Itinerary

Start at the Parish Church (1), the only one in Northumberland dedicated to St. Oswin. Oswin was King of Deira (the southern half of Northumbria) from 644 until 651 and his kingdom extended from the Humber to the Tees, with York as the capital. His cousin Oswy ruled over the adjoining northern part of Northumbria, known as Bernicia. Following several disputes between them, their opposing armies met for battle near Catterick in 651 and Oswin, whose men were outnumbered, fled shortly afterwards. He was betrayed to Oswy and slain at Gilling near Richmond. He was later buried in the Priory at Tynemouth.

The foundation stone of the Parish Church was laid by Mrs. Richard Clayton of Wylam Hall on 1st January 1885, in the presence of the donor, George Hedley and his brother William, the youngest sons of William and Frances Hedley. The two brothers had been born in the village shortly after their father had taken up his job as the colliery viewer in 1805 and were small children at the time of the development of the early locomotives in Wylam between 1812 – 15, in which their father played a major part. Although George Hedley died in July 1886 before the church had been completed, his brother gave £10,000 to endow the living and build the parsonage. The total cost of building the church was £7,061.

Wylam formed part of the ecclesiastical parish of Ovingham until 1902 when, with Horsley, it became a separate parish. Although there was no parish church until 1886, the Wesleyans had had a chapel in the village at least half a century earlier and part of the present Methodist Chapel (2) in Chapel Lane dates from 1834. During the 18th century, non-conformists in the village probably worshipped at a meeting place at nearby Horsley, which was visited by John Wesley several times during his trips to Northumberland.

From the early 12th century until the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII, the village belonged to the Priors of Tynemouth, and Wylam Hall (3) (private grounds) incorporates part of the ‘Sporting House’ built for the monks by Prior Whethamstead in 1405. Little of the original mediaeval work remains in the Hall, which has been substantially altered since that time.

Turn left through the lychgate outside the church, passing Wylam Institute (built by public subscription in 1895) with the attractive bungalows Blackett Cottages facing it across the road. The cottage in which the original Reading Room and Institution was housed stood where the bus shelter now stands on the opposite corner.

At the road junction, a left turn would bring you into the centre of the village with shops and refreshment establishments, but there is little of special historic interest there, except the mounting block outside the Black Bull Inn (4), so instead follow the road to the right and stop at the corner of Woodcroft Road.