In 671, on a bluff above the Tyne, St Wilfrid founded a Benedictine monastery whose church was, according to contemporary accounts, the finest north of the Alps. Unfortunately, it proved irresistible to the Vikings, who savaged the place in 876, but the church was rebuilt in the eleventh century as part of an Augustinian priory, and the town of HEXHAM grew up in its shadow. The handsome market town is the only significant stop between Newcastle and Carlisle and however focused you are on seeing Hadrian's Wall, you'd do well to give Hexham a night or even make it your base.
Hexham's large Market Place (main market day is Tuesday, farmers' market second and fourth Sunday of the month) is peppered with remains of its medieval past. The massive walls of the fourteenth-century Moot Hall were built to serve as the gatehouse to "The Hall", a well-protected enclosure that was garrisoned against the Scots. Nearby, the archbishops also built their own prison, a formidable fortified tower dating from 1330 and constructed using stones plundered from the Roman ruins at Corbridge.