Brief History of the Kidland Estate

This site is about the memories of people that once lives in the Kidland Estate in Northumberland. There are a number of small sheillings, farms, distributed throughout the estate.

In 1181 the Kidland Estate was granted to the Monks of the Newminster Abbey, Morpeth, by Ordinal de Umframvill II for 29 years. The Ordinal made an unusual stipulation the day the lease was signed - "The dogs to be used by the monks on the Pastures of Alwent and Kidland should have one foot cut off 'that my game may have peace' . In later years Ordinal's sons, Richard and William leased yet more land to the Monks.

The monks built a chapel on the estate called the Memmer Kirk (922123). The remains of the 48' by 15.5' building can still be seen if you look carefully in the trees at the junction of the Yoke burn and the Sting Burn. The Newminster monks continued do hold the Lordships of Kidland until the monasteries were suppressed in 1536.

In 1541, five years after the Monasteries were suppressed the King Inherited the 17'000 acre estate. Over the next century the Estate was to change hands several times. In January 1622 Kidland was granted to Mr James Maxwell, Earl of Dirleton, for £80 per annum for the first six years and £100 per annum there after. Kidland was then morgaged to Mr William Weston in 1651. Only four years later the estate was to change hands again. It was sold to Sir Thomas Widdrington of Cheeseburn Grange. Upon his death in 1664 he bequeathed three parts of the estate to his eldest daughter, Frances, and the remaining part to his youngest daughter Catherine. Catherine married into the Shaftoe family of Witworth. Consequently her part of the estate remained with this family until 1807. It is hard to tell how the estate was divided between the daughters other that it was in four parts. Presumably the land bequeathed to Frances remained in her family for some years however it is known that between 1664 and 1841 Sir Thomas Digby Legard bought the land left to her.

In 1807 the part of the estate bequeathed to Catherine was split in half, one half sold to Mr John Maughham and the other to Mr George Patterson. In 1841 Sir Thomas Digby Legard bought both of these sections of the estate.

In 1830 the Kidland estate was divided in to seven farms:

Farm Area (acres)
Kidlandlee + Whiteburnshank 4000
Milkhope + Dryhope 4000
Uswayford 4700
Trows 2800
Rowhope 2500
Heigh 2500
Barrowburn 1250

In 1862 Sir Francis Digby Leygard, son of Sir Thomas Digby Leygard, entered into an agreement with the 2nd Earl of Durham. They agreed the total area of the estate to be 21750 acres. The rent would be £1932 per annum. The letting of game to be £35. And finally the charge on the estate to be £5 per annum made payable to Colston's Almhouses, Bristol. The Earl completed the purchase of the estate in 1867. When the 2nd Earl of Durham owned the Estate The Ordnance Survey surveyed the estate and showed it to be 11827 acres. The land proved very hard to make profitable as the Earl offered the Estate for sale four years later in 1871. No buyers were found for the Estate. The Earl died in 1879, still in possession of the estate.

The next owner of Kidland was Mr A. D. Leyland of Haggerston Castle whom in 1890 presumably bought it from the 3rd Earl of Durham. It is this Captain Leyland to which the Leylandii trees are named after. After building the highest shooting lodge in England he offered to sell the Estate in 1923. Captain Leyland offered each farm including sheep for sale separately rather than the whole Estate. In March 1925 the following farms were successfully sold to new owners.

Name New Owner
Kidlandlee + Whiteburnshank Mr John Thomas Lee of Rothbury
Heigh Mrs. Straker of Angerton
Fairhaugh Mr. D Curry of Wooler
Rowhope R + G Anderson of Elsdon
Trows Robert Rickelton of Glanton
Uswayford Mr Maurice Coates

In 1952 the Forestry Commision took on the management of the Kidland Estate. In 1955 the MOA gave over to the forestry commision, who upgraded the farm tracks to roads including putting in the new road to Whitburnshank up the White Burn Valley. There was a dispute over the access to the forest in 1958 - 59 through the Clennell Estate. The agreed route of access was the road past Clennell Hall which then follows the Valley floor up into the forest.

The T & N Pension fund bought the Kidlandlee estate from Mr John Christopher Roberts in 1976. It was also at thin time that Tilhill Economic forestry were appointed to manage the Kidlandlee and Whitburnshank sections of the estate.