The earliest remains in the parish date to the Neolithic. A cup and ring marked rock from East Ord, in the uplands of the parish, shows there were people using this area, perhaps for some ritual or religious purpose. More ritual sites are known from the Bronze Age with grave goods from Murton Farm and Murton and remains of a ring ditch.
The oldest settlements in the parish are Iron Age such as Chester Crane camp and Murton High Crags. At the latter settlement a series of palisades were replaced by ramparts, paving and then houses. It continued in use into the Roman period. Several other enclosures may date to this time and are largely known only from cropmark evidence. Undated cropmarks of pit alignments and other linear features may be evidence of prehistoric or Roman boundaries.
A deserted medieval village is known at Murton and suggested at several other places in the parish. It is possible that there were temporary settlements as well such as shielings, as suggested by the place-name Canny Shiel at Chester Crane camp. Ord lay in an area known as Norhamshire during this period.
In the post-medieval period farming developed as well as new industrial concerns. The advances made in farming methods led to new planned farms being built, such as Murton Farm. Industry grew around the coal resources beneath the parish that belong to the small Scremerston coalfield seams. Coalmines were established at Billylaw Colliery in the 19th century and in the 20th century at Blackhill Colliery.
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