Long the major trading port on the Hunter River, Morpeth has been declared an historic precinct by the National Trust and, along with neighbouring Maitland and East Maitland, sweeps the visitor back in time to an age of grace and influence. Its stately sandstone buildings are an absolute delight
and are charmingly complemented by the antiques, original art and the fine linen wares of the current tenants.
As well as being a major port, Morpeth was also the traditional seat for the Anglican bishops of Newcastle whose palace for many years was Closebourne House which still stands close by the epicentre of the parish, St James Church. Parish mythology insists that St James fulfilled a vow made by Lieutenant Edward Close at the Battle of Albuera during the Peninsula War that if his life was spared he would build a church. Acknowledged as the founder of Morpeth, Close built Closebourne House in 1826 and the foundation stone of St James was laid in 1837.
Despite the constant flow of interstate and international visitors, Morpeth retains a strong sense of community which locals share with their guests in such annual events as the Jazz Festival, Heritage Celebration which runs throughout April, craft exhibitions, a Teapot Festival and the Teddy Bear Extravaganza and Picnic.
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