Wooler is a small town in Northumberland. It lies on the edge of the Northumberland National Park, by the Cheviot Hills and so is a popular base for walkers and is referred to as the "Gateway to the Cheviots". As well as many shops and pubs, the town boasts a youth hostel, many hotels and campsites.
The main A697 runs by the town linking Morpeth to Coldstream in the Scottish Borders. Wooler contains two schools; Wooler First School and Glendale Middle School. Noel Hodgson, the author of 'Below Flodden' and 'Dancing Over Cheviot', two Northumbrian poem books, lived and taught at Glendale Middle School.
By 1107, at the time of the creation of the 1st Baron of Wooler, the settlement was described as "situated in an ill-cultivated country under the influence of vast mountains, from whence it is subject to impetuous rains". Wooler subsequently enjoyed a period of prosperity and with its expansion it was granted a licence in 1199 to hold a market every Thursday. The Saint Mary Magdalene hospital was established around 1288.
On the invasion route of English and Scottish armies and situated so close to the border Wooler viewed many great events of history. The Scottish raids of 1340 and 1409 caused great destruction and Wooler was garrisoned at various times by both nations. The 'reivers' or border raiders were a fact of life in the border marches for several centuries as evidenced by the numbers of Peel Towers and fortified farm houses throughout the borders. The names of many of the great reiver families live on in today’s Wooler residents.
Fire has damaged Wooler on several occasions during its long history. One on 24 Jan 1693 caused damage of £2,950 to 54 habitations. Further substantial destruction happened in 1721 and in February 1863 a very destructive blaze led to the Wooler we know today. In the 19th and 20th the population of Wooler rose, fell and then rose again, although even today the permanent population is little more than it was in 1830.
Glendale Gateway Trust: Link