At a little distance along the Langley Road, which leads past the school, a memorial cross is standing. It was erected in 1883 by the late Mr. C.J. Bates, the historian of Northumberland, to the memory of the last of the Derwentwater family, whose castle of Langley he purchased. The inscription on the cross reads:—“To the memory of James and Charles, Viscounts Langley, Earls of Derwentwater, beheaded on Tower Hill, London, 24th February, 1716, and 8th December, 1746, for loyalty to their lawful sovereign.”
A striking testimony, this, to the fact that freedom in England is a reality, and not merely a name. In what other land would an inscription such as this have been allowed to remain for more than twenty-four hours?
A couple of miles or more down the South Tyne is Fourstones, so called because of four stones, said to have been Roman altars, having been used to mark its boundaries. A romantic use was made of one of these stones in the early days of “The Fifteen.” Every evening, as dusk fell, a little figure, clad in green, stole up to the ancient altar, which had been slightly hollowed out, and, taking out a packet, laid another in its place. The mysterious packets, placed there so secretly, were letters from the Jacobites of the neighbourhood to each other; and the little figure in green was a boy who acted as messenger for them. No wonder that the people of the district gave this altar the name of the “Fairy Stone.”
Between Haydon Bridge and Fourstones are both freestone and limestone quarries, which latter have supplied many fossils to visitors of geological tastes. Halfway between Fourstones and Hexham, the two streams of North and South Tyne unite, and flow together down to the old town of Hexham, with its quaintly irregular buildings clustering in picturesque confusion round its ancient Abbey, which dominates the landscape from whatever point we approach.
Warden Village, already mentioned, lies in the angle formed by the meeting of the two streams, and has an ancient church which, however, has been largely rebuilt. From High Warden, near at hand, a delightful view may be obtained for a long distance up the valleys of North and South Tyne. On the summit of this hill there are the remains of a considerable British camp, showing that they had seized upon this point of vantage, and though the ancient British name has not come down to us, it is evident from the Saxon name of Warden (weardian) that Saxons as well as Britons were fully alive to the merits of the situation, “guarding” the valley at such a commanding point.
DOWN THE TYNE.