I’ve always had an interest in landscape and heritage. It’s one of the reasons that brought me to the Scottish Borders in the late 70’s. The village of Ancrum just along the road from the workshop and gallery and the surrounding area has a very long and rich history. From the time of Iron Age people living on Castle Hill, Bronze Age gatherings at Harestanes stone circle, through to the busy Medieval period with Royal visits and religious dignitaries to the Bishops Palace, its ruins resounding to the war-torn years of the 17th century through to the agricultural improvements and “big hoose” builds of the 18th and 19th century.Ancrum has borne witness to Prehistoric ceremonies, Iron age fortifications, Roman infantries, Anglo-Saxon warriors, Medieval pageantry, Border reivers, Georgian carriages and Victorian farmhands.
All of Scottish and European history and society has made the village a site of continual occupation for over 4,000 years and in September last year I was delighted to get involved with the locally run excavations at the Mantle Walls, probable site of a Bishops Palace in the 12th century. Above are some of the field walking finds found in the 1980’s during field walking and metal detecting before the site was scheduled by Historic Scotland. They have never publicly been shown before.
Some of the work of Ancrum and District Heritage Society includes raising awareness of the antiquities and traditions of the area. To this end we have been carrying out archaeological excavations, preserving and recording structures, archiving documents and images, researching oral and written evidence - all contributing to a greater understanding and knowledge of our community’s collective past. This work is all carried out voluntarily by a committed group of local folk, keen to bring all this cultural wealth to the attention of others. It’s interesting, fascinating, perplexing, gory, unjust, curious, political, enlightening and ultimately revealing.
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