Warkworth: ‘A tale of terror, oppression and a foreign invasion’

The eyes of the nation were firmly on Warkworth last week as the small Northumberland village starred in its own television programme.

Friday, 1st February 2019, 12:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st January 2019, 12:38 pm
Warkworth on BBC Four's Pubs, Ponds and Power: The Story of the Village.

It featured on an episode of the BBC history series Pubs, Ponds and Power.

First shown in November on the regional channel, BBC North East and Cumbria, the show was repeated on national television channel BBC four last week.

Warkworth Cricket Club in front of the castle, one of the progammes opening scenes.

Hosted by archeologist Dr Ben Robinson, the programme delved almost 1,000 years into the past of Warkworth, tracing its history through to the present day.

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The episode was filmed all around Warkworth, with the castle and the Church of St Lawrence being two of the prime locations.

Ben described the village as ‘quaint and beautiful, but all of this was born of terror, oppression and a foreign invasion’.

He went on to find clues to the founding of many of our villages, with a church, castle, market place and a single main street suggesting a Norman origin.

The view from St Lawrence's Church, one of the progammes opening scenes.

He explored how the hidden history of the quintessential sleepy rural idyll suggested the real origins of the English village owes a lot to those French invaders.

Many Warkworth residents were also featured in the 30-minute segment, including beekeeper, John Hobrough and church curate, Christine Shield.

The show was heavily centred on the history of Northumberland dating back to the Norman conquests and the evidence that this left behind.

It focused on the architecture of the castle and the church, as well as the way the houses and farmland were built to accommodate the medieval methods of farming and raising livestock.

The Church of St Lawrence, Warkworth, a scene from the BBC progamme.

Dr Robinson also spoke to Chris Kilkenny, a local historian, about the community’s past and of the Northumbrian people.

He said: “The Northumbrians were particularly stroppy people and used to being independent. It took about 100 years (after the Norman invasion) before we actually get a named Baron of Warkworth, who was Roger Fitz-Richard.”

The episode specifically highlighted how Warkworth has remained very much the same and how the architecture and building layouts are exactly as they would have been during the time of William the Conqueror.

Alnwick Castle featured towards the end of the episode and Ben met Chris Hunwick, the Duke of Northumberland’s archivist, to take a look at historical maps of Warkworth and the surrounding area.

* Pubs, Ponds and Power: The Story of the Village is available to watch on BBC iPlayer for the next three weeks. Visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/