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River Coquet at Rothbury

Rothbury is a town in Northumberlandmarker, Englandmarker, located on the River Coquetmarker near the Simonside Hillsmarker and the Northumberland National Parkmarker. The town is popular with walkers, and is known for the Victorian mansion Cragsidemarker, located nearby.

Development as a market town

The first mention of Rothbury, according to a local history, was in around 1100 AD, as Routhebiria, or "Routha's town" ("Hrotha", according to Beckensall). An Anglican cross in the town's church is the only surviving pre-conquest remains. The town was retained as a crown possession after the conquest, being made over to the lords of Warkworthmarker in 1204. Rothbury was a relatively important town in Coquetdalemarker, being a crossroads situated on a ford of the river Coquet, with turnpike roads leading to Newcastle upon Tynemarker, Alnwickmarker, Hexhammarker and Morpethmarker. It was chartered as a market town in 1291, and became a centre for dealing in cattle and wool for the surrounding villages. A market cross was erected in 1722, but demolished in 1827. In the 1760s, according to Bishop Pococke, the town also had a small craft industry, including hatters. At that time, the town's vicarage and living was in the gift of the Bishop of Carlisle, and worth £500 per year.

Image:rothburycentre2.jpg|View of the village centreImage:rothburycentre4.jpg|Village centreImage:centre3.jpg|Village centreImage:golfcourseriver.jpg|A golf course on one side of the riverImage:oldstreet.jpg|Where most of the shops are - the main road is just yards awayImage:rothburystreet.jpg|View from other end of the 'shop street'

Parish church

The current parish church is from circa 1850, largely replacing but in parts incorporating the fabric of a former Saxon edifice, including the chancel, the east wall of the south transept, and the chancel arch. The church has a font with pre-Saxon stem or pedestal, and what is reputed to be the earliest carved representation in Great Britain of the Ascension of Christ.


The town was the terminus of a branch line from Scots Gapmarker on the North British Railway line from Morpethmarker to Reedsmouthmarker. The last passenger trains ran on 15 September 1952 and the line closed completely on 9 November 1963. The town is now served by a bus service which runs via Longframlingtonmarker, Longhorsley, Morpethmarker and continues to Newcastlemarker, the nearest city.


Until 1965, Rothbury was the location of a racecourse, which staged only one meeting per year, in April.


  1. Frank Graham (1975) Rothbury and Coquetdale. Northern History Booklet No. 65. ISBN 0-85983-092-6
  2. Stan Beckensall (2001) Northumberland The Power of Place. Tempus Publishing Ltd ISBN 0-7524-1907-2

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