A model estate village on the River Till, built in the late 19th century. Ford lies at the heart of the Ford & Etal Estate, once two separate estates, but joined in the early 20th century. Ford is composed of lovely workers cottages of golden stone.


The village dates to the 13th century, but it was almost completely remodelled by the Marchioness of Waterford from about 1860. When her husband died in 1859 Louisa Anne, Lady Waterford, inherited the Ford estate. The village at that time was little more than a few decaying cottages, but that was about to change.

At Ford, Lady Waterford created an idyllic estate village, with newly built cottages for all her tenants, and a village school. From 1862-1883 Lady Waterford herself painted the interior of the school with murals depicting Biblical scenes, using villagers as models. The building served as a school until 1956. It is now known as Lady Waterford Hall and is open to the public daily. Aside from the unique and colourful murals, there are other works of art by Lady Waterford and Victorian memorabilia from her time.

At the top of the village is the distinctive Horseshoe Forge, with a doorway shaped like a gigantic horseshoe. This striking building served as the blacksmith's forge until the 1970s and is now an antique gallery.

On the outskirts of the village is Ford Castle, home to the Heron family in the Middle Ages. Parts of the castle date to the 12th century. It now forms part of an educational and holiday centre and is not usually open to the public.

Near the castle is the parish church of St Michael and All Angels, also dating to the 12th century and now serving as a Flodden Ecomuseum. Near the church entrance is Lady Waterford's tomb. Within the church is a 16th-century gravestone carved with a set of Northumbrian bagpipes, the only known representation of Northumbrian pipes on a medieval grave.

Ford is one of the most picture-perfect villages you will ever see; an idyllic memorial to one woman's remarkable energy and commitment to better the lives of her estate tenants. A few miles away is Etal Castle, home of the Manners family in the medieval period, and just outside Ford is the Heatherslaw narrow gauge railway.

What to See

  • Lady Waterford's hall and its exceptional mural paintings
  • The striking Horseshoe Forge
  • St Michael's Church