River Glen, Northumberland

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The River Glen on the Millfield Plains

The River Glen is tributary of the River Till, seven mile long, flowing through Northumberland. It is formed by the union of the College Burn and Bowmont Water, both flowing down from the Cheviot Hills, and which meet near Kirknewton to form the River Glen. The Glen flows past the small settlements of Yeavering, Lanton, Coupland, Akeld and Ewart, before joining the Till.[1]

Historical interest

Detail from Armstrong's 1769 map of Northumberland

The area around the Glen is rich in historical and archaeological interest. Iron Age hilltop forts on peaks to the south of the river overlook the Anglo-Saxon settlement and palace site at Yeavering, where St Paulinus baptised new converts and, according to Bede, "washed them with the water of absolution in the river Glen, which is close by" (Tomlinson, 1888, p. 504).

Because there is a reference to a similarly named river in Historia Brittonum by the Welsh author Nennius, some have hypothesized[2] that the legendary British warrior King Arthur began his campaign against English invaders near the confluence of the Glen and Till:

Then it was, that Arthur, with all the kings and military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons. And though there were many more noble than himself, yet he was twelve times chosen their commander, and was as often conqueror. The first battle in which he was engaged, was at the mouth of the river Glein.

The area around the Glen was the setting for some of the bloodiest border warfare between Scotland and England. The Battle of Humbleton Hill was fought near the river in 1402, as was the Battle of Geteryne (Yeavering) in 1415.


Between 1966 and 2010 the flow of the Glen, was measured in its lower reaches at a weir near Kirknewton. The 44 year record shows that the catchment of 77 square miles to the gauging station yielded an average flow of 645 gallons a second.[3][4]


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about River Glen, Northumberland)


  1. "Glen from College Burn to Till". Environment Agency. http://environment.data.gov.uk/catchment-planning/WaterBody/GB102021072950. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  2. Ekwal, 1928; Hunt, 2005
  3. "21032 - Glen at Kirknewton Station Information". National Rivers Flow Archive. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. http://nrfa.ceh.ac.uk/data/station/info/21032. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  4. "21032 - Glen at Kirknewton Daily Flow Data". National Rivers Flow Archive. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. http://nrfa.ceh.ac.uk/data/station/meanflow/21032. Retrieved 17 April 2016.