Wooler and Glendale

Gateway to the Cheviot Hills



Historical Information

Doddington Village is part of a ring of small settlements that skirt the extensive Milfield Plain, lying 3 miles north of Wooler and 13 miles south of Berwick-upon-Tweed. It is situated on the lower slopes of a sandstone hill, Dod Law, and between two branches of a tributary that meander their way to join the larger River Till, itself a major tributary of the River Tweed. Dod Law is an important aquifer which feeds a number of wells and springs in and around the village which in turn provide the water supplies to the farms and homes in the village.

Doddington is thought to be of Anglo-Saxon origin. Its name has various interpretations; one if that it is derived from 'the tun', perhaps of the people belonging to a chieftain called 'Dod'. Another is that the settlement is named after the Celtic Hill 'Dod Law', which rises 654 feet above sea level. There is much evidence in the area of its prehistoric existence, including Iron Age hillforts and extensive Cup and Ring rock carvings. Interestingly, though the Roman road called the Devil's Causeway passes near the parish boundaries, there are no Roman remains of note in the district.

The population of Doddington varied during the course of the nineteenth century; in 1801 there were 339 people residing here. In 1821 this has risen to 419, but by 1851 had fallen to 397. There was an important coal mine in the area, belonging to Messrs. Scott and Gray; in 1884 a new mine was opened, employing 26 people and with a daily output of 12 tons. Fell sandstone was quarried here, a popular pink-hued building stone. The operation of this quarry continues to the present day but at a much reduced level.

The Anglican church of St. Mary and St. Michael dates back to the 12th century. Like most churches in this country it was essentially re-built in the 19th century although it still retains part of the original Norman structure. An interesting detail of the re-building is that the church altar was located at the west end of the church instead of the traditional east. Embedded in the walls of the porch are three Norman grave steles which were discovered buried in the churchyard at the time of the re-build. In 1826 a watch-house was built within the grounds of the churchyard, manned at night by a guard, to protect the graves from being robbed. Here in the church can be seen memorials to Horace St. Paul, a member of the St. Paul family of Ewart Park, a large home about 1 ½ miles outside the village. Several members of the family are buried in the churchyard. Horace St. Paul was given the honour of Count of the Holy Roman Empire.

The village also boasts a bastle house which was built in 1584, and was occupied until late into the 19th century when it fell into disrepair. The ruins of the bastle have been stabilised and can be seen through trees on South Doddington Farm.

These days Doddington is enjoying a revival of fortune, with a popular golf course on Dod Law and the successful Doddington Dairy, which sells its artisan cheeses and ice creams throughout the country. It continues to be a small community set in an area of exceptional beauty.