Rothbury is a town in Northumberland, England, located on the River Coquet near the Simonside Hills and the Northumberland National Park. The town is popular with walkers, and is known for the Victorian mansion Cragside, located nearby.
The first mention of Rothbury, according to a local history1, was in around 1100AD, as Routhebiria, or "Routha's town" ("Hrotha", according to Beckensall2). 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 Warkworth in 1204. Rothbury was a relatively important town in Coquetdale, being a crossroads situated on a ford of the river Coquet, with turnpike roads leading to Newcastle Upon Tyne, Alnwick, Hexham and Morpeth. 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 1760's, according to Bishop Pocock, 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. 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 transcept, 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 Gap on the North British Railway line from Morpeth to Reedsmouth. It was closed to passenger trains on 15 September 1952; and is now closed completely