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Scottish Borders History
Borders through the Ages

80 AD
The Romans arrive and set up camp at TRIMONTIUM near Melrose.

Emperor Hadrian abandons attempts to control the ‘wild North’ and HADRIAN’S WALL is constructed to keep out the unruly Scots.

The Romans finally withdraw from Scotland. This results in 400 years of warring rivalry between tribes of Celts, Picts, Scots and Saxons. Evidence of this warring remains in the various camps and hill-forts to be found throughout the Borders area.

Under the rule of Malcolm Canmore, first recognised King of Scots, these warring tribes are welded into one nation.

David I, son of Malcolm Canmore, becomes King of Scots. During his reign, the four great Border abbeys of MELROSE, KELSO, JEDBURGH and DRYBURGH emerge and flourish.

The WARS OF INDEPENDENCE break out when Edward I of England marches north to conquer Scotland and quell the Scottish Rebels, led by William Wallace and Robert Bruce.

The Border area is once again plunged into war and turmoil. Berwick is captured by Edward in 1296 and, for the next 20 years, most of the Borderland remains under English domination.

Victory for the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn means the end of the Wars of Independence and frees the Borders from English control.

Death of King Robert I. In accordance with his wishes, his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey.

1350 – 1700
The time of the ‘BORDER REIVERS’. This was a period of lawlessness and feuding between Scottish borderers and English borderers - almost 400 years of raiding, plundering and killing by rival groups of Reivers on the Border.

King James VI of Scotland inherits the throne of England and becomes James I in the Union of the Crowns. James takes measures to end the turbulence and lawlessness on the Border. Although it takes almost 100 years, this begins the pacification of the Border area.

By 1750, peace has been established on the Border. Towns are growing and beginning to prosper, farming is well established, and industry is beginning to develop.

The textile trade is beginning to grow and flourish within the towns of the Scottish Borders. This is the start of the rise in the Woollen Industry throughout the Borders, bringing wealth and prosperity to expanding textile towns like GALASHIELS, SELKIRK and HAWICK.

1870 – 90
The peak of prosperity for the textile industry is now the mainstay of Borders’ wealth. The towns of the Borders have by this time gained a worldwide reputation for the production of quality TWEED.

Produced by Scottish Borders Tourist Board, Shepherd’s Mill, Whinfield Road, Selkirk TD7 5DT.
Tel (01750) 20555. Fax (01750) 21886. E-mail:



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