Rebecca Wilson: In the 14th century, life became very hard. War had broken out between England and Scotland in AD 1296. The climate worsened, and a series of poor harvests brought widespread famine in their wake. The Black Death ravaged the land. We can never know with certainty, how these events affected the lives of local people, but archaeology can give us clues.
Excavation has revealed that the garden of the Old Rectory at Ingram, had once been a ploughed field. Household rubbish had been spread over it as a form of fertiliser, including hundreds of pieces of broken pottery. None of this pottery was later than the 14th Century, which may indicate that, with fewer people left to work the fields, much of the land at Ingram was abandoned or used instead for pasture.
Ingram was a dangerous place in the 16th Century. Border Reivers, often numbering in their hundreds, could descend on a farm or village without warning. The largely defenceless victims could lose everything they possessed, and even have their houses burned down. If luck was on their side, they could escape with their lives. Not even the church would be spared. On one raid at Ingram, even the lead from the church roof was stolen!
Peace eventually came when James Stuart, King of Scots, became King of England in 1603. In the valley large sheep farms soon emerged producing food for a growing population and wool for the textile industry. The sheep grazed out the few remaining trees, creating the grassy landscape that has hardly changed to this day.