Saturday, 8 October 2011

SEATON SLUICE AND SEATON DELAVAL

Passing up the coast to Seaton Sluice we come to Northumberland and one of my favourite stretches of the British coast. The Northumberland coast is wonderfully wild and varied, with impressive castles at intervals along its shore and the uplands of the county's interior as a backdrop.

The harbour at Seaton Sluice dates from 1660 when a port was built here for the export of coal and salt, consisting of a line of massive stones erected at the mouth of Seaton Burn. There used to be a sluice gate between the harbour and the burn, which is how this place got its name. The salt was made as far back as the 13th century in a place called Hartley Pans. In 1100 the nephew of William The Conqueror, Hubert De Laval, acquired land around here, and his family, the Delavals, settled a short distance inland at Seaton Delaval.

The stately pile of the present-day Seaton Delaval was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and built by Admiral George Delaval in the 18th century, and is a masterpiece of English architecture. Sadly, both Sir John and Admiral George died before the building work was completed. The hosue grabs the attention of the passer-by, due to its postition on rising ground, and is imbued with romanticism, with its ionic columns and balustraded towers. The National Trust was given the task of looking after the future of this impressive architectural wonder and the doors were open to the public in May 2010.

Map of the area.

'Seaton Delaval Hall and gardens5' photo (c) 2010, fearlesspunter - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

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