It is the site of the 12th century Norham Castle, and was for many years the centre for the Norhamshire exclave of County Durham. It was transferred to Northumberland in 1844 and was then considered an "ancient parish".
Norham was an ancient parish in Norhamshire within the county of Durham until 1844 subsequently in Northumberland. It became a separate civil parish in 1866. From 1894 until 1974 it was part of Norham and Islandshires Rural District. In 1974 rural districts were abolished and Ancroft became part of the Berwick upon Tweed District until 2009 when Northumberland became a unitary authority.