By the word "clans" is
generally if not almost universally understood those of the Scottish
Highlands, few being aware how important a part our clans played
during the Middle Ages, and I trust, therefore, this little treatise
concerning the Border, Riding or Foraying clans, Dalesmen, Marchmen
or Borderers, as they were variously styled, may not prove
uninteresting, as they have too long been viewed through nineteenth
century spectacles, and have, moreover, been generally confounded
with the Batablers or Baitablers, as the English called them, or
freebooters of the Debateable Lands, [In a document of A. D. 1588,
these are styled "sumtyme callit Debettable."] whose hands were
against every man and every man's hands were against them. These
frontier rievers, who in Scottish legal documents were generally
called bordour men or broken men, acquired also about the time of
James the First (1406-1437) the name of Mosstroopers, from their
living in the mosses of the country.
Previous to the union
of the crowns in 1603, the borders and the highlands were in a state
totally different from the rest of Scotland and were subjected to
laws different from the remainder of the kingdom. The feudal system,
which formed the principal groundwork of ancient law, both civil and
criminal, had in those districts a comparatively imperfect
influence. The inhabitants were divided into surnames or clans, who
acknowledged no supremacy saving that of their chief, chieftain or
head of their name, who might often be a person entirely different
from their feudal superior or over-lord as he was called in Scottish
The border clans have
usually been considered as little better than common thieves, none
apparently reflecting that the actual state of both England and
Scotland was with brief exemptions one of chronic petty warfare, nor
upon the general state of society in those days when the Bible and
other books were almost unknown, for the first printing press in
London was only set up in 1476, and printing was not introduced into
Scotland until 1501.
Copies of the English
Bible found their way into Scotland, however, and were of great
service in promoting and establishing the reformed doctrines, and in
1543, four years before Cranmer's Reformation was completed in
England, Lord Robert Maxwell submitted to parliament a bill making
it lawful for all "our Soverane Ladyis lieges to possess and read
copies of the Bible in Scotch or English." It was of course opposed
by he bishops, but was nevertheless sanctioned by parliament, and
some years after a license to print "ye Inglis Bybill " was granted
in 1568, but the translation was not issued until 1579, when it was
enacted by parliament that each householder worth three hundred
marks of yearly rent and all substanteous yeomen and burgesses
esteemed as worth five hundred pounds in land and goods should have
a Bible and psalm-book in the vulgar tongue under the penalty of ten
newsletters were ushered in in London in the fifteenth century,
followed in the next century by the printed news book. These,
however, were but little known beyond the large cities, and the
first newspaper did not appear in England until after the union and
in Scotland until the Caledonian Mercury was issued in 1660.
Bishop of St. Asaph's, English Ambassador in Scotland, complained to
Cromwell, Lord Privy Seal, of the state of the English borders, and
gave a very similar apology for his own countrymen. The abstract of
his letter in Thorpe's State Papers is as follows:
"Berwick, Feb. 10,
1535." "A long letter, on the miserable misorder, ruinous decay and
intolerable calamity of His Grace's [The King, Henry VIII, was then
styled "His Grace."] subjects on the borders; there is no knowledge
of Christ's gospel, although there are plenty of priests, multitudes
of monks and flocking companies of friars." [This letter was written
one year after the English Parliament established the King as
Supreme Head of the Church, thus sweeping away the papal headship.]
Ignorance was so
profound in the Dark Ages that even among the priests and monks, who
were supposed to be educated, nearly all of them said by rote the
services they had learned by heart, and it has been computed that
there were not more than one or two at the outside, in every
thousand, who were capable both of reading and writing. Of course
there were exceptional cases of students fond of learning, but they
were of comparatively rare occurrence. It is true there were burgh
schools at Perth, Stirling and Roxburgh at a very early period, and
a convent school at the latter place in the time of Malcolm IV
(1153-1165) and there was a village school at Norham-onTweed in the
twelfth century, but probably they were frequented principally by
the children of the trades people, who had to keep some accounts,
and but by few of them. As there were then no printed books, the
education given must have been very limited.
In 1494, parliament
ordained through all the realm that all barons and substantial
freeholders, [Probably signifying freeholders in towns, not barons.]
put their eldest sons and heirs to the schools at the age of six, or
at the utmost nine years; who are to remain at the grammar schools
till they have a competent foundation and skill in Latin. After
which they are to study three years in the schools of arts and laws
; so that they may have knowledge in the laws, and by this means
justice be distributed throughout all the realm; those who become
sheriffs or judges ordinary, having proper understanding, and the
poor being under no necessity of recourse to high courts for every
This statute seems
not to have extended to the lords and earls whose profession was
arms and hunting alone!
In England, as Speed
informs us, there were 30,000 studying in the university of Oxford
alone, but Hume says "What was the occupation of these young men? To
learn bad Latin and still worse logic," and that Hume was not
speaking without reason is shown by Platina, librarian of the
Vatican (which then contained 2,00 volumes), who died in 1481, who
says of the notaries or the prothonotary of the city of Rome itself,
whose office it was to commit to writing all memorable occurrences
belonging to the church, " But in our age most of them (not to say
all) are so ignorant that they are scarcely able to write their own
names in Latin, much less to transmit the actions of others."
Even as late as the
Reformation such was the want of knowledge in England that Bishop
Hooper, in 1550, found one hundred and sixty-eight, or more than
half of his clergy in the diocese of Gloucester, who could not
repeat the ten commandments; forty who could not tell when the
Lord's prayer was written and thirty-one of them ignorant who was
These were priests
who had just come out of the church of Rome, and the case was no
better in Scotland, for only a few years previously (in 538) the
Bishop of Dunkeld having cited Dean Forrest, Vicar of Dolour, to
appear before him for the heinous crime of "preaching every Sunday
to his parishoners upon the epistles and gospels of the day," he
desired him to forbear "seeing his diligence that way brought him in
suspicion of heresie." If he could find a good gospel or a good e
istle, that made for the liberty of the holy church, the bishop
willed him to preach that to his people and let the rest be. The
dean replying "That he had read both the new testament and the old
and that he had never found an ill epistle or an ill gospel in any
of them ;" the bishop said "I thank God I have lived well these many
years and never knew either the old or the new. I content me with my
Portuise and my Pontifical, and if you Dean Thomas leave not these
fantasies you will repent when you cannot mend it."
Here we have a Roman
Catholic bishop declaring in open court that he had never read the
Bible and desired nothing but his breviary and book of rites and
ceremonies. It is hardly necessary to add that the dean suffered
martyrdom, having been burned to death.
With such a lack of
education it is not surprising, therefor, to see bonds to the king
given by heads of clans, promising to keep good rule or to furnish
armed men or the like, often signed "with our hands at the pen led
by John Andro," or "John Andro for those who cannot write."
Walter Scott of
Satchells, when he dictated his history, called himself "Captain
Walter Scott, an old souldier and no scholler,
And one that can write
But just the letters of his name."
One of the last
contracts or pledges to the crown, being a general band or bond
against thieves, murderers and oppressors, was made as late at 1602,
and among the lairds who subscribed thereto is "Johnne Inglis of
Manerheid (with my hand at the pen led by James Primrois, Clerk of
the Counsale, at my command because I cannot write)," and Maxwells,
Turn-bulls, Kers, Scotts and others make the same confession but
nevertheless they could handle the sword and spear, and were
"Steady of heart and
stout of hand
As ever drove prey from Cumberland."
These were Kers,
[This name was usually written Ker on the Scottish side and Carr on
the English side.] Scotts (the two great rival families), Homes,
Elliots, Johnstones, Grahams, Armstrongs, Irvings, Cranstouns,
Cockburns, Maxwells, Gladstones, Dicksons and others who were always
ready for the fray and only counted a predatory excursion one of the
ordinary diversions of everyday life replaced in a measure in the
present day by shooting tame partridges or pheasants in preserves or
following the hounds. The man who plundered another's cattle would
perhaps meet him soon after at a border meeting and joke and gamble
and drink with him, although quite ready to fight, if necessary,
rather than give up his spoils except for a consideration.
their mutual hostilities and reciprocal depredations a natural
intercourse took place between the English and Scottish marchers at
these meetings and during the short intervals of peace. They met
frequently also at parties of the chace or foot-ball; and it
required many and strict regulations to prevent them from forming
intermarriages and from cultivating too close an intimacy. This
humanity and moderation was, however, in the case of deadly feud
entirely laid aside. Their vengeance then not only vented itself
upon the homicide and his friends but upon all his kindred and
Yet still the report
of Sir Robert Bowes when he invaded Scotland in 1545, speaks
volumes. The English borderers would not burn down the standing corn
and he had to draft Irishmen for the purpose.
The friendly meetings
took place on "days of trew (truce)" or "March days," [Not the month
but the frontier.] principally to settle scores for depredations and
injuries on either side, of which there was a rough tariff,
generally acknowledged as border law, and this law made it death for
an Englishman or Scotchman to draw weapon upon his greatest foe from
the time of holding the court till next morning at sunrise, it being
judged that in this interval all might return home.
One of these was held
at Reidswire in the Cheviots in 1575, which ended in one of the last
of the border fights. The clans of the Middle Marches with Sir John
Carmichael, deputy keeper of Liddesdale, at their head, there met
the English Borderers of Tyne-dale and Redesdale under Sir John
Forster, the English warden of the Middle Marches. The meeting began
as usual in mirth and good fellowship. Booths were erected, drink
was sold and an impromptu fair sprung up. * But while all went on
merrily the two leaders quarrelled. The English took umbrage at the
pretensions of the Scot, and rising in his stirrups gave a signal to
his men of Tynedale who forthwith discharged a flight of arrows.
Then both sides set to work with sword and spear and bended bow, and
a fight ensued which was decided at last in favor of the Scots,
although the English had the advantage in point of numbers.
The Scotts of
Buccleugh were there with "The Laird's Wat," as Scott of Goldiland
was called, at their head.
"The Armestranges that
aye hae been
a hardie house but not a hail,
The Elliots honours to maintaine brought
down the lave o' Liddesdale,
The Sheriffe brought the Douglas down
Wi' Cranstane, Gladstain good at need,
Beanjeddart bauldy made him boun
Wi' a' the Trumbills stronge and stout,
The Rutherfoords with gret renown.
Of other clans I cannot tell,
Because our warning was not wide"
On the English side
"Five hundred Fenwicks
in a flock
Wi' Sir John Foster for their guyde
Full fifteen hundred men and mae."
Sir John Heron one of
the English leaders was slain and the warden and several others
taken prisoners. The queen, as might have been expected of the
daughter of bluff Harry was furious when she heard how her men had
been chased across the border, and the Regent Morton, to appease
her, sent the Scottish leader a prisoner to England, but good Queen
Bess was too magnanimous to take vengeance on a helpless foeman. The
English court moreover being convinced that their own warden was in
the wrong, not only discharged Carmichael with honor, but even gave
him a present.
called this fight an unhappy accident only. In a proclamation of the
regent warning the people not to take advantage of it, and to keep
the peace, it is styled the " unhappy accident at the lait meeting
on the Reid Swyre."
It must be remembered
that although when the English invaded us reprisals followed as a
matter of course, still it was not in private forays only that our
Marchmen were engaged. They acted as a sort of border militia to
protect their country not only from the English but also from the
baitablers, and frequently bound themselves to the king to that
effect. In a tax levied in 1586, for a force of waged men on the
border, the border shires are expressly exempted from taxation on
the ground of personal service.
In 1522, the Earl of
Shrewsbury invaded the kingdom, burnt part of the town of Kelso and,
according to some writers, burnt eighty villages also and razed
eighteen towers of stone, but he was met by the Borderers of the
Merse and Teviotdale and forced to retreat with considerable loss.
In 1523, the Earl of
Surrey crossed the borders with ten thousand mercenaries besides
other forces, but was so annoyed by the Scotch skirmishers that he
wrote to his king "I assure your grace I found the Scottes at this
tyme the boldest men and the hottest that ever I sawe any nation.
And all the jorney upon all parts of the armye kept us with so
contynuall skyrmyshe that I never sawe the like. If they might
assemble Xlt` Mt as good men as I now sawe XV° or ij Mt; it wold bee
a herd encountre to mete theym."
Surrey's praise is
valuable, being that of a good soldier who had often been employed
on foreign service.
In 1532, the Earl of
Northumberland detached fifteen hundred men who ravaged and
plundered the lands of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleugh and burned
Branksome, but failed in their principal object which was to kill or
make him prisoner. In resentment for this Sir Walter and other
border chiefs assembled three thousand men whom with consummate
skill and valor they conducted into England, laid waste a large part
of Northumberland, baffled and defeated the English and returned
home laden with booty.
In August, 1542, Sir
Robert Bowes with three thousand horse attempted to enter Scotland,
but was defeated at Haddon-Rigg, and himself and six hundred men
made prisoners, and in October of the same year the Duke of Norfolk
with twenty or thirty thousand men burnt Roxburgh and Kelso and
several villages, but was then compelled to retire.
It would be almost
impossible now to recount the frequent greater inroads, to say
nothing of the lesser or what may be called the private ones, but
the Official Reports of two inroads in the years 1544 and 1545,
which have been preserved, deserve some notice. No less than eleven
Dickson fortalices were demolished at this time.
The first report is
that of Lord Eure, Sir Brian Laiton, Sir Robert Bowes and others,
entitled " Exployts don upon the Scotts from the beginning of July
Anno 36 R. R. Henrice' 8th" and the king is informed that up to the
17th Nov. 1544, they had destroyed 192 towns, towers, stedes,
barnekyns, parish churches, and bastell-houses, slew 403 Scotts and
took 8i6 prisoners, 10,383 nolt (black cattle); 12,492 shepe, 1,296
naggs and geldings, 200 gayt, 850 bolls of corn, and " Insight Geare."
This last item of
household goods is not carried out but in one place it says "a great
had been at this time an Anglo-Scottish party, which had supported
the interests of the English Monarch, but all parties finally united
in support of the independence of the realm. The day of vengeance
came, and the following spring the Scots, although far less in
number, utterly defeated the English at Ancrum, slew eight hundred
men, including their leaders Eure and Laiton, who for the preceding
nine months had signalized themselves by their unexampled and cruel
ravages, and took one thousand prisoners.
The Earl of Hertford
made an invasion with an army of 14,000 men. His report is headed
"The Names of the Fortresses, Abbeys, Market Towns, Villages, Towns
and Places, burnt, raced and cast down by the commandment of Therll
of Hertforde * * between the 8th and 231'd September 1545." "Sum
In this sum total are
included seven monasteries and frear-houses and three hospitals,
among which were the abbeys of Kelso, Melrose, Dryburgh, Roxburgh
and Coldingham, and yet it is generally said that these were
destroyed by the Scottish Reformers!
The Earl's list also
contains Kenetsyde, Hassyngtonmaynes, Mersington, Stanefawde,
Headrigge, Newtoun, Letam, Ormeston, Newbigging, Belclester and
Boughtrige, all of which were then, or at one time at least, Dickson
baronies, and must have been places of more or less importance or
they would not have been mentioned in the Earl's report.
His roll is a sad
one, e. g., "In Lasseden burnt 16 strong bastell Houses and sundry
that held the sane slain" * * won divers strong Castell Houses and
slew all the Scottish men in the same * * * slew 80 men, the most
part being Gentlemen and of hed surnames."
In one of the Earl's
letters dated Sep. 13, 1545, he says "not so much harm done these
hundred years," and speaking of burning the standing corn he adds
they had employed Irishmen for the Borderers would not burn their
neighbour's property. The orders of King Henry VIII, were in case of
resistance to slay man, woman and child, and to destroy every thing.
Sir Robert Bowes almost repeats the Earl's words, for desirous to do
his duty in what he considered a perfect manner he drafted a hundred
Irishmen into the expedition "because the Borderers will not
willingly burn their neighbours "a very significant remark the
English Borderers were not sufficiently relentless to be relied on
for wanton mischief and cruelty, even although it was to serve the
Our clans it will be
seen had sufficient provocation and should not be censured too
harshly, for they were not a bloodthirsty race like some of, the
ruffians in the Far West in this century of education, as the
contemporary evidence of a Scotch bishop (not a Borderer), a
Frenchman and an Englishman shows that they were an honorable and
kind-hearted people, loth to shed bloodin fact, a jolly,
thoughtless set of marauders.
