Step into borders history – If you enjoy history and exploring times gone by you will love the Borders.
Northumberland and the Scottish Borders was the most fought over land in Britain as the crossed swords marking local battlefields on maps of the region will show.
From the earliest times, when Agricola marched his Roman legions north from York around AD71 to Scotland and known to them as Caledonia, the Borders has been no stranger to turbulent times.
Once forming part of the powerful Kingdom of Northumbria the line that separates England and Scotland first appeared in 1237, a border agreement between King Henry III and Scotland’s King Alexander II.
Troubled relations between the two kingdoms were not finally laid to rest until Bonnie Prince Charlie’s ill-fated uprising in 1745 ended at Culloden.
Before that the two sides have crossed swords on countless bloody occasions including Otterburn (1388), Flodden (1513) and Ancrum Moor (1545).
During the Wars of Independence the Border region was key to the aspirations of William Wallace and later Robert the Bruce and it has witnessed armies marching north – and armies readying to march south.
Interwoven with the high politics of warfare was the reign of the Border Reivers who had their own distinctive way of dealing with any local difficulties, north and south of the border, and held sway for over 300 years. They even contributed to the English language, giving us the words blackmail and bereavement!
The famous abbeys of the Scottish Borders at Jedburgh, Dryburgh, Melrose and Kelso suffered irreversible damage at the hands of Henry VIII’s rampaging soldiers in the 1540’s – the result of a right royal Tudor tantrum.
It was a time that became known as the ‘rough wooing’ and a result of the Scots refusal to ratify the betrothal of the infant Mary Queen of Scots to Henry’s son Edward, then at the tender age of seven.
Turbulent times have, not surprisingly left a legacy of castles and fortified towers (top magnificent Bamburgh Castle and above Fatlips Castle) all with their own story to tell.
Explore the Borders unfolds the history of the Borders in Historic Scotland, Romans and Reivers and other sections.