This evening, I am posting information and images concerning the Border Reiver era which lasted form the 14th to the 17th centuries . The Reivers were raiders who mainly resided in the Scottish Borders areas of Liddesdale, Redesdale and Tynedale. For a long period families like the Grahams, Elliots, Armstrongs, Bells, Nixons, Hepburns, Routledges and Scotts were left to rule in a no-mans-land buffer zone between England and Scotland. These families raided the property of others in the border areas of Scotland and England taking away mobile and transportable assets such as cattle and sheep. The end came when James VI of Scotland (James I of England) unified the two countries and ruthlessly exterminated the reiving families with penalties involving death and transportation. Firearms were also forbidden.

Nowadays, this formerly lawless area has been transformed into a charming tourist trail covering such notable sites as:

  • Carlenrig, where Johnnie Armstrong met his death (hanging without trial).
  • Clan Armstrong Trust Museum, Langholm. There is also a nearby castle attributed to the Armstrongs.
  • Gilnockie Reivers Tower, associated with Johnnie Armstrong.
  • Statue to Lang Sandy at Rowanburn Village,
  • Tourneyholm and Kershopefoot, where prisoners were exchanged, disputes settled by combat and a summary form of justice administered.
  • Milnholm Cross, an 8ft high relic of the Armstrong Clan.
  • Liddesdale Heritage Centre, which holds much information on the Reiving era.
  • Remains of Mangerton Castle, seat of the Armstrong chiefs.
  • Hermitage Castle, a formidable fortress right in the heart of Reiving country. (See image above.)

Contact me for information on Border Reivers tours.

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