A village about 10 miles from Hawick, near where the Ale Water meets the Teviot. It has kept its traditional stone and stucco buildings around the triangular green, containing a 16th century Market Cross. Nearby caves are said to have been used for shelter during Border wars. The area had the status of a Barony, owned by the Diocese of Glasgow until the Reformation. Made a Burgh of Barony in 1490 by Bishop Robert Blackadder of Glasgow, it was burned several times, including by Dacre’s men in 1514 and Hertford’s in 1545. The village was originally called Nether Ancrum, to distinguish it from Over Ancrum (north of the Ale), which never recovered from the 1545 burning. The battle of Ancrum Moor took place nearby in 1545. It was also a hot-bed of Covenanter feelings, their minister being exiled to Holland in the 1660s, causing near riots, with offenders publicly whipped and sold as slaves. Ancrum House, originally built 1558 stood nearby, being burned several times and destroyed for good in 1970. The old parish church, near the Ale Water, contains an ancient hog-backed gravestone. ‘Mantle Walls’, immediately east of the village, may have been the site of a palace of the Bishops of Glasgow. The historic Ancrum Bridge crosses the Teviot just to the south. The parish of Ancrum also contained Longnewton and Belses villages – ‘Dena! when sinks at noon the summer breeze, And moveless falls the shadework of the trees, Bright in the sun thy glossy beeches shine, And only Ancram’s groves can vie with thine’ [JL] ‘Oh let me wander yince again By Ancrum’s fairy streams, And live yince mair wi’ memory’s train In childhood’s magic dreams’ [WP] (the name first appears about 1116 as ‘Alnecrumba’, then as ‘Alnecrumbe’ in the late 12th century, ‘Allyncrum’ in 1255, and later as ‘Alnecrum’, ‘Alcrum’, ‘Angeram’, ‘Ankrum’, etc.; it was often ‘Ancram’ until the 18th century; its meaning may be of p- Celtic origin ‘Alne + crwm’ for ‘bend in the river Ale’).
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