Scottish Marches was the term used for the Anglo-Scottish border during the late medieval and early modern eras, characterised by violence and cross-border raids. The Scottish Marches era came to an end during the first decade of the 17th century following the union of the crowns of England and Scotland.
The Marches were first conceived in a treaty between Henry III of England and Alexander III of Scotland in 1249 as an attempt to control the Anglo-Scottish border by providing a buffer zone.On both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border there were the West March, the Middle March and the East March. These regions nearly mirrored each other but there was some overlap between the Scottish and English regions. In the late 13th century Edward I of England appointed the first Lord Warden of the Marches, who was tasked with overseeing these regions and keeping their monarch's domain secure; when it was in their interests they would encourage cross-border raiding, or even full-scale war.
Especially in the Tudor period some inhabitants of the Marches on either side of the Border exhibited mixed national allegiances, and parts of the region were home to Riding Surnames or clans. Before the the two kingdoms were united in March 1603, under the personal union of Scotland and England under James VI of Scotland (James I of England), the border clans would switch allegiance between the Scottish and English thrones depending on what was most favourable for the members of the clan. For a time, powerful local clans dominated a region on the border between England and Scotland, known as the Debatable Lands, where neither monarch's writ was heeded.
During this era, the Border Reivers were raiders that attacked local residents. There were both English and Scottish clans in these groups, and they would attack regardless of nationality. Local farmers would often need to make payments to the various clans as a form of protection money to ensure they are not attacked. These agreements were called "Black mal", where mal was an Old Norse word meaning agreement. The word blackmail entered the English language in 1530 as a result.
The fluid nature of the border, and the frequent wars between Scotland and England, made the Marches fertile ground for many bandits and reivers (raiders) who exploited the situation. The Wardens of the Marches on either side of the border were entrusted with the difficult task of keeping the peace and punishing wrongdoers; the Scottish and English Wardens would meet to co-ordinate their efforts against free-lance reivers at "days of march" (or "days of truce"), when they implemented March law, a kind of customary law agreed upon by the two realms during times of peace.
The reiver period produced one unique architectural feature in the old reiver country—the peel tower, a defensive structure found on many great houses (and indeed on Carlisle Cathedral). It has also produced a great deal of romantic literature, most famously the works of Sir Walter Scott.
Berwick-upon-Tweed, a strategic town on the north bank of the River Tweed, (the traditional border in the East March), is slightly closer to Edinburgh than to Newcastle. It was fought over many times: between 1147 and 1482, the town changed hands between the two nations more than 13 times. As late as the reign of Elizabeth I of England, the English considered it worth spending a fortune on the latest style of fortifications (trace italienne) to secure the town against Scottish attack.
The Scottish Marches era came to an end during the first decade of the 17th century with the creation of the Middle Shires, promulgated after the personal union of Scotland and England under James VI of Scotland (James I of England).
Berwick-upon-Tweed, sometimes known as Berwick-on-Tweed or just Berwick, is a town and civil parish in the county of Northumberland. It is the northernmost town in England.
The Scottish Borders is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the City of Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Midlothian, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian and, to the south-west, south and east, the English counties of Cumbria and Northumberland. The administrative centre of the area is Newtown St Boswells.
Peel towers are small fortified keeps or tower houses, built along the English and Scottish borders in the Scottish Marches and North of England, mainly between the mid-14th century and about 1600. They were free-standing with defence being a prime consideration of their design with "confirmation of status and prestige" also playing a role. They also functioned as watch towers where signal fires could be lit by the garrison to warn of approaching danger.
Border reivers were raiders along the Anglo-Scottish border from the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century. Their ranks consisted of both Scottish and English people, and they raided the entire Border country without regard to their victims' nationality. Their heyday was in the last hundred years of their existence, during the time of the House of Stuart in the Kingdom of Scotland and the House of Tudor in the Kingdom of England.
