Rothbury lies near the centre of rural Northumberland, 12 miles from Alnwick, 15 miles from Morpeth and 29 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne. As such it has been a local centre since the 13th century and at various times had a castle, a market and magistrate's court. It was the administrative centre of the rural district till 1974.

It has been noted in history since the 11th century and Rothbury church was of importance around the time of the Norman Conquest. Rectors can be traced back to 1107 and in 1291 King Edward I granted a charter to hold a market  every Thursday and a fair annually. Existing buildings date from the 18th century and the outline of the earlier village can easily be identified.

The name 'Rothbury' is variously derived from the Celtic word 'Rhath' meaning a cleared spot, or from the Saxon warrior 'Hrotha' whose kingdom was hereabouts. Or it may owe its origin to 'Rood' or cross from the Latinised word,  'Rodeberia', which was its first recorded name.

Be that as it may, the spelling was known to change across the years. In 1165 it was 'Roebiri'. In 1196 it was recorded as 'Robiri'. In 1209 'Robire' was mentioned. In 1233 it picked up a 'Y' to become 'Robiry' whilst in 1256 it neared its modern form with 'Roubiry'.


This Heritage trail is intended to provide an appreciation of Rothbury and a non too serious introduction to its history. 

Use the menu to go to specific areas and work your way through the village.




Photographs in the Heritage Trail were provided by Michael Hodgson to whom any Copyright in respect of the photographs belongs.