Bishop Leslie tells
us what were their ideas of meum el tuurn, and if we have socialists
in these enlightened days, it is not surprising that communistic
opinions flourished when there was almost no enlightenment at all.
They considered it perfectly legitimate, aye even gallant and
honorable to plunder their English neighbours south of the border,
but always, if possible, without the effusion of blood. Their chief
property was in cattle, and as they were nightly exposed to the
attacks of the English March-men
prickers [The ancient spurs had a single spike only, and were called
pryck spurs. ], rude and wild."
As rapacious and
active as themselves, their incursions assumed the appearance of
fair reprisals. A predatory expedition was the general declaration
of enmity; and the command given by the chief to clear the pastures
of the enemy constituted the usual letters of marque, and the cattle
taken were considered fair spoils of war.
When Wat of Harden in
1576, married Mary Scott of Dryhope, her father agreed to find him
in victuals for man and horse at Dryhope Tower, a twelvemonth and a
day, in return for the profits of the first Michaelmas moon, meaning
the plunder of a raid into England and this contract was drawn up
by a notary public before witnesses! But in fact disorder of all
kinds prevailed in every kingdom of Europe to a degree almost
incredible. How frequently we read in old Froissart or Monstrelet of
noble knights going forth in search of adventures, which in our
present language would signify to lay their hands on whatever they
The robber knights of
Germany were notorious. Rauber or robber (Freiherr .Dauber von
Plankensaein) is a noble German name, and de Roovere (the Robber
[The prefix "de" in Dutch means the, as de Witt, the White.]) a
noble Dutch one, the first of whom on record was Edmond de Rovere,
Lord of Rode in I I 79. Ladron (Robber) de Guevara is a noble
Spanish name, and in France a Captain Taillebot was ennobled in
1562, his name being probably the Romance "talebot," a. e., pillager,
thief. The first on record (in Domesday Book) of the English Talbots
was a Talebot.
One must suppose that
the founders of these families were leaders especially famous, like
to our Johnny Armstrong, Rob Roy MacGregor or that chief of Clan
Grant called James of the Forays.
A Cameron of Lochiel
bore a similar sobriquet, Ailean nan Creach, Allan of the Forays. In
his old age however in expiation of seven great forays, he built as
many churches, and is therefore sometimes spoken of in tradition as
Ailean nan Eaglais, Allan of the Churches.
They were not very
sensitive regarding nomenclature, and some of their appellations
were not dissimilar to those of the North American Indians. A
Sitting Bull is living still, but how many are aware that Rollo,
Duke of Normandy, was really a Walking Wolf?Jarl Heirulff or
Gangerolf, for the Earl Lord Wolf was obliged on account of his
great size to gang on foot as no horse could carry him. One of the
Conqueror's companions was Lord with the Teeth (Dan as Benz---what
tusks he must have had), another William with the Whiskers (als
gernons, and Algernon is still almost a hereditary baptismal name in
the Percy family), a Duke of Guienne, Towhead, another noble Ass's
head. A son of the Duke of Gascony, Arnoud the Unborn! One of the
late Prince Albert's ancestors was Frederick with the Bitten Cheek,
but a very nasty name was that of a Welsh noble, Howel the Scabby!
And they were not ashamed of it for even his grandson subscribed his
name as Llewellyn ab Gwilym ab Hywel y grach.
But I am digressing
and will only add a few Scotch sobriquets derived from deformities.
A Marquess of Athol was known as John with the Large Mouth (Ian a
Bheal mor); a Duke of the same house who was blind of an eye, Ian
Cam; the second Earl of Breadalbane was John the Lame (Ian Bachach);
a Macleod of Macleod Alexander the Humpback (Alasdair Crotach), and
Lachlan Maclean, laird of Dowart was styled the Big-bellied (Bronach).
Hugh Fraser, Lord Lovat (b. 1666) who had a large black spot on his
upper lip, was called Black Spotted Simon's son (Mac Shimi Baldu).
But why should I go
on when we find at the present day such names as Parnell, Trollope,
Trull, Fitz Parnell, Cumbechance, and the like?
In 1377, the King of
Cyprus, who paid a visit to England, was robbed and stripped there
on the highway with all his retinue, and even in the very heart of
good old England there was one county so noted for its robbers, who
harboured in its woods until they were cut down by Leofstane, Abbott
of St. Albans, that the proverb ran
If you beat a bush you'll start a thief."
With these it was all
on one side, but with the Marchmen of both countries there was a
quid j5yo quo. They were usually called thieves, an expression I
have not used as the word has now a different signification. A thief
may be defined as one who will take whatever he can pick up and has
himself nothing to lose, while their forays were commonly only a
retaliation for recent injuries, or in revenge of former wrongs, and
when they carried off cattle or other spoils it was with the
consciousness that their own herds were exposed to the risk of being
appropriated by others.
When King James
charged Johnnie Armstrong with treason and robbery the border chief
Ye lied, ye lied, now
King, f'ie says,
Although a King and prince ye be!
For I've loved naething in my life,
I weel dare say but honesty.
Save a fat horse and a fair woman,
Twa bonnie dogs to kill a deir;
But England sould have found me meal and mault,
Gif I had lived this hundred yeir."
As old Satchells says
(drawing a very nice distinction), they were not thieves, but
I have never met with
an account of a private Border foray, but one of a Highland raid has
been preserved, which will give some idea of the lordly scale in
which they were sometimes conducted, as well as the proportion of
the different kinds of stock. then kept.
A Decree of Council
of James V (1488-1513) is as follows:
"That Huchone Ross of
Kilrawok and his son shall restore, consent and pay to Mr. Alexander
Urquhart, sheriff of Cromarty, the following items, carried off by
them and their accomplices:
Six hundred cows, 100
horses, 1,000 sheep, 400 goats, etc., was the work not of thieves,
but of foragers on a grand scale i. e., judging them always by the
standard of the times they lived in, when religion consisted in
saying a few paters and ayes, every thing else being left to the
priest, and Usher's eleven commandments were practically unknown.
[The Archbishop had often heard of the saintly Rutherford, and when
traveling in Scotland contrived to arrive at the manse at nightfall,
and as was formerly customary when there were few travelers, asked
for accommodation. At family prayers Rutherford catechized them, and
his question to the stranger was "How many commandments are there?"
"Eleven" was the reply. Gravely expressing his surprise, the
minister finally said, "What then is the eleventh commandment?" "A
new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another," was the
answer. Rutherford soon found out who his guest was, and the
following day being Sunday, requested him to take his place in the
kirk, which the prelate did, using the Presbyterian form only.]
Phoebe" (We'll have moonlight: again) was the motto of the Scotts of
Harden, and "Best riding by moonlight" that of the Buccleughs. "Ye
shall want ere I want" that of the Cranstouns, and "Forward" that of
the Douglasses. One of the Dickson mottoes was " Fortes fortuna
juvat" (Fortune favors the bold) and another "Cubo sed curo" (I
sleep but watch). The Haliburton motto was " `WTatch well."
Slughorns, Slogans or Ensenzies, were confined generally to chiefs
of clans and military leaders. Most of them are lost, but the
"earliest on record, save perhaps that of Gaul Mac Morn "First to
come and last to go" is that of the Celtic portion of the Scotch
army at the battle of the Standard in Yorkshire, A. D. 1138, who
cried "Albanich, Albanich! "a` St. Andrew was the shout of the kings
of Scotland; that of the old Earls of Douglas "A Douglas! A
Douglas!" and of the Homes "A Home! A Home!" The Scotts cried "Bellendaine"
from Bellendean in Roxburghshire or according to Logan "Ale Muir."
The Cranstouns "Henwoodie" from their place of rendezvous on Oxnam
water, and the Maxwells "Wardlaw! Wardlaw! I bid you bide Wardlaw!"
from a hill near their castle of Caerlave. rock. The Setons (not a
Border family, however), cried "A Seton! A Seton! Set on! Set on!"
There are two little
burns called the Tarset and the Tarret and the slogan of the people
of that district was "Tarsetburn and Tarretburn ! Yet! Yet! Yet!"
A most singular cry
of some of our Marchmen was "A holy day! A holy day!" every day in
their estimation being holy that was spent in ravaging England. This
is said to have been the origin of the name of the Hallidays of
Many of the border
families, English as well as Scotch, bore mullets in their arms.
These in heraldry are said to be spur-rowels, and it has therefore
been considered that they were emblematical, but the heralds appear
to have been at fault in styling them rowels, for the Douglasses and
Dicksons probably bore mullets, which are only five-pointed stars,
before rowels were invented, which was only in the beginning of the
fourteenth century. A mullet is represented on the seal of Adam
Home, A. D. 1165. The earliest known seal of the Douglasses is of
the year 1296, and bears three mullets, and these may have been
assumed, for arms were seldom granted in those days, about the
middle of the thirteenth century by Dick de Keth or Keith, whose
mother appears to have been a Douglas, and who was father of Thomas
Dicson, born in 1247.
"Spare nought" was
the motto of the Hays, ancestors of the Marquesses of Tweeddale, and
if it was adopted in 1522, when the English burned Kelso and eighty
villages besides, or in 1545, when Lord Eure burned the tower of
Broomhouse, with its lady, a noble and aged woman, her children and
whole family, it must be allowed the Hays had some excuse. At the
battle of Ancrum Moor the cry of our Borderers was "Revenge for
The ladies of the day
were notable housewives. When the Harden larder was empty a dish was
placed by her ladyship's orders before the baron of Harden himself,
which being uncovered disclosed a pair of spursand the equivalent
to the modern order "Boot and saddle" was soon given.
This custom was
peculiar to the Scotts of Harden, but is constantly brought up
against all our forebears, yet no one ever adds that it was the
custom in Cumberland to lay a sword on the table when the provisions
After 1542, the laird
of Harden of that period might have said that in that year King
Henry, before any declaration of war, seized twenty-eight Scotch
ships laden with costly merchandize, and if an English king could do
that in time of peace might not a Scotch baron pick up a few cattle?
Every evening the
sheep were generally taken from the hills and the cattle from the
pastures to be secured in the lower floors or barnekyns of the
strong houses, so that the disappointed rovers often found every
Even "the sturdy
Armstrongs who were forever riding" were sometimes thus disgusted.
The old lines say:-
"Then Johnie Armstrong
to Willie 'gan say
Billie, a riding then will we:
England and us have been long at feud
Aiblins we'll light upon some bootie.
Then they're come unto Hutton Ha',
They rade that proper place about,
But the Laird he was the wiser man,
He had left na geir without
Except sax sheep upon a lea;
Quo' JohnieI'd rather in England dee
Ere this sax sheep gae to Liddesdale wi' me."
Poor Johnie was only
carrying on a private war of his own. Six sheep only, however, were
beneath his notice. Those were the days when to return a Roland for
an Oliver was the rule, and he said truly that with England we have
been long at feud. Johnie Armstrong, Laird of Gilnockie, was famous
as the most popular and potent forager of his time, who laid the
whole English border under contribution, levying saufey money or
blackmail as far as Newcastle, but who never injured any of his own
countrymen. It was said that no one, of whatever estate, between the
border and Newcastle but paid him blackmail.
He was always
attended by twenty-four gentlemen well mounted. When James V made a
Royal Progress in 1528, Gilnockie appeared with thirty-six persons
in his train, all richly apparelled and unarmed ; but the king,
finding him in his power, and being then at peace with England,
ordered him to be executed, notwithstanding all his offers. Finding
his entreaties were of no avail, he boldly said that had he expected
such a reception he would have defied the king and all his troops,
but that it was folly to ask grace of a graceless face.
"To seek hot water
beneath cold ice,
Surelie it is a great folie:
I haif asked grace of a graceless face,
But there is nane for my men and me."
He was betrayed and
put to death without trial, a proceeding which, even in that age,
was considered unjustifiable; but the king was then only twenty-one
years old, and was probably a tool in the hands of Armstrong's
Pittscottie, speaking of the execution, says: "Quhilk monie Scottis
mene heavily lamented, for he was ane doubtit (redoubled) man, and
als good ane chieftain as ever was vpoun the Borderis aither of
Scotland or of England."
There is no trace
whatever of his stronghold, the last relics of the tower of
Gilnockie having been re moved to make a bridge over the Esk. The
tower of Hollows, a square peel seventy feet high, is said to have
been his; but Hollas Tower was held by Lord Maxwell, and there is no
proof that he ever granted it to Gilnockie.
I repeat, then,
should our clans be so loaded with reproaches? They were, at least,
no worse than their neighbors on the south side of the Border.
generally forget that the doctrine of those days was
"The good old law the
That they should take who have the power,
And they should keep who can "
and the Pope himself
tried to play that game, for in 1300 Boniface VIII claimed to be
liege lord of Scotland, but without avail. Some years later (1317)
he issued a bull excommunicating the Bruce and all his adherents in
the most solemn manner, but the king would not receive it neither
would the Scotch bishops promulgate it and the fulminations of the
Vatican were totally disregarded. The following year the Pope again
ordered his legates to publish the sentence of excommunication,
which was accordingly done in England, Wales and Ireland and also in
France and Flanders, but again the Scotch bishops took no notice of
the threats of their brother bishop of Rome. The interdict was not
obeyed and although the bell was ordered no longer to be rung, the
book no longer to be opened northe candles to be burnt,
nevertheless the churches were not closed, the regular services
continued to be performed, and every thing went on as usual.
And we succeeded as
well also in our struggles with Albion. At one time when there were
internal dissensions and the country was split into two parties by
the rival claimants Bruce and Baliol, England "had the power" and
took possession, but the tide turned and we were again united.
To state the case as
briefly as possible.
After the death of
King Alexander III, in 1285, without male issue there were two
claimants, Baliol being favored by King Edward I, of England, who
sent an army to Scotland, took Berwick, Dunbar, Edinburgh, Stirling
and other places, appointed Warenne, Earl of Surrey, governor of
Scotland, and after leaving garrisons behind him in the captured
places returned home, when the Scots raised a strong force under the
Earl of Buchan, the English dispersed in the different fortresses
not daring to move; ravaged Northumberland and Cumberland and laid
siege to Carlisle, which, however, he was unable to reduce. Then
came the war of independence under Wallace the saviour of his
country, who after numerous exploits was joined in 1297, by Sir
William Douglas and soon after by Robert Bruce. Edward ordered
Warenne to chastise and suppress them, but he was met by Wallace at
Cambuskenneth and defeated with great loss. Wallace then returned to
the besieging of castles and in a short time so changed the fortune
of war that there remained no English in Scotland except as
prisoners. He then entered England on the first of November,
remained there three months, living upon the enemy, and returned
home on the first of the following February with much spoil.
parliament ordered a general muster at Newcastle which took place in
January, 1298, the number that appeared being 2,000 excellent armed
horse, more than 1,200 light horse, and about ioo,000 foot, who
were, however, dismissed, but reassembled again in June and advanced
into Scotland and in a battle at Falkirk entirely defeated the Scots
with great slaughter.
Soon after, as we all
know, Wallace resigned his charge as guardian of Scotland, but
continued in arms asserting his freedom, until he was taken prisoner
and unmercifully condemned and executed as a traitor in London in
Edward, after his
victory, wasted all the country beyond the Forth as far as Perth and
withdrew his army and returned to London at the end of the year.
After his departure the Scots again arose and expelled all Edward's
governors from the different cities and castles. Two years later
(1302) Edward sent a fresh body of forces, thirty thousand in number
under John Lord Segrave, who plundered the country as far as Roslin,
when he unwisely divided his forces into three divisions who were
attacked successively by the Scots, eight thousand in number under
John Cumin and Simon Fraser, and defeated with great loss. Edward
immediately raised a larger army, attacked the country by sea and
land and again reduced it, appointed governors and magistrates and
went back to England.
