Evidence of settlements near Ford in the form of ‘cup and ring’ marks carved out of rock at Routin Lynn.
It is thought that this part of the River Till was used as a crossing point for monks travelling from Iona and Melrose to nearby Lindisfarne. This is where the name Ford originated.
Ford is in the Barony of Wooler, owned by Robert de Muschamp.
First written record of Heatherslaw Mill.
A royal visit: Edward I stays at Ford after proclaiming John Balliol King of Scotland at Berwick Castle.
First known Miller at Heatherslaw named as widow of Nicholas Graham.
The manor of Ford is destroyed by Robert the Bruce after the Battle of Bannockburn.
William Heron is granted licence to crenelate Ford Castle by Edward III.
Robert Manners is granted licence to crenelate Etal Castle by Edward III. Just 3 years after Ford, it is likely this was fuelled by a deeply-held enmity between the two neighbours.
On 28 January, William Heron of Ford attacks Etal Castle. He is ‘maliciously slayne’ by John Manners of Etal in the battle that follows.
The English and Scottish armies meet at the Battle of Flodden Field. This results in the death of King James IV of Scotland and changes the course of British history.
Ford Castle is attacked by French soldiers acting on behalf of the Scots. Only one tower is left standing.
Elizabeth, heiress of William Heron, marries Thomas Carr. This ends the Heron dynasty at Ford.
Thomas Carr of Ford Castle is murdered during a long feud with his in-laws, the Herons.
Another Thomas Carr of Ford Castle is murdered. The estate is passed to his three sisters. The husband of one, Blake, eventually buys out the other two’s shares.
Ford Moss Colliery is in operation from at least this time.
Ford Estate passes from the Blake to the Delaval family, so bringing a curse to life.
Etal Manor is built by Sir William Carr. Etal Castle is abandoned for good.
Rebuilding commences at Ford Castle under Sir John Hussey Delaval. He spends a colossal £10,500 on the project.
Heatherslaw Mill rebuilt as a ‘double-mill’.
Death of Sir John Delaval. Ford estate is passed into the Waterford family through the marriage of Sir John’s heiress: his granddaughter Susan.
Heatherslaw Mill enlarged to its present form, with 3 storeys and 2 separate mills.
Building of chapel St. Mary the Virgin at Etal begins.
Ford Moss Colliery employs over 100 men.
Death of Henry de la Poer Beresford. His widow, Lady Louisa Waterford, inherits Ford estate.
Ford School (now known as the Lady Waterford Hall) is commissioned by Louisa Waterford. At its peak, over 134 local children attended school here.
The Waterford Fountain is erected in memory of Henry, 3rd Marquis of Waterford. Commissioned by his widow, it was designed by architect George Gilbert Scott and sculptor John Birnie Philip.
Having taken 21 years, Louisa completes her ‘great experiment’ – painting the life-size watercolour murals at Ford School.
Etal is sold to James Laing of Sunderland, owner of a highly successful shipbuilding company.
Death of Lady Louisa Waterford. She is buried at Ford Church and her gravestone is designed by George Frederic Watts.
First Baron James Joicey buys Ford Castle and estate for £250,000. It is the first time in its long history that the estate has been sold.
First Baron James Joicey buys Etal estate. This purchase unites the estates for the first time in their history.
Last coal taken from Ford Moss Colliery.
Ford Castle is used as a hospital during WWII, run by the British Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulances, staffed by VAD nurses.
Ford Castle opens as a residential education centre for children. Over the years, thousands of school children have stayed within the castle walls.
Ford School closes. The Lady Waterford Hall Trust, a registered charity, is established and the Hall is opened to the public as a museum.
Heatherslaw Mill opened to the public. The Heatherslaw Mill Charitable Trust had been formed 3 years earlier, saving the Mill from certain demolition.