The headland towering over the mouth of the River Tyne has been settled since the Iron Age. The Romans may have occupied it as a signal station, though it is just north of the Hadrian’s Wall frontier (the Roman fort and supply depot of Arbeia stands almost opposite it on the southern headland of the Tyne). In the 7th century a monastery was built in Tynemouth and later fortified. The headland was known as Pen Bal Crag.
The place where now stands the Monastery of Tynemouth was anciently called by the Saxons Benebalcrag
— John Leland at the time of Henry VIII
The monastery was sacked by the Danes in 800, rebuilt, and destroyed again in 875, but by 1083 it was again operational.
Three kings are reported to have been buried within the monastery: Oswin, King of Deira (651); Osred II, King of Northumbria (792); and, for a time, Malcolm III, King of Scots (1093). Three crowns still adorn the North Tyneside coat of arms. (North Tyneside Council, 1990).
The queens of Edward I and Edward II stayed in the Castle and Priory while their husbands were campaigning in Scotland. King Edward III considered it to be one of the strongest castles in the Northern Marches. After the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Edward II fled from Tynemouth by ship.
A village had long been established in the shelter of the fortified Priory, and around 1325 the prior built a port for fishing and trading. This led to a dispute between Tynemouth and the more powerful Newcastle over shipping rights on the Tyne, which continued for centuries. For more history see North Shields.
Prince Rupert of the Rhine landed at Tynemouth in August 1642 on his way to fight in the English Civil War
by simon schofield