Grave robbers, Zeppelins and vampires - weird and wonderful stories from North East history uncovered in new book by man behind Tyne and Weird

Heard the one about the Christmas grave robbers who stole a child’s body in Sunderland?

How about the battle of the cannons between Boldon and Cleadon?

Or the local link to a battle made famous by Michael Caine, Stanley Baker and Richard Burton?

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It’s all in a new book called Tyne and Weird 2 by Wearside man Rob Kilburn and it will be available to buy from October 27.

Rob Kilburn and his new book. Photo of Rob courtesy of DAVID WOOD.

Robert is no stranger to great productions and has previously directed documentaries on graffiti, parkour and a zoo where a girl was mauled by a tiger.

He also created and runs the Tyne and Weird Facebook page which has more than 4.600 followers.

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Now he has created his second book and Tyne and Weird 2 is packed with quirky tales from the North East’s past.

There’s the tale of the grave robbery over Christmas in the 1820s in Sunderland. The culprits were two men who were stealing bodies to send to surgeons in Scotland.

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Sunderland University graduate and book author Rob Kilburn. Picture: DAVID WOOD

Another one of Rob’s stories concerns the Battle of Boldon Hill when the Royalists and Parliamentarians faced off against each other. They fired musket balls at each other’s strongholds which were 3 miles apart on Boldon Hill and the Cleadon Hills.

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Another concerns the man who fought in the battle which inspired the film Zulu. The man, Cpl William Wilson Allen, was said to have lived in a Northumbrian village.

There are stories from the Hartlepool area too including a theory on the monkey hanging legend.

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The new book which is out later this month.
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Rob said: “The book elaborates on the stories and folklore of the North East.”

Rob went to Monkwearmouth School and added: “I have been around the North East and for me, it is one huge place with lots of local history rather than rivalry.”

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There are stories from all parts of the region and watch out for tales linked to Guy Fawkes, the body of Lord Nelson and the grizzly execution of a priest during the reign of King Henry VIII.

Tyne and Weird 2, from History Press, is £12.99 and available from Amazon Books,, Waterstones, Foyles, WH Smith, Bookshop and Book Depository.