18 Sept 2020
Three Mile Bridge, Gosforth
This is a
Current status is
A newer stone bridge has been built in its place.
The area surrounding the Three Mile Bridge was once a village in itself, consisting of a few houses along the Great North Road.
Its namesake comes from a narrow bridge which went over the Ouseburn, becoming a recognisable landmark for travellers going northwards to Edinburgh as it was three miles from the centre of Newcastle. There was likely a rest stop or an inn at the site of the current venue.
During the first years of the 19th century Three Mile Bridge boasted a Boys School, a farmer, a blacksmiths forge and a joiners shop, as well as a unique monument named ‘Piggs Folly’ inscribed with biblical text. This was removed in the 19th century, but became synonymous with the area as a local landmark. It wrote:
“Who would not love thee while they may,
Enjoy thee walking? For thy way
Is pleasure and delight;
let such, As thee, choose thee, prize thee much.”
The man who erected the pillar, Mr Pigg, was known as a fairly eccentric fellow. It is said that Mr Pigg walked from his home in Newcastle every morning to Three Mile Bridge for his own pleasure, and constructed the monument as a token of gratitude to the community. He apparently wore a high crowned hat and carried an iron fork. He must have been memorable, as it is said he was even known to King Charles II and the Duke of York.
During the September of 1764, a barber named William Cuthbertson was fired at by a pistol just south of Three Mile Bridge while returning to Newcastle from Morpeth. He managed to flea, and returned to Three Mile Bridge to alert residents of the attempted robbery. A group from the village went in pursuit and managed to apprehend the attacker. It turned out to be a figure named Joseph Hall, a soldier who turned his uniform inside out as a disguise. He was carrying two pistols at the time of his arrest. A year later, he was executed for the crime in Morpeth.
Three Mile Bridge belonged to the Brandling family, a name well known in these parts for Brandling Village and the pub in South Gosforth. The family were wealthy merchants, owning real estate and coal extraction sites in both Newcastle and Northumberland. In 1852 there were financial troubles in the family, and thus much of the property in Three Mile Bridge was sold off to other prospective landowners.
Since then, the area has been amalgamated with the larger area of Gosforth, and serves as the entrance into the city of Newcastle. Thorough at the edge of a thriving city, the area still maintains a semi-suburban feel, with lush greenery and historic buildings.
Above are two Ordnance Survey maps which illustrate the Three Mile Bridge area in the 19th century. The first published in 1864 shows the small hamlet enveloping the bridge, featuring a couple clusters of small buildings. The settlement is still on the Great North Road, and likely a resting stop for travellers between Newcastle and Morpeth.
The 1898 map, though split by the map boundary, is a similar affair. Little had changed as much of the density was focused southwards at Gosforth. A couple of buildings had been constructed on the Great North Road though.
The map published 1921 shows more development along the main highway. Little had changed in the hamlet itself, though Fencer Hill just up the road now featured a cluster of dwellings. A club house had been constructed, though knowledge of its purpose is limited.
Illustration of Three Mile Bridge in the 19th century. The single arch stone structure can be seen with a small pathway going underneath along with the Ouse burn. A couple of figures are standing atop the bridge looking westwards.
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