Cherryburn, named after the wild cherries growing beside the river Tyne, is the 18th century home of Thomas Bewick. He grew up surrounded by nature and drew from it at an early age. He became famous as a wildlife engraver who created pictures of animals and rural scenes by using woodcuts. He was also the author of a two volume history of British birds and another book on animals.
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The thatched roof sandstone farmhouse that was his birthplace is sited on a small farm on a hillside in rural Northumbria. The kitchen with its stone flagged floor was the centre of family life. There was a dairy, a byre, stables, and an outhouse. An unusual three storey building in the grounds held pigeons in a roost, chickens on the middle floor, and pigs on the bottom floor. There are still animals in the farmyard and fields.
Bewick left the farm to move to Newcastle but continued to visit it. When he died he was buried in the parish at Ovingham Church, the place he was baptised in 1753.
Next to the house where Bewick grew up is the farmhouse where William, Thomas Bewick’s youngest brother lived. It holds examples of Bewick’s drawings, woodblocks and books. There are prints hanging on the walls. A press room contains his wood engraving tools, early 19th century presses and printers’ type-racks. There are demonstrations of their use on Sundays as well as folk music and other special events.
Cherryburn, the Engraver’s House
Station Bank, Mickley, near Stocksfield
Tel. 0 1661 843 276
Open: late Feb-end Oct, 11am-5pm, closes 4pm in Feb and March
National Trust property; shop; special events; refreshments; parking
Photos and text © Barbara Ballard