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Armstrong


Amongst the Border clans the Armstrongs were one of the most numerous as well as one of the most powerful and feared. They possessed the greater part of Liddesdale and later spread into Eskdale and Annandale and by 1528 were reputed to be able to put 3000 horsemen in the field. Their constant forays into England to raid and plunder kept the Borders in turmoil. Traditionally the Armstrongs claim descent from Fairbairn, the armour bearer to a Scottish king, who rescued his monarch in the midst of battle when his horse had been killed under him. From this deed the family came to be known as "Armstrong" and received a gift of lands in Liddesdale. The first chief was Alexander Armstrand, Laird of Mangerton in the late 13th century. Gilbert Armstrong, Steward of the Household to King David II was Scotland's ambassador to England. Their lawlessness led James V to hang John Nie Armstrong of Gilnockie and his followers in 1529. He was considered one of the most notorious of the "Border reivers" and inspired the most famous of all Border  ballads "Johnnie Armstrong". However, the hostile and turbulent spirit of the Armstrongs was not suppressed until the reign of James VI when their leaders were executed in 1610 and the Armstrong lands passed into the possession of the Scotts, another powerful Border family. The Armstrongs never recovered and the clan scattered. On the 21st July 1969, Neil Armstrong, an American descendant became the first man to walk on the moon and he carried with him a fragment of the Armstrong tartan.


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