Northumberland – a county rich in history and natural beauty

The front cover of the book.
The front cover of the book.

The latest book from a prolific Northumberland author is a celebration of the county’s scenery, people and history through the eyes of a writer and historian.

Northumberland: A Celebration is by Stan Beckensall, who has lived and worked in Northumberland for 35 years, making this first and foremost an insider’s book.

The 200-page paperback deals with the county’s natural beauty, distinctive geology, rich archaeology and history through a series of case studies, incorporating 123 black-and-white and 33 colour photographs.

Beckensall’s theme is that some places generate powerful feelings because of what has happened there, some as they are striking or beautiful, others due to an indefinable attraction or quality.

There are famous sites that delight visitors; Berwick, Holy Island, Hadrian’s Wall and the Cheviots.

There are also lesser known places such as Old Bewick and Edlingham, where the author has made significant discoveries, and others like Ford and Etal, which have a particular significance on Beckensall.

When layers of time are peeled from these special places, the result is a microcosm of the county, captured in prose and poetry, photographs from the air and ground, and paintings and drawings by his friends.

Another dimension is his work on the significance of place names and field names.

Northumberland: A Celebration is written from the heart as well as being firmly rooted in original research.

The author’s extensive experience as a teacher, lecturer and dramatist has given him a unique insight into people’s lives in both town and country areas.

Beckensall has spent his working life in education, much of this in training teachers and being a headteacher in Northumberland.

He is an honours graduate of Keele University, an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Newcastle University, winner of the 2006 British Archaeology Award in the Channel 4 ITC section, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and Scotland and an international specialist in prehistoric rock art. He has published more than 40 books and pamphlets and his work has been televised.

Northumberland: A Celebration, by Stan Beckensall, is published by Fonthill Media, £18.99. ISBN 978-1-78155-253-7.