Early History of

 The Felling
The County Durham land, south of the River Tyne, was controlled by the Church, through the Bishop of Durham, who gave, and later commercially sold, the rights of use, to those he chose. A big slice of the original Gateshead immediately south of the Tyne was taken up by The Bishop's own Hunting Park. The Heworth area had the hunting park, called The Hayning, use of which was given by the Bishop of Durham to the then Prior of Durham. (The Priors of Durham existed from about 1083 (before that it was Jarrow) until 1540 when Henry VIII dissolved all monasteries. Durham Priory was replaced by a deanery church)

On this map, from Joan Hewitt's book The Township of Heworth, The Bishop's Gateshead Hunting Park is shown in the top left hand corner, outside the dotted lines. 

Within the dotted lines, on the above map, is what we now regard as The Felling, now essentially tree-less, save those ordinarily found in an urban area, but then the area next to the Tyne was the heavily wooded deer hunting park called "The Hayning". Historian Joan Hewitt has her specific theory (wrong in my view) that the name derived not from the general felling of trees but a specific felling. A medieval hall was built for the use of the Prior and in building it, and allowing an area around it for cultivation, there was the felling of a significant amount of trees. (There had always been some tree felling for routine maintenance and a few specific purposes...building a ship, for example, but this was a notable felling in one place) This hall in the Manerium de Fellynge, as it was recorded, was not used by the Prior but shortly after 1217 the whole area of The Fellynge was leased to Sir Walter de Selby, and then others as detailed later. Long after the felling of the trees, the name The Hayning lived on, in addresses recorded in parish records of baptisms etc (and still lives on in The Hayning a street on the Bogg House Estate and Hainingwood Terrace, Bill Quay.)
See here for my view on why this area is called Felling, or The Felling
The streams, The Mareburn, Blackburn, Heworth Burn, Cat Dene Burn, Whittle Burn, shown on the above map, still flow but now in culverts, except for a small section of the Heworth Burn which still flows above ground as shown on this 3 minute video 

An interesting game to play now is to try to identify where these burns are by dips in the ground level. For instance, on Sunderland Road in front of Felling Lodge there is a distinct dip in the road, which marks the course of the Blackburn
before the road was laid in 1799 when the burn was piped under road and railway en route to the Tyne
 Lots more interesting stuff about topological features...lumps and bumps.. may be found here on Gateshead Library Website

and also this one, the dene just off Shields Road at 'Store Corner', Bill Quay

As said earlier, in the 13th century, the manor of The Felling, under the feudal system was passed, by the Prior of Durham, to Sir Walter de Selby "to hold by homage, fealty, knights' service, two marks rent, and suit at the prior's every fortnight". 
The process was called enfeoffment which meant, in this case, that this land, full to the brim of coal, quality stone and pottery/brick clay, was handed over by The Church, in return for service, a pittance in rent (compared to the land's earning power) and attendance at the Priory twice a month. Lucky old Walter!
On Sir Walter's death, his son Adam took over but on his death it passed to 
Ralph de Applingden.   In 1331, Bishop Lewis Beaumont granted the manor to Sir Thomas Surtees whose son Alexander died young in 1400  passing the estate to his 20 week old son Thomas. He only lived to be 35 years old, but did manage to become High Sheriff of Northumberland in 1422 at the age of 22.  The last surviving member of the Surteys family died in 1509.

The families of Brandling, Blaxton and Wyclyffe argued through the courts as to who got what of the whole Surtees estate which went beyond just The Felling. Robert Brandling, (thro his wife Anne nee Place of Halnaby, a coheir to the Surtees estate) won The Felling and North Gosforth part of the estate, becoming richer by utilising the natural resources of the land...coal. Many generations of Brandlings followed, living at Felling Hall, until it had to be demolished because of mining subsidence, an irony shared by a fellow member of the 'Grand Alliance' * (A cartel to keep coal prices high) the mine owning Liddell family whose Ravensworth Castle also became uninhabitable through mining subsidence. What a bloomin' shame!

