Even further north today as we head for Norham, former home of the Eadington family. There is a beware of the otters sign near the camp site. Chris says our neighbour has seen one so maybe we will go otter hunting one day. We do see some roe deer on our journey. We arrive at St. Cuthbert’s Church in Norham, which is inevitably covered in scaffolding. 4 x great grandfather, Peter Eadington, was the local miller. I have ascertained that the mill no longer stands but Chris is asking locals where it used to be, without success. We enter the church where the vicar and two parishioners are pew moving. The vicar sports two earrings (in the same ear); he’s my kind of vicar. The wooden predecessor of the current church was reputedly brought from Holy Island. The Lindisfarne monks took refuge in Norham from the invasion by Hubba the Dane, bringing with them the body of St. Cuthbert. The church was badly damaged in the border raids associated with the Battle of Flodden of 1513. The Parliamentarians also caused some minor damage when they were in the village with Cromwell in 1648 and 1649. I already know that there are no relevant gravestones, which is a shame as gravestones in the area seem to contain quite a bit of information. Many also seem to be eroded in the centres in a strange way, presumably because of the sandstone that has been used.
Amazing co-incidence, one of the pew movers lives in the miller’s house! He kindly asks us back to examine his deeds. He shows us ‘Miller’s Path’, alongside his house and the alleged former mill. This is now named Tower Cottages, inhabited by 95 year old Bill, who comes to the door just as the vicar arrives; the vicar must think we are stalking him. I had been thinking water mill but apparently the mill that was Bill’s house was a windmill. There is some controversy over whether the mill actually was a mill or whether it was a dovecot. Our benefactor’s home is lovely, with a large and eclectic selection of books. His deeds do clearly state that the owner in the late C18th was a miller. Unfortunately no mention of Peter Eadington but maybe he was an assistant miller, or worked at another mill. It turns out that our helper is a fellow member of the Guild of One Name Studies.
We take a look at the exterior of Norham Castle, now closed for the season. It was an important part of border defences. We decide to take a long way round back to the van so I can visit Scotland, which I’ve never done before. We drive past Jedborough Abbey; Jedborough was the former home of Mary Queen of Scots. Next is the Kielder Forest with panoramic views and a glorious rainbow; a complete arc that is actually revealing both its ends. Next a detour to Great Tosson, one of the settings of the novel Devil Water by Anya Seton. This was my favourite book as a teenager and it recounts the story of the Radcliffe family’s involvement in the Jacobite Rebellion. I am re-reading it in honour of our trip. Our journey back to the van takes us through Rothbury, where the Jacobities rallied before the rout at Preston in 1715.