Immigration dates back to medieval times

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IMMIGRATION wearily monopolises the political debate at the moment - usefully deflecting attention from what some may think are more pressing issues.

But people have long settled here from other countries - and were doing so far further back than you may think.

A new database has gone online at the National Archives which allows you to search more than 65,000 immigrants who lived in medieval England.

It’s thanks to a University of York project, in collaboration with the Archives and the University of Sheffield.

Searching by place, I’ve only so far turned up a small number living in North Shields, though it’s amusing to see that they were all Scots!

So there you go. Who do you define as an immigrant?!

Also, the National Archives proved useful when a reader asked for help in establishing if his father had served with the Home Guard locally during the Second World War.

The Archives site ( has a good section where you can search and download Durham County Home Guard enrolment forms for a small charge.