If you're interested in the North East Coal Owners these links lead to more detail and give the bigger picture of this industry, fundamental to the history of Northumberland and Durham

Grand Alliance 1726 between Wortley, Liddell and Bowes (Strathmore)...others joined later

see also the Wikipedia entry on the History of The Felling

Coal mining, stone quarrying, (including the manufacture of what were called Newcastle grindstones) 
pottery making were early industries and an important part of The Felling's history but that's not the whole story, arguably not the major part of the story. In the 18th and 19th centuries heavy industry, notably chemical/paint works developed along by the river, which continued to have transportation points for the export of natural materials. There is a proverb, going back to 1662, which says "in every corner of the earth one may find a Scot, a rat, and a Newcastle grindstone"

*******   Time out for the genealogists   ******
A list of old place names was published by Felling UDC extracted from parish records and this list appears frequently on the internet, but without any explanation, until now..here

Using the same map I've added some place names and features to help genealogists find some of the old place names used in church records etc. (while recognising the inaccuracy now of this map...Sunderland Road, for example appeared long after the felling of the forest and the culveting of the burns and I've drawn it a bit North. It should pass more adjacent to the village of Nether Heworth)
Watercourses on the map not mentioned in the previous section are Bolburnhead Springs, River Don and Poulter's Creek and are only mentioned here 
so they can be found by search 

Starting at the top left hand of the map which is north west and low ground by the river 
(The bottom of the map is higher ground and everything from there is on steeply sloping ground down to the river)

Not part of the original map, but added by me are The Nest (and Nest Cottages), called after Nest House, near the river at Felling Shore. Snowdon's Hole, The Tilesheds, Goose Bank and Ballast Hills were also at Felling Shore.

Southwards from there, up the hill there was Garden House and Dempsterville, (marked on map) another former big house in Low Felling. Coming uphill, we have Sunderland Road, on which was Kirton’s Gate at the point of the dotted line demarcation between Gateshead and The Felling. Everything on Sunderland Road is still Low Felling (per Joan Hewitt, Historian) and south of that, uphill, is called High Felling. On or near Sunderland Road there was also Felling Colliery, Felling Lodge and Pear Tree Place

At High Felling there was Bogg House, Alliance Villa, Holly Hill, Providence Place. Felling Gate, Quarry Banks, Bank Top and Crow Hall

So coming eastwards on the map to the Village of Nether Heworth..nether means low. Heworth Dene, Low Heworth Lane, another Garden House (much later than the one in Low Felling) and Cowpath Farm were here. At the riverside it was called Heworth Shore, where was Greenfield House/Heworth Lanes/Low Lane and up the hill it is shown on the map as Over Heworth (or High Heworth) where were Highburn House and Sward Houses. Westfield House was in Windy Nook. North Leam was in High Heworth and Low Leam just off the Leam Lane just uphill from the Gingling Gate/White Mare Pool area.

Cat Deane, Jonadab, Woodgate, Staith House, Bill Queay also called Bill Shoare (where Poulter's Creek is..top right on map), Haining Wood and Hainingwoodgate spelt on the map as Hayning, Thistley House was near Pelaw, Pelaw Main and Pelaw Staithes on the far right of the map

White Mere ( and White Mare Pool..modern name) and just further south on the Wrekendyke Road is Gingling Gate. The Manor of Wardley is shown on the above map where is found, on the ground, not on the map, Lingy Lane, Wardley Colliery, North Wardley, South Wardley, Manor Farm, Woodbine House and Wardeley. 

The Leam is shown. High Leam is south of that and North Leam and Low Leam are north of that. Heworth Leam must mean its west of The Leam
The Manor of Follonsby is shown which includes North and South Follonsby

On the following map is shown Incline House, Lingey House and Heworth Grange, Windy Nook, Carr Hill, Heworth Colliery, White Hill and White House, a former big House. 

This shows Springwell Bank Foot, down the hill from Springwell but up the hill from Wardley

Good Luck you Family Tree-ers, I hope this has helped with the old geographic names.