Great Tosson, Northumberland
The village of Great Tosson is situated in central Northumberland, about 4km west of the small market town of Rothbury in the upper Coquet Valley, and lies on the east side of Northumberland National Park. The present settlement is from east to west orientation, following the lane linking Whitton to Hepple, with Tosson Tower at the eastern end of the village.
The Simonside Hills climb steeply to the south, with Tosson resting on the edge, overlooking the wide valley of Coquetdale that opens up to the west of Rothbury. To the north, across the expanse of the valley, the Cheviot Hills rise, while the Coquet can be observed emerging of the higher ground in the North West, and flowing away to the lower lands in the south east.
The area of study adopted is represented by the late 19th century township of Tosson, which fell within the large ecclesiastical parish of Rothbury. In addition to Great Tosson itself, the township contained the hamlets of Little Tosson, located about 2km to the west at a lower elevation than Great Tosson, and Ryehill about 1 km to the north west in the flood plain of Coquet. Prior to 1888, Little Tosson was the centre of a township in its own right (Kelly 1910, 452; cf. Bulmer 1887, 795-6). Rothbury parish embraced a substantial proportion of upper Coquetdale.