The Reiver Trail - Explore the turbulent and bloody past of the Border Reivers
Border Reivers
Border Reivers
History of the Border Reivers
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The Border Reivers Follow the Trail

Welcome to Border Reiver Country! The moorlands and valleys between Langholm, Newcastleton and Hawick form a unique landscape, the living legacy of a turbulent, passionate past. Today they are peaceful, but 500 years ago, they would have echoed to the sound of steel, as men known as reivers came thundering through the night. The word ‘reive’ means to steal; from this came the word ’bereaved’… This was once life on the Scottish/English divide.

With any border, there are problems - and so it was with this one. This area became a battleground. To survive families started to raid and steal.

But war’s the borderers’ game, their gain, their glory, their delight,
to sleep the day, maraud the night’

From the 14th to the 16th century, the reivers were the riding and raiding families on both sides of the English/Scottish Border. Then, no man could sleep safely and no cattle could be left unguarded. Centuries of warfare between the two countries had created a lawless society where people just tried to survive. Riders, raiders, guerrilla fighters, gangsters – the border reivers gave the words ‘bereaved’ and ‘blackmail’ to the English language.

They lived by stealing and the enemy was anyone outside one’s own clan. It wasn't just Scotland versus England. These were people who were ‘Scottish when they will and English at their pleasure’. Fighting was instilled from birth. When children were christened, the right hand was left out of the ceremony so they might grow up to ‘strike unhallowed blows on their enemies’.

Clan Armstrong Trust Museum
Gilnockie/Hollows Tower
Lang Sandy
Milnholm Cross
Liddesdale Heritage Centre
Hermitage Castle
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