Brinkburn Mill

Near Rothbury, Northumberland

Overview

Next to the River Coquet in a quiet wooded valley is Brinkburn Mill, wheel and grinding stones still in place as a reminder of an earlier age. This feels remote but Brinkburn Priory is just over the garden wall and the beaches and Northumbrian castles are only a few miles away.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • MicrowaveMicrowave

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

Sleeps
4
4 nights from
£307 equivalent to £19.19 per person, per night

An eyecatcher from the manor house

The present mill lies at the end of a long lawn, looking back towards the pretty Gothick manor house that stands beside the soaring priory church. This mill was built in about 1800 near the site of its medieval predecessor, but was later dressed up to improve the view from the house. The wheel and grinding stones are still here, although long unused. At the upper end of the mill, and previously separate from it, are two grander rooms. These may have been an office or perhaps a fishing lodge. One is now the sitting-room, with tall windows facing east to catch the morning sun.

Medieval enterprise

When a priory was founded here in about 1135, the monks, with typical skill, identified one place in this otherwise steep and thickly wooded ravine where there was enough level ground for their buildings. These stood in a loop of the River Coquet, which provided, among other things, water to drive a mill. Cragside, Alnwick Castle and Rothbury aren't too far away if you feel like exploring further afield.

‘That old Landmark magic plus the beauty of Northumberland. Quiet, beautiful, comfortable.’

‘The world stopped and we got off and found a place called Brinkburn Mill.’

From the logbook

Floor Plan

Map & local info

Brinkburn Mill sits next to the River Coquet, at the bottom of a steep and thickly wooded valley. Here is a place of deep tranquility, enhanced by Brinkburn Priory’s presence over the garden wall.

Cragside is a Victorian wonder, home to inventor Lord Armstrong, and the first house lit by hydroelectricity. The house is full of ingenious inventions, and the gardens are truly beautiful, with frequent sculpture exhibitions for visitors to enjoy. 

Brinkburn Priory is a stunning 12th century church of the Augustinian priory of Brinkburn. Brinkburn Music Festival is held annually in this fantastic setting.

Alnwick Castle is a fantastic day out for all to enjoy. There is much to explore in the house and gardens, including fun quests for children, art exhibitions and live music events. 

There are many lovely villages to explore, including Alnwick itself and the beautiful Rothbury. Head north up the coast from Rothbury to the village of Beal, where the causeway to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne is signposted. While you are exploring this tidal island with its spectacular views, visit the  castle,  priory and St Aidan's winery, where the world famous Lindisfarne Mead and Preserves are created.

Close by is Wallington House (14.9 miles). You can gain free entry with with a National Art Pass, which enables its members to enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions. The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it here on the National Art Pass website. 

Take a look at our Pinterest Map for more information and ideas of things to do during your stay at Brinkburn Mill. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Brinkburn Mill
Near Rothbury, Northumberland
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Morpeth – 11 miles
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes there are two car parking spaces adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters and an open fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Unfortunately, there is no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of fuel, however details of local sources will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    No.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a garden which runs down to the River Coquet (unfenced).

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

With the ancient precincts of Brinkburn Priory

Brinkburn Mill stands within the ancient precincts of Brinkburn Priory. Part of the medieval Priory wall, now only a few feet high, runs between the Mill and the river, on the south side. The main gateway to the Priory, of which remains were discovered while the restoration of the Mill was in progress, lies buried just to the east. The Augustinian canons of Brinkburn were endlessly pestered by Scottish raiders, and needed a stout wall and a strong gatehouse.

The present building dates mainly from around 1800, but probably stands on the site of a medieval mill. Monastic communities were supported by farming and like any landowner, usually had a mill in which to grind their own and their tenants' corn. An inventory drawn up in 1536, when Brinkburn Priory was dissolved by Henry VIII, mentions both a 'water corn mill' and a tannery.

The arrangement of the Priory at Brinkburn was unusual, however. While most monasteries had an outer court containing farm buildings, this was usually to the west of the main dwelling next to the church; and also upstream of it, with the drain for the sewage and kitchen waste running downstream. At Brinkburn, it is now clear, the outer, farm court was both to the east and downstream.

The reason for this was partly the small amount of level ground available. Moreover, in this case, the western end of the site was more secluded. The main approach to the Priory was from the east, along the track used by visitors to the Mill today. This ran off an old Roman road; just downstream are the foundations of a medieval or Roman bridge, where this road crossed the river.

From soon after the Dissolution until 1792, Brinkburn Priory belonged mostly to the Fenwicks. By 1700, the family's main house was Wallington, but the Priory was lived in by cousins, while growing increasingly derelict. The Mill was mentioned in documents from time to time, and 18th century maps show a group of buildings where the present Mill is, one of them with a water-wheel.

In 1792, Brinkburn was sold to Joseph Hetherington. He left it to his niece, Mary, who married Major Richard Hodgson in 1809. They rebuilt Brinkburn House in 1810. At about the same time, or possibly a Iittle earlier, the Mill was rebuilt, as a low building running north-south. An advertisement for a miller was placed in the Newcastle Chronicle in January 1813. The Mill building itself contained no accommodation, but there was a cottage near it.

