The spirit of belonging in Northumberland
July 4, 2023
The atrium entrance to Ad Gefrin Anglo-Saxon Museum and Distillery certainly takes your breath away, with its 9300 pine tiles sweeping up to a patinated copper lantern. But it is the timeless hospitality offered by all that is even more impressive for anyone who visits this new Northumberland destination.
From the very beginning, Ad Gefrin has set out to be synonymous with the essence of being Northumbrian – and the ancient warmth of welcome is at the core.
New Corenkyn member Tim Pitt messaged recently, saying: “I love that this amazing distillery and museum I stumbled across (having cycled past a field a few miles away with some carved wooden gateposts and wondered at the name Ad Gefrin) is becoming such a second home to me. You and the whole team have a special thing going on here!”
Corenkyn comes from the Old English words for chosen and family, and it is the name given to Ad Gefrin’s founder membership scheme.
As with so much about Ad Gefrin, the name echoes the golden connection to a time past, but also clearly sets out its values for today.
Community and family top the list of objectives that the Fergusons, the family behind Ad Gefrin, set out when establishing what is ostensibly a regeneration project for Wooler and north Northumberland.
Nearly 50 per cent of those employed come from Wooler and its immediate surroundings, and more than 95 per cent come from Northumberland itself.
A sense of family pervades throughout, with staff given the title of Huskynn, meaning house family in Old English.
Their enthusiasm and passion for Ad Gefrin is tangible, and it’s not hard to see why the welcome is so remarkable.
The inspiration behind it all comes from the seventh century summer palace of the Northumbrian kings and queens uncovered in the 1950s at Yeavering – just four miles away on the edge of Northumberland National Park.
For three months every summer, this was a place where people travelled from North Africa, Scandinavia and Europe to attend court, becoming a powerful hub of mixed cultures, religions, language and creativity.
This was a time when kings were judged by their generosity not their wealth, and where leaving your weapons at the door secured your welcome.
This is the welcome on offer in the Ad Gefrin of today – a place where tales are woven, friendships kindled and lasting connections forged.
Whether history-buff, whisky-lover or just looking to spend quality time with family and friends, Ad Gefrin is encapsulating a spirit of togetherness with a true flavour of all things Northumbrian – not just the whisky.
As well as the Corenkyn membership scheme, which offers eight years’ exclusive whisky releases and lifetime free access to the museum and distillery, Ad Gefrin offers a Corengyst annual pass – meaning chosen guest in Old English.
Both Corenkyn and Corengyst enjoy free tours and discounts across the bistro, gift shop and online.
Recently launched weekend brunch, Sunday lunch and soon-to-come afternoon tea offers have certainly added to the draw for membership regulars.
The suntrap of a patio is particularly popular for late afternoon cocktails, making the most of Ad Gefrin’s inaugural whisky blend – Tácnbora – and the hot-off-the-bottling-line Thirlings Dry Gin.
Timeless hospitality, a warm welcome, a golden heritage, story-telling, a stunning building and a sense of family all add up to a very special place to visit – and become part of.
Perhaps a new destination for people from all over the world to exchange cultures, language, ideas and creativity that mirrors the past?
And certainly, if you are prepared to leave your weapons at the door, all are welcome in Wooler.