Old Stables Tea Room

Broomhouse farmhouse, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 2LB

History of the area surrounding us

At various points in the town are memorials of the constant wars between Percys and Scots, in which so many Percys spent the greater part of their lives. Malcolm's cross near Broomhouse across the river from the castle marks the spot where Malcolm III of Scotland was killed during the first Battle of Alnwick. At the side of the broad shady road called Ratten Row, leading from the West Lodge to Bailiffgate, a stone tablet marks the spot where William the Lion of Scotland was captured during the second Battle of Alnwick by a party of about 400 mounted knights, led by Ranulf de Glanvill.

Hulne Priory, outside the town walls in Hulne Park, the Duke of Northumberland's walled estate, was a monastery founded in the 13th century by the Carmelites; it is said that the site was chosen for some slight resemblance to Mount Carmel where the order originated. Substantial ruins remain.

Battle of Alnwick I - 13th November 1093

The Battle of Alnwick 13th November 1093 was the start of two battles fought near us. In the battle, Malcolm III of Scotland, also known as Malcolm Canmore, was killed together with his son Edward, by an army of knights led by Robert de Mowbray.

At that time Robert de Mowbray was Earl of Northumbria and was also governor of Bamburgh Castle. He set out to try to relieve Alnwick and arrived there with his forces catching the Scottish army by surprise, the English knights attacked them before the ramparts of Alnwick. Both Malcolm Canmore and his son Edward were killed in the fighting. The spring near which they died subsequently became known as “Malcolm’s Spring” or “Malcolm’s Well”.

A rough stone memorial was placed to mark the place of the battle, north of Alnwick. This was replaced in 1774 by a more sophisticated one, Malcolm's Cross, erected by the Duchess of Northumberland. You will find this a 2 minute walk from our Tea Room.


Battle of Alnwick II - 13th July 1174

William I of Scotland, also known as William the Lion, was captured by a small English force led by Ranulf de Glanvill. William had inherited the title of Earl of Northumbria in 1152. However, he had to give up this title to King Henry II of England in 1157.

In 1173, whilst Henry II was occupied in fighting against his sons in the Revolt of 1173–1174, William saw his opportunity and invaded Northumbria. He advanced on Newcastle but found the partly built stone castle too strong to allow him to take the town. He also attacked Prudhoe Castle but found the defences too strong. Unwilling to undertake a lengthy siege, William returned to Scotland.

In 1174, William again invaded Northumbria with an even larger army, this time he avoided Newcastle but attacked Prudhoe Castle again. The castle had been strengthened since the previous year and after a siege of three days William moved north to besiege Alnwick. William divided his army into three columns and one of these, under the command of Duncan, Earl of Fife, attacked Warkworth and set fire to the church of St Lawrence with a large number of refugees inside.

William made the fatal error of allowing his army to spread out, instead of concentrating them around his base at Alnwick. On the night of 11 July, a party of about four hundred mounted knights, led by Ranulf de Glanvill, set out from Newcastle and headed towards Alnwick. This small fighting force contained several seasoned knights, who had fought against the Scots before. They reached Alnwick shortly after dawn after becoming lost in heavy fog, the fighting did not last long as William’s horse was killed beneath him and The defeat at Alnwick was a humiliation for William the Lion. He was taken from Alnwick to Newcastle and from Newcastle he was sent to the Tower of London and then onto Falaise in Normandy where he spent five months as Henry's prisoner.

His release was eventually secured by the Treaty of Falaise, signed in December 1174, the terms of which required the Scots to pay a ransom of £100,000 and mandated that William would become an English vassal. These crushing terms had a marked effect on William's successors. Future Scottish Kings abandoned their claims on northern England and instead looked north and west to extend their domains. Accordingly the battle was key to the establishment of the Anglo-Scottish border along the modern line. Whilst a small stretch of land along the Solway Firth (the Debatable Lands) and Berwick-upon-Tweed would be disputed over the subsequent centuries, the border we know today became entrenched as a result of the Battle of Alnwick. It was formally recognised in the Treaty of York (1237).


Ruins of St Leonard's Hospital

The monument includes the buried and reconstructed standing remains of a hospital of medieval date, situated on gently sloping ground overlooking Alnwick to the south. The buried remains of the hospital were partially uncovered by ploughing in 1845 and include a chapel, well, hospital buildings and a burial ground containing a large number of graves. The upstanding remains are largely those of the lower walls of the chapel and a domestic range to the south reconstructed in 1848 by F R Wilson, architect to the Duke of Northumberland.

St Leonard’s Hospital was founded by Eustace de Vescy between 1193 and 1216 on the site of a spring named Malcolm’s Well, where Malcolm III was believed to have been slain in 1093. The hospital was an independent religious establishment until 1376 when it was annexed to the Premonstratensian Alnwick Abbey. Excavation was conducted in 1975 to confirm the extent of surviving archaeological remains. This revealed the remains of a well built over the infilled spring known as Malcolm’s Well.

St. Leonard’s Hospital lies within the Alnwick Castle Registered Park and Garden Grade I and the chapel is a listed building Grade II.


Malcolm's Cross - 2 minute walk from us

Ruins of St Leonard's Hospital - 5 minute walk from us

Battlefield Plaque.

The plaque allegedly marking the location where William IV was captured can be found on Ratten Row just before the entrance to Hulne Park.

‘PEOPLE’S POET’: Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

'Northumberland' by WILFRID GIBSON - HEXHAM’S PEOPLES POET - 1878-1962

‘Heather land and bent-land,

Black land and white,

God bring me to Northumberland,

The land of my delight.


Land of singing waters,

And winds from off the sea,

God bring me to Northumberland,X

The land where I would be.


Heather land and bent-land,

And valleys rich with corn,

God bring me to Northumberland,

The land where I was born.’