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Border Reivers, Scotland

Sunday, September 27, 2009


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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Visit Melrose Abbey Scotland

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This evening, I am presenting some images from a recent visit to Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders.

This is a ruined Cistercian Abbey founded by King David I of Scotland around AD1136. It was largely destroyed by an English army in 1385 but was rebuilt in the early 15th century.

The Abbey is famous as the burial place of the heart of King Robert the Bruce.

The site now ranks as one of Scotland's most famous ruins because of its elegant and elaborate stonework . Nearby is the Commendator's House which contains a large collection of objets trouves including Roman artifacts.

Next to the Abbey is Priorwood Garden where plants are grown specifically for dried flower arrangements. There is also a dried flower shop on site.


Melrose itself is a pleasant little town and well worth a visit

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Tour Norham Church Northumberland

Friday, August 22, 2008

This evening, I am presenting an image of St. Cuthbert's Church, Norham. From an architectural perspective, this is a fascinating building dating from 1165 (but possibly on the site of a much earlier Saxon building). The church has had a chequered history being occupied by Scots' King Robert the Bruce during a siege of the nearby castle in 1320. It was restored in 1619 with further restoration evident in more recent times.

Norham is a pleasant village, well worth a visit in conjunction with the local castle.



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Abbotsford Gardens Tour Scottish Borders

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This evening I am presenting some images of a recent visit to Abbotsford, the former home of Sir Walter Scott near Melrose.

The gardens provide a colourful complement to the House which sits on the banks of the River Tweed and comprise three elements: Entrance Courts; Morris Garden and Walled Kitchen Garden.



These gardens provide some opportunity for quiet reflection and are well worth a visit.

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