Elsdon : Area of Study
The main focus is on the village and its immediate environs, but the wider area of study adopted contextual purposes is represented by the historic township of Elsdon. This was one of six townships or wards incorporated in the ecclesiastical parish of Elsdon, which included almost the entirety of Redesdale, extending right up to the border.
The townships are shown clearly on the tithe map in 1839 (NRO DT 164 4M) and were described by John Hodgson in Part II, Volume 1 of his History of Northumberland (1827), where, with the parish, they provide the basic territorial framework for his account. The area of Elsdon township incorporated the village and its immediate surroundings, including the neighbouring farmsteads of Dunshield, Bowershield, North and South Riding, Hudspeth, Landshot and Todholes which form a ring around the village to the north, east and south east.
To the south and west, the limits of the township were relatively restricted, extending only as far as Gallow Hill which overlooks the village to the south and excluding the nearby farmsteads of Soppit and Haining to the west (which fell within Otterburn and Monkridge townships respectively). However the township incorporated a much larger area to the east of the village,stretching into what is now Harwood Forest to embrace the sources of the Whiskershiel Burn, with the boundary here running via Darden Pike, Tod Knowe, Manside Cross and Steng Cross (Winter’s Gibbet), before turning toward the WNW and proceeding via Battle Hill to Gallow Hill.
The townships were probably established in the mid 17th century to enable each district of of the parish to levy a separate rate for relief of the poor. Prior to this date, Redesdale townships may have been much smaller.