History Walk - Rothbury Walking Festival
Thu 23rd June 2011
History was never my forte at school, but a history walk around Rothbury was an opportunity I was keen to stand up to the mark for.
We all met at the Tourist Information Centre and our first stop was the original door of the famous ‘Three Half Moons’ public house which had been a focal point of the village for many years used for meetings, courts, excise sittings and parish business. The mail coach also started here for its daily run to Morpeth.
Further down the street we visited William Armstrongs grave before crossing the footbridge to the Haugh and the site of the old racecourse. The first official meeting was held on April 28th, 1762 and the final one was on April 10th, 1965.
We then passed Donkin’s Well, the first source of fresh water in the area before continuing up the 15th century road bridge, which originally had 3 arches. The 4th arch was added in 1759.
The old railway station was our next stop. The railway opened in October 1870 and the service closed to passengers in Sept 1952.
After descending steeply we stopped at the mart, next to the river. The mart started in 1871 and was located right next to the station so livestock could be transported away quickly.
The twenty stepping stones where crossed next and we made ourselves past Armstrong Cottages to the old Rothbury Garage. This was built by John Lee in 1904, who eventually became a motor bus operator. The interior was so authentic it was used to model the inside of the garage at Beamish open air museum. L C Wright bought John Lee out and set up Rothbury Motors (coach company), which eventually left Rothbury in 2001.
We continued up the main street looking at varies buildings including the old cottage hospital. The building was a gift to the village from the Dawson family to Doctor Fredrick Barrow. He made the former border house into a hospital.
The County Hotel was next on our journey before we passed down to the river, so we could see the gardens of this fine building.
A lovely walk back along the river was a great way to end this short walk looking at the history of Rothbury.