Historic items

Church House

Church House dates back to 1896 when the Rector of All Saint’s, the Reverend William Mallett Young who lived in Whitton Tower on the south side of the River Coquet acquired the property. 

The previous owner had been William Bewick, a provisions dealer from Hebburn Quay who, in 1873 paid £550 for a dilapidated house on the site, pulled it down and built a new one in fine Victorian style. He called it Warwick Villa and his date stone “W.B. 1880” can be seen high up on the back wall of the building. 

In the same year, 1880, he bought the property next door, the derelict Three Half Moons Inn,  for £300 and cleared the ground, giving him enough land for stables, conservatory and large gardens. When he died his family sold Warwick Villa to the Reverend Young and in 1903, three years later, hiswidow who had moved to Cullercoats, gave Church House to the Newcastle Diocesan Society. 

In 1908 a Mission House was built on the site of the Three Half Moons and Mrs. Young laid the foundation stone. The Mission House is now the Parish Hall and built into the arch nearby is the ancient lintel of the inn’s front door.

C.F. Wright purchased the property in 1919 and installed petrol pumps on the front pavement, running taxis and buses from the garage in the rear. Other buildings in the rear (now demolished) housed the fire station and were also used a temporary CO-OP prior to the building of the present store in the early ’50s.

It is interesting to note that the original building had servants quarters in the mansard roof. In 1922 this was removed to reduce the height of the building from three storeys to two, with a corresponding reduction in rates.

In 1954 Rothbury Rural District Council bought the house for offices and in 1974 Alnwick District Council became the landlord ,when it took over the responsibilities of Rothbury RDC. One room on the ground floor was converted into a rent office and one room upstairs was let to the parish council as a meeting room. Other tenants were the Coquetdale Art Gallery who rented three rooms upstairs, the National Trust who rented one room downstairs before moving out in 1993 and Northumberland National Park who had the remainder of the ground floor. 

By1994 Church House was badly in need of refurbishment:  the flat roof leaked, the heating and lighting were inadequate, the paintwork was in a poor state and the whole building had an air of sad neglect. Northumberland National Park went into partnership with Alnwick District Council to give Church House a complete facelift and restore the property to its former Victorian grandeur, although this did not include replacing the mansard roof.  Repair of the roof, re-painting the outside and refurbishing part of the ground floor was completed in the winter of 1994-95 whilst improvements to the remainder of the ground floor, was completed during the winter of 1995-96. In 1989 the District Council decided to dispose of the stained glass window at the top of the stairs due to its dangerous condition but pressure from local amenity groups persuaded them to have the window restored. The work was carried out by Chris Chesney of Iona Glass in Warkworth and commemorated with a special plaque