Then Bruce commenced
to take a prominent part, and, after many struggles, finally seized
nearly all the castles throughout the south of Scotland. Edward I
died and was succeeded by his son, Edward II, who in 1309 invaded
Scotland, but accomplished nothing worthy of notice.
The next year,
however, Bruce twice invaded England in retaliation, and returned
with immense booty, and in the two following years recovered all the
fortified places which remained in the possession of the English.
Then came the coup de
grace, when the English army of upward of twenty thousand infantry,
together with ninety-three barons with horse and arms to the amount
of forty thousand cavalry, including three thousand having their
horses covered with plates of mail, and the Irish Prince O'Connor
with twenty-six Irish Chieftains and their followers, a body of
Welsh warriors under their own chief, the Earl of Hainault, at the
head of the chivalry of France and Germany, and fifty-two thousand
archers, in all considerably over one hundred thousand men, besides
the camp followers, the largest army that had ever left England, met
the Scotch army of less than forty thousand fighting men, with over
fifteen thousand unarmed camp followers, at Bannockburn in 1314, and
were totally defeated, with the loss of up. wards of thirty thousand
men. The spoils were so enormous that an English historian (the Monk
of Malmesbury) says that the chariots, wagons and wheeled carriages
which were loaded with baggage and military stores would, if drawn
up in a single line, have extended sixty leagues. He adds, "0 day of
vengeance and misfortune! day of disgrace and perdition! unworthy to
be included in the circle of the year, which tarnished the fame of
England and enriched the Scots with the plunder of the precious
stuff of our nation to the extent of two hundred thousand pounds."
Two hundred thousand
pounds of money in those days amounts to about six hundred thousand
pounds weight of silver, or about three millions of pounds of our
present money. Almost a bagatelle now, when referring to an army;
but then a cow could be bought for five shillings, and an ox for six
shillings and eight pence.
Then came our turn
"to keep who can," and with the sole exception of the town of
Berwick, which was ceded to England by treaty in 1482, we never gave
up a foot of ground; but when the Royal Families were united by
marriage, then in our kindness we gave old England a King.
Not that peace
followed after Bannockburn, or that was our last victory; for in
1315 Bruce made an inroad, penetrating as far as Richmond, thence to
the west of Yorkshire, wasting the country for about sixty miles,
and carrying home much booty. In 1318, Sir Robert Keith, Randolph
and Douglas reduced Berwick, became masters of all Northumberland
except Newcastle, and returned to Scotland laden with spoils. In
1319, however, the Earl of Murray and Lord Douglas made an invasion,
committing terrible ravages, but were finally defeated with a loss
of three thousand men.
Early in 1322, the
English Parliament granted the king for serving in the Scottish war
a foot soldier out of every village and hamlet, and a greater number
out of the larger towns, but before this was effected, the Scots
made an inroad in June and again in July, marching as far as
Preston, eighty miles within England and returned home safely. Soon
after the English invaded Scotland as far as Edinburgh, but from
storms at sea preventing their ships arriving and provisions
failing, for the country was deserted and desolate, they returned to
England after only fifteen days. The Scots then made a new
irruption, and met Edward II at Byland Abbey, Yorkshire, where he
had collected his army together and added fresh levies, but he was
again routed by the Bruce, and made a precipitate flight, abandoning
camp equipage, baggage and treasure. The Scots plundered the country
as far as Beverley and returned home laden with booty, driving large
herds of cattle before them and rich in multitudes of captives.
Sully, Grand Butler of France and many French knights were among the
prisoners, but Bruce dismissed them not only free from ransom but
enriched with presents.
In 1327, Randolph
and. Douglas invaded England as far as Durham with twenty-four
thousand horse, and although pursued by Edward III, with an army of
about sixty thousand, of whom eight thousand were horse and
twenty-four thousand archers, they succeeded in returning home safe
with the plunder of a three weeks' raid. At one time Edward thought
he had them in his power, for behind the Scots army was stretched
out a large morass which .was deemed impassable for cavalry, but the
Scots prepared a number of hurdles made of wands or boughs tightly
wattled together, and packed up in the smallest compass their most
valuable booty, and at night, leaving their camp fires burning to
deceive the enemy, they threw down the hurdles upon the softer
places of the bog and thus passed over the water-runs in safety,
taking care to remove the hurdles so as to prevent pursuit.
In March, 1333, Lord
Archibald Douglas with over three thousand men ravaged the estates
of Lord Dacre in Cumberland to the extent of thirty miles, and
returned without an encounter. In retaliation, Sir Anthony Lucy
entered Scotland, met Sir William Douglas, and after a fierce
conflict gained the victory.
In July, 1333, the
English and Scottish armies met at Halidon Hill, and the latter
suffered a terrible defeat, caused chiefly by the showers of arrows
poured into their close battalions by the English archers. The Scots
had about sixty thousand men, and the two armies were about equal in
number. The Scottish loss was about ten thousand, or according to
Boece, fourteen thousand, while a comparatively small number of the
English suffered. The English writers represent their army as being
far inferior in numbers to the Scots, and that there fell on their
side only one knight, one esquire and twelve or thirteen footmen!
King Edward, however, in his orders to the prelates for a public
thanksgiving, though he speaks of the Scottish army as being very
considerable, does not mention any inferiority of numbers on his own
side, and says that the battle was gained without much loss. Had the
English loss been only fifteen against nearly as many thousands,
would he not have used stronger language?
In 1335, Edward and
Baliol again invaded Scotland into the far North, and after making a
truce with King David, and appointing a Guardian of Scotland) left
the country in November. The next year the Scots arose again, Edward
returned, laid Aberdeen in ashes, fortified several places and left
Scotland again in September. In 1337, the Earl of March defeated a
great body of English at Panmure.
struggles, tiresome to relate, the English in 1342, had been driven
out of every part of Scotland except Berwick, and King David Bruce
entered England by the eastern marches, wasted and spoiled the
counties of Northumberland and Durham and returned home, but was
pursued by Edward who met him at Jedburgh, but after some days spent
in skirmishing, a truce was agreed to for two years.
In 1345, the Scots
invaded Westmoreland and burnt. Penrith, Carlisle and other towns,
but a detached party being routed, they retired. The following year,
David with a large army marched through Cumberland and
Northumberland as far as Durham, where they were met by the English
army and routed at the battle of Neville's Cross, with a loss of
fifteen thousand men, King David himself being made prisoner.
Scotland was again invaded as far as Perth, when a truce was made,
but as the English refused to surrender their prisoner, the Scots
continually laid waste the English borders until 1356, when Edward
again advanced into Scotland, and Baliol made a formal surrender
into his hands of his whole right to the kingdom of Scotland. The
King went as far as Haddington, but being continually harrassed by
small parties of Scots and provisions failing, after burning
Edinburgh and Haddington he returned home. David remained a prisoner
for eleven years until 1357, when Edward finding Scotland could not
be captured, released him for a heavy ransom.
In 1370, the English
entered Scotland burning the lands of Sir John Gordon, who in return
invaded England and seized a number of cattle. When returning to
Scotland he was met by Sir John Lilborne, but after a severe combat
the English were defeated and Lilborne taken prisoner. In revenge
Henry, Earl of Northumberland, invaded the country with seven
thousand horse and encamped at Duns, but the herdsmen and people of
the country made use of a sort of machine which they usually
employed to frighten away the wild cattle and deer from their corn.
These were a kind of rattle made of bags of dried skins filled with
pebbles at the end of poles which being shaken made a hideous noise.
With these they ran round the camp causing a stampede, the English
horses breaking their halters and bridles, so that the enemy, not
being able to recover them and finding themselves on foot, quietly
Mutual inroads of no
particular note continually occurred. In 1380, William, Earl
Douglas, with twenty thousand men invaded England while a large fair
was being held at Penrith and returned home with great booty, in
revenge of which a part of fifteen thousand English under Lord
Talbot soon after entered Scotland, near the Solway, but were met in
a narrow defile and defeated, great numbers being slain or drowned
in the Esk. In 1383 the Scots took the castle of Wark, and the year
after the Duke of Lancaster invaded Scotland, going as far as
Edinburgh, but was obliged by hard weather and want of provisions to
In 1385, Richard II,
with an army of sixty thousand, entered the country by the east
coast, burnt Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee and some other places and
returned home, while at the same time thirty thousand Scots entered
England by the western border, plundered and laid waste the country
as far as Newcastle and carried home their booty in safety.
In 1386 there was a
truce, but the next year the Scots made a successful inroad on the
western border. In 1388 took place the famous battle of Otter-burn
elsewhere referred to.
In 1398 a treaty was
made between the two countries for redressing all grievances and
appointment of commissioners, but there were inroads again and in
140o Henry IV entered Scotland with a numerous army but failed in
his attempt against the castle of Edinburgh and returned to
Newcastle in about a month. In 1402 the Earl of Douglas invaded
England with ten or twelve thousand men, but they were met and
routed at Homildon by the Earl of Northumberland. Many Scottish
nobles and seven hun dred common men fell in this fatal engagement.
No person of note fell on the English side the victory being won
entirely by the archers.
In 1417, the Scots
entered England, but learning that the Dukes of Bedford and Exeter
were marching toward them with an army of one hundred thousand men,
they returned home, and the English leaders judged it better not to
follow them. About this time Sir Robert Umfraville made great
devastations in Scotland for two years, burning Hawick, Selkirk,
Jedburgh, Dunbar and the forests in Berwick and Teviotdale.
In 1424, a treaty was
made, and King James married Lady Jane Somerset, cousin to the king
A few years later, as
the counties of Northumberland and Cumberland had suffered so much
from the incursions of the Scots, the king of England, at the
request of Parliament, remitted to them all taxes and debts due to
In 1436, the Earl of
Northumberland, with four thousand men, advanced toward the Scottish
marches, but was met in his own territories by Douglas, Earl of
Angus, at the head of about the same number of men, and defeated,
the Scots losing about two hundred, while of the English fifteen
hundred fell, of whom forty were knights and four hundred were made
prisoners. Again a truce was made. In 1448, the Earls of
Northumberland and Salisbury destroyed the towns of Dunbar and
Dumfries, and Douglas, Lord of Balveny, in revenge, burned Alnwick
and spoiled and laid waste the county of Cumberland. In retaliation,
the Earl of Northumberland led a considerable army over the western
march, who were met near the river Sark by the Scots, when a bloody
battle ensued wherein the Scots were again victorious. Three
thousand English are said to have been slain or drowned in their
flight in the. Frith of Solway. The loss on the side of the Scots
was six hundred men.
In 1459, James II
raised an army to recover Roxburgh and some other places that had
been long held by the English, but was killed by the bursting of a
cannon. The queen continued the siege until the garrison
surrendered, and then laid waste the English marches to a
considerable extent. In 1464, the Earl of Warwick burned Jedburgh,
Lochmaben and many other places. In 1482, the Duke of Gloucester,
the Duke of Albany and the Earl of Northumberland, with twenty two
thousand five hundred men, advanced as far as Edinburgh, where the
nobility had risen against the king. A treaty was carried on by the
latter and a truce concluded, in which the town of Berwick was given
up to England.
In 1497 Henry VII,
raised a considerable force for a war with Scotland, but. was
detained by an insurrection in Cornwall, when the king of Scotland
seized the opportunity of entering England and ravaged the country
as far as Norham, when hearing of the approach of the English army
he led back his own and was followed by Surrey, who took the small
castle of Ayton, but a negotiation for peace put a stop to further
In 1513 a party of
English made an inroad and carried off considerable booty, and soon
after Lord Hume, Warden of all the marches, invaded England at the
head of about three thousand horsemen, but on his return was met in
an ambush by Sir William Bulmer and defeated. The Scotch king eager
to avenge the defeat of his warden invaded England, took Norham and
other castles and collected much booty, but King James wasted his
time at Ford with the beautiful Lady Heron, so that the provisions
began to fail and the army was exposed to continual rains. For this
reason and to carry back their spoils great numbers of the common
men deserted and the army gradually melted away until there remained
not over thirty thousand when the English army of about the same
number appeared. King James IV who was a brave man but not a
general, against the advice of his friends, charged on foot in the
thickest of the battle, and when he perceived that the day was lost,
seeing his standard bearer, Sir Adam Forman, fall he pressed into
the middle of his enemies by whom he was slain. The loss of the
Scotch at this battle of Flodden was ten thousand according to an
original gazette preserved in the Herald's College, London, and
Polydore Virgil says the English lost five thousand.
About two months
after, in November, 1513, Lords Dacre and D'Arcy invaded the country
at the head of three thousand horse and three hundred infantry,
burned Rowcastle [This castle belonged at one time to the Dicksons.]
and Langton on the Teviot, and collected considerable booty, but on
the appearance of Lord Hume with about two thousand followers the
sometimes of two or three years were constantly made and almost as
I have previously
mentioned the principal inroads made by the English in this century
and will only add that in November, i 542, a Scottish army entered
England, but they had hardly crossed the border at Solway Moss when
an order was read from the king appointing his favorite, Oliver
Sinclair, generalissimo. This was received with the most extreme
disapprobation, many of the nobles declaring that they would
immediately return home, and the whole army, agitated with the
discussion became a disorderly mob. At this crisis two English
leaders appeared and, becoming sensible of the situation, attacked
the Scottish camp. There was not the semblance of an engagement, for
to fight might have been to secure a victory for the king's detested
favorite. Upwards of a thousand yielded without striking a blow, and
the rest, throwing away the weapons which they would not use, fled
in disorder. The loss of killed, wounded and prisoners was over
three thousand men, besides which many were swallowed up in the
The last battle of
any importance was that of Pinkie, near Edinburgh, in 1547, where
the English had the advantage of the ground and the assistance of
their fleet, and as they made good use of the cannon, both of the
field and of the fleet, the Scots were seized with a sudden panic,
and fled in disorder, losing some two thousand taken prisoners and
over ten thousand slain.
In 1587, the
Borderers again broke out into open hostility. Six successive forays
swept with relentless havoc through the middle marches, and Sir
Cuthbert Collingwood, the English warden, found himself too weak to
restrain the incursions of Cessford, Fernihurst, Bothwell and Angus.
In a piteous let, ter to the Secretary, Walsingham, he described the
country as having been reduced to a desert, wasted with fire and
sword and filled with lamentation and dismay; but so inadequate was
the assistance he received that Buccleugh, Cessford and Johnstone,
with a force of two thousand men, attacked him in his castle of
Eslington, slew seventeen of the garrison, took one of his sons
prisoner, and but for the fleetness of his horse would have taken
the warden himself.
In 1596, the English
warden arrested Kinmont Willie, a chief of the Armstrongs, on the
evening of a day of truce, an act both illegal and dishonorable, and
Scot of Buccleugh demanded that he should be surrendered. The
request being refused, Buccleugh, with a chosen band of mounted
followers, stormed Carlisle Castle and took the prisoner back to
Scotland. As he returned home, carrying the prisoner weighed down by
his chains, which they had not had time to remove, and with all
Carlisle at his heels, he came to the swollen river.
"Buccleugh has turn'd
to Eden water,
Even where it flowed frae bank to brim,
And he has plunged in wi' a' his band
And safely swam them through the stream.
He turn'd him on the other side
And at Lord Scroope his glove flung he
If ye like na my visit in merry England,
In fair Scotland come visit me.'
All sore astonished stood Lord Scroope,
He stood as still as rock of stane;
He scarcely dared to trew his eyes,
When thro' the water they had gane.
He is either himsell a devil frae hell,
Or else his mother a witch maun he;
I wadna have ridden that wan water
For a' the gowd in Christentie."'
demanded his surrender, and the king was finally induced to give him
When he appeared
before the Queen, who loved bold actions, even in her enemies, she
demanded of him fiercely how he had dared to storm her castle, to
which the border baron, nothing daunted, replied"What, Madam, is
there that a brave man may not dare?" Turning to her courtiers, the
Queen, pleased with his reply, exclaimed: "With ten thousand such
men our brother of Scotland might shake the firmest throne in
The Elliot ballad,
sometimes called their Gathering, referring to Queen Mary of
Scotland, must not be forgotten
"I have vanquished the
And made his fierce troopers to flee -
My name is little Jock Ellot
An' wha daur meddle wi' me?
