Standing proudly on its plinth outside the town hall is an unusual relic of the little known Boxer Rebellion in Imperial China at the turn of the last century. It’s a type of heavy duty musket known as a gingall, which was captured by British forces during an attack on the rebel held Taku Forts in North West China in June 1900. The weapon found its way into the hands of Commander Edward Charlton, who was at the time serving aboard HMS Orlando as part of the British forces deployed to put down the rebellion. The future Admiral Sir Edward Charlton RN, a member of the Charlton family of Hesleyside Hall, Bellingham, then presented the gun to the people of Bellingham.
Cuddy’s Well is the local name for St Cuthbert’s Well, the Georgian pant which gurgles away behind St. Cuthbert’s Church to the left of the town hall. Water from the well is used in all baptisms at the church, in recognition of the fact that it was supposedly founded by St Cuthbert himself. Legend has it that a girl called Eda suffered a paralysed arm after staying away from church to sew a dress on the feast day of St Lawrence, but was miraculously cured by an apparition of St Cuthbert after drinking water from the well.
No visit to Bellingham is complete without a visit to Hareshaw Linn, a spectacular waterfall just a short walk from the centre of the village. The waterfall is reached via a footpath, which takes the walker through a wooded glade which is home to red squirrels, roe deer, badgers and a dazzling galaxy of birdlife. The path is occasionally tricky, but the effort is well worthwhile when you cross the sixth bridge on the route to see the Hareshaw Burn tumbling over the 30-foot drop into a rocky cavern.
Memorial Monument Close to the town hall in Manchester Square is the imposing memorial to the yeomanry and volunteers from Bellingham and district who marched off to South Africa to fight in the Boer War from 1900-1902. The memorial was originally erected at the junction of the roads to Otterburn and West Woodburn, but was moved to its present location in the 1950s. It is not the village’s official war memorial; that is at the lynch gate at the cemetery on the Hexham road.