Duddo is a small, rural parish in the English county of Northumberland, six miles to the south of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

The River Tweed, marking the border with Scotland, forms part of the parish boundary.

 

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Ancient history

Duddo's main claim to fame is Duddo Five Stones. This stone circle is thought to be  3,500 years old and still has a powerful presence, even in a landscape that has been transformed by modern agriculture.

See the Duddo Five Stones page for more about this remarkable monument.

Border conflict

The history of the area for many centuries was bound up with its situation close to the border. The now peaceful village of Norham, just to the north of us, was known as the "most dangerous place in England" in the 16th Century, due to its position next to a major ford across the River Tweed and its attendant fortress,  Norham Castle.

Northumberland and the Borders repeatedly suffered from incursions by Scots and English armies.

Sir Walter Scott, and popular history, have created a romantic image of border conflict, typified by Scott's poem 'Marmion', which centres on the Battle of Flodden and opens at Norham Castle.

Border 'reivers' have also been romanticised. These bands of raiders, normally allied by kinship rather than any cause, were just as likely to steal cattle and household goods from their neighbours as from any supposed enemy.

The heritage of border conflict is seen in the many ruined castles, 'peles/peels' (fortified towers) and 'bastles' (simple fortified dwellings) seen in Northumberland and the Borders. Duddo Tower was destroyed by James IV of Scotland in 1496. The existing ruins are from the 16th Century rebuild.

The castle at Twizel was also destroyed by the Scots in 1496. The imposing ruin you see now on the crag above Twizel Bridge is what remains of a 'Gothick hall' of 1771. It was 50 years in the building and was never occupied before being abandoned and eventually robbed of stone for the building of Tillmouth Park on the opposite bank of the River Till.

There are also traces of conflict in names on the map: 'Battle Moor', near Grindon, was the scene of a battle that developed from a cross-border raid in 1558.

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Duddo Tower

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Twizell Castle

Duddo Today

Duddo today is a peaceful rural parish comprising the small scattered hamlets of Duddo, Felkington, Grievestead, Grindon, Grindon Rigg, Shellacres, Tiptoe and Twizell.

Rural communities in north Northumberland have their problems: the statistics reveal an ageing population, low average wages, high levels of fuel poverty, poor public transport and difficulties in accessing healthcare and education provision.

However, we consider ourselves lucky to live in magnificant countryside, close to the national treasures of the Heritage Coast and the Northumberland National Park.