I ride on my
My sword hanging down by my knee
I ne'er was afraid of a foe,
Then wha daur meddle wi' me?"
Only one other verse
has been preserved
"In raids I rode
always the foremost,
My straik is the first in malee -
My name is little Jock Ellot
Then wha daur meddle wi' me?"
The brave old baron,
John Elliot of Park, who had wounded the Earl of Bothwell, Queen
Mary's lieu= tenant, evidently did not believe in the Divine Right
of kings to govern wrongly.
Leslie, bishop of
Ross, before the Reformation, and whose history was published in
Rome in 1578, says of our marchmen:-
"They think the art
of plundering so very lawful that they never say over their prayers
more fervently, or have more frequent recurrence to the beads of
their rosaries than when they are setting out upon an expedition, as
they frequently do, of fifty or sixty miles, expecting a good booty
as the recompense of their devotions."
Sometimes even the
clergy joined with their flocks in their plundering raids, which is
not surprising when we remember that our clergy were always a very
militant one. In 1306, the chaplain of King Robert Bruce, who was
taken fighting at the battle of Methven was hanged, and the bishops
of St. Andrews and Glasgow were sent prisoners to England in the
coats of armor which they wore when taken, and at the battle of
Flodden the archbishop of St. Andrews (a natural son of the king),
the bishop of the Isles, the abbots of Kilwinning and Inchaffrey and
others were among the slain. The statutes of James IV and V,
concerning wapenschawings (weapon showings or reviews) show that the
tenants of church land had no exemption, and as late as the time of
Mary it was ordained that when a clergyman was slain in battle or
died in the camp, his nearest relation should have the benefice.
It has been computed
that before the Reformation about one-half of the wealth of Scotland
was in the hands of the clergy. The following is said to have been a
prayer of the English Borderers:-
"He that ordain'd us
to be born Send us more meat for the morn Part of 't right and part
of 't wrang, God never let us fast ov'r Lang, God be thanked and our
Lady, All is done that we had ready."
description of the Borderers is as follows:
"Englishmen on the
one party and Scotchmen on the other party, are good men of war; for
when they meet there is a hard fight without sparring; there is no
boo (cessation for parley) between them as long as spears, swords,
axes or daggers will endure; but they lay on each upon other, and
when they be well beaten, and that the one party hath obtained the
victory, then they glorify so in their deeds of arms, and are so
joyful, that such as be taken they shall be ransomed ere they go out
of the field; so that at their departing courteously they will say
`God thank you.' But in fighting one with another, there is no play
Another old writer,
quoted by Sir Walter Scott, says of the Scots, and it applied as
well to the English, "that they would not betray any man that trusts
in them for all the gold in England or France," and Robert
Constable, an English spy, says in 1569 of his Scotch companions:
"They are my guides, and outlaws who might gain their pardon by
surrendering me, yet I am secure of their fidelity and have often
proved it;" and Scott, in his Border Antiquities, says the marchmen
were "of all others the most true of faith to whatever they had
pledged their individual word. When a Borderer made a prisoner he
esteemed it wholly unnecessary to lead him into actual confinement.
He simply accepted his word to be a true prisoner, and named a time
and place where he expected him to come and treat for his ransom.
If any one broke his
word so plighted, the individual to whom faith had not been observed
used to bring to the next border meeting a glove hung on the point
of a spear, and proclaim to Scotch and to English the name of the
offender. This was considered so great a disgrace to all connected
with him that his own clan sometimes slew him.
At the bloody battle
of Otterburn in 1388, the Scotch leader, the Earl of Douglas, was
slain, but the English were totally defeated, and their commander,
Hotspur, son of the Earl of Northumberland, and about one thousand
others were taken prisoners.
Froissart says "when
the Scots saw the English were discomfited and surrendering on all
sides, they behaved courteously toward them, saying 'sit down and
disarm yourselves for I am your master,' but never insulted them
more than if they had been brothers;" and Hume of Godscroft adds: "Froysard
(a stranger and favouring more the English) concluded, touching this
battle, that in all history there is none so notable by the virtue
of the captains and the valor of the soldiers * * * for in the heat
of the conflict no men ever fought more fiercely, in the victory
obtained none ever behaved themselves more mercifully ; taking
prisoners, and, having taken them, using them as their dearest
friends, in all humanity, courtesy, gentleness, tenderness, curing
their wounds, sending them home, some free without ransom, some on
small ransom, almost all on their single word and promise to return
at certain times appointed, or when they should be called upon".
The border penalties
were short and sharp. Those accused of march treason were tried by
jury, and, if found guilty, were decapitated; but with the marauders
of either country the wardens used much less ceremony, for they were
frequently hanged in great numbers, without any process of law
whatever. There was an old proverb in Scotland of Jedburgh justice,
where men were said to be hanged first and tried afterward. In
England this was called Lydford law:-
"I oft' have heard of
How in the morn they hang and draw,
And sit in judgment after"
but, turning again to
Leslie, speaking of the Scots, "although some things are to be noted
to their dispraise, yet there are others to be greatly admired; for
most of them, when determined upon seeking their supplies from the
plunder of the neighboring districts, use the greatest precautions
not to shed the blood of those who oppose them, for they have a
persuasion that all property is common by the law of nature, and,
therefore, liable to be appropriated by them in their necessity, but
that murder and other injuries are prohibited by the Divine law, and
if taken prisoners their eloquence is so powerful, and the sweetness
of their language so winning, that they even can move both judges
and accusers, however severe before, if not to mercy, at least to
admiration and compassion."
Besides our ordinary
jails there seem to have been a sort of honorable ones, in some
places at least, for in 1597 James VI made a vigorous attempt
against certain broken clans, Armstrongs, Johnstones, Bells,
Batisons, Carlisles and Irvings. He came to Dumfries, and in the
course of four weeks hanged fourteen or fifteen men, and took one or
two of the principal men of each branch of those clans as "pledges"
that all plunder committed by their particular branches should be
redressed. For the reception of such persons in general there was a
"pledge chalmer (hostage chamber)." On this occasion, however, the
pledges, thirty-six in number, were distributed over His Majesty's
houses, where it was ordained they should each pay 13S. 4d. weekly
for their maintenance.
If the leading men
generally managed to escape, although:-
"Five times outlawed
England's King and Scotland's Queen,"
the retainers, as
already shown, were not always so fortunate, and usually, taking it
almost as a matter of course and better than dying in their beds,
when led out to execution listened calmly to the priest as he
recited the so-called Neck-verse, or Fifty-first Psalm in an unknown
tongue (Latin), vainly believing that his prayers could save them.
How different would
it have been could they have heard in their own dear Scotch those
beautiful words which years ago I read by the request and at the
bedside of a very dear friend who soon after passed away so happily,
trusting not in the cross but in HIM who died upon it, and
confessing to HIM alone needed no other intercessor with a God of
"Have mercy upon me,
O Lord, according to thy loving kindness; according to the multitude
of thy tender mercies blot out all my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly
from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my
transgressions and my sin is ever before me."
Borderers occasionally acted as infantry they were so much
accustomed to act on horseback that they considered it even mean to
appear otherwise. They generally acted as light cavalry riding small
sure-footed horses who could move through the swamps and morasses
like water-fowl, and clamber like goats across a mountain pass, or
up the bed of a torrent in the darkest night and through the wildest
storm. With wonderful ingenuity they had trained their horses to go
upon morasses by throwing themselves on their bellies and their and
thus gaining an artificial breadth of support, to cross by short
floundering leaps, ground in which ordinary horses were instantly
If the blaze of their
beacon fires gave notice of the approach of an English army
thousands would assemble in a single day. The knights and esquires
being mounted on able steeds, the rest on their hardy nags. Each man
carried a little bag of oatmeal trussed behind him and a griddle for
baking his crakenel attacked to the crupper of his saddle, and they
frequently rode in a single night or day for twenty-four miles
together without bread or wine. The rivers served for drink and the
cattle taken afforded meat, and instead of burdening themselves with
pots they seethed their meats in the raw skins of the animals,
pouring water into the bags so formed and suspending them upon
stakes over the fire or roasted their beaf on spit racks before the
The remark "without
wine" may appear singular, but it would seem that its use was
common, for Barbour, writing in 1375, that Edward the Third's army
when they invaded Scotland in 1356, fell short of provisions, says
"and in particular for fifteen days his army had no other drink but
water," and Hall speaking of the battle of Flodden, in 1513, says of
the English that they had no victuals, "and for two days before they
had only drank water."
In 1490, when the
Scottish admiral, Wood, attacked the English admiral, Bull, his
orders were "Charge gunners; let the cross-bows be ready; lime-pots
and fire-balls to the tops; two-handed swords to the forerooms. * *
* Wine was then dealt round."
Although this was not
a border fight, still it should not be forgotten. Five English ships
had entered the Forth and despoiled some Scottish merchantmen. Sir
Andrew Wood of Largo, with his two ships, the Flower and the Yellow
Carvel, attacked and took the whole five vessels. All were provided
with artillery. Henry VII offered a large reward to any one who
would capture Wood, and Stephen Bull with his three ships agreed to
do so, and met the Scot off the coast of Fife in August. The combat
continued undecided from morning until night and was renewed the
following day, when at length the valor and seamanship of Wood
prevailed. The three English ships were captured and taken into
Dundee, where the wounded were properly attended to, and King James,
besides bestowing gifts upon the English admiral and his men, sent
them home with their ships as a present to King Henry!
On the approach of
the enemy, the Scots were commanded by act of Parliament to "birne
baillies," a term equivalent to the English bale-fires, or fires to
Baal, but which were afterward applied to signal or alarm fires, as
" Beil fyris."
And here it may not
be out of place to give some notice of the religion of our
ancestors, even the prehistoric, for a history of the borders would
he almost incomplete without it.
The great Pagan
divinity, the sun, was worshipped all the world over with candles
and torches in the temples and houses, and with fire in the open
air, and was probably almost as universally known as Baal or Bel,
Tammuz, the sun-god,
for whom the women wept (Ezekiel viii: 14) was the same as the Latin
Bacchus, the Lamented, from the Phoenician bakkah, to weep. The
Romans had their Baal Jupiter (Jupiter Belenus) and their Baal
Apollo (Apollo Belus). The Phoenicians worshipped him as Baal Samen,
Lord of Heaven, and in Ireland he was worshipped as Beuill Samhan.
The night of Halloween is called in Erse, Oidche Samhna, and in
Gaelic, Samhuinn. Jerome, who lived in Palestine when the rites of
Tammuz were still observed, in his Commentary on Ezekiel, expressly
identifies him with Adonis (Adon, Lord), who was the same as the
Northern Odin and the Mexican Wodan, where he was also known as
Baal, or Bel.
His wife Astarte, the
Ashtoreth of the Bible, and Ishtar of Nineveh, worshipped by the
Saxons as Oster, by the Anglo Saxons as Eoster, and called by
English churchmen Easter, was also worshipped as Beltis, the Lady
(Madonna!), and from her the Easter fires made in Scotland, even
until the present century, were called Beltane, Beltis's fire, and
May day is still called Beltane.
The early Christians
soon commenced to amalgamate the Pagan festivals with their own, and
as early as A. D. 58, Paul upbraided the Galatians for observing
days and months and times and years, for they were already replacing
the feasts of the demigods and heroes, by Saints and Martyrs. Less
than two centuries after. Tertullian asked why Easter was
celebrated, and Socrates, the Church Historian (fifth century), said
that neither the Saviour nor His Apostles had enjoined us to keep
it, but that it seemed to him to have crept in from some old usage -
and what was that old usage except the Feast of Astarte?
The question of the
time of keeping Easter long agitated the Christian Community, and it
was only settled in England by a Council in 664, according to the
Roman method, because as Bishop Short says "both parties agreed
that St. Pete- kept the keys of heaven, and that he had used the
Roman method of computing." (The Italics are mine.) Half a
century later the Picts were also induced to adopt the Roman method.
The Pagans made their
fires to Beltis on the first of May, which is probably the true date
of the feast of "Our Lady" Astarte, the Syrian Venus, the Egyptian
Isis. As Aphrodite her solemnities were celebrated in April. No
bloody sacrifices were allowed to be offered, but only pure fire,
flowers and incense! The festival of Flora, the goddess of flowers,
was also solemnized in the same manner, from the 28th of April to
the 2nd of May, and does not the Roman Church, and alas, part of the
English still continue to offer these candles, flowers and incense
to the Madonna Our LADY? Why do they not also retain the true date
instead of depending upon that mysterious "Full moon which happens
upon or next after the 21st day of March," which may fix Easter as
early as the 22nd of that month, or as late as the 25th of April?
Christians continued to extinguish their fires and light them again
afresh with so-called "sacred" fire, obtained from the priests, long
after the Pagan and Roman festivals were amalgamated. [It must be
explained here, that before the days of friction matches in the
first half of the present century, so difficult was it to kindle a
fire with flint and steel, that fires were never extinguished at
night, but the wood embers were covered with ashes, so that the live
coals could be raked out in the morning.]
At the Reformation
our established church of Scotland abolished the observance of
Easter day, but the church of England (who are dissenters in
Scotland) not only retained it, but even made all the other feasts
of their calendar depend upon it; in relation to which it may be
added that there is no authority whatever for feasts or fasts in the
No one can tell even
the season of the year, much less the day, in which our most blessed
Lord was born, but it was not in the winter for shepherds do not
remain in the fields at night then, but about the year 380, the
Roman church amalgamated the nativity of our Lord with the
Saturnalia or pagan festival of Saturn, the Etruscan name of the
sun-god. For this the authority is undoubted. Chrysostom, in a
homily delivered about the year 386, says "It is not yet ten years
since the day was made known to us," and in homily No. 31, he says
it was done "in order that while the pagans were occupied with their
profane ceremonies, the christians might perform their holy rites
Our church also
abolished the observance of this festival, but the church of England
still observe the day which the Romans consecrated as the birth-day
of the unconquered sun Natalis invictis solis!
During the carousals
at the winter solstice the old Romans made one of the slaves Lord of
the Household and in Scotland we had an Abbot of Unreason until the
Reformation. In England, however, they did not give up their Lord of
Misrule until Christmas was abolished by act of parliament in 1644.
As regards Lent it
had originally nothing to do with our Lord's forty days in the
desert, but was established by a pope about A. D. 130, as a fast of
thirty-six days, or a tithe of the year, and was only settled at
forty days by Pope Felix III, A. D. 487, but the four additional
days were not generally accepted, and it was not until as late as
the eleventh century that a Lent of forty days was recognized in
Scotland, and a few centuries after we got rid of it altogether.
It cannot be denied
that the Reformation was more perfect in Scotland than in England,
for while the English church, as well as the Lutheran, retained the
celebration of Christmas, and other festivals, our church rejected
them absolutely, denouncing the observance of all such days except
the Lord's day as superstitious and unscriptural.
Scotland has reason
to be thankful to her reformers. They probably believed that our
Saviour's fast of forty days was part of his temptations and
therefore no rule for us, for it was only when He was weak with
hunger that the evil one made proposals to Him, and they must also
have perceived that although our Saviour spoke to the Jews about
their fast He never told His disciples to fast, neither did He
recommend fasting. Mark does not even mention our Lord's forty days.
The compilers of the
English Prayer Book could not find a single epistle for their great
day, which they still called by its Romish name, Ash Wednesday, and
had to fall back upon one of the lesser prophets of the Old
Testament, without reminding the people that Joel foresaw an
impending great drought and plague of locusts, and for that reason
exhorted the Jews to fast, and this exhortation for this particular
fast only, is still given as an authority for a stated fast of forty
days in every year, even should Lent occur at a most prosperous
season, and at a time, therefore, especially adapted not for
mourning but on the contrary for thanksgiving!
