Alnham : Watermills
There is evidence for two historic mills in Alnham Township. The clearest evidence relates to the mill at Hazeltonrig, just below the confluence of the Hazeltonrig Burn and Harden Burn. This is depicted on a series of maps held in Duke of Northumberland's archives at Alnwick Castle, beginning with Norton's plan of 1619 (Aln Cas O.XI.1).
Such is the artistic quality of this splendid example of early 17th-century cartography that it not only illustrates (schematically) the mill as a standing building, in common with the other structures of the village, but even depicts it with a waterwheel attached to the side of the building. Thereafter the mill figures on several 18th-century maps. It still appears in the same location on a very clear plan of the enclosed land of the township produced by John Bell in 1809 (Aln Cas O.XI.8; cf. NRO ZAN Bell 58/13a), which adds further detail in the form of a race leading from a dam located further upstream, just below the confluence of the Hazeltonrig Burn and the Spartley Burn.
On Fryer's map of 1820 it is labelled the 'Old Mill' and located on the west bank of the Hazeltonrig Burn (probably erroneously), which may indicate that it was then falling out of use, perhaps supplanted by the various farm mills, e.g. Castle Farm mill, which appear to have been in existence by the middle decades of the 19th century (see below). Dixon suggests that the Hazeltonrig site was a fulling mill on the basis of an adjacent fieldname 'Dyer's Field' (Dixon 1895, 35).
A second site may be implied by two field called 'Milnesides', marked on the 1619 map on the eastern edge of the township's arable fields, right beside the Aln. No building is actually shown at this spot, however, so the mill had presumably either already gone out of use or may conceivably have been situated just over the boundary in the small neighbouring township of Unthank.
Picture : Remains Of Mill Leet At Alnham