Brinkburn Priory
Brinkburn Priory Image: John Armagh, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
The Bertram Family Tree,
The Bertram Family Tree, link in references

Sir William Bertram II was born in Mitford in 1157 into a family of French descent that had been handsomely rewarded by gifts of land for military service to William the Conqueror. On the death of his father, Sir Roger Bertram II (1128-1177), William inherited his father’s lands, wealth and title. William invited 12 monks from Peteny, Norfolk, to found a monastery at Brinkburn. He gifted the monastery 3,500 acres of land including Thornyhaugh, Pauperhaugh and Forderhalgh. His son, Sir Roger Bertram II (1195-1242) gifted the church at Felton to Brinkburn and later generations of the family gifted lands at Rimside, Hellihope, Linchwood and Glantlees. Sir Roger also gifted land at Baldwinswood to the nuns of Holystone. Occasional religious services are still held in the priory and a summer Brinkburn Music Festival was held there for several years.

Later generations continued the Bertram family’s tradition of maintaining religious sites and endowing charitable causes. Sir Roger III Bertram (1224-1272) gifted lands at Baldwinswood to the nuns of Holystone.

Like a great many of North-East monasteries, priories and convents established in the 12th century by notable families (Blanchland by the Bolbec’s, Newminster by the Merlay’s of Morpeth for example) each were endowed with both land and money. Brinkburn was stripped of its wealth in 1539 by Henry VIII when he dissolved the monasteries.  

In 2015, a team of 12 archaeologists and villagers from Holystone, with the assistance of Alnwick based ‘Deepscan AR Ltd’, attempted to find the remains of Holystone priory. The priory had been completely destroyed in 1539 and replaced with St. Mary’s Church. What the team discovered was described as ‘the main institution in the village’ and an ‘important centre in the Coquetdale valley’.


Ancient medieval priory unearthed by Northumberland Villages, Available here (Accessed: 16/05/2018).

For the Bertram Family Tree, Available here and here (Accessed: 16/05/2018).

Lomas, R. (1992). North-East England in the Middle Ages, John Donald Publishers Ltd: Edinburgh.

Round, J.H. & Ridgeway, H.W. (2004). Bertram, Roger (1224-1272), Available here (Accessed: 16/05/2018).

Summerson, H. (2004). Bertram, Roger (1195-1242), Available here (Accessed: 16/05/2018).