Farming Village & Historic Lead Mining Centre
Rookhope is a small, picturesque village nestling in its own valley just off the A689 route through Weardale, steeped in history with a strong community feel, the village has a primary school, village shop with Post Office for basic needs. The Rookhope Inn pub is the heart of the village – and there’s a village hall used by local organisations.
The local pub is literally 50 paces away and offers hot and cold refreshments with good beers from Timothy Taylor and Black Sheep, as well as home cooked food if you want to give your chef a rest for the evening! They are usually busy on Sunday lunches so pop down to book up in advance.
Walks, cycle paths and bridle ways are easily accessible in the area and enjoy stunning scenery and beautiful surroundings. The Main of these is the Coast to Coast Cycleway, where the adventurous can cycle from Roker in Sunderland right across to Whitehaven in Cumbria. For visitors to Rookhope its a wonderful bonus as the route passes right next to the Terrace Cottage. So saddle up and get off into the hills and explore.
View Terrace Cottage, Rookhope in a full screen map
along with a Greengrocer and other shops. If you want to do a supermarket shop on the way to Rookhope from the A1M, then there are a Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and ASDA in Bishop Auckland on the main road through. Penrith at the M6 junction also has Booths, Morrisons and Aldi.
We will provide a fuller list of useful shops when you have made your booking.
Once your supplies are in, just enjoy the tranquility of life up in the Pennines!
History of Rookhope
The Village has been here for centuries, a scattered farming community at first, but when Lead and Fluorspar mining really took off in the Northern Pennines, Rookhope’s population grew. It’s difficult to imagine now but 100 years ago, the narrow valley would have been a veritable hive of activity, with the sounds of heavy industrial processes and steam engines running raw materials from the mines to the smelters.
It was always a hard life for the workforce, and many supplemented wages by foraging and taking advantage of the local wildlife to fill the pot with grouse, moorhen and rabbits. Unfortunately the landowner – the Prince Bishop of Durham and considered this as poaching.
So, in 1818, on December 7th, Bishop Shute Barrington sent an army of men, land stewards, bailiffs and gamekeepers, to Stanhope to arrest the ring leaders and imprison them in a local inn.
The Miners were angered by this and set against them and gathered outside the Inn and the confrontation turned into a ‘battle’ between the Bishop’s men and the locals with the Bishop’s men being heavily defeated and much bloodshed. This was then known as ‘The Battle of Stanhope’ and celebrated in the song – which also gives fascinating insights into the are at the time:
THE BONNY MOOR HEN
You brave lads of Weardale, I pray lend an ear
The account of a battle you quickly shall here,
That was fought by the miners, so well you may ken
By claiming a right to the bonny moor hen.
Oh this bonny moor hen, as it plainly appears,
She belonged to their fathers some hundreds of years;
But the miners of Weardale are all valiant men,
They will fight till they die for their bonny moor hen.
Oh the miners in Weardale, they are bred to the game,
They level their pieces and make sure of their aim;
When the shot it goes off – Oh, the powder doth sing,
They are sure to take off, a leg or a wing
Now, the times being hard and provisons being dear,
The miners were starving almost we do hear;
They had nought to depend on, so well you may ken,
But to make what they could of their bonny moor hen.
There’s the fat man of Auckland and Durham the same
Lay claim to the moors and likewise the game
They send word to the miners they would have them to ken
They would stop them from shooting the bonny moor hen.
Of these words they were carried to Weardale with speed
Which made the poor miners hang down their heeds
But then sent an answer they would have them to ken
They would fight till they died for their bonny moor hen.
When this answer it came to the gentlemen’s ears,
An army was risen, it quickly appears;
Land stewards, bum bailiffs, and game-keepers too,
Were all ordered to Weardale to fight their way through.
Oh this battle was fought all in Stanhope town,
When the chimneys did reek and the soot it fell down
Such a battle was ne’er fought in Stanhope before
And I hope such a battle will ne’er be fought more.
You can read more on this University resource which gives a lot more detail on the affair.
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