Lowland Scottish Omnibuses Ltd was a bus operator in south eastern Scotland and parts of northern England. The company was formed in 1985 and operated under the identities Lowland Scottish, Lowland and First Lowland / First SMT, until 1999 when the company's operations were combined with the operations of Midland Bluebird in a new company, First Edinburgh Ltd. As of 26 March 2017 these operations were transferred to West Coast Motors.
Dunglass is a hamlet in East Lothian, Scotland, lying east of the Lammermuir Hills on the North Sea coast, within the parish of Oldhamstocks. It has a 15th-century collegiate church, now in the care of Historic Scotland. Dunglass is the birthplace of Sir James Hall, an 18th-century Scottish geologist and geophysicist. The name Dunglass comes from the Brittonic for "grey-green hill".
William Armstrong of Kinmont or Kinmont Willie was a Scottish border reiver and outlaw active in the Anglo-Scottish Border country in the last decades of the 16th century.
Clan Armstrong is a Lowland Scottish clan of the Scottish Borders. The clan does not currently have a chief recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms and therefore it is considered an Armigerous clan.
The Anglo-Scottish Wars comprise the various battles which continued to be fought between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland from the time of the Wars of Independence in the early 14th century through to the latter years of the 16th century.
The Debatable Lands, also known as debatable ground, batable ground or threip lands, lay between Scotland and England. It was formerly in question as to which it belonged, when they were distinct kingdoms. The name either signifies litigious or disputable ground, or it comes from the Old English word 'battable'.
Carter Bar is a point on the England–Scotland border, in the Scottish Borders and Northumberland.
Wark or Wark on Tweed is a village in the English county of Northumberland. It lies about 15 mi (24 km) south west of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
The Anglo-Scottish border is a border separating Scotland and England which runs for 96 miles (154 km) between Marshall Meadows Bay on the east coast and the Solway Firth in the west. The surrounding area is sometimes referred to as "the Borderlands".
Clan Blackadder is a Scottish clan. The clan historically held lands near the Anglo-Scottish border.
Sir Walter Scott, 1st of Branxholme, 3rd of Buccleuch, known as "Wicked Wat", was a nobleman of the Scottish Borders and the chief of Clan Scott who briefly served as Warden of the Middle March. He was an "inveterate English hater" active in the wars known as The Rough Wooing and a noted Border reiver. He was killed on Edinburgh High Street in a feud with Clan Kerr in 1552. His great-grandson was Sir Walter Scott, 1st Lord Scott of Buccleuch, the "Bold Buccleuch" (1565–1611), a border reiver famed for his role in the rescue of Kinmont Willie Armstrong.
William Eure, 1st Baron Eure (c.1483–1548) of Witton was an English knight and soldier active on the Anglo-Scottish border. Henry VIII of England made him Baron Eure by patent in 1544. The surname is often written as "Evers". William was Governor of Berwick upon Tweed in 1539, Commander in the North in 1542, Warden of the Eastern March, and High Sheriff of Durham. During the Anglo-Scottish war called the Rough Wooing, Eure and his sons Henry and Ralph made numerous raids against towns and farms in the Scottish Borders.
Sir Walter Ker of Cessford was Scottish warden of the Middle March on the Anglo-Scottish border.
March law was a system of customary international law dealing with cross-border dispute settlement, operating during the medieval and early-modern periods in the area of the Anglo-Scottish border or Anglo-Scottish marches – the word "march" being the Old English form of the Old French word "marche" meaning "boundary". They were "essentially a set of regulations for the prosecution of offences committed by the inhabitants of one country inside the territory of the other, and for the recovery of property stolen or lent across their common border".
The Clan Heron was a lowland Scottish clan. One branch of the clan were border reivers who made a living by rustling cattle along the Anglo-Scottish border. Another branch were a landed family with their seat in Kirkcudbright.
The siege of Berwick lasted four months in 1333 and resulted in the Scottish-held town of Berwick-upon-Tweed being captured by an English army commanded by King Edward III. The year before, Edward Balliol had seized the Scottish Crown, surreptitiously supported by Edward III. He was shortly expelled from the kingdom by a popular uprising. Edward III used this as a casus belli and invaded Scotland. The immediate target was the strategically important border town of Berwick.