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The earliest recorded evidence of human activity at Gosforth is a flint flake (HER 1343) discovered in 1959. Evidence from later periods includes a Roman altar (HER 169) found in North Gosforth Chapel and a Roman coin (HER 1349) discovered in the mid–19th century. The first documentary reference to the placename, Gosforth, is from 1166 when William son of Siward certified that he held Goseford and half Milletone for the service of one knight's fee. However, North Gosforth does not appear for certain until the 13th century, when the Lay Subsidy Roll of 1296 lists 11 taxpayers, and that of 1312, 14. The documentary evidence thereafter is not very abundant, but what there is suggests gradual decay between the 16th and 18th centuries. A lease of 1780 lists 3 cottages at North Gosforth, two of which were empty. South Gosforth Village (HER 1381) was first recorded in 1166 as a member of the barony of Whalton, but by the late 12th century it had been split, two-thirds being held by the Lisles and one third by the Heselrigs (from the mid-14th century). There were four taxpayers recorded in 1296, and five in 1312. The site of the village seems to have been close to St. Nicholas church, and at the time of the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed c.1855) consisted of a farm, a school and a few dwellings. At the election of 1826 there had been only 6 voters. The shrunken village was partly rebuilt in the second half of the 19th century when Coxlodge and Bulman village were developed. Monuments and features from the medieval period include an area of ridge and furrow on North Gosforth Common, North Gosforth 12th century chapel (HER 165 and 166), South Gosforth Chapel of St. Nicholas and Haddricks Mill on the Ouse burn (HER 1388 and 1391). Gosforth Park (HER 167), originally a country estate, and its icehouse (HER 4128) date from the 18th century. The park now hosts the racecourse (HER 4246), which moved from the town moor to Gosforth Park in 1882. Gosforth Park Light Railway (HER 4626) was an extension of the existing tramways that ran through Gosforth and served the racecourse until the 1930s. Other 18th and 19th century mansions include Brandling House, with its walled garden and fish pond, and Coxlodge Hall. In addition to farming and recreation, Gosforth was touched by the industrialisation of Tyneside in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Gosforth colliery (HER 4024) opened in the 18th century but was out of use by 1895. Later coal workings include Coxlodge Colliery, Regent and Jubilee Pits (HER 4012 and 4013) - associated with a wagonway (HER 1134). The Great North road which runs through Gosforth and forms the present Gosforth High Stret is an ancient routeway northwards from Newcastle, possibly Roman in origin and certainly a major highway in the medieval period. Gosforth developed in the modern era as a dormitory suburb of Newcastle, supplied with the usual range of public buildings and facilities.