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Teesdale Words

January 11, 2013

Crag Fell in Teesdale
Teesdale Words is a new creative writing group set up as a result of the Winning Words Olympic poetry project hosted by NeST gallery in Barnard Castle during 2012. The group will continue to meet at NeST, 25 Newgate, Barnard Castle on the third Thursday of a month. The next meeting is Thursday 17th January from 6.00 to 8.00p.m. Writers of all genres are welcome as it was decided at the inaugural meeting in December to extend the remit of the group to include all forms of both the written and spoken word as members are interested in both poetry and prose.
Poetry and Prose in Teesdale was the title of an article written by W.Castle Railton in the Teesdale Mercury on 3rd September 1930. The article begins:’What is the magic lying latent in the Vale of Tees that has power so to probe the sensibilities and touch them to finer issues?’
The answer is ‘the impulse of lyric eloquence.’
Whilst I am quoting from a newspaper clipping in my possession, back copies of the newspaper since its inception can now be viewed online at
So if you find yourself inspired by one of the Muses or even the landscape of Teesdale (as many of this new group are and writers in the past have been), please come along or contact me to express an interest in future events/activities.
As I mentioned, this is a new group with plans for creating a website which will showcase work both from the past and present as well as examples written in the vernacular.
The Teesdale Dialect itself has an interesting heritage, being suffused with Scandinavian sounds as a result of the area’s historical links to King Canute who is recorded as owning a mansion near Staindrop where Raby Castle now stands. It is thought that the Viking name Raby may mean ‘settlement with roe deer.’
Other place and family names in the area have their roots in the Norse language which was both related to and understood by speakers of Old English until the Norman conquest of 1066 which caused Norman French to be imprinted onto English. Radio Teesdale are currently gathering recordings of speakers of the local dialect. For details of this project see
Teesdale Words hope to build on the rich oral and literary heritage of Teesdale to bring old and new work to a contemporary audience.


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