The Border Reivers

Dodd and Todd are surnames associated with Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland. The name is thought to derive from an old word for a bush or a bushy-tailed fox though  it is more likely that the name relates to the fox with the first to have the surname being sly or elusive in behaviour or perhaps had fox-like features.  The family originated from Tynedale in Northumberland.

The Dodd clan were one of the four reiving families based in North Tynedale where the Burbank Pele Tower near Bellingham was their ancestral home.  Legend states that the Dodds were descended from Eilaf, an Anglo-Saxon monk and one of the carriers of St Cuthbert’s coffin who fled Lindisfarne at the time of the Viking raids in the 9th century.  Legend also has it that Eilaf had stolen cheese from his fellow monks who then prayed that the culprit was turned into a fox.  This is how Eilaf and his descendents became known as Dodd.

The Dodds were linked with the Milburns and the Charton clans and their main reiving activity took place across the Scottish border into Liddesdale though they would also ‘work’ closer to home.  They were so notorious that people in Tyneside and further south would not employ anyone who came from these valleys.

 

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