|My home town|
This is my first post on History Ink, so I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Margery Scott. I was born in a small town in Scotland that dates back to the 12th century. My family dates even further back than that. I played hide and seek in abbey ruins and believed everyone had a nearby castle. How could I grow up in that environment and not have a keen interest in history?
Scotland has a long and turbulent past, but I'm particularly interested in the time of the Border reivers.
For centuries, Scotland and England were bitter enemies, and families living on the Scotland/England border were caught in the midst of constant warfare. In the path of raiding armies heading both north and south, their settlements were repeatedly burned down, their crops destroyed and their residents murdered.
|Reivers at Kilnockie Tower|
Under cover of darkness, they crept across the border and stole whatever they could, usually cattle. As reiving became more common and widespread, the crimes became more severe. Kidnapping and murder became common occurrences.
Many of the reivers died in these raids too, while their families waited in vain for their return. This led to the first usage of the word "bereaved" in the English language.
Since family and clan loyalty took precedence over allegiance to their flag, rievers often raided each other, too, with a real or imaged slight sparking a war between two clans that could last for generations. For instance, my family had a running feud with the Kerr clan for many years.
Most raids took part between August and February, when nights were longer and there was less chance of detection and capture.
When James VI of Scotland became James I of England, he was determined to unify the two countries. The term "the Borders" was banned. Rievers who were caught were executed (some of my ancestors unfortunately met this fate), and the border people were no longer allowed to own horses valuing more than 50 schillings. Reiving families were stripped of their land and possessions. Many clans dispersed and moved away, eventually settling in other lands.
Stories of the Border reivers were handed down from generation to generation. Songs and ballads told of bravery and great acts of loyalty. They also told of blackmail, treachery and corruption.
The first verse of one of these ballads begins with a call to go reiving:
O who will up an' ride wi' me:
Come a’ ye reivers bold!
Then let us off to Cumberland
To herry byre an' fold.
We winna leave a horn or hoof
On a' the English side,
Then come, my bonny reivers,
Come, let us mount an' ride.
There is so much more for me to learn about the Border reivers, and one day I plan to write a series of books about my ancestors who lived through this violent time in Scottish history. Right now, my attention is firmly entrenched in the American Wild West - a completely different time and place. Wait ... outlaws, violence, people trying to survive in an untamed land. Hmm, not as much of a stretch as it seems at first glance.
My two western historical romances, Emma's Wish and Wild Wyoming Wind are available now on Amazon.
For more information on me and my books, please come visit me on my website and follow me on Facebook and Twitter