Family Shields
 
 

Border Tales

Background to the Border Reivers


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Illustration used by kind permission of Angus McBride
 
BORDER TALES
- THE BORDER REIVERS
- INTRODUCTION
- THE SCABBY SHEEP
- ARCHIE & MARY
- FRAY OF HAUTWESSEL

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From the late thirteenth century onwards for three hundred years the English and Scottish Borderers who lived on the frontier between the two kingdoms were at war with each other and involved in feuds between themselves. The Tudors, however, are the focus here, so the Border Tales are based on traditional stories from the sixteenth century.

These were savage times indeed in the Borders; it was a struggle for people to survive with conflict kept alive by bloody feuds. Burning, sheep and cattle rustling, raiding and counter-raiding were carried out as far afield as Cumberland, Westmorland (Cumbria), and Yorkshire in England and up to Edinburgh in Scotland. The honour of the family surnames meant more to these people than any loyalty to their crowns; they become known and feared as the Border Reivers.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, King James VI of Scotland become King James I of England, uniting the two countries. James decreed that the Border between the two countries no longer existed; the Border was to be disarmed, and the system of Wardens and special March Laws scrapped. Border Reivers were to be subject to the same laws as the rest of the Kingdom. James was ruthless in breaking up the power of the Border Reivers. Some were executed, many sent to fight in the British army in the Netherlands, others were banished and transported to Ireland, although many eventually returned.

Glossary
TOPIC GLOSSARY
Border Tales

Historical
HISTORICAL SOURCES
Robert Carey's Report
Feuding Families

Information
INFORMATION
Teachers' Resources
    
 
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