Hexham in Fiction
Novels and dramas set in or around Hexham and Tynedale, listed alphabetically by the author’s surname. Click here for TV and Films (at bottom of page).
Barmby, Beatrice Helen
Rosslyn’s raid, and other tales (1903). Adventures amongst the reivers.
Dorothy Forster (1884). Fictionalised story of real-life heroine of the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, buried in Blanchland.
Island of ghosts (1998). Set amongst Darmatian cavalry units of the Roman Army stationed at Corbridge.
The Night Stair: a Tudor ghost story (c2022) A novella featuring Sir Reynold Carnaby who acquired the Abbey from Henry VIII following the Dissolution. Published only on Amazon Kindle
Across the Roman Wall (1997). Historical adventure for children.
Charles and the Fifteen (1968), Julian and the Wall (1968). Historical adventures for children.
The kiss of Kielder (1968). Romance.
Charlton, Lionel Evelyn Oswald
The camp at Auld Man Shiel (1948), The hut on Oh Me Edge (1949), The secret of the pele (1949). Children’s adventures.
Chisholm, P F
A famine of horses (1994), A season of knives (1996), A surfeit of guns (1997), A plague of angels (1998). Tudor mystery series featuring the historical character, Sir Robert Carey. In real life, Carey was first Deputy Warden of the West March, and then of the East March, before succeeding his father as Warden of the East March. Although Hexham was situated in the Middle March and, therefore, not under Carey’s control his adventures often bring him into the Hexham area. Later titles in the series move away from Northumberland although Carey does eventually return north.
The Border Reiver (2015) A futuristic novel set in Northumberland under a revolutionary government with battles in the streets of Hexham and north into Scotland.
By the rise of the river: studies and sketches in south Tynedale (1897).
Collingwood, W G
The likeness of King Elfwald: a study of Northumbria and Iona at the beginning of the Viking Age (1917). Fictionalised account of late Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Hexham’s very own medieval mystery series, featuring the fictional ex-crusader and now Bailiff of Hexham, Lord Godwin. Two titles were published: Murder on Good Friday (2001) and Daughters of Summer (2003). An American academic, Conway obviously knows Hexham although allows herself a little authorial licence in relating the history of the medieval town; notably by positioning a fortified keep at the foot of Eastgate, and ascribing a Jewish quarter to the town.
Many of this prolific author’s titles are set on Tyneside or further afield; this list covers only those set in Tynedale.
The dinner of herbs (1985), The Girl (1977), The Mallen Streak (1973), The Mallen girl (1974), The Mallen litter (1974), The round tower (1968).
The Blanchland secret (2000). Romance
Hadrian’s Wall: a tale of Roman England (2004)
Downie, R S
Ruso and the disappearing dancing girls (2007), Ruso and the demented doctor (2008), Ruso and the river of darkness (2011), Ruso and the root of all evils (2010). Roman-set historical mysteries. Ruso is a medical officer attached to the Roman army at Housesteads.
Danger at Black Dyke (1968), Mystery in the Middle Marches (1964), The witch of Redesdale (1951). Children’s adventures.
Reivers’ road (1938). Historical fiction.
Forster, R H
The hand of the spoiler: being the adventures of Master William Clavering at Corbridge, Hexham, and elsewhere… (1898). Tudor adventures.
Fraser, George MacDonald
The Candlemass Road (1993). Historical adventures with the Border Reivers.
Before the forest (1991). Life in the North Tyne valley before the planting of Kielder Forest.
Awaiting details. Horror.
The doctor’s daughter (1912). Romantic fiction.
Hamilton, Lord Ernest
The outlaws of the Marches (1897).
Settled blood (2013). Crime series featuring DCI Kate Daniels.
Emmabella’s Alphabets. A series of children’s books featuring Emmabella, set in a slightly fictionalised Hexham. The series starts with Emmabella’s Christmas Alphabet (c2016).
Border peel (1950), Castle in Northumbria (1953). Children’s adventures.
