Visit Northumberland today and you’ll find beauty, peace and tranquillity – but don’t be fooled. Since before the coming of the Romans almost 2,000 years ago this land has been violently fought over. The greatest evidence of this is, of course, the magnificent remains of Hadrian's Wall and the many majestic stone castles and forts dotting the landscape. Look closer and you’ll see the Pele Towers and Bastle Houses of the Border Reivers, a ruthless breed of fighters and marauders whose clans ruled Northumberland and whose names are still proudly born by many of our local families.Battlefields also abound, including Otterburn where Shakespeare’s Hotspur was captured, and the most famous of all – Flodden, marking its 500th anniversary in 2013. In 1513 the blood of 14,000 men stained the moors and King James IV of Scotland was killed – an event still well remembered in poetry and ballads.
The Vikings also raided our coasts, attacking the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, slaughtering the monks who fled with the bones of St Cuthbert and the celebrated Lindisfarne Gospels.
Even in relatively modern times monuments such as Berwick-upon-Tweed's ramparts – the only intact Elizabethan town walls remaining in England – and the houses and inventions of local Victorian industrialists demonstrate the endurance of Northumberland’s historic spirit.