Places to meet, eat and drink have always been important for communities. There is still the occasional pub in villages at the edge of the Cheviots, but less than 100 years ago almost every village had at least one. In Alwinton, for example, on Clennell Street, the Rose and Thistle is still in business but until early in the last century there was a Red Lion as well. In Hownam, on The Street, an 1859 OS map shows two inns on the road through the village, the Shepherd’s Arms and the Dickson’s Arms. The former had closed by 1892 but the latter was apparently still operating in 1917; both buildings are now private houses.

Sometimes such inns were managed by a full-time innkeeper, but on occasions the landlord treated it as a part-time job.

Other drinking houses in the Cheviots almost certainly followed this latter model. Examples are the one at Slymefoot on The Street and the one at Chew Green, whose existence is based on reports of old glassware being found near the remains of the farmhouse. Places like this were probably farms or smallholdings that made extra money by catering to the needs of locals and travellers along the Border Roads.

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