Mitford, meaning a place between two rivers, boasts a proud history with its fine medieval church, Mitford Hall, and castle remains. Recorded history of the village appears to have begun at about the time of the Norman conquest, a mere 950+ years ago, but there is evidence of much older occupation of the valley and the surrounding countryside. A 1968 aerial survey showed two Romano-British fortlets, or fortified farmsteads, between Mitford Steads and Gubeon, and two others near High House. The settlement after the Roman exodus appears to have been on higher ground nearer Gubeon and known later as Aldworth to the villagers who had moved down to the more easily defended site near the river where the first Saxon castle was probably built on the small natural hill currently occupied by the remains of the Norman castle.
Built between 1150 and 1170 by William Bertram, Mitford castle was one of Northumberland's largest fortifications at the time. The castle was "knocked about a bit" by King John in 1216 and besieged by the Scots the following year; it was abandoned in the late 14th century and has suffered badly over the centuries from looting of the stones for building.
St. Mary Magdalene Church
Built about 1135 and is possibly on the site of an earlier, simpler Saxon church. King John's troops burned the church down in 1216 in revenge for Roger Bertram having been one of the barons who forced the King to sign Magna Carta the year before. It was again burned in 1705 when the heating stove caught fire and the roof was destroyed and the church reduced to a ruinous state. In 1874 a great restoration took place, adding a tower and steeple and was completed in 1885. The squire at the time, Col. J.P.O. Mitford, undertook the work at his own expense. Inside are splendid, massive Norman pillars and an interesting effigy to Bertram Revely.
The Manor House Tower
The Manor House itself is a private house but the tower can be seen from the road. It was originally the porch to the Manor and over the doorway are the Mitford arms and the date 1637.
The Mitford Estate was in the sole ownership of the Mitford family from before the Norman Conquest until 1993. It consists of some 1300 hectares covering a large part of the area of Mitford Parish and is now centred on the Hall, designed by John Dobson and completed in 1828, when the Mitford family vacated the Manor House. It has been in private ownership since 1993.