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ALNHAM

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The remains of Alnham medieval village, located on the margin of the Cheviot Hills. Alnham was part of the barony of Alnwick and was held by the Vesci family from the time of the Norman Conquest. In 1297 it passed to the Bishop of Durham and in 1309 the barony was sold to Henry de Percy, in whose family the land has remained ever since. In 1352, after the Black Death, there were 34 holdings, of which half were waste. In 1586 there were 29 tenants. The decay of the village was linked to a policy of leasing the tenement lands to a single tenant during the 17th and 18th centuries. The village is situated on uneven ground which slopes down from south to north, and lies on the south of a small tributary of the River Aln; the layout of the village appears to have been dictated by the stream courses and originally extended to the north and east of the present village remains. The remains survive as a series of earthworks between 0.3 metres and 0.5 metres high and comprise, from east to west: a toft with an enclosure and two house sites, a small hill surrounded by a bank identified as a close on a plan of 1619, and a group of three houses and an enclosure. A hollow way crosses the village from south west to north east and is waterlogged in places. The areas of the settlement have been sited on two artificially levelled areas and it has been suggested that the remains at the west end of the village pre-date those to the east. They are separated from an area of degraded ridge and furrow cultivation by a steep slope which has been artificially enhanced. The original medieval settlement was probably larger and focussed on the church, which has Anglo-Saxon origins. Scheduled.

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