Monday, 6 February 2012

All Saints Church - Rothbury

This walk starts at the picturesque market town of Rothbury, however this particular walk was under the distinct threat of snowy blizzards.  These days Rothbury is renowned as a motorcycle stop over (generally by solicitors and accountants going through a mid life crisis) or by hill walkers dressed as ‘Tinkers Rucsac’ (for those of you who remember the characters from Vic Reeves Big Night Out).  However Rothbury is ancient and was first mentioned around 1100 AD, when it was known as Routhebiria , or ‘Routha’s Town’.  All Saints church, in the centre of the town, still retains fragments of an Anglo-Saxon cross, believed to be 8th C. 

Rothbury is historically important due to being a crossroads over a ford along the river Coquet.  This led to an influx of families during the middle ages and became chartered as a market town in 1291 AD.  The town has had a bloody and turbulent past.  In the 15th  and 16th C the Coquet valley was a hunting ground for bands of Reivers who attacked and burned the town frequently.  Near the parish All Saints church stands the doorway and site of the 17th C Three Half Moons Inn, where the Earl of Derwentwater stayed prior to marching into a heavy defeat at the Battle of Preston. 

The industrialist Lord Armstrong (1810–1900) helped shape modern Rothbury. Many local buildings reflect his Victorian style and prosperity. At the same time the planting of more than six million trees and shrubs transformed the surrounding landscape.  

Rothbury's parish church building - All Saints' Church - dates from circa 1850, largely replacing but in parts incorporating the fabric of a former Saxon edifice. The church has a font with a stem or pedestal using a section of the Anglo-Saxon cross shaft, showing what is reputed to be the earliest carved representation in Great Britain of the Ascension of Christ.

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