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You may find this relevant information helpful when researching the area prior to your visit

The renouned Border Horse who's exploits are chronicled also served in lreland during the O'Neill and Tyrone rebellions. The Irish, fighting on their home ground, generally confined themselves to "skirmishing in passes, bogs, woods and all places to their advantage". The Border Horse were in their element here, especially as they were better mounted than the Irish, "having deep war saddles with stirrups and using pistolles as well as staffes and swords many having jak of plate and such-like defensive arms, and being bold and strong for encounters and long marches and of greater stature than the lrish must needs have great advantage over them". In 1540, it was said that a hundred English Northern spears on horseback combined with a like number of longbow men and hack butters would be a much more effective force than 1,000 of the regular army stationed in Ireland.

Their exploits are legendary, but their greatest moment was undoubtedly Sollome Moss, where 800 of the "De’ils Dozen" Reivers defeated a full Scottish invading army of up to 18,000 men, cavalry and artillery, with the loss of 7 dead and 1 wounded. In the process they captured the whole Scottish military leadership, hundreds of prisoners, the whole Scottish artillery and almost all their standards, sending the routed army fleeing back to Scotland after taking even their boots off them "bicause they shuld the more spedely flye homewerts" without the encumbrance of their clothing!

They were honourable..... even today a borderer will not break his given word lightly, written contracts and legalese still take second place to the old "spit and shake". In the original Thirteen Articles there was provision for "Bauchling" which was the accusation of breaking a given-word or bond; a glove representing the false hand was displayed at the end of a lance and the name of the accused called out. Such a disgrace was either removed by the accused challenging and fighting his accusers to the death or his own family executing him to wipe out the stain. It is interesting that the offence of perjury also covered by the Thirteen Articles, was only punished by imprisonment for a year and a day, so breaking the given-word on the Borders was significantly worse than lying to the court! Bauchling is believed to be the origination of the word "Botch" (botched job, etc) and gives it’s name to Botchergate in Carlisle where such felons were accused by their names being displayed on the Southern gate of the city (nicknamed the Bauchling Gate or now Botchergate)

Blakmeale or Black mail was invented by Hutcheon Graham of Arthuret a notorious Reiver, who collected it each week after Sunday Evensong service in the porch of Arthuret Church; it was originally a payment of grain ("Meale"), paid at night ("Blak") to insure against the animals being stolen again and another more expensive form to actually employ the Reiver blackmailer to retreive stolen goods......not much different to our modern insurers really! However it still actually prevails today as a border custom at the livestock auctions in the payment of "Luck" money from the seller to the buyer of his animals. Nowadays it is a customary "thanks" for buying, but it's origins are in the blackmail payment being passed on to the new owner so that he could afford protection after paying for the animals as a guarantee/insurance against them being reived back again.
berwick self catering four star
www.berwickholidaycottage.co.uk
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John Haswell, 2 Palace Street East, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland TD15 1HT
Tel: 01289 304492    Mob: 07866 094097   john.haswell1955@gmail.com   john@oilmilllane.co.uk