The History of Oxnam has been surprisingly turbulent for such a small place. The name Oxnam originates from the name “Oxenham”, which means the “village of Oxen”. Originally occupied by Celtic Families, the land was invaded by Anglicans around 700 A.D. These were arable farmers and lived in the North end of the Parish where the ground is flat.
Steeped in History, with various remains of Roman settlements, close to hand, at Cappuck and also various sites in and around the nearby Cheviot Hills. Dere Street, the main Roman road in the North East of England, which linked various Forts from York to the Firth of Forth. Dere Street cuts through the East side of the Parish, and was built by the First Governer of Britain, in the first century A.D. By Julius Agricola. The name is “Anglo Saxon” and means the road to “Deira” (Yorkshire).
Right :- Photo taken at the East end of the Parish, of the Roman Ford crossing the Oxnam Water. This is approximately ¼ mile East of Cappuck, and there was a Roman Settlement approximately 100 yards away from here.
The Ford is in the Foreground. The bridge has been put up in very recent years, as an aid to people walking the Roman Road. This is a replacement of a previous bridge washed away by flooding a number of years ago.
The area “exchanged hands” many times, between the Scots and the English over the years that followed. From early records of the “Scottish Ruling House”, with other names like “The Percy’s”, “The Wychards”, The Plenderleiths”, “The Kerrs” to name but a few. Another name of “Robert de Colville” also had his name on this list. He had a Garrison of 5 Knights, and around 80 men at arms, which included archers and light Horsemen.
Left : - A mound, which is on the land, on the West side of the Parish, between the main Oxnam Village itself and Millheugh farm. This is known as “Galla Knowe”. It has been referred to in the past as either a “motte” ( A type of castle using an artificial mound, to hold a Keep on its summit), or other references have been made to a burial ground. This mound is situated right on the old, original Oxnam to Jedburgh road, which some may say would heighten the chances of this being some kind of stronghold. This is something that cannot be determined without some sort of archaeology. This was also allegedly a place where Criminals were executed.
Right :- On the East side of the Village, about 200 yards down from the Church, there is the remains of a Keep, known as the Crag Tower. This was built by the Kerrs prior to 1540. Situated about 200 yards West of the Village Church (or “Kirk” as we know them in Scotland), it sat on top of the crag, which would have served as part of the defense. There is not much there to see Today, as most of the stones have been taken, probably for other buildings. The tower appears to have been approximately 30 feet X 20 feet, large enough to have served as permanent residence, for the Kerrs.
To be Continued........................