St. Cuthbert's Church, Bedlington
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North East England|
Bedlington is a town in Northumberland, England, with a population of roughly 15,400, measured at 18,470 at the 2011 Census. It is a former mining town roughly 10 miles (16 km) north of the nearest city, Newcastle upon Tyne and 4.5 miles (7 km) southeast of the county town of Morpeth. Other nearby places include Ashington to the north northeast, Blyth to the east and Cramlington to the south.
Bedlington and the hamlets belonging to it were bought by Cutheard, Bishop of Durham, between 900 and 915, and although locally situated in the county of Northumberland, it became part of the county palatine (from Lat. palatium, a palace) of Durham, over which Bishop Walcher was granted royal rights by William the Conqueror.
When these rights were taken from Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, in 1536, Bedlington among his other properties, lost its special privileges, but was confirmed to him in 1541 with the other property of his predecessors. Together with the other lands of the see of Durham, Bedlington was made over to the ecclesiastical commissioners in 1866. Bedlingtonshire was made part of Northumberland for civil purposes by acts of parliament in 1832 and 1844.
Bedlington became an industrial town with an iron works and several coal mines, however subsequent closure of these industries in the latter half of the 20th century caused the town to undergo many changes, becoming more of a dormitory town for those working in the surrounding areas.
The most important historic building in Bedlington was Bedlington Old Hall, which consisted of a 15th-century pele tower with a long early 18th century stone block adjoining, occupying a prime location on the high street. It was controversially demolished in 1959 and replaced with council offices which are now themselves empty and for sale.
A weekly market is held on Thursdays at the market place. The number of market stalls is now also starting to decline.
Bedlington is served by two secondary schools: Bedlingtonshire Community High School and St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy. Bedlington is also served by three primary schools: Bedlington Station Primary School, Stead Lane Primary School and St Bede's Primary School. One of the few middle schools left in England is Meadowdale Academy. The town of Bedlington also has two first schools: Whitley Memorial C of E School and Bedlington West End County First School. Pupils may also commute around 13 miles (21 km) south to Newcastle upon Tyne if they choose to attend an independent school.
One of the most important surviving historic buildings is the Anglican parish church, which is dedicated to St. Cuthbert. It is reputed that the church takes its dedication from an event that occurred 12 December 1069: fleeing northwards from the Conqueror's army, the monks of Durham are said to have rested the body of St Cuthbert in Bedlington Church. The building, originally of Saxon design, was rebuilt about a hundred years later. Little of either the Saxon or the Norman church has survived.
There is a Roman Catholic congregation who worship in a relatively new church called St Bede's. In addition, there is a Salvation Army chapel.
Local newspapers include the Evening Chronicle, the Journal, which also cover Tyneside and the rest of south east Northumberland. The Newspost Leader is weekly and covers most of the former district of Wansbeck. The community-run Bedlington Website Bedlington.co.uk was started in 1998. It has been active in many of the recent initiatives to promote the town.
There are also several radio regional stations provide local broadcasts. Local news on television is provided by ITV Tyne Tees and BBC Look North. These TV stations cover most of the north east, County Durham, Teesside, Tyneside and Northumberland.
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