Border Reivers T-Shirt Large Back Print with Smaller Pocket Logo ©celticjackalope.com
For 300 years Scottish and English borderers endured violence and treachery, murder and arson, raiding and theft, living in constant
fear and misery.
This is their story.
It is, perhaps, the story of your ancestors.
The clans and families of the Borders were able to endure the struggle for survival due to their strength of character and their bonds of kinship.
They were both the inflicted and the inflictors. It was they who were responsible for the lawlessness but not the cause of it.
As one successive generation of reiving families followed another, the skills of rustling and raided were refined until they became an art of which the reivers were proud.
It was a profession to be admired. A way of life.
Border Reivers were raiders along the Anglo–Scottish border from the late 13th century to the end of the 16th century. Their ranks consisted of both Scottish and English families, and they raided the entire border country without regard to their victims' nationality. Their heyday was perhaps in the last hundred years of their existence, during the time of the Stuart Kings in Scotland and the Tudor Dynasty in England.
The stamp of the Reivers is still to be seen on the Border Lands - in it's architecture, culture and people. From the fortified tower houses and farms to family names that once struck fear into men's hearts - Armstrongs, Douglas, Grahams, Kerrs, Maxwells, Nixons, Robsons - the legacy of the Reivers remains. In these violent times, crops were destroyed, homesteads burnt and the people murdered or dispersed. Robbery and blackmail were everyday professions. If one member of a clan did harm to another, the issue would not simply be between the two individuals - the whole of both families would be drawn in, often with terrible consequences.
Raids were made, not in the name of Scotland or England, but in the name of their family or clan to which their true allegiance lay. As one harassed Border official put it, "They are people that will be Scottish when they will and English at their pleasure". Not only did the Scots raid the English and vice-versa, but they took to raiding each other, especially when some act - real or imagined, sparked off conflict between families. Inevitably as time wore on these 'forays' became supplemented by raids nearer home on his own countrymen.