The redeeming point
of the Prayer Book is its thirty-nine articles and the prayers and
collects, but unfortunately while in our kirk the New Testament is
the guide, in the English kirk it is the calendar, in which Pagan
feasts and fasts, under Christian names, abound, and the dates, with
perhaps a very few exceptions, are all fictitious ; as, for
instance, St. James' day is celebrated in the Greek church on the
3oth April, and by the Armenian on the 28th December, but in the
thirteenth century it pleased a pope to declare that it should be on
the 25th July, and accordingly the church of England still celebrate
it on that day. The Greek church observe St. Mark's day on the 11th
January, and the Coptic on the 23rd September, and as St. Mark is
said to have been martyred in Alexandria, it would seem if either is
the true date that the Coptic is the real one. However, a pope
decreed that it should be April 25, and so it remains in the English
calendar, where, too, they boldly acknowledge the Roman Madonna and
Queen of Heaven as their LADY also! In the Lessons Proper for Holy
Days we read "Annunciation of our LADY!"
In Pagan Rome the
25th of March was the day observed in honor of Cybele, the Great
Mother of the Gods, and in the seventh century its name was changed
to the Annunciation, and that day is still observed by the English
church, although no one knows when the Angel Gabriel made the
The ancient Romans
held a feast on the ist or 2nd of February to Juno Februata, which
was celebrated with candles and torches, and Moresin says that in
Scotland the people used to run about the mountains with lighted
torches like the Sicilian women in search of Proserpine. In 526
(some say 540) the pope ordained that they should close the festival
by going to the churches and offering up their candles to the
Virgin. It was, therefore, called Candle-Mass, and Juno's day is
still celebrated by English churchmen as the Day of the
Purification! These are but specimens.
When the Prayer Book
was revised in Ireland a few years ago they swept away nearly all
the feasts and fasts, but Cybele's Day (Our Lady of the
Annunciation) and Juno's (Our Lady of the Purification) are Red
Letter Days, or First-Class Festivals (! !) of the Protestant church
of England, with special collects, epistles and prayers, and it was
for that reason only they were retained by the sister church.
It is true we have
our so-called patron saint, and his memory is respected as that of
one of our Lord's apostles, but not revered; neither is his day
It is a curious fact
that the so-styled St. Andrew's cross is a fable of the middle ages,
for he is said to have been crucified in Greece, and in the Greek
Menologies and in one or two Western Martyrologies he is depicted as
executed on a cross of the ordinary form.
Rivers and fountains
were dedicated to the sun-god Tammuz, which accounts for the many
so-called holy wells still in existence, and the Thames, Tamar, Tame
and Teme probably derived their names from him. The cross (T)
was his initial and emblem, and the Druids made enormous crosses of
oak trees, seeking one sufficiently adapted and cutting off all but
the two principal branches, or otherwise they fastened a cross beam
to the tree. They also built cruciform temples and cairns, and there
is still standing at Callernish in the Lewis a Druidical temple
three hundred and eighty feet long in the shape of what later became
known as the Iona cross, but which is in reality the cross of Tammuz
surrounded by his circle of the sun. The celebrated cairn at New
Grange, Ireland, is also cruciform.
Although a Christian
church was established in Rome before the arrival of Paul, the Pagan
temples were not entirely abolished until about A. D. 500, prior to
which, but long after the time of the apostles, the Pagan cross was
adopted by the Roman church and called the cross of Christ to draw
the heathen into the church by making them believe there was little
difference between the two religions, but St. Paul many years after
our Lord's death called it the emblem of the curse, and the second
commandment forbids all emblems for the use of religion.
In Britanny a Roman
Catholic Priest is still called by the old Pagan title, Belek,
servant of Baal. Many local names in the British Isles commence with
the name. There was probably a Druidical temple at Baltimore in
Ireland, for the name is evidently Baalti-mor, the great house of
Baal. He was also known as Gran or Grian, the Shiner or Sun. The Cam
was anciently called Grant and Cambridge Grantabryg. The Irish
Druids called the Zodiac Beach Grian, the Revolution of Grian and
the Solstices Grian stad or Grian's stopping places. The Grampians,
anciently Granze benc, are Grian's hills, and if further proof is
necessary history tells us the Romans adopted the God's of other
nations, although it seems more probable that they acknowledged them
as their own under other names, and a Roman altar was discovered at
Musselburgh in the Lowlands in 1565, dedicated to Apollo Granno, and
Apollo was another form of the Sun God.
But the Pagans knew
not who they worshipped. Bacchus had so many appellations that
according to Sophocles he was called the many named, and Isis was
called Myrionyma, the goddess with ten thousand names. Their wise
men believed that all the gods were originally the same. It is
expressly so declared it the Orphic Hymns. In them they sang to the
Universal Zeus. "Zeus is the male, Zeus is the immortal female," and
Arnobius tells us they sometimes prayed "Oh Baal, whether thou be a
god or goddess hear us."
They desired to find
the only God, but their religion had become so fearfully corrupted
that they knew not where to seek Him, and as we all know the learned
Athenians, and probably other nations also, built an altar
To the Unknown God!
The place from which
the Highland Clan Grant derive their name is called Griantach, or
Sliabh Grianus, the heath of Grian. His day was SUN-day, and even
within the memory of man libations of milk were placed on Sundays in
hollow stones called granni stones, of which there was one in every
village. The reason of course forgotten, but the ceremony maintained
even as too many still honor the Syrian Venus, who it was believed
was hatched out of an egg. She was worshipped at Cyprus under the
form of a large oval stone. Pliny describes what were considered the
virtues of Astarte's egg, and says the Druids wore them made of
chrystal and set in gold around their necks as badges of their
office. He says they were made by snakes, and called snake or
serpent stones (ovum anguinum). They are still sometimes found in
Wales, made generally of some glass or vitreous paste, and are also
called there to this day snake stones (Gleini n adroedd). Two of
rock chrystal are still in existence in Scotland, one being in the
royal scepter and the other is in the possession of a Perthshire
family. Hindus, Chinese and Japanese have their mystic eggs, and who
that has visited the Levant has not noticed the ostrich eggs
suspended in the mosques ? What then is the Easter egg but a memento
of that impure goddess Venus, who was the same as the great Diana of
Crosses made of
rowan, or mountain ash, are still sometimes placed upon cow-byres in
the Highlands, being now considered a protection against witches.
The rowan was, however, a sacred tree of the Druids, and is the same
as the Scandinavian yggdrasil, the great ash or mundane tree, the
chief and holiest seat of the gods, where they assembled every day
in council. It is the same as the irminsul, the sacred tree of the
Germans, from which Pagan origin is derived their Christbaum and the
Fires were carried
round the fields in the High. lands to ensure good crops, and Tein
egin, or Need Fires, were made when the cattle were diseased. These
need fires were made in a peculiar manner, differing, however,
slightly in some districts.
Without doubt all
these practices formerly existed in the Lowlands, but they lingered
longer in the remote Highlands.
There are prehistoric
relics in Scotland which have not been preserved elsewhere, and
which I ventured to point out as pre-christian some years ago,
although such origin was not then, I think, ever hinted at by
I refer to the
standing crosses at Meigle, Glammis and elsewhere, bearing
sculptured figures of serpents (and Tammuz, or Grian was the serpent
sun-god, a corrupted tradition of the serpent of Paradise), a boar
(sacred to the sun-god, whose day was the winter solstice, and
although the animal is no longer sacrificed, boars' heads are still
served up at Windsor and Oxford on Christmas); a sow (sacred to
Frigga in Scandinavia and to Ceres in Rome) ; a long-legged hound
(and Ceridwin, the great goddess of South Britain, was fabled to
have transformed herself into a greyhound) ; a centaur with a battle
axe in each hand instead of a bow; Venus' looking glass or mirror
with lily handle (the lily of Isis and Juno, and now the Roman
Catholic emblem of the Virgin), and also with a cross handle like
the sign of the planet, elephants, fishes, etc.
Bacchus was sometimes
called the Fish (Bacchus Ichihins) and Jerome calls him the Lamented
Fish (Piscem Mceroris). The Philistines worshipped him as the Fish
On (Dag On). Joseph's father-in-law was Priest of On (the Sun),
whose city is to this day called, by the Greek translation of its
Egyptian name Heliopolis, the City of the Sun.
One Scottish stone
bears a man and a woman with a tree between them which might be
taken for Adam and Eve, but there is a similar design at Phila, and
these two probably represent the Celtic and the Egyptian versions of
the Latin Hercules in the garden of the Hesperides.
Compare also the man
tearing open the jaws of the lion in Wilson's Prehistoric Scotland
with the Assyrian Hercules wrestling with a lion in Layard's
Where did our
prehistoric fellow-countryman obtain his models? There were no lions
in the Land o'Cakes when that stone was carved. His forefathers
brought their traditions from Babylon "which hath made all the earth
drunken," and they must have brought their drawings too! But how,
was it on their bodies only? We know that the Caledonians had their
bodies covered with the figures of animals colored blue with wood,
so that the Romans called them picti or painted men, and have we not
relics of that custom also. The Picts painted their whole bodies
with representations of different animals, a custom that must have
originated in a warmer clime than Caledonia. Our sailors now however
only tattoo their arms and sometimes their breasts.
stationary beacon fires the Borderers also formerly sent around a
signal called the Fyrecross, somewhat similar to and undoubtedly a
corrupted form of the Highland fiery-cross. This fyrecross was a
wisp of straw or tow, or a turf, burning or burnt, mounted on the
top of a spear and carried through the country with the utmost
celerity, and all men between eighteen and fifty-six, or according
to some writers between sixteen and sixty, were obliged to hasten to
the place of danger.
In the Highlands it
was called crois-tara, croistarich or cran-tara, and has been
supposed to signify the cross of shame (tara), in allusion to those
who should neglect to join the banner of their chief. Jameson
however, who defines it as a "stake of wood one end dipped in blood
and the other burnt, as an emblem of fire and sword," says the final
word is perhaps Zara, a multitude. It was however originally a cross
formed of two pieces of wood tied to, gether, the extremities of
which were seared in fire and exling-uislied in the blood of a goal
which was killed by the chief himself with his own sword.
Sometimes one of the
ends of the horizontal piece only was burnt and a piece of linen or
white cloth stained with blood was suspended from the other; and
some years ago I expressed the opinion that the original
signification had been long forgotten and that the crois-tara was
the cross of Taran or Thoran, the God of Thunder, who was identical
with the Scandinavia Thor who was considered the helper of both gods
and men, and whose weapon was a fylfot cross. Moreover the goat was
sacred both to Bacchus and to Mars, the God of War, and undoubtedly
likewise to Thor, the God of War as well as of Thunder, as his car
was drawn by two goats, and therefore in Scotland to Taran, and the
case then is perfectly clear. No Highland Chieftain would turn his
Andrea Ferrara into a butcher's knife, but in this event it became a
sacrificial knife and he a successor of the Pagan priest offering up
a sacrifice to Taran. This accounts for the blood, and the rest is
equally clear for the cross of Thor was a fiery cross which he
himself could only hold with a steel glove. Taran's cross must have
been the same.
In the Orkneys the
fiery cross was called the Cors or Corse, i. e., Cross, and in later
times it was sometimes used for calling the people to church or for
other lawful purposes.
The ancient Goths,
the Swedes and probably other nations had a similar custom and from
the imperfect accounts that have been handed down they appear to
have used rods burnt at one end, with a rope or piece of white cloth
stained with blood at the other. As the cross was delivered from
hand to hand, and each bearer ran at full speed, proclaiming aloud
the place of meeting, a clan was assembled with great celerity. The
last time it was used in Scotland was during the Rising of 174, when
it was carried about in the Highlands, and it went round Loch Tay, a
distance of thirty-two miles, in three hours.
I must again confess
that there was a class infesting the borders who must not be
confounded with some of the Border Clans, and in favor of many of
whom little can I fear be adduced.
The land lying along
the Borders was called the Debateable land or Threepland, from "threep,"
to contend or quarrel. As early as 1222 a commission was appointed
to mark out the line of frontier, and in 1450, it was agreed to
render part of it a common pasture where each nation might have
liberty to graze cattle, and was occupied from sun rising to sun
setting, on the understanding that any thing left there over night
should be fair booty to the finder. It extended the whole length of
the borders, and in proportion as the land was waste or barren its
breadth was the wider, but in 1552, it was decided to divide the
Terra contentiosa by a boundary line; the ground on one side to
belong to England and that on the other to Scotland.
Not only hordes of
broken clans and broken men, but also murderers and the like resided
there, many of whom harrassed both countries.
"And stole the beeves
that made their broth
From England and from Scotland both."
Such was their
dexterity that they could twist a cow's horn or mark a horse so that
its owner could not know either again, and one of their pretty games
was with the consent of a neighbor to carry off and sell his horse
at a good distance, and after pocketing the money to steal back the
horse and return him to his owner.
The Tarras Moss was
one of their places of refuge. In 1598 Sir Robert Carey, the English
Warden built a fort on Careby Hill to watch some of the Baitablers
who had fled there, but while he was lying in wait they sent a party
into England and harried his lands, and on their return sent him one
of his own cows, telling him that fearing he was short of provisions
they had sent him some English beef.
They were often
proclaimed. A decree of the year 1567 reads as follows:
"Forasmikill as it is
understand to my Lord Regent and Lordis of Secrete Counsall how the
thevis and brokin men inhabitantis of the contreis of Liddisdaill,
Ewisdaill, Eskdaill and utheris boundis on the Marches of this
realme foranent Ingland, hes nocht onelic committit divers thiftis,
reiffis, heirschippisl and slauchteris upoun the peciabill and gude
subjectis of the Incuntre bot als hes takin sindry of thame and
denenit thame as lauchfull presonaris or ransont or latten them to
souertie agane * * * And * * quhen ony cumpanyis of thevis or brokin
men cummis over the swyrisf within the Incuntre, that all our
Soverane Lordis liegis dwelland in the boundis quhairthrow thai
resort incontinent cry on hie, raise the fray and follow thame
alsweill in their inpassing as outpassing on fute and horsis and
follow thame and the gudis reft and stollen be thame for the
recovering and redding thairof * * "
generally used in the pursuit of these marauders. When the injured
parties raised the hue and cry and followed with horse and hound, it
was called the hot trod or tred, and in chasing the thieves they
were allowed to cross the frontiers of both countries.
Upon a sudden attack
from any small party these bastilles afforded good means of defense,
but when, as often happened, the English entered the frontier with a
regular army supplied with artillery, the lairds usually took to the
woods or mountains, with their most active and mounted followers,
and left their habitations to the fate of war, which could seldom do
any permanent damage to buildings of such rude and massive
construction as could neither be effectually ruined by fire or
thrown down by force, until at least when gunpowder began to be used
for the purpose.
Few of these
fortresses now remain. They were inconvenient for modern residences,
and have been mostly cleared away. The largest peel on the Border
still in existence is that of Borthwick, built in 1430, the tower of
which is one hundred and ten feet high and the walls twelve to
fourteen feet thick. It had six stories.
Rude as they appear
to have been, a list of the furniture of one of them in the
sixteenth century shows a certain degree of refinement. It consists
of the "spuilzie" (spoils) of the house of Robert Ker of Ancrum,
County Roxburgh, ancestor of the Marquess of Lothain, in 1573, with
the valuation of each separate article, he having appealed to the
king and council against certain parties for damages.
