The 18th - 19th Century Remodelling Of The Villages : Kirknewton
The mid-18th century form of the Kirknewton was depicted in some detail, but relatively schematically, by the estate map of 1763 (BRO. 01) discussed above and by Armstrong's map. The village may well have shrunk by this stage and the tower house was in ruins. The settlement was described by George Mark as 'mean and ill built' (Dixon 1985, II, 378, citing Hodgson Hinde 1869, 78).
Successive 19th Century maps of Kirknewton document the steady development of two farm complexes, West Kirknewton Farm (which already existed in some form in 1763) and East Kirknewton Farm, located on the south side of the main east-west street through the village, a little further to the east. The historic map evidence combined with the fabric of the buildings themselves suggests the two farms at Kirknewton may have been established somewhat earlier than their counterpart at Westnewton and were gradually built up in a somewhat piecemeal fashion. Thus the shelter sheds and granary at West Kirknewton Farm appear to belong to the late 18th century, whilst the associated farm mill was probably built in the early 19th century.
Picture : West Newton Farm
At East Kirknewton Farm, the core was formed by a U-shaped range comprising a threshing barn of apparently 18th century date (clearly depicted from the 1843 tithe map onward), with attached gingang in the centre and hemels on either side. The gingang is not shown on any map prior to the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey of 1897, however, nor is the hemel to the west, although the hemel on the east side does feature on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey. The stables and stores to the south all likewise belong to the latter part of the 19th century and first figure on the 1897 Ordnance Survey edition. Further ranges of cart sheds and storage were situated to the north east. Of these, the range along the main street probably originated in the early 19th century (it figures on the tithe map) whilst the remainder were added after 1860.
The two farmsteads were not the only substantial buildings at Kirknewton, however. The vicarage next to West Kirknewton Farm again can be dated to the late 18th or early 19th centuries on stylistic grounds. There was clearly a significant building on this site in 1763. A large house is shown standing on the south side of the glebe-land in the survey of Thomas James' Kirknewton estate, undertaken in that year, although there is no way of determining whether this represents the same vicarage which survives today or a predecessor. During the mid 19th century (between the appearance of the tithe map in 1843 and the 1st edition Ordnance Survey c. 1860), a small country house, Kirknewton House, was built to the south of the churchyard, where much of the village housing had apparently once stood judging from 1763 estate map. The area around the house was transformed into gardens.
A voluntary church school was already in existence by 1860 (it is labelled on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey) and probably by 1840 (the same building appears on the tithe map, but unlabelled). The life of this school is vividly illuminated by the school logbooks. The impact of snowstorms and heatwaves on attendance and the problems posed by epidemics of chickenpox and whooping cough are among the issues covered.
The school was enlarged in 1886 at a cost of about £100 and served a school district comprising the townships of Yeavering, Hethpool and Crookhouse as well as Kirknewton and Westnewton (Bulmer 1887, 875). In what must have been another very significant alteration to the appearance of the village's fabric, the parish church was also substantially rebuilt during this period, with a new nave by Dobson in 1860 and a Perpendicular tower added during the latter part of the same century, replacing a small bell turret (see Church of St Gregory by P F Ryder).
Picture : Kirknewton Old School House