Border Villages.  


The 'lost' village of Evestones
The Village of Evestones

You probably have not heard of this village either. You will find it on the left (west)side of the Otterbun to Carter Bar road. It is easily missed as it is well off the mainroad between two farms.  It is a ruin and no one lives there now. A deserted village.

All that is to be seen is a good scattering of roughly hewn sandstone blocks showing the lower courses of what must have been at one time a fair number of stoutly built homes. The buildings  were quite tightly packed together and were guarded by a strong tower with walls many feet thick. This was a community that took their defences very seriously and the whole village was enclosed by a solid stone wall.

The village was probably built some time in the 16th century and was inhabited  two hundred years or more. There, where now stands this deserted village, once lived a thriving community of border families, remote, isolated, sited well away from other Redesdale settlements.

Their location appear to indicate the desire for isolation which was just as well as the people of Evestones had, in a valley noted for its lawless families, a reputation for wicked ways, preying on their neighbours both Scots and lowlanders of Northumberland a few miles down the valley.

Their lives must have been one of constant attack and defence. They were in a very convenient position for raids into Scotland but the Scots had the similar advantage for the retaliatary raid which inevitably followed.

But the folk of Evestone stoutly defended their village and, within the outer walls, they went about their daily business like all other villages. but many an anxious hour would be spent by the women awaiting the return of their men folk away on a foray.

Those who felt the need for the services of a priest, made use of the church at Elsdon where is recorded the births, marriages and deaths of some Evestones people.  Other than that there are very few records of the lives of these villagers. Elements of the Widdringtons, Fletchers, and Hedleys are known to have lived there and, no doubt, certain other border families.

So renowned was the unruly behaviour of the people of Redesdale that many employers as far away as Newcastle upon Tyne, refused to engage their young people as apprentices. They were outlaws and were rejected as beyond hope, outcasts.

Towards the end of the 17th century with the approach of more peaceful times, Evestones, its people of being deprived of their means of livelihood, steadily declined and fell into ruin.

And what of its people?  Their descendents dispersed, some settling nearby, others throughout the world.

You may be one of them!

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