Plenmeller with Whitfield Parish Council
Plenmeller with Whitfield Parish Council is in the west of Northumberland and is made up of the hamlet of Plenmeller and the village of Whitfield with a total electorate of 175. Whitfield lies on the River West Allen which joins with the River East Allen less than a mile away to form the River Allen and is serviced with a village shop, pub, school and two churches. It is part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Whitfield Hall is the home of the Blackett-Ord family. The Manor of Whitfield was granted, in the 12th century, by William the Lion, King of Scotland, to the Whitfield family, who retained it until 1750 when it was sold to William Ord of Fenham. When a later William Ord died in 1855, the estate fell to his son's widow and then to her heir, her niece, who married Rev John Blackett, a son of Christopher Blackett of Wylam. As a condition of the marriage and inheritance, he changed his name to Blackett-Ord.
St John’s Church is the site of an ancient church that was rebuilt by William Ord in 1785. Trinity Church (more usually known as Holy Trinity) was dedicated in 1860 and was the gift of the Rev'd and Mrs. J. A. Blackett-Ord in memory of William Ord Esq. from whom Mrs. Blackett-Ord had inherited the whole estate. It replaced St. John's church as the parish church. Many of the stones from St. John's were used in the building of Holy Trinity. The registers start in 1612 and the list of Rectors in 1180 with Robert de Quitfield which confirms the existence of a church at that time.
Unthank Hall is situated in Plenmeller and is a Grade II listed mansion house, now serving as commercial offices, situated on the southern bank of the River South Tyne. The house, which was built in the 16th century, incorporating an ancient Pele tower, was substantially remodelled and extended in 1815. The Hall was later rebuilt between 1862 and 1865. Much of the 1865 house has since between demolished and only the central gables and entrance porch survive.
The Parish Council
The Parish Council as the most local form of government is closest to the electorate in that all councillors must live within or very close to the parish boundary. It meets four times a year and its meetings are normally open to the public. The council is responsible for functions like cutting grass around the war memorial, maintaining the bus shelter and public benches, commenting on planning applications that affect people in the parish and contributing to local events or organisations.
Parish councillors are elected every four years, or in the event that there are not enough candidates to contest all the seats, candidates may be appointed by the existing councillors. You may contact your parish councillor for information about the council, any of its functions, or to comment on its work. Please be aware of the limited responsibilities of parish councillors. You might well need to contact your local councillor representing you on Northumberland County Council. Currently this is Cllr. Ian Hutchinson.