St Thomas’s Fields

Tate: St. Thomas lands, at the top of Clayport bank, and extending from the west road northward as far probably as tho Wash burn, belonged to Alnwick Abbey, and appear to have been granted to it in 1311, by Robert de Sokepeth the owner of Hobberlaw hamlet. ” Seynt Thomas feyld and of late Mylnes feld ” with the corn and hay tithe, was let in 1529, by Robert the Abbot, to George Clarkson, a merchant of Alnwick, for ninety years. Under the name of the Town Head these lands were held, in 1623, by John Scott, a member of the four-and-twenty, and by Mr. George Lisle, in 1666, when they were valued in the book of rates at ¬£20 yearly. For a century or more they were in possession of the family of Archbold of Cawledge Park. Richard Grieve, a notable Alnwick solicitor, bought them¬†; but, by his second son, George, one part of them was sold, in 1770, to Thomas Call, surveyor, by whose descendants this portion is still held; it is described as ” the two several closes in Alnwick Town head on the west side of Howling lane, containing 11 acres with all tithes, having been sometimes called the middle alias Archbold’s closes alias Howling closes alias a part of St. Thomas the Apostle’s closes.” The larger portion, containing 19 acres 3 perches, was bought by Henry Collingwood Selby, and after his decease it passed to his nephew Mr. Prideaux Selby, who sold it to the duke of Northumberland in 1866. Tradition says that a chapel stood on these lands, that some of its stones form part of a wall by the road-side, and that human bones have been turned up by the plough. It is therefore not improbable that a burial-place belonging to the abbey was on this land, with a small chapel, in which services for the dead would be celebrated.