Hadrian's Wall & Henshaw Survey Area : Historical Background
The Tyne Valley has historically been an important east-west route with Mesolithic and Neolithic communities active in the area. Bronze Age stone circles and burial cairns survive in a wide linear band along the Tyne Gap and Iron Age activity is indicated by the hillfort at Warden. The Roman remains are however the most spectacular and enduring and the international importance of this landscape is reflected in its status as a World Heritage Site.
The area known as Henshaw makes its first appearance as 'Hethingeshalt', which was granted to Richard Cumin and the countess Hextilda by David I king of Scotland. Hodgson in 1840 stated that the township extends from the Tyne to the south, to the wastes of Scotch Coulthard in the north and was bounded chiefly by the townships of Melkridge and Thorngrafton. The area to the north was known from an early period as 'The Huntlands of Tindale' and the extensive area of 'waste' to the south, which included the loughs, was known as the 'Forest of Lowes' from at least the 14th century.
The Forest of Lowes was held by the Ridley family in the 16th century and then passed to the Nevilles of Chevet (Hodgson, 1840, 327). The whole of the Huntlands of Tindale and the Forest of Lowes was acquired by the Blacketts of Matfen in the early 18th century and continued to be held by them until they were divided and sold in the 1970s.