The Keeper of the Rede: a romance of Redesdale (1929). Historical fiction.
A gathering of ghosts (1982). Mystery, featuring Arnold Landon.
Martin, J Wallis
Dancing with the uninvited guest (2002). Mystery.
Money, adultery, love, passion and humour are the main ingredients in Palmer’s novels; the English upper classes at their best, and worst! Old money (1995), Palmer’s third novel, is set in Tynedale and the characters visit Hexham on several occasions.
The mark o’ the Deil, and other Northumbrian tales (1894), Tales of Northumbria (1899), The white-faced priest (1896), With the Wardens of the Marches or, The vow by the ‘Nine Stane Rig’ (1909). Historical fiction.
Rossimon (1997), Simon and Ross (1998), Wintertree (2003). Adventures for childen.
Reiver (2016), Reiver: the sword’s edge (2017). Historical novels set in the English & Scottish Middle Marches, featuring Richie Reade “Richie o’ the bow” and his troubles with both the Armstrongs and the rebellious Northern Earls. Hexham features in both titles.
The Sterkarm handshake (1998), The Sterkarm kiss (2003). Time-slip adventures for children.
Empire: wounds of honour (2009), Empire; arrows of fury (2010). Roman adventures.
All the proud rebels (1977). A romance set in the aftermath of the Rising in the North.
Ross, L J
Sycamore Gap (2015), Heavenfield (2016), Dark Skies (2017). Detective stories with a supernatural twist, featuring DCI Ryan.
Seeley, Emma Louisa
Border lances: a romance of the Northern Marches in the reign of Edward the Third (1886).
Devil Water (1962). Jacobite adventures.
Set in the countryside north of Hexham, The Throwback (1978) features the ancient Flawse family, landed gentry based at the falling-down Flawse Hall, (near “Flawse Fell”) in the wilds of Northumberland, just south of the Anglo-Scottish border. The single remaining family member is a cantankerous octogenarian named Edwin Tyndale Flawse. His illegitimate grandson Lockhart (aka “the Bastard”) combines sexual and educational innocence with an alarming propensity for violence when he or his wife is threatened. The old man was born in the late 19th century, and his main aim in the very autumn years of his life is to find the father of his bastard grandchild and flog him within an inch of his life.
Tynedale (2005). Historical fiction.
The eagle of the Ninth (1954), Frontier wolf (1980). Children’s historical adventures.
The Hound of the Borders (2003). Elizabethan mystery.
Balefire (1958), Cheviot Chase (1952).
Rich beyond our dreams (1991). Family saga of mining families.
TV and Films
Only commercially-released films are listed here – many amateur films featuring the town can be viewed at the North East Film Archive www.bit.ly/3ooy9eV
River Tyne (c1945)
A travelogue using the device of a Canadian seaman taking the train along the valley and exploring the tural and industrial history as he travels
A river speaks (1956)
A travelogue narrated by the actress, Flora Robson, following the Tyne and highlighting the rural life and industry along the valley
Your Heritage: the River Tyne (1962)
An ITV documentary following the river from source to mouth.
About Britain: A country editor (1976)
An ITV documentary following a day in the life of Mike Sharman, then Editor of the Hexham Courant.
About Britain: Gavin the stockman (1977)
An ITV documentary focussing on a worker on the Beaufront estate.
About Britain: For the love of the plough (1987)
An ITV documentary about the life of Thomas William Forster, one of the last horse-drawn ploughmen
TV drama series shown on Sky One, starring Robert Carlyle and Victoria Hamilton. Many scenes set in Hexham and featuring at least one Hexham resident, Wil Cheung, as an extra. Click here.
Britain’s great rivers – then and now: The Tyne (2020)
Channel 5 Select documentary largely focussing on the Abbey, despite the title.
CBeebies: Let’s go for a walk: Series 1:3 (2020)
BBC Children’s programme looking at the town and its parks
An episode of the detective series featuring characters created by Ann Cleeves. Filmed in Hexham in August 2021 – yet to be shown