Piper’s Hole

There are two corn-mills in the township: the one called Beckside Mill is situated south of the village, on the Lynburn, which, though fordable at most times, becomes very much swollen in heavy rains, and is crossed by a foot bridge at the high road (This is the bridge near Ravensford Farm)…

An eddy, called the ‘Piper’s Hole’, is situated a little below the bridge, and is said to have received its name from the fact of an itinerant piper being drowned in the stream, whilst attempting to cross the bridge in company with a person known by the name of ‘Jack Dowson’. Though the bridge is only a foot-bridge, in consequence of the burn being fordable at the time, Dowson led his horse across, followed by the piper, who was following immediately behind the horse, was precipitated into the burn, where he was found the next day. When the people of Hamsterley asked Dowson where the piper was, he replied, with the utmost coolness, “he was drowned all to rags”.

(From a document headed: ‘Darlington Ward – North West Division – Hamsterley Parish (1894)’. (Contributed by Mavis Brown-Humes))

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