Thrum Mill is situated on the river Coquet just to the east of Rothbury. It has been featured extensively on the TV programme ‘Restoration Man’ and is a famous landmark in the area.
The building dates back to 1665, but has not worked as a mill for many years. The tiny hamlet of Thrum was originally the habitation of mill workers but now the handful of houses are all dwellings for local people.
The scenic setting has been the inspiration for numerous photographs and paintings over the years and was a favourite spot in the past for local Rothbury folk to picnic and watch the salmon leaping at the weir. The name derives from the local dialect – thrum means a drumming sound, and it is said that the ‘thrumming’ of the river here could be heard in Rothbury. The Coquet flows through a narrow chasm, worn away over thousands of years and which was once the dam that held back the waters of the river when Rothbury was actually a lake.
The current mill is on a medieval site but itself dates from the mid 17th century. A mill was a vital cog in the day to day life of rural villages and townships. Local people, many of them subsistence farmers or peasants, had to use the mill to grind their grain crops and pay the landowner or lord for the privilege of doing so. For a time, it was illegal for anyone to own or operate a mill without a licence from the local Lord. It was therefore a great source of income for the privileged owners and a cause for much protest among the peasantry. Mills were often owned by priories. The monks of Newminster owned several mills in the area in the medieval period, but the turbulent nature of life in the border areas made ownership of any property a hazardous business.
Thrum Mill has now been restored by the current owner, Margaret and David Hedley. Although they live there, the wheel is again operational and it’s great to watch it turning with the water flowing through the mill race.
Margaret has very kindly offered to welcome a small group of visitors to her home and show them around. It’s a unique opportunity to visit one of the most interesting places in the area and an even more unique opportunity to take some photographs from angles that would otherwise not be accessible. If there is sufficient water in the river, there will also be the wonderful sight of salmon and sea trout leaping at the cascade outside the window overlooking the river.
The visit will be restricted to 10 people, so anyone who wishes to come along, please log into your account and visit here where full details of how to book a place will be available.