One of the great millstones was renewed in 1825. Soon afterwards, the Mill was painted by J.M.W. Turner, standing in the foreground of a view of the Priory painted about 1830-1 as one of a series of Picturesque Views of England and Wales. Turner may have exercised some artistic licence, but he showed the Mill as a humble, rather tumbledown, building, with a thatched roof.

Around 1850-60, the Mill was enlarged. The older mill building was re-roofed at the same time, and given a new south gable and new windows. The addition, at the north end, consisted of two rooms, each with its own front door, and with no door between them and the mill proper. With their cornices and tall windows, and imposing porch reached by a tunnel from the main garden, it is thought that they were built as a summerhouse or fishing lodge. The smaller room seems always to have had a cooking range, and so must have been used to prepare food for the assembled company in the larger room. Curiously, this room had no fireplace to begin with.

The owner at this time was Cadogan Hodgson Cadogan, who in 1858-9 employed Thomas Austen, a Newcastle architect, to rebuild the Priory church. It is possible that Austen also remodelled the Mill to act as an eye-catcher at the end of the garden. The west side, which could be seen from the house, was more decorative than the east, with diamond-latticed windows and stone dormers.

 

More recent history

In 1896, Brinkburn was inherited from her brother, Arthur Hodgson Cadogan, by Eleanor Fenwick. She was married to Hugh Fenwick, a distant cousin of the earlier owners, who had sold the Priory just over a hundred years before.

The north end of the Mill had by then been turned into a cottage, and some minor alterations had been made for this purpose. A new chimney and grate were added in what is now the sitting room and the outside door into it was blocked. Instead, a new door was made in the dividing wall. A small larder was made inside the porch, with a window looking east. The cottage was lived in by Mr Shell, the coachman. He and his wife brought up a large family in the two rooms. Their youngest daughter was born there in about 1900.

By the 1920s, if not before, the Mill had fallen out of use. In the 1930s, a generator was installed there, standing on concrete blocks that were removed in the recent restoration. This provided electricity for the house for ten years. The accumulator jars were kept in the present kitchen.

Mrs Fenwick's grandchildren spent much of their time at Brinkburn House. They played tennis on the lawn between the House and the Mill, and kept a fishing net handy to rescue their tennis balls from the mill race. They used the present sitting room of the Mill as a playroom, and cooked on the stove.

In 1965 the Priory church and Brinkburn House were made over to the then Ministry of Public Buildings and Works by Mr H.A. Cadogan Fenwick, but the Mill remained part of the Fenwick estate. In 1989, to prevent it becoming a ruin, Mr Fenwick offered the Mill and its outbuildings to the Landmark Trust. The sale was completed a year later. 

For a short history of Brinkburn Mill please click here.

To read the full history album for Brinkburn Mill please click here

Restoration

Empty for over 50 years

When the Landmark Trust bought Brinkburn Mill in 1990, it had been standing empty for over 50 years. Extensive repairs were needed therefore, in addition to alterations to make the building habitable. The roof had to be stripped and relaid, using the existing slates, rotten window lintels were replaced, copings to gables and dormers were rebedded or renewed. Fortunately some of the stones were found lying near the building, including one of the stone acorn finials.

In 1990, the lower mill building was a single undivided space, although there had once been a room partitioned off at its northern end. The millstones and machinery were still there, on a platform at the southern end, where it can still be seen in the larder bedroom. There is, however, no longer any connection between the stones and the cast iron undershot wheel outside.

There was then no connection either between the Mill and the two grander rooms at the north end. It was clear that a new door would have to be made to link the two parts of the building, but the floors in each were at completely different levels. The answer was to put a new floor inside the Mill, a metre higher than the original, stone-paved, one. Although the new bedrooms and bathroom would be on this upper level, the outside door was still at the lower. A lobby and stair were inserted to link the two, and a new window inserted beside the door, to provide better light.

The little window in the smaller bedroom dates from the time when the Mill was built, about 1800. It was blocked when the window above it was inserted, about 1850. Since this later window was very high, the lower window was opened up again to give a view towards the Priory. The upper window still had fragments a diamond-latticed window. This turned out to be made of wood, not lead, and so the new casements have been made to match.

The smaller of the two north rooms had always been a kitchen, and this was how it would be used again, with the larger room also continuing in its original function as a sitting room. The decoration of this room is what you might expect to find in a fishing lodge, one of its possible former uses.

Before work began on the Mill, it had been necessary to repair the overgrown track leading to it. Electricity and running water also had to be introduced for the first time. The last job was to put the outbuildings and walls into good order. Finally, the Mill was furnished, and received its first visitors at the end of 1992. Instead of hiding in undergrowth, the building can now stand out proudly, as an ornament to the Priory garden.

The architects who supervised the restoration were Stewart Tod & Partners of Edinburgh, and the work was carried out by J. & W. Lowry of Newcastle. A local archaeologist, Peter Ryder, kept a watch while the restoration was in progress, gathering new information about the history of the site, and the Priory itself.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.