The Border Reivers was written to give
you a general feeling of how life on the Borders was lived. I do not get into the politics
as much as I could have. Politics of the period were convoluted and confusing and I touch
only on what is necessary to tell the story. The time line does not begin with a certain
date and end at the beginning of the 17th century. The story shifts back and
forth and hopefully you will not be confused. As they are written I will give you a
short form of some of the battles which inspired ballads of the time. With all of these
self-serving disclaimers, I give you The Border Reivers with the hope that you will be
able to absorb the flavor of life on the Border.
The dull thundering of hooves in the distance
would send fear into the hearts of families gathered around the fire. The firelight would
reflect the fear in the eyes of women and children as the galloping horses came closer.
The men would stand guard at the bolted door hoping that the riders would go on past,
seeing nothing in the humble surroundings worth taking. A collective sigh of relief would
be breathed into the room as the sounds faded into the distance.
Such a scene could happen almost every night
in the Border lands and it didn’t matter if the riders were English or Scottish, it
was all the same. It was a way of life, albeit a harsh reality that one could be robbed,
even killed by Border Reivers. Strangers walked with a wary foot in the land. They
traveled only in daylight and never at night.
What was the cause of such circumstances? How
did it come about that the land between England and Scotland could spawn, and continue to
allow, such cruel activity?