Morpeth Antiquarian SocietyMorpeth Antiquarian Society - Newsletter

A member of Morpeth Heritage Network


Dialect Double Bill

Are you a mort or a gadgy?  Can you tell your galluses from your gallowas? Is it polite to bowk?    Whether or not you know the answers, Morpeth Town Hall is the place to be on the afternoon of Saturday 14th October at Morpeth Town Hall, when the distinctive dialect of Northumberland features in two special events – a book launch and a musical lecture. 

The first is the launch of A Northumbrian Wordhoard, the most definitive up-to-date dictionary produced by the Northumbrian Language Society in its forty years of existence.  It contains not only 1,250 of the commonest Northumbrian dialect words with their meanings, a reverse list of Standard English items translated into Northumbrian and a brief history of the language, but also a handy list of the basic 140 words needed to get by in Northumbrian today. The eyecatching front cover is designed by leading illustrator Jonny Hannah, combining a colourful modernity with a tribute to the traditional woodcut skills of the great Joseph Crawhall.  Details on the background to the publication and extracts from the dictionary will be delivered by members of the Society, including that fine pitmatic speaker Ian Lavery MP, the former miner who proudly gives an airing to our local language in Parliament and on the national stage. Copies will be available at £10 on the day, and for those unable to attend the Wordhoard is also on sale at Morpeth Chantry TIC, certain bookshops and online. 

The launch will be followed by prize-winning singer songwriter Graham Bell delivering

the 24th annual Roland Bibby Memorial Lecture, held in memory of the Society’s founding chairman.  The talk’s title Aroond the Rugged Rock is described as a songwriter’s journey through the cornfields and coalfields of Northumberland.  A prolific songwriter in the tradition of such greats as Joe Wilson, Geordie Ridley and Johnny Handle, Graham puts his own slant on historical or contemporary topics, displaying a deft use of dialect, amazing feats of memory and his distinctively incisive and often hilarious content. Society Vice President Kim Bibby-Wilson says: “Graham is always welcome back in Morpeth, where he began his working career as a farmer, and where he headlined events at this year’s Northumbrian Gathering - though his recent run of three consecutive wins required us to implement the age-old rule barring him from entering the song writing competition, just to allow others to have a chance!” 

Admission is free to the general public, with doors opening at 1 pm for a chance to browse the publications and merchandise stall, before the book launch takes place at around 1.20 and the lecture at 2 pm.  The event will be fully accessible, taking place in the Corn Exchange on the ground floor of Morpeth Town Hall, which is situated in the centre of the town overlooking the Market Place with free disc parking nearby. (Please note the venue change from some early publicity.)


Further details from Kim Bibby-Wilson on 01670 513308.


Lectures for 2023/24

All are welcome to come along to Morpeth Antiquarian Society’s in-person local history talks at 7.15 pm on the last Friday of the month (excepting July, August and December) at St James Centre in Wellway, NE61 1BN.

We ask for a small donation at the door (members £1; visitors £3); there's a raffle to help with our museum collection rental; tea/coffee/biscuits will be served from 6.45 pm before the lecture starts. Hope to see you there!

Please click here for full programme details

Merchandise: Mugs & Polo Shirts are available.
Please contact the Chairman for details ►


Morpeth Antiquarian Society is looking for a place to use its heritage collection of artefacts, pictures and documents to tell the stories of the town’s history.

After 32 years in the Chantry building the Society's local history museum was obliged by the borough council to go into store in the Town Hall in 1997. 

In 2010 management changes at the building forced another move and now the museum collection is in temporary store outside the town at a costly rent.

Meanwhile, cataloguing, research work and fund-raising have continued, with an annual exhibition staged each summer, shop window displays provided for Heritage Open Days and artefacts brought to community groups.  It is the Society's intention to raise awareness and develop a vision for the future use of the collection.  Anyone wishing to help at our regular volunteer "hands-on" sessions or who has ideas for future premises, strategy and funding, please contact the secretary.


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Telephone: 01670 513308