after two of the main gates).

There were 17 towers, six of which survive. Sections of the wall also had the added protection of a deep ditch outside the walls. Between the towers were rectangular turrets, with loopholes for archers.

The wall enclosed the Castle and its Black Gate, as well as the main medieval commercial district along the Quayside, and all the town Turn to Page 24 From Page 23 northwards up to St Andrew's Church. Walk into the churchyard of St Andrew's, on Newgate Street, today and a small section of the wall remains. In fact, the church survived cannonballs fired by the besieging Scots. …

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