Lang Sandy effigy at Rowanburn, Scottish Borders.

This evening, I am posting information on Lang Sandy Armstrong whose name is indelibly linked with the lawless ‘Border Reivers’ period of the 16th century. During this period England and Scotland were separate nations with the region just north of the border between the two countries under no effective control and known as the ‘debateable land’. Because of intermittent friction between England and Scotland it actually suited both governments to have a buffer zone which came under control of families such as Armstrongs, Grahams, Scotts and Nixons who were collectively known as Border Reivers, effectively local warlords who raided each other and the English. The Armstrongs were the most powerful family who, it is believed, could raise 3000 horsemen.

In 1603 King James VI of Scotland assumed the throne of England as well thus rendering redundant the need for a buffer zone in the Borders and initiatives were set in process to pacify the region.

Lang Sandy, so named because of his height, was captured in 1606 for his part in the murder of Sir John Carmichael in 1600, a government official with title Warden of Scottish West March who was responsible for maintaining order in the Borders region.  Lang Sandy was hanged for the crime together with eleven of his sons.

The outdoor effigy above can be found at Rowanburn, a hamlet in Eskdale, Dumfriesshire, in southern Scotland, near Canonbie, and about 5 miles south-east of Langholm which in turn was an Armstrong power base.

Rowanburn usually features in Clan Armstrong themed tours of the Borders region.

Lang Sandy effigy at Gilnockie Tower

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