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History of Hill Top House

The Hilltop Haven Wellbeing and Mindfulness retreat was originally a Farmer/Miners steading dating from c1750. The original building was a small cottage with a byre attached. Later it was extended with the addition of another cottage and barn.

Hill Top was mainly occupied by the Graham family who worked in the local lead mines and reared a few animals and lots of children. With up to 12 children and possibly a lodger or two, it must have been very snug.

When times were hard in the mines some of the men emigrated to the new world. One of these men was Joseph Graham who emigrated to America in 1852. Joseph was born and brought up at Hill Top and copies of letters to and from Joseph and his brother Thomas can be seen at the Weardale Museum.

Thomas Graham, widowed with 8 children and no work, sailed on the ‘Margaret Galbraith’ to New Zealand in 1878.

Hill Top was left derelict for many years until in 2005. Previous owners embarked upon extensive rebuilding and restoration resulting in the building standing today.

Since its purchase, the building has been transformed into a comfortable and cosy 3 bedroom house and annex. The western barn has been rebuilt and now houses the owner’s kitchen on the ground floor and the large bedroom with en-suite shower room on the first floor (your retreat haven for your stay). The ground floor of the two old lead miners cottages now forms two comfortable reception rooms. The first of these is the central lounge (or craft room!) which has decorative slate flooring and a solid-fuel Aga.

The second reception room is a comfortable and spacious snug (our own refuge, and not a public space) with polished limestone flooring and an original inglenook fireplace with logburner. The library is in this room, with books you can borrow during your stay. Also upstairs, are our bedroom and study. 

The eastern barn has been converted into a two bedroom annex with a Juliette balcony.

The lean-to section to the north side of the property has been divided into a dedicated utility room for all the “off-grid” utility equipment (invertor, batteries, battery charger, boiler, water filtration, etc) and also a separate bootroom/cloakroom leading to a downstairs WC.

 The single stone wall on the south side of the cottage is all that remains of the original barn, and the remainder of the walls have been rebuilt using local stone recovered from on site.

In 1852 two young lead miners from Killhope and Allendale emigrated to the United States.  

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