Among other articles
enumerated are four silver tassis (cups), each weighing twelve
ounces, one silver macer [Macers were generally made of maple wood,
one serving the entire company, as the Loving cup is still passed
round in England.] double over gilt, weighing eighteen ounces, two
dozen silver spoons weighing one and a half ounces each, two silver
salt vats, one partially gilt with cover, weighing twelve ounces,
the other weighing seven ounces. A silver foot to a cup weighing
five ounces. Three dozen Flanders pulder plaittis [Tin or pewter
plates took the place of wooden ones in the reign of James the First
(1424-1437), about which time a noted tavern in Paris bore the sign
of the Tin plate.] (pewter plates), five dozen Flanders poyder
truncheons (trenchers), besides basins, washbasins, tin flagons of
Flanders work, three stands napery [James I in his Poem "Peblis to
the Play," mentions a tavern in Peebles with fair table linen and a
regular score on the wall. The reckoning two pence halfpenny
apiece.] (table linen) of fine dernick (Doornick or Tournay) work,
three stands of small linen cloth,," XL furneist fedder beddis with
scheittis, coveringis, coddis (pillows), bousteris, blankattis,"
three gentlewomen's gowns, towit, one of black champlot silk,
another of French black and the third of Scotch russet, all trimmed
with velvet, three gentlewomen's hats, one of black velvet, another
of black armosy taffatie and the third of black felt, three men's
doublets, one of black satin, another of violet armosie taffatie and
the third black bombassy, etc., etc., together with one tun of wine,
to-wit, three puncheons of claret, and one puncheon of white wine,
"price of the tun lxvi li xiii s. iiii d," [£66 13s. 4d. These were
Scotch pounds then less in value than English.] and also salt neat,
cheese, butter, meal, barley, oats, etc.
Such is the claim,
but it can hardly escape notice that while there were forty beds
completely furnished and equal to about sixteen hundred bottles of
wine, there were parts only of three men's and three women's
dresses, so that it would seem as if some articles had either been
taken away by the owners or had not been discovered by the raiders.
This was the house of
a baron only, but the inventory a century earlier of the royal plate
and jewels of King James the Third, who died in 1488, impresses one
with no contemptible idea of the riches and splendor of the court.
Together with a large sum in gold angels, ryders (of the Low
Countries), rials (of France), unicorns and rose nobles occur "a
book of gold like a table and on the clasp of it four pearls and a
fair ruby; the great diamond with the diamonds set about it; several
great and small gold chains; a collar of chalcedon, collars and
beads of gold, strings of pearls, a purse made of pearls, crosses
set with precious stones, numerous rings in rolls e. g., "Item a
roll with seven small ringis diamantis rubeis and perle." "Item ane
uther roll with ringis in it of thame (among them) thre gret
emmorantis a ruby a diamant, and other rolls of rings set with
saffer, ammorant, topas, turcas and berial, together with plates,
dishes and basins silver over gilt," etc., etc., and in the
inventory of James V, who died in 1542, occurs inter alia a basin of
gold weighing ten pounds.
An inventory of such
things as were left in the Castle of Caerlaverock, Co. Dumfries, in
1640, affords a good idea of the wealth and luxury that
characterized some of the noble mansions of Scotland at that period.
Four barrels of "seake
" (Falstaff's favorite wine) and three hogsheads of French wine only
remained in the wine cellar, but among numerous other articles were
five suits of hangings, each estimate at three score pounds
sterling. Five beds, two of silk and three of cloth, every bed
consisting of five coverings * * with silk fringes, broad silk lace,
chairs and stools answerable laid with lace and fringe, with feather
bed and bolster, blankets and rugs, pillows and bedstead of timber
answerable; every bed estimate to be worth one hundred and ten
Ten lesser beds, four
with cloth curtains and six with stuff or serge, every bed furnished
with bottoms, valence and testers, feather bed, bolster, rug,
blankets and pillows and bedstead of timber; every bed estimate to
fifteen pounds sterling.
Seventy other beds
for servants, consisting of feather bed, bolster, rug, blankets, and
estimate to seven pounds sterling apiece.
estimate "overheid " to forty shillings sterling apiece.
Furniture of a
drawing-room of cloth of silver, consisting of an entire bed * * *
wardrobe and six stools, all with silk and silver fringe, estimate
to one hundred pounds sterling.
Two dozen chairs and
stools covered with red velvet, with fringes of crimson silk and
gilt nails, estimate to three score pounds sterling.
Five dozen Turkey
work chairs and stools, every chair estimate to fifteen shillings
sterling, and every stool to nine shillings sterling.
A library of books
"calk stood my lord to two hundred pounds sterling" (Maxwell, Earl
of Nithsdale, was a literary man and commonly called The
Philosopher, which accounts for the large stock of books for that
Two trunks full of
Holland shirts, etc., etc., damask table cloths, forty pair of
sheets, seventy stands of napery, etc. Two trunks of coarse sheets
A trunk with eight
suits of apparel, some of velvet, some of satin, some of cloth, etc.
There was also one iron window and six cases of windows. Glass was
then still so expensive that the windows were removed from
My lord and my lady's
The bed in my lord's
chamber is described as furnished of damask and laid out with gold
lace. My lady's chamber is mentioned, but the furniture is not
Of arms there were
left 22 pikes, 13 lances, 28 muskets, 28 bandoleers, 2 two-handed
swords and 9 collars for daggers.
The ledger of Andrew
Halyburton, a Scotch merchant residing in the Low Countries between
the years 1492 and 1503, has fortunately been preserved.
Among other articles
shipped by him to Scotland were "2 poncionis (puncheons) off claret
wyn, 2 puns (puncheons) Orleans wine, a stek (piece or cask) of Ryns
wyne, 3 puns wine, a pipe of claret, a town (tun) of Gaschon claret,
2 bottis (bulls) Malwissy (Malmsey)," etc., together with such
luxuries as "25 cassis sucur weand 28 li (pounds), 12 li pepar, 2 li
gyingar, a li of kaneyll (cinnamon), i li clois (cloves), 2 li
notmogis, 2 li massis (mace), 12 li scrozattis (confections), 2
barellis of applis, xii li of deytis," etc., and also the Trois
Afendianls, viz., "fegis, raisinis and almondis."
A century later, in
the Highlands, Simon Fraser, eighth Lord Lovat, imported wines,
sugar and spices from France in return for the salmon produced in
his rivers. He was celebrated for a liberal hospitality. The weekly
expenditure of provisions in his house included seven bolls of malt,
seven bolls of meal and one of flour. Each year seventy beeves were
consumed, besides venison, fish, poultry, kid, lamb, veal and all
sorts of feathered game in proportion. When he died in 1631, five
thousand armed followers and friends attended his funeral, for all
of whom there was entertainment provided.
Sir Duncan Campbell
of Glenurchy, ancestor of the Marquess of Breadalbane, who died the
same year, supported a similar menage. His wine, brought from
Dundee, was claret and white wine, old and new, and he had three
kinds of aleostler ale, household ale and best ale.
Fynes Morysin who
visited Scotland in 1598, says, "They drink pure wines, not with
sugar as the English; yet at feasts they put comfits in the wine
after the French manner; but they had not our vintner's fraud to mix
traveler, in "A Short Account of Scotland, London, 1702," says "
their drink is beer, sometimes so new that it is scarce cold when
brought to the table. But their gentry are better provided, and give
it age, yet think not so well of it as to let it go alone, and
therefore add brandy, cherry brandy, or brandy and sugar, and this
is the nectar of their country, at their feasts and entertainments,
and carries with it a mark of great esteem and affec. tion.
Sometimes they have wine, a thin-bodied claret, at ten pence the
mutchkin which answers to our quart." It is not clear what kind of
"gentry" this writer refers to for as I have shown the lords and
barons drank not only claret, but also rhenish, malmsey and sherry
wines, and bought them by the cask, pipe or butt and hogshead or
puncheon, and not by the quart.
It is strange these
authors do not mention whisky which was known in Ireland when Henry
the Second invaded that country in 1172, when the inhabitants were
in the habit of making an alcoholic liquor called uisge-beallaa,
synonymous with the Latin aqua vitce, water of life or usquebaugh, i.
e., whisky, and Hector Boece (A. D., 1527) says of his ancestors
that when they "determined of a set purpose to be merie, they used a
kind of aquavite, void of all spice, and onelie consisting of such
herbs and roots as grew in their own gardens, otherwise their common
drink was ale: but in time of warre when they were in-forced to lie
in campe, they contented themselves with water as rediest for their
Simon Fraser, twelfth
Lord Lovat, decapitated in 1747, was one of the last who kept up the
old feudal state. Numbers of the vassals were about the house and
entertained at the chief's expense. The principal guests sat toward
the head of the table and had French cookery and drank claret; next
to these were the duine-uasals [Gentlemen, generally tacksmen or
tenants (goodmen), acknowledged relations of their lord.] who drank
whisky punch ; the tenants who were beneath these were supplied with
ale, and at the bottom and even outside a multitude of the clan
regaled themselves with bread or an onion, or perhaps a little
cheese and table beer. All clansmen are cousins and Lovat addressing
one would say "Cousin, I told the servants to hand you wine, but
they tell me ye like punch best," and to others "Gentlemen, there is
what you please at your service, but I send you ale as you prefer
One of Lord Lovat's
neighbors, Forbes of Culloden, kept a hogshead of wine constantly on
tap near the hall door for the use of all comers.
The Peerage of
Scotland is perhaps the most aristocratic body in the world; all
creations ceased at the period of the Legislative Union in 1707, and
only two or three of the families of whom it is corn posed arc not
of old Baronial descent, and as the title of Laird frequently occurs
herein I may explain that the lesser Barons or Lairds were hardly to
be distinguished from the nobility, who, until about the middle of
the seventeenth century consisted of Earls and Lords only, the Ducal
denomination having been mostly confined to' the Royal Family.
In the Parliament of
1488, there were four Bishops, six Abbots, four Priors, eight Earls,
fourteen Lords, thirty-four Barons or Lairds, and eleven
Commissaries of Burghs.
The Lairds were not
only denominated from their estates, but up to a late period they
used a titular signature as well as the Peers, or rather greater
Barons, as the former word hardly applies to Scotland where the
"Peers" never had a separate house, nor had they any privileges over
the lesser Barons. All were Pares or Peers in Courts of Justice.
While there was no House of Commons there was no House of Peers.
Every tenant in capite or landed gentle. men holding of the crown
might sit and vote.
corresponded in a measure with the English lords of manors, but with
greater powers; for in Scotland, as a rule, they were lords of
regality, and possessed the power of pit and gallows, or
jurisdiction over those of their vassals or tenants who resided on
their estates. Drowning was an old mode of punishment, and the right
of fosse' et furc consisted in inflicting death either by drowning
of women or hanging of men. Treason, it is said, did not fall under
their cognizance; but it would seem that the king himself could not
arrest traitors within their territories, for as late as 1571, and
again in 1574, several heads of clans, amongst whom are those of
Clan Dickson, pledged themselves to keep good rule, and to apprehend
not only thieves but also any traitors found within their borders.
Lord and laird are
both rendered "dominus" in Latin. A tract of land with the owner's
bastille, peel or mansion upon it was styled a lairdship, and the
owner was not called by his name as Scot, but by his lands, as "Buccleugh."
In 1429, persons
possessed of a yearly rent of twenty pounds, or of moveable goods to
the value of one hundred pounds, were ordered to be well horsed and
armed " from head to heel," as became their rank as gentlemen ;
whilst others of inferior wealth, extending to ten pounds only in
rent, or fifty pounds in goods, were bound to provide themselves
with (a headpiece?), gorget, rere and vane braces, breastplate,
greaves and leg splints and gloves of plate or iron gauntlets. Every
yeoman whose property amounted to twenty pounds in goods was
commanded to arm himself with a good doublet of fence or a
habergeon, an iron hat or knapscull, a bow and sheaf of arrows, a
sword, buckler and dagger. The second rank of yeomen, who possessed
only ten pounds in property, were to provide themselves with a bow
and sheaf of arrows, a sword, buckler and dagger, whilst the lowest
rank of all, who had no skill in archery, were to have a good "suir"
hat, a doublet of fence, with sword and buckler, an axe also, or at
least a staff pointed with iron.
This shows the
relative value of coin when a man's wealth, as in the days of
Abraham, consisted chiefly in his extensive lands and flocks. Out of
an income of twenty pounds a gentleman had to be armed cap-a-pie and
to own a good horse besides.
In 1540, James V
ordered that every nobleman, such as earls, lords, knights, barons
and persons exceeding one hundred pounds in yearly rent, should use
white or plate armor, light or heavy as they chose, and weapons
becoming their rank; that those of a smaller income in the Lowlands
have a jack of plate, halbrik or brigantine, gorbet or pisan with
splents, knee-pans of mail and gauntlets of plate or mail; that
unlanded gentlemen and yeoman have jacks of plate, halbriks, splents,
sallat or steel bonnet with pisan or borget, and all to wear swords.
No weapons are to be admitted to wapenschawings (weapon showings or
reviews) except spears, pikes of six ells in length, leith axes,
halbards, hand-bows and arrows, cross-bows, culverins and two-handed
swords. Burgesses are to arm in the same proportions of their
income. Those worth one hundred pounds in goods in white armor;
those under, but who may yearly spend ten pounds, like the yeomanry.
culverins alone are mentioned. In 1541, however, a statute was
passed ordering all persons of property, not even excluding the
clergy, to have hagbuts, culverins, powder, lead, etc., according to
In 1590, it was
decreed that no baron, in repairing to the king's presence or to
justice's courts and conventions at Edinburgh, should be accompanied
by more than five persons, unarmed, while lords were not allowed
more than eight and earls not above twelve. The following year,
however, they were permitted to have "every erll xxiiii personis or
within, every lord xvi personis or within and every barroun x
personis or within,all in peceable and quiet manner, without armour
and chieflie without daggis, pistolettis and utheris ingynis of fyre
werk except it be shown to his Majesty that it be necessary and his
Hienis special license had for their cuming when they shall be
allowed to wear sword and quhinzeair (whinger or hanger)."
Vassals were only
second to barons and free holders of the crown. They generally held
their lands free of all service and paid only a nominal quit rent.
These tenants, although holding their lands from overlords, were
themselves often chiefs of clans or branches of clans, and
independent of their landlords as regarded feudal superiority, and
their followers acknowledged no superior save their chief. They and
their ancestors had occupied their farms for generations, and the
birth of the better class was as good, and their genealogy as old,
as those of the chief himself, to whom they were mostly blood
relations, and to whom they were attached with the most unshaken
loyalty. Some of them were naturally poor, however, and they are so
styled in a letter from the English privy council to their
ambassador in France in 1547. "The Scots having of late made many
and cruel incursions, the Lord Warton, lord warden of the West
Marches, had been compelled to make reprisals, and has taken in an
ambush the Laird Johnson, a notable Borderer of the Scottish side,
with seven or eight mean gentlemen and 120 or 140 common soldiers of
Lord Wharton was not
so fortunate the following year, when he and his army of three
thousand men were defeated and the remainder retreated to Carlisle.
These poor gentry
were sometimes styled bonnet-lairds or cock-lairds. They were
followed by the husbandman (husbandi), who were not serfs nor
bondsmen; neither were they free tenants, but actual cultivators of
the land sub-tenants.
The carls bonds,
serfs or villeins were anciently in a state of perfect servitude and
were at the absolute disposal of their landlords. They were
transferred with the lands and might be caught and be brought back
if they attempted to escape like a stray ox or sheep. In 1170, Earl
Waldev of Dunbar in a deed of four lines made over a whole family "I
give and bequeath to the Abbot and monks of Kelso, Hadden and his
brother William and all their children and all their descendants."
discontinued before the beginning of the sixteenth century and
before it was given up in England. This class then became cottars or
subtenants without any tenure except that which arose out of the
necessity of having men who could render services both military and
The heritable or
hereditable jurisdictions were not however abolished until 1748, and
this broke the chain of feudalism which until then had curbed the
progress of the people. Many claims were made for the loss of these
rights or regalities, the largest being that of the Duke of
Hamilton, who claimed £38,000, while the Duke of Roxburgh only
demanded £4,000. The Marquess of Lothian, the Countess of Eglinton,
Maclean of Cadboll, Dickson [Dickson of Buhtrig was then extinct,
and as Dickson of Belchester was out in the Fifteen his family were
probably too well known as Jacobites for them to expect any claim of
theirs, if made, would be listened to.] of Kilbucho and others asked
for £1,000 each; Sir John Anstruther, Carmichael of Tilleboddy, Sir
Robert Dickson of Sornbeg and others wanted /5oo each, Sir James
Sharp and a few more ,ioo each, and one only claimed less than that
A few lists of
Borderers and Border Clans, more or less complete have been
preserved, the earliest being a record of the Barons and Clans of
the West Border who submitted to the English in the dismal year
1347, and were for some time in subjection to the English
Of this I have seen
three copies slightly differing from each other. It is especially
interesting as it gives the numbers of the different clans, at least
of those who took the oath of fealty, which could not always have
been the entire clan as the Eliots only number seventy-four.
