NT9923 : South end of aqueduct, Old Middleton

taken 8 years ago, near to South Middleton, Northumberland, Great Britain

South end of aqueduct, Old Middleton
South end of aqueduct, Old Middleton
The line of the aqueduct at the south end is just visible as a low embankment which runs to a position behind the tree where the bank disappears. It extends to the stream where water is collected from an opening protected by a grill. The banks to the right of the aqueduct are the remains of two small buildings, part of the deserted village. The track below is the footpath to South Middleton.

The Google Earth image from 2007 appears shows that the raised bank at the south end of the aqueduct had been recently worked on, possibly for maintenance of the pipe.
Middleton Old Town

The earthwork remains of the deserted medieval village of North Middleton are a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Aerial view: LinkExternal link

The remains of North Middleton medieval village lie each side of a tributary of Coldgate Water. There are two rows of small plots, with enclosures and platforms representing at least six buildings facing each other across a hollow way which runs east to west. The remains survive as earthworks, in places over one metre high. The exposed walls of some buildings show their construction of stone bonded with clay. The largest building is about 27m long and the smallest 8m. Other features of the village include a well, a possible kiln, and areas of ridge and furrow cultivation.

Old documents suggest this is the village of North Middleton, although it was originally called Midilest Middleton when first mentioned in 1242. Some of the documents help to give an idea of how many people may have lived here, for example in 1296 there were eight taxpayers and in 1580 there were eleven tenants. The settlement probably moved at the end of the C18th and only a few buildings were left standing here by about 1800.

There are two ruined modern cottages on the north side of the village.

Keys to the Past: LinkExternal link Archive LinkExternal link
Pastscape: LinkExternal link
Historic England: LinkExternal link

North Middleton Aqueduct :: NT9924

The farmer at North Middleton confirmed the interpretation discussed here NT9923 : Aqueduct, Old Middleton

The inlet, on the stream to the south, is actually higher than the outlet to the north. However, it certainly doesn't look it, a situation he describes as an optical illusion, and told me it surprised him when he first saw it. He described it as Cheviot's version of the 'Electric Brae' in Ayrshire NS2513 : The Electric Brae Experience.

The water is conveyed through the aqueduct in a pipe which in places may be quite deep below ground level, as running water cannot be heard directly above. It is undoubtedly a lot deeper where it cuts through the top of the ridge, as the water outlet on the far side is clearly lower than the top reached by the track.

The farmer told me that there are few problems apart from an occasional blockage of the grill directly where water leaves the burn in Old Middleton deserted village. Although he didn't know when it had been made, he thought it was likely to have been in the C19th, and provided a water supply to the millpond just west of North Middleton Farm. The old pond is now covered.

Large scale OS maps, from 1895 until present, show the south end of the aqueduct as an open channel leading off the main stream to a point below the low crags where the aqueduct cap stones start today. Much of its course has now been filled in but ran slightly further north to that followed by the now underground pipe. The course of the main stream appears to have been re-routed slightly south from a bend upstream, to provide a straight input into the aqueduct channel at a slightly higher level. An overflow from this new channel bent sharply north, to rejoin the former stream bed. Water flow could have been controlled at this point by a sluice gate. After 1923, this route was also altered, and the bend to rejoin the former stream bed is now further east.

Perhaps the stream had cut its own new channel in a time of flood or after the aqueduct had gone out of use. An aerial photo of Old Middleton deserted village taken by Tim Gates in 1977 clearly shows the channel at the south end from where it leaves the stream, to its dog-leg bend which takes it to the base of the crag line at the bottom of the slope. That it is a deep channel is clearly shown as it is crossed by a bridge which carries the track from the old village. The channel has been largely filled in and only traces of its former course are now visible.

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Andrew Curtis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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NT9923, 31 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Friday, 23 November, 2012   (more nearby)
Friday, 23 November, 2012
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Uplands  Farm, Fishery, Market Gardening  Grassland  Rivers, Streams, Drainage 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 9915 2388 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:30.5213N 2:0.9009W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 9918 2391
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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