The Life of Willie Armstrong
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM ARMSTRONG OF KINMONT- SCOTTISH BORDER REIVER.
It is not known when William Armstrong of Kinmont was born nor, for that matter, does the year of his death come readily to hand. It is known, however, that he was middle-aged in 1596 when he was captured by the English.
His many inroads into English ground bent on theft of cattle, sheep and insight (farming and household gear) often led to destitution for many of the people on the English side of the Border, death for any who dared to contest his aggressive raids, and a retaliation by the stronger more aggressive English clans that only added to the eternal unrest that became part and parcel of the Border way of life. The records of the late sixteenth century speak for themselves. Kinmont was arch enemy number one on the hit list of the English West and Middle March authority. They longed for his downfall but were singularly inept in bringing him to justice. The fact that he still roamed free as late as 1596 is testimony of that.
There are many recorded instances of his forays into England in the Border records of the time, primarily in the Calendar of Border Papers, the second volume of which covers the years 1596 to the Union of the Crowns in 1603. In essence the Calendar is a collection of letters between the Border March Wardens and higher authority including the monarchs of the two countries of England and Scotland.(1)
Just a few instances taken from the Calendar will serve to demonstrate the audacity and savagery of Kinmont’s raids and the contempt he held for the English.
Complaint of 30th August 1584.
‘Compleynes Bartrame Mylburne of the Keyme, Gynkyne Hunter of the Waterhead in Tynedale upon William Armestronge of Kinmowthe, (Kinmont), Eckye Armestronge of the Gyngles, Thome Armestronge called Androwes Thome, of the Gyngles, Johne Forster sone to Meikle Rowie of Genehaughe, George Armestronge, called Renyons Geordie, and his sons of Arcleton in Ewesdale, and there complices, for that