Makerstone (MacDougal ), Warmesay ( ), Syntoun (Lynton 2 Ker 2),
Egerston ( ), Merton ( ), Mowe (of that Ilk), Rydell (of that Ilk),
Beamerside (Haig), and the following gentlemen, viz.: George
Tromboul, Jhon Haliburton, Robert Car, Robert Car of Greyden, Adam
Kirton, Andrew Mether, Saunders Purvose of Erleston, Mark Car of
Littledean, George Car of Faldenside, Alexander Mackdowal, Charles
Rutherford, Thomas Car of the Yere, Jhon Car of Meynthorn (Nenthorn),
Walter Holiburton, Richard Hangansyde, Andrew Car, James Douglas of
Cavers, James Car of Mersington, George Hoppringle, William Ormeston
of Emerden, John Grymslowe.
A West Border list of
the contingents at the battle of Dryfe Sands in 1593 (considered,
however, a doubtful one), mentions Crichton, Drumlanrig (Douglas)
and Dalziel, five score each; Dalswinton (Stewart) and Cowhill
(Maxwell), eighty-nine each; Kirkpatrick, Carnsalloch (Maxwell) and
Breckenside (Maxwell), full four score each; Charteris, sixty; Lag (Grierson),
fifty-four; Lord Maxwell, eight hundred, and Kirkconnel (Maxwell),
There is a partial
roll of the year 1587, from a MS. of that period preserved in the
records of the privy council, of which I transcribe that part
relating to the Borders. It contains the titles only, but I have
added the surnames in parenthesis. It it entitled:
The Rolls of the
Names of the Landislordis and Baillies duellanci in the Borders and
in the I Iielandis quhair broken Men hes dwelt and presently dwellis.
BORDERS, MIDDLE MARCH.
Earle Bothuile (Botlzwell
), Laird of Phairny-hurst (Ker),* Earl of Angus (Douglas), Laird of
Bukcleuch (Scott), Sherif of Teviotdale (Douglas of Cavers), Laird
of Bedroule (Turnbull), Laird of Mynto (Turnbull), Laird of Wauchop
(Turnbull), Lord Heries (Harries, afterward Earl of Nitlzsdale),
Laird of Howpaislott (Scott), George Turneble of Halroule, Laird of
Littledene (Ker), Laird of Drumlanrig (Douglas), Laird of Chisholme
(Chislzolsne), Laird of J ohnnstoun (Johnstone), Laird of Apilgirth
(Jardine), Laird of Holmendis (Carruthers), Laird of Graitnay (Johnstone),
Lord Heries (sic-bis), Laird of Dynwyddie (of that Ilk, or Maxwell),
Laird of Lochinvar (Gordon).
* The Kers were aye
the deadliest foes
That e'er to Englishmen were known,
For they were all bred left-handed men,
And fence against them there was none."
The Raid of the Kers.
By the Ettrick Shepherd.
There is another list
of the same period in the privy council records of only eighteen
names, all of which are recorded in these lists except only "Moffettis
" and "Latimers."
The following is that
part relating to the Borders, of the commencement and all but
completion of an intended roll of the names of the landed
proprietors over the whole of Scotland in 1590, from the records of
the privy council. I have again added the surnames to the best of my
ability in parenthesis. It is entitled:
The Roll of the
Clannis that lies Capitanis, Cheiffis, [In the Highlands the three
pinion feathers of the eagle was the distinguishing badge of a
chief, two of a chieftain and one of a gentleman. This mark of
nobility was as old as the time of Ossian.] Chiftenis, quhomeon they
depend, oftymis aganis the willis of thair Landislordis, alsweill on
the Bordouris as Hielandis, and of sum special personis of branches
of the saidis Clannis.
BERUIK. Lord Hume (or
Home), Woddirburne (Home), Coldounknowis (Home), Aytoun (Home),
Polwart (Home), Manderstoun (Home), Hutounhall (Home), Blacater
(Hone), David Hume of the Law, Nyne~vellis (Home), Hume of Eist
Restoun, Billie (Renton), Blanerne (Lumsden), Cumlitche ,Affleck),
Slychthoussis (Slcich), Hoprig (Lyle), Rentoun (Home), Craw in
Gunnisgrene, Swyntoun (of that III,,, Lanfurmacus (Sinclair),
Cockburn (of that Ilk), Langtoun (Cockburn), Butterden (El/em or
El/am), Grenelaw (Home), Reidpeth (Redj5ath), Eist Nysbet (Chirnside),
West Nisbet (Ker), Restalrig (Xer), Eddrem ( ), Wyliecleuch
(Ramsay), Spottiswood (of Mal Ilk), Woddirlie (Edgar), Thornydikes
(Brown), Corsbye (Crossby of dial Ilk, or Home), Goodman of
Moreistoun (Ker), Greinlawdene (Bromfield ), Pittilisheuch (Bromfield*),
Hardaikers (Bromfield), Eistfield (Bromfield), Todrig (Bromfield),
Mellertoun ( ), Lambden (Haitlie), Buchtrig (Dickson), Belchester
`Dickson), Lithame (Dickson), Peill (Dickson), Heirdrig (Dickson),
Edingtoun (Ramsay), Mersin ;town (Ker, Previously Dickson), W. Hume
of Bassinden, Guidman of Growadykis (Duns?), Guidman of Chowislie
(Cockburn), Burnehoussie (Pringle), Lard Purves in Ersiltoun, St.
Johnischapell (Baillie), Lauder (of that Ilk), Bowmaker, Prentonen (
Johnnstoun (of that Ilk), Apilgirth (Jardine), Holmendis (('arruthers),
Corheid (Johnston,-), Frenscheland (French), Bodisbeik (Hew-iii?),
Wamphray (Johnstone), Dynwoddie (of that Ilk, or Jardine or Maxwell
2), Elscheschelis (Jo/ins/one), Halathis ( ), Cokpule (Murray),
NTubye (Johnstone), Wormombye (Irving), Corrie (Johnstone),
Castelmylk (Stewart or Maxwell), Boneschaw (Irving),
Brydekirk-Carlile (Carlyle of Bridekirk), Locarby (Johnstone),
Purdoun (Pardon of Glendenning?, Glencors (of that Ilk), Reidkirk
(Graham), Blawatwod (Graham), Gillisbye (Graham), Wauchop-Lindsay.
KOXBURGIH AND SELKIRK. Cesfurd (Ker), Greneheid (Ker), Littleden (Ker),
Sir John Ker of Hirsell, Fawdounsyde (Ker), Gaitschaw (Ker), Corbett
(Ker), Garden (Gradon-Ker?), Schaw of Dalcoif, Quhitmore (Whitmore),
Quhitmurehall (Ker), Sunderlandhall (Ker), Lyntoun (Ker), Yair (Ker),
Phairnyhurst (Ker), Ancrum (Ker), Robene Ker of Newtoun, Andro Ker
of Newhall, Thomas Ker of Caveris, Wat Ker of Lochtour, Andro Ker of
Hietoun, James Ker of Lyntellie, Mackerstoun (Macdougal), Steidrig
(McDowell of Stodrig), Mow (of that Ilk), Riddell (of that Ilk),
Edmestoun (Edmondstone), Mungo Bennet of Chesteris, William Kirktoun
of Stewartfield, William Anislie of Fawlay, Overtoun (Fraser),
William Mader of Langtoun, Hundeley (Rutherford), Hunt-hill
(Rutherford), Edzarstoun (Rutherford), George Rutherfud of
Fairnyngtoun, David Rutherfurd of the Grange, Johne Rutherfurde in
the Toftis, Johnne Rutherfurd of the Knowe in Nysbit, William
Rutherfurd in Littleheuch, Walter Turneble in Bedroule, John
Turneble of Mynto, Hector Turnble of Wauchop, Turnble of Halroule,
George Turnble of the Toftis, Hector Turnble of Bernehillis, Walter
Turnble of Bewlye, Turnble of Belses, James Turneble of the Tour,
Turnble of Bullenvall, Edward Lorane of Harwood, James Douglas of
Caveris, sheriff, William Douglas of Bonejedburgh, Tympenden
(Douglas), Johnne Douglas of Quhitrig, Gavin Ellot of Stobbis, Well
Ellot of Harthscarth, tutour of Reidheuch, Will Ellot of Fallinesche,
Robin Ellot of Braidley, Mangertoun (Armstrong), Quhittauch
(Armstrong), Bukcleuch (Scot), Wat Scot of Goldelandis, Robert Scott
of Allanhauch, Howpaislott (Scot), Glak (El5hinslone), Eidschaw
(Scot), Syntoun (Scot), Lard of Hassinden ( ), Walt Scott of
Chalmerlane, Newtoun (Scot ?), Guidman of Burnefute (Scot?), Wat
Scott of Stirkschawis, Robert Scott of Thirlstane, James Scott of
Robertoun, `Vat Scott of Harden, Mr. Arthur Scott of Wynterburgh,
Michael Scott of Aikwood, Will Scott of Hartwodmyris, Robert Scott
of Hanyng, Adam Scott of Bonyngtoun, Wat Scot of Tuschelaw, Will
Scott of Montbergner, Philip Scott of Dryhoip, Will Scott of Huntlie,
Gledstanis (Glad stone), Langlandis (of that Ilk), Chesholm (of that
Ilk), Ailmure (Armstrong), Walter Vaitche of Northsyntoun, Patrick
Murray of Fawlayhill, Thom Dalgleische of Deuchar, Gallowscheilis [Galashiels.
Not derived from a gallows-tree, but from the Celtic gea Zia, i. e.,
sorcery stone, a name sometimes given to Druidical remains. ]
(Pringle), Quhitebank (Pring-le), Bukholme (Pringle), Torwodley (Pring-le),
Blindley (Pringle), Trinlingknowis (Prin<;le), Newhall (Pringle),
Torsons (Pringle), Murehous Pryingle).
(Stewart), Blakbarony (Murray), Drummelyair (Tweedie), Scraling (('ockburn),
Pyrne (Cransloun), Smythfield (Haye, anciently Dickson), Maner (Lowis),
Manerheid (Inglis), Posso (Nasinylh), Dawick (Veitch), Dreva ( ),
Charles Geddes of Rachane, Polmude (Hay), Halkschaw (Douglas 2),
Furd (Froude), Erlhauch ( ), Barnis (Burnet 2), Caverhill ( ),
Fowletche (Stewart), Myl comstoun-Pringle, William Tuedy of the Wra,
Robert Creichtoun of the Quarter, Romannois (Penicuak), Quothquot (
), Stanypeth-Douglas, James Lausoun of Carnemiur, Sandelandis of
Boyle, Purveshill (Laverokstane), Hartrie (Brown), Mitchell-hill (
), Langlandhill (Inglis), Glen (Bar), Erlisochert (Lindsay),
Cowrehoip ( ).
(Douglas), Macmath (of that Ilk), Achingassil (Mali/and), Achinsell
(Menzies), Closburn (Kirkkatrick), Kirkmichael ( ), Amysfield (('harteris),
Tynewall (Maxwell), Lag (Grierson), Schawis (Ker2), Craigdarroch
(Ferguson), Bardannoch (Pringle), Cloglyne ( ), Glenislein (Kirks),
Sundeywall ( ), FreirKers (Kerse of Frier), Conhaith (Maxwell),
Kirkconnel (Maxwell. There were also 10th Gordons and IrvZngs of
Kirkconnel ), Carnesalloch (Maxwell), Spottis (Hume), Tarrachtie (
), Eglisfechan (Carruthers), Partoun (Glendenning), Almygill (MacBrair),
Robgill (Irving), Hoilhouse (Armstrong), Linclouden ( ), Coschogill
(Douglas), Dalvene (Douglas), Castelhill (Menzies), Erll Mortoun,
Lord Sanquhar, Lord Maxwell, Lord Hereis.
this roll is not perfect. Dickson of Ormeston, Co. Peebles is
omitted, but the family were seated there as early at least as
1390-1406, and twelve years later than the date of this list Dickson
of Ormeston signed a Band to the King.
A Band or Bond, dated
August 6, 1591, preserved in Rymer's Foedera, contains the names of
several Barons and Gentlemen of the Eastern Marches who pledged
themselves faithfully to serve the King against Earl Bothwell. It
was signed by " Cesford (Kerr`), Minto (Turnbull), Hundley (Earl of)
Wat of Badroul (Walter Turnbull of Bedrule), Jedburgh (Provost of),
Harlwood (Inglis 2) Wedderburne (Home), Huttonhall (Home), Alexander
Hume of Northberick, Maynes Ayton younger (Hume, Jr. of Aylon),
James Bronfield for the surname of the Bronfields, John Readpith,
Patrick Dixson, Blacader younger (Home Jr. of Blackadde), East
(Home), Nisbet (of that Ilk), Innerwick (of that Ilk), Swinton (of
that Ilk), Baylie (of St. John's Chapel), Renton (of Billie 2),
Pranderguest (Horne), Andro Car (Ker) of Fawside, Saltcoats
(Livingstone), Hermiston ( ), and as Rymer adds, "With sundry
Another Band to be
found in the Records of the Privy Council was signed at Edinburgh
the same day, and to the same effect, as follows :-
faithfully promise to serve and obey the King, his lieutenants and
wardens in all things tending to the advancement and forthsetting of
his majesty's authority, and in particular in the pursuit of
Francis, sometime Earl Bothwill, Alexander, Lord Hume and other
declared traitors, their assistors, resetters and intercommuners.
Should any of the said rebels come within the bounds or lands of the
said subscribers they will apprehend them if they can 'or utherwayis
sail schowte and rais the fray' with their whole forces and join
with others against them * * '` under the penalty of 10,000 merks
Subscribed at Edinburgh this 6th August, 1591, by "Cessfurde (Ker),
Bukcleugh (Scot), Johnne Edmonstoun, G. Houm of Broxmouth, G. Lauder
of Bas, Andro Ker of Lyntoun, James Douglas of Cavers, David
Rentowne of Billie, Alexander Diksoun, George Trottar of Keirtoun,
J. Reidpeth, William Reidpeth, Johnne Graden, William Furd, Johnne
Rutherfurd, * * '` of West Neisbit, Watt Turnbull of Bedroule,
Johnne Turnbull of Mynto, Hector Turnbull of Wauchope, Robert
Diksoun of Buchtrig, Andro Diksoun of Belchester, George Haitlie in
Hordlaw and John Graden of Ernislaw."
Ridpath in his Border
History says of the first of these two Bonds that it was signed by
"Most of the considerable barons and gentlemen."
Five signed both
bonds but with the customary carelessness spelt their names
differently in the two documents.
Of the forty-one
signers whose names have been preserved four were Dicksons.
In concluding this
brief sketch I now copy Monipenny's List of the Border Clans in
1597, from the edition of 1603, reprinted by Baron Somers (London,
1809), as the list which is especially interesting to Genealogists
is omitted in the later editions of that scarce little tract, which
is of trifling value otherwise, the remainder being merely an
abbreviation of Hector Boece, the most untrustworthy of Scottish
The Names of the
principall Clannes and Surnames of the Borders, not landed, and
Chiefe Men of Name amongst them at this present. A. D. 1597.
[This heading is
evidently incorrect, as in the preceding Government Roll of i 590
many of the following names occur under "Landed Men." The title
should be "landed, and not landed," for those styled "of" were
landowners, and those called "in" were tenants, but still chief men
of name. As, for instance, William Trotter of Foulschawe was a
landlord, while Cuthbert Trotter in Fogo, although a leading man,
While the eldest son
was styled " younger of," the term in seems sometimes to have been
given to the younger members of the family. John Dickson de
Belchester is mentioned in 1539, but in 1603 we meet with a John
Dickson in Belchester.]
John Brumfield, tutor
of Greynelawdene, Adam Brumfield of Hardaikers, Brumfield of
Pittilisheuch, Alexander Brumfield of Eastfield, Alexander Brumfield
of Hasilton Maynes, James Brumfield of Whyte-house, the Laird of
Todderike, Alexander Brumfield of Gordon Maines.
The Laird of
Pentennen, William Trotter of Foulschawe, Cuthbert Trotter in Fogo,
Tome Trotter of the Hill.
The goodman of
Buchtrig, [This is an error, as both Buhtrig and Belchester were
tenants in capite, or crown vassals holding charters from the king.
The distinction formerly recognized was that the laird was a crown
vassal or baron; the gudeman, one who held his lands from a baron,
and when, in place of military service, a return was made in grain
or in money, he was sometimes called a feuar.] The goodman of
Bolchester, Dikson of Hassington, Dikson in Newbigging.
Thomas Ridpath of
Crumrig, Alexander Ridpath of Angelraw.
The goodman of
Lambden, John Haitlie of Bruinehill, George Haitlie in Hardlaw,
Lawrence Haitlie in Haliburton.
Jasper Graden in
James Young of the
Criffe, Will Young of Otterburne, David Young of Oxemsyde, William
Scott of Feltershawes.
Roben Davison of
Syineston, Jok Davison of Ouhitton, James Davison of Byrnirig,
George Davison of Throgdan.
James Hoppringill of
Towner, Walt Hoppringill of Clifton, John Hoppringill of the Bents,
David Hoppringill of Morbottle.
Will Tate in
Stankfurde, David Tate in Cheritries, David Tate in Bair-ers, Will
Tate in Zettane.
Robin Middilemaist in
David Burne of
Ellisheuch, Ralph Burne of the Colt.
Jok Dagleisch of
Bank, Robert Dagleisch in Wide-open.
called of Cowbene, Will Gilchrist in Cavertoun.
John Hall of
Newbigging, George Hall called Pats Geordie there, Andrew Hall of
the Sykes, Thom Hall in Fowlscheils.
George Pyle in
Milkheuch, John Pyle in Swynsyde.
Ralph Robeson in
Prenderlech, Rinzean Robeson in Howston.
William Anislie of
Fawlaw, Lancie Anislie in Oxnem.
David Oliver in
Hynhanchheid, Will Oliver in Lustruther, George Oliver in Clarely.
Ryne Laidlow in the
Bank, John Laidlow in Sonnysyde.
The Laird of
Mangerton (Armstrong [Mangerton was the chief of the Armstrongs. The
famous Gilnochie was a son of this house. The Laird's Jok signifies
The Laird's son Jok.]), The Lairds Jok (Armstrong), Chrystie of the
The Laird of
Quhithauch (Armstrong), Johnie of Quhithauch (Armstrong), Sym of the
Westburnflat (Armstrong), Wanton Sym in Ouhitley Syde (Armstrong),
Will of Powderlanpat (Armstrong).
Redheuch, [The Laird
of Larriston was the chief rider of the Eliots, who were often
called Elwoods and Elwands.] Robert Ellot and Martyne Ellot.
Rob of Thoirlishop,
Arthur fyre the Brays (Eliot).
Archie Keene, Wil of
Johnne of the Park,
Gawins Jok, Ade
Wil Colichis Hob, Hob
John Nikson of Laiest
burne, Georbies Harie Nikson, Cleme Nikson, called the Crune.
Hob Croser called Hob
of Ricarton, Martin Croser, Cokkis John Croser, Noble Clemeis
Rinzian Henderson in
Armiltonburne, Jenkyne Henderson in Kartley.
Will of Kinmouth,
Krystie Armestrang, John Skynbanke.
Lardis Rinzians Gang.
[Rinzian is the common pronunciation of Ninian. ] Lairdis Robbie,
Rinzian of Wauchod.
Priors, John and his
Bairnes, Hector of the liar-law, The griefs and cuts of Harlaw.
Armestrangs of the
Ekke of the Gyngils,
Andrew of the Gyngils, Thorne of Glendoning.
Thorne of the Flower,
Anfe of the Busse.
John the Portars
sonne, Will of Devisleyes, Wil the lord.
David Batie, Hugh
Batie, Mungoes Arthurie, Adame of the Burne.
Batisons of the
Nichol of the Scheill,
Androw of Zetbyre, John the Braid, Wat of the Corse.
John Armstrang of
Hoilhous, John Armstrang of Thornequhat, Wil Armstrang of Ternsnihil.
John Littill of
Casshoke, Thorne Littill of Finglen, Ingrahames Archie Littill.
Edward of Bonschaw,
Lang Richics Edward, John the young Duke, Chrystie Cothquhat, Willie
Will Bell of Ally,
John Bell of the Tourne, Mathie Bell called the King, Andro Bell
called Lokkis Andro, Will Bell Reidcloke.
Adam Carlile of
Bridekerk, Alexander Carlile of Egleforhame.
George Grahame of
Reupatrik, Arthour Grahame of Blawoldwood, Richie Grahame called the
Young Archie Thomson,
Sym Thomson in Polloden.
Roger Rome in
Tordoweth, Mekle Sandie Rome there.
David Gasse in Barch,
John Gasse Michael's sonne in Rig.
Monipenny says the
last twenty-one, viz.: the Irvings, Bells, Carlisles, Grahams,
Thomsons, Romes and Gasses, were "Chief men of name not being
The list is
imperfect, and perhaps it was for that reason it was omitted in the
later editions. The author has not even mentioned the Homes, Kers,
Johnstones, Turnbulls and others, and has hardly named the Scotts.
Under Liddesdale the surnames of the first-named families are not
given, but the Eliots and Grahams appear twice, the Armstrongs
oftener, and in one place they are classed under the Johnes, and the
Beatties are called both Baties and Battisons.
They were fond of
to-names, which were in fact necessary for distinction when there
were so few baptismal names scattered through a clan, and some of
the sobriquets are peculiar. An Eliot of Thorleshope is styled
Arthur Fire-the-braes. Braes generally signify hills or the upper
part of the country, as the Braes of Angus. Did he fire the braes as
the North American Indians fire the prairies ? Another Eliot is
called the porter's son. One Bell is called the King and another
Redcloak; but what does the name of a Graham signify, "The griefs
and cuts of Harlaw?"
In the records of the
privy council I find a Gib Ellot called Sweet Milk, another Elliot
called the Cleg (gadfly), and a third Cauldfutc (cold foot) ; an
Armstrong is styled Bonybutis (pretty boots). Hob Johnstone is
called Goode at Evin (Good in the evening) ; \Vil Scot, Stand in the
rain; Jok Scot, As-it-Luikis (As it looks) ; John Innes Garmouth
callit the Sweet Man, and John Adam callit Meat and Rest!
Monipenny gives another list, of which I only copy that part
referring to the Borders. It is as follows:-
The Names of the
Barons, Lairds and chiefe Gentlemen in every Sherifdome. As they
were Anno domini, 1597.
L. of Wedderburne,
Home. L. of Blacatour, Home. L. of Aytoun, Home. L. of Coldenknowes,
Home. L. of Polwart, Home. Ilume of Manderstolln, Home. L. of
Hutonhall, IIome. L. of Langton [Cockburn]. [The names in brackets
were added by Baron Somers, those in parenthesis by myself; but
sometimes lairdships changed lands, and again it occasionally
happened that there were more places than one of the same name.
There was more than one Newbigging (New house), and probably more
than one Nubie or Newby (New dwelling), and at least three Ormistons.
In such cases it is not always certain which is the one referred to.
] L. of Billie [Renton]. L. of Blanerne [Lumsden]. L. of Cumletche,
Aflek (Affleck). L. of Edingtoun [Ramsay]. Slychthous (Sleicli).
Butterdayne (El/em or Ellame 2). Hoprig (Lyle). East Nisbet (Ciirnside).
West Nisbet [Ker]. Wedderlie [Edgar]. Thorniedykes [Browne]. L. of
Spottiswood [of that Ilk]. Cranstoun of Thirlstane-maines. Cors. bie
(Crossby of that III, or Home ?). Bemersyde [Haig=]. Mertoun [Haliburion].
L. Swyntoun [SwinEon]. L. Redpeth [Ridj5atla]. Greenlaw [Home].
Lochurmachus [Sinclair]. L. Glamrnilscheilis, Home. Wylielewcht
L. of Cesfurde, Ker.
L. of Litleclane, Ker. L. of Greynhede, Ker. L. of Corbet, Ker.
Gradon, Ker. Ker of Gaitschaw. Mow [flow or Molle] (of Mat Ilk).
Haddon [Murray]. Sheriff of Teviotdaill, Dowglasse. Tymperden,
Douglas. Hundeley [Rutherford]. Hunthill [Rutherford]. Edzarstoun
[Rutherford]. Bedreull, Turnebull. Mynto [Stewart]. [In 1329 the
lands of Mynto belonged to Walter Turnbull, but in the time of
Robert III (1390-i4o6) they were divided between the Turnbulls and
the Stewarts, who both possessed them until about 1622, when they
again changed hands.] Wawchop [Turnbull]. William Turnebull of
Barn-hills. George Turnebull of Halreull. Hector Lorane of Harwood.
Grinyslaw of little Norton. Mader of Langton. Mungo Bennet of
Chestis. Overtoun, Frasier. Riddale of that Ilk. L. Makkayrstoun (Makdowgal
). Andrew Ker of Fadounsyde. L. of Bakeleuch, Scot. Raph Haliburton
of Mourhouslaw. "Thomas Ker of Cavcrs. H owpasloth, Scott. Baron
Gledstanes [Gladstone]. Langlands [Lang-lands]. William Eliot of
Torslyhill. Scott of Sintoun. Scott of Eydschaw. Walter Vaitch of
Northsintoun. Scott of Gloeke. L. of Chesholme of that Ilk. L. of
Cranstoun (Cranstown). Kirktoun of Stewartfield. L. of Linton, Ker.
Ker of Ancrum. Carncors of Colmislie.
Dumfries with the
Stewartries of Kirkcudbright and Anandail.
L. of Lochin-war,
Gordon. L. of Troquhayre, Gordon. L. of Barskeoche, Gordon. L. of
Airdis, Gordon. Sheirmzes, Gordon. Gordon of the Cule. L. of
Broughton, Murray. L. of Dalbatie (Reddik, Rodyk or Rerik). L. of
Portoun, Glcndoning. L. of Bomby (Maclellan). Maclellane of Maertoun.
L. of Cardenes (Macculloch). Lidderdaill of S. Mary Ile. Lindesay of
I3arcloy. Heries of Madinhoip. L. of Mabie, Hereis. Macknaught of
Kilquhanatie. Glenduynning of Drumrasche. Maxwell of the Hill.
Sinclair of Auchinfranke. Maxwell of the Logane. Maxwell of
Dromcoltrane. Stewart of Fintillauche. Levinston of Little Ardis. L.
of Drumlanrig, Dowglasse. Dowblasse of Caskogill. Creichtoun of
Carco. Creichtoun of Liberie. Macmath of that Ilk. Dowglasse of
Dalvene. Menzies of Castelhill. Menzies of Auchinsell. L. of
Auchingassill, Maitland. L. of Closeburne, Kirk Patrik. Kirkmichael.
Goodman of Frier, Kerse. L. of Lag, Grier (Grierson). L. of
Amysfield, Charteris. Maxwell of Gowhill. Maxwell of Porterrake.
Maxwell of Tynwald. Maxwell of Conhaith. Maxwell of Carnsallauch.
Maxwell of the Ile. Browne of the Lawne. Cunningham of Kirkschaw. L.
of Craigdarroch (Ferguson). L. of Bardannoch (Pringle 2). Kirko of
Glenesslane. Ballagane (Hunter 2). L. of Johnestown (Johnstone). L.
of Wamfra, Johnestone. L. of Eschescheilis (Jo/ins/one). L. of
Corheid, Johnstone. L. of Corry (Johnstone). L. of Newbie, Johnstone.
L. of Graitnay, Johnestone. Johnstone of Craighop-burne. Johnestone
of New-tone. Johnstone of Kirkton. L. of Apilgirth, J arden. L. of
Holmends (('arruthers). L. of Cockpoole, Murray. L. of Moryquhat
(Murray of Murraylhwaite). L. of Wormondby (Irving). L. of Knok
(Knox 2). Goodman of Granton (Melville or Gordon 2). Boidisbyke
The Knight of
Traquair, Stewart. L. of Pyrn, Cranstoun. L. of Horsburgh [Horsburgh].
L. of Greistown (Middelmaist 2). L. of Cardono [ Williamson]. L. of
Henderstown (E1hinsione). L. of Smeythfield [Haye] (anciently
Dickson). L. of Winkiston [ Twedie] (anciently Dickson). L. of
Blackbarrony, Murray. Bernys [Burnet]. Caverhill. Fowlloeche,
Stewart. L. of Drummelzear,Twedie. Dawik [ Veitch], Pobinde
[Hunter]. Frude (Fronde). Halkshaw (Douglas?). Glengirk (Porteous of
Glenkirk). Geddes of Rachane. Inglis of Langlandhill. L. of Straling,
Hartrie (Brown, afterward Dickson). Romannos [Penicuik]. Prettishoil.
Meluingshland (anciently Dickson). Ormestoun (Dickson). Bonytoun (Wooa).
Posso, Nasmyth. John Hamilton of Coltcote.
cannot be placed upon this list, as among the Highland Clans I find
Monipenny calls the then Lord Lovat John, while on the contrary his
name was Hugh. It appears to be an appendix to his first list, but
families have been described with reference to the qualities of
their more conspicuous members. I am indebted principally to Dr.
Rogers (Traits and Stories of the Scottish People), for the
following list in alphabetical order, but must confess to having
omitted a few, which, to say the least, were not complimentary.
The sturdy Armstrongs.
The trusty Boyds. [So called by Blind Harry five centuries ago.]
The famous Dicksons.
The lucky Duffs.
The bauld (bold) Frasers.
The gay Gordons.
The gallant Grahams.
The haughty Hamiltons.
The handsome Hays.
The haughty Humes.
The jingling Jardines.
The gentle Johnstones. [This must have been ironical.]
The angry Kerrs.
The light Lindsays. ["The Lindsays light and gay."]
The brave Macdonalds.
The fiery Mackintoshes.
The proud Macneils.
The black Macreas.
The wild Macraws.
The manly Morrisons.
The muckle mou'ed Murrays. [The origin of this appellation is too
well known to be repeated.]
The gentle Neilsons.
The bauld Rutherfords.
The saucy Scotts.
The proud Setons. [Or tall and proud as the Setons.]
The pudding Somervilles. [From a king's joke. King James V was often
entertained at the hospitable board of Lord Somerville and told him
he ought to carry a pudding in his coat of arms.]
The worthy Watsons.
Not only Borderers
but also Highlanders and Lowlanders are included in the above. The
latter were the inhabitants of Fife and the Lothians, which were
situated between the two others. The Douglasses had two
appellations: the house of Angus was characterized as The red
Douglas; that of Liddesdale as The black Douglas.
The Border Clans were
broken up about the time of the Union of the Crowns, A. D. 1603,
when the King prohibited the name of the Borders any longer to be
used, substituting in its place those of middle shires. He also
ordered all the places of strength to be demolished except the
habitations of noblemen and barons, their iron gates to be converted
into plough-shares, and the inhabitants to betake themselves to
agriculture and other works of peace.
Peace did not
immediately follow however. In 1609 the Earl of Dunbar informs the
King that he had cut off "the Laird of of Tynwald, Maxwell, sundry
DougIasses, Johnstones, Jardines, Armstrongs, Beatisons and sic
others, mani nominis luces in that broken parts," and thereby
rendered that part of the kingdom peaceable. In 1618 a hundred and
twenty men of the Borders were apprehended by the landlords and
wardens of the Middle Marches and sent to the Bohemian Wars, and as
late as 1637, a commission headed by the Earl of Traquair sat at
Jedburgh, when a great number were branded, fined or banished, and
thirty were hanged.
But highwaymen plied
their trade in the suburbs of the very city of London itself long
after the Borders were comparatively secure.