Throtpon WI, March meeting

HIDDEN TREASURES: Many Thropton WI members would include the drive along the Coquet to the welcoming café at Barrowburn among their favourite local excursions.

Barrowburn, however, has more to offer and our March speaker, David Jones of Coquetdale Community Archaeology, gave us a fascinating insight into the history of the area.

It had long been thought that there were remains to be seen in the river, but not until last year’s archaeological discoveries were some of the secrets revealed.

The remains are those of a Fulling Mill. Fulling was essential to prepare cloth for dyeing and use.

The dig was demanding, involving standing in the river and even the services of a diver to assist the search.

There were, however, rewards for all this watery effort and stones bearing masons’ marks, a silver coin from the reign of Henry III and a good deal of evidence about a millwheel suggested the existence of a medieval mill.

Carbon dating and a 13th century licence for a mill pond support this conclusion. The dig will continue this summer.

Our earlier business meeting was filled with plans for our 90th birthday celebrations in July, to raise funds for which a new member, Pamela Blakeburn, has donated a stunning quilt.

Some of our members had come close to winning the inter-WI bowls competition, so praise was due there.

Outings and walks were covered and the competition for a hand-made wool item was well-supported. A pooled supper ended a good meeting.

New members are invited to join us on April 4, when the talk will be on tea-time treats.