Ad Gefrin Anglo-Saxon Museum and Whisky Distillery opens to the public
Ad Gefrin Anglo-Saxon Museum and Whisky Distillery has announced it will open to the public on 25th March 2023 in Wooler, Northumberland. The new museum brings to life the largely untold story of the 7th Century Anglo-Saxon Royal court of Northumbria through an immersive visitor experience and object displays, including rare and never before seen Anglo-Saxon treasures from the British Museum and other collections, many returning home to the North East for the first time in over 30 years.
At the heart of the Museum is the reimagining of one of the 20th century’s most remarkable archaeological finds: The Great Hall, which was at the centre of the Summer Palace of the kings and queens of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria found at Yeavering, a stone’s throw from Wooler. The palace was discovered through aerial photography in 1949 by Kenneth St Joseph and was excavated between 1953-1962 by local archaeologist and ex-RAF pilot Brian Hope Taylor, revealing a huge complex of large timber halls and a unique wooden grandstand that was used for the assembly of people – one can only surmise to dispense laws, hear proclamations and underline the largesse of the king.
The unearthing of Yeavering opened a window into a period on the cusp of written history and the fascinating lives of the people that lived and travelled to the court from across Europe and beyond. There, kings were celebrated for their generosity; women could own property and were equal in the eyes of the law, diversity was embraced, and there was the expectation that new friends and visitors would give, not take away.
Ad Gefrin is the vision of the local Ferguson family, who have been living and working in Northumberland for four generations. Their ambition is to create a destination showcase in Wooler, Northumberland, celebrating the best of Northumbria’s heritage and culture. Ad Gefrin marries the aesthetic of the great halls of the Northumbrian kings with an immersive and modern museum to bring to life the peoples who lived here over 1300 years ago.