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David Ford, History EditorTours > Coquetdale > Makendon Camp

Makendon Camp
by David Nash Ford BA, Editor, History on Britannia

Makendon Camp The source of the River Coquet lies high up in the Cheviots, very close to an old Roman 'Camp' known locally as Makendon or Chew Green. It remains today as a large series of banked enclosures, 990ft square, adjoining the old Watling Street (known as Gamel's Path at this point) and the Pennine Way. A structure has been traced at the centre and, despite the general theory that it was an army camp, it has also been suggested it was a Roman religious enclosure. With the Coquet spring nearby, a temple to a River god or goddess would seem quite likely.

The Earl of Douglas' men spent the night encamped here on their way home after the Battle of Otterburn (1388). In these later centuries, however, the place was best known as that appointed by the English and Scottish border wardens to settle cross-boundary disputes by single combat. The Earl of Northumberland fought a later Earl of Douglas here on 16th May 1401. The following century, saw the famous dual between a mere 16-year-old named Robert Snowdon and the celebrated Scottish champion, John Grieve. Amazingly, the former was victorious and the latter was killed. The Royal commissioners also met here to try and settle terms between Kings Henry IV and Robert III. They too were unsuccessful.

The Site is in the Northumberland National Park. Accessible at any reasonable time.

Next Stop: Harbottle Castle



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