Situated half a mile south east of the church of St Mary in Brignall this older village site can be visited whilst walking sections of the Greta Walk.
A quiet, lonely, beautiful plateau beside the River Greta is a must to visit and ponder upon the possible reasons that led to the desertion of old Brignall.
Visited and famously painted by Turner a walk to view old Brignall and the remains of the church, is a must if visiting this area.
Historic Old Brignall
This older Brignall was granted a license to hold a market in 1265 and must have been a thriving community.
Visit it today and remains of grave stones in an enclosed church yard with some of the original church are clearly visible. In 1834 some of the stones from this old church were moved up to the site of the present St Mary's. Read more...
The house today was built between 1725 and 1730 but the Rokeby family owned the land and the previous house from medieval times.
Visitors can enjoy the splendour of the Park perched as it is in the confluence of two of England's finest rivers every Monday afternoon from Monday 1st May until the beginning of September. Details available from their website.
Art & Literature at Rokeby Park
The house is well known as the original English home of the painting, the Toilet of Venus also known as the Rokeby Venus by Diego Velazquez. The painting now hangs in the National Gallery with a copy hanging in the saloon in Rokeby Park.
Founded in the period between 1168 and 1198 the monks wore white habits, becoming known as the "White Canons" and maintained a code of austerity similar to Cistercian monks.
Preaching & Pastoral Work
From their isolated vantage point close to a water source and with plentiful stone for the building of their monastery, the monks undertook work throughout the area including the distribution of meat and drink.
The Teesdale Way
Looking upstream as the Teesdale Way crosses the River Greta at Dairy Bridge
The Teesdale Way is a 92 mile long distance path originating near Dufton in the high Pennines. It follows the River Tees on its journey downstream and passes through our parish as the River Tees travels east from Barnard Castle.
Mortham Tower is a Grade I listed building and was originally a peel or pele tower, a fortified keep or tower to keep watch for any impending danger and dates back to the 12th century.
Mortham Tower became the residence of the Rokeby family after the Battle of Bannockburn when their house was ransacked.
Meeting of the Waters
Just downstream of this image the fast flowing Greta joins the mighty River Tees.
At the point where the two rivers meet, visitors have paused and taken in the powerful physical beauty of the spot for hundreds of years. It has been detailed in literature and art by many including Sir Walter Scott, in his poem Rokeby and by Arthur Young in "Travels Through Yorkshire" in 1869. It is a renowned local beauty spot.
The Morritt Hotel & Garage Spa
Greta Bridge was an overnight stop on the coach route from London to Carlisle and the hamlet boasted several inns which catered for the visitors. The Morritt Arms or the Morritt as it is now known became the biggest of these coaching inns.
There is a connection with Charles Dickens who stayed in Greta Bridge, possibly the Morritt and wrote about it in his book The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.
Nowadays the Greta is a country house hotel with adjoining spa. Their website is here.
Cross Lanes Organic Farm
Cross Lanes Organic Farm boasts an organic farm shop and coffee shop. An eco-building it is easily spotted from the nearby A66 by the "sheep" on the roof! It has a children's play area and a family of resident geese.
The owners of Cross Lanes are committed to ensuring the sustainability of the farm shop, cafe and visitor attraction. The roof of the building is a living roof with over 25 different types of wild flowers and grasses in it.
There is also a recycled green house on the site, used for the cultivation of organic salad, fruit and vegetable crops. The greenhouse was formerly used as the butterfly house in Tow Law.
Well worth a visit, their website is here.
Thorpe Farm Caravan Site
Situated within our parish boundaries lies Thorpe Farm Caravan Site which has both static caravans and pitches for touring caravans. There is an on-site farm shop selling a range of products and a coffee shop. Located close to the main east/west corridor of the A66, Thorpe Farm enjoys good access whilst retaining a rural atmosphere and enjoying being part of the wider farm from which Thorpe Farm evolved.
Thorp Farm is also the location of Wetheriggs Animal Rescue Centre, a charity which looks after injured or unwanted animals. Thorpe Farm and Wetheriggs are a major visitor attraction in the parish. The website is here.