Preston Gate is generally regarded as the commencement of Preston North Road next to the present Foxhunters Inn and is marked as such on many old Ordnance Survey maps. Although there is nothing to indicate that this was a tollgate, mild references suggest that this road was formerly the gateway leading to Preston Village.
Preston Village is a small suburb about a mile north of North Shields. Historically the village is a separate entity, which has slowly been absorbed into the town.
Preston Village, and the area referred to as Preston Township, derives its name from the old English ‘Preosta’, meaning Priest and ‘Tun’, meaning enclosure or homestead. Preston Township lay between North Shields to the south and Monkseaton to the north, with Tynemouth to the east and Chirton to the west. When the Shire Moor was enclosed in 1788, approximately 94 acres of land were annexed to Preston Township. Originally Northumberland Place, this annex is nowadays known as West Allotment.
In 1828, Preston Village was described as ‘A very pleasant village, one mile north of North Shields to which its Township extends. It occupies a fine eminence which commands an extensive and beautiful prospect. Here are several gentlemen’s villas, two public gardens, two common breweries, four public houses and a linen manufactory, besides about 100 houses and cottages which have a neat and clean appearance’.
Preston Grange Estate is the name given to the present housing and former retail development of the 1960s and is likely to have taken its name from nearby Preston Farm. The word ‘Grange’ comes from Middle English, and is defined as an outlying farm with tithe barns or a granary, usually belonging to a monastery or feudal lord.
Prior’s Haven is the small sheltered bay to the south of Tynemouth Castle and Priory. Often referred to as Tynemouth Haven, it is apparent that the name was derived from the Prior of Tynemouth.
Prior’s Stone: This is a rock situated at the extremity of the Black Middens, so called because of its close proximity to Tynemouth Priory.
Red House Farm Estate was named after the farm of the same name which once stood nearby. There is evidence that Red House Farm dates back as far as the 1600s and eventually disappeared to make way for the housing development of the 1960s and 70s.
Despite the name, Red House Farm buildings actually stood on the site of what is now Southridge First School, on Beaumont Park.
Rockcliff: The origin of the name is uncertain, however the area south of Whitley Sands consists of rocky cliffs and plateaus which extend to Cullercoats north pier and thus probably have a large bearing on the name.
by Charlie Steel © 2015
Further reading for many of Charlie’s articles can be found in his books: ‘Monkseaton Village’ (Vol. 1 & 2), ‘North Shields Public Houses, Inns & Taverns’ (Part 1 & 2), ‘Tynemouth Remembered’ and ’Whitley Bay Remembered’ (Part 1) , all published by Summerhill Books.