Mr. Bob: In the United Kingdom

Our friend, Mr. Bob, has been writing to us from his home far across the sea. This is his dog, Rocky.

Hi Jennifer,

I live in the North East of England, in County Durham, not far from Washington, where George Washington's (your first President), family lived. It is a very old area going way back to the bronze age, the Romans, Saxons, Vikings we had them all.

We were nearly always at war with Scotland, and many battles were fought around here. Back in the days of the Romans, they built a wall all the way across the top of England to keep the Scots out. Some of the wall is still there.

We had Fathers Day yesterday too, and my daughter bought me a card, with a badge saying "No 1 Dad", and I had to wear it all day.

What are you learning in summer school?


Dear Mr. Bob,

We found you on the map. My grandmother has been in England. You live near the sea. I live near Ocean City and the Atlantic Ocean. Why was England always at war with Scotland?


Hi Jennifer,

Well it goes back a long way in history. First the Romans tried to expand their empire into Scotland after they invaded England. Then the Normans. It became a long standing thing. There are no real borders between the two countries, so it was easy for one side or the other to raid their neighour. Then in Queen Elizabeth I's time her sister Mary used the Scots to help her to gain the English throne. We also had some kings of Scotland who became king of England. It's all very complicated.


From Mr. Bob:

Where I live.

I live in Stanley, in the District of Derwentside, County Durham, in the North East of England, map reference 211 515, (see if you can find it). This region was once called Northumbria, and stretched from the boarder with Scotland, right down to York. At times the Romans have lived here and the Saxons, the Vikings and eventually the Normans.

The Roman Emperor Hadrian built a huge wall from the River Tyne to Carlisle on the west coast. Every mile along it there was a mile fort, and straight roads connected it with larger forts further south. Not far from Stanley is the village of Lanchester, and to the east the town of Chester-le-Street, bother were the sites of Roman forts. In fact every English town with the word "chester" in it's name was the site of a Roman fort.

Later still Northumbria was a very powerful independent Saxon Kingdom.

It was William the Conqueror who built a "new" castle on the River Tyne in 1080, and that's how it became known as Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The original castle was made from wood and built on the site of the Roman fort of Pons Aelius. The castle was entirely rebuilt in stone between 1168 and 1172 by Henry II.

The Lindisfarne Gospels is one of the most important inheritances from early Northumbria. Written and illuminated about 698 in honour of St Cuthbert, the famous Bishop of Lindisfarne, who died in 687, it is a masterpiece of book production and a historic and artistic document.

St. Cuthbert's body was moved during the invasions from the vikings, and eventually entombed in what is now Durham Cathedral.

We have our dragon legends as well. During the crusades, it's said, Sir John Lampton, went fishing in the River Wear, and caught something strange. Not knowing what it was, he throw it down a well, and went off to the Crusades in the Holy Land. While he was away, this "worm" or "dragon" grew bigger and bigger, and terrorised the countryside. When Sir John came back, and heard about it, he fought it, and killed it by cutting it in two halves. It is the Legend of the Lampton Worm, (worm also means dragon).

From soon after the Norman Conquest until 1836, Durham was known as a 'palatinate' because the Bishops who ruled the territories enjoyed all the powers and influence normally vested only in royalty and were known as 'Prince Bishops'. His Coat of Arms still has a bishops mitre set in a crown, and County Durham know as the "Land of the Prince Bishops."

In more modern times, the area was largely centred around coal mining and large industry, like the large iron works at Consett, and the bearing factory just outside Stanley. Now all that's gone, and no sign it was ever there. Derwentside is also a large farming and forestry area. Within an hours drive you can be on wild wind swept moors.

So we've got a bit of everything.


Dear Bob,

I have been sick. I had leukemia but it is better now. How are you feeling today? How is Rocky? Mrs. Weeg just showed me his picture. He is really BIG!!!! I am sitting next to Jennifer typing now to. What is the temperature now? It is pretty outside today. It is hot right now. It is 78 degrees now. I think it is going to be a hot one today! Miss Dickerson is helping me type today!!!


Hello Kenneth,

Good to hear from you. I've been siting here waiting to see if you would write. Sorry to hear you've been sick Kenneth. I understand how you feel, I have multiple sclerosis, (big word eh?), we normaly say MS for short.

Rocky's fine, feeling his age though. He's 12 year old, which is real old for him. He is probably as big as you Kenneth.

The temperature here is 61 degrees, and it's cloudy, looks like it might rain. It sounds very hot there. I can't stand the heat, it makes me feel real tired.

I'm glad you are better, and hope you get stronger now. I was worried when I didn't hear from you. Write when you can, eh?


Mr. Bob helps Kenneth learn contractions.

Patricia A. Weeg
Return to Global Classroom
Search The Global Classroom