Penlaw is the name of the place where, we are told, the Daoine Sidhe or Fairy Host first appeared when it successfully invaded England in the 12th century. It is said it is some twenty or thirty miles from Newcastle[45].

It is not quite clear however where exactly is meant. There is of course a place named Penlaw over the border in Scotland, and lying to the north and west: but it is nigh on twice the distance. Thus we cannot be sure if our lady authoress made a slight error in calculation, or whether there is in fact another Penlaw which lies nearer to Newcastle than the Scots one. The name sadly is of little help - it is one of those negligible ones which might reasonably apply to any of numerous places, and appears to mean no more than 'hill'. Though it is, of course, of no surprise at all that the Fairy Host should first emerge from a hill.

What might have added to the confusion regarding the exact location of Penlaw, is the following account. I have read very well documented cases (dating back to 1851) of the interchange of the names Pinley, Pendlay, Pennly and Penlay. Could they all have been mistaken for Penlaw with a Newcastle accent in 1851? It seems the last syllables were "swallowed". You only have to go through one set of Northumbrian parish records to see that the "spelling" of the clerk/priest who was doing the recording was often inconsistent - names may vary within one recording (consistency in spelling didn't really settle down until the 20th century).

Penlaw is also the name of the ship on which Stephen Black was born. It was carrying his mother and her master, Sir William Pole, from Jamaica to Liverpool. On that occasion it landed safely, but it was wrecked on its next voyage (to Leith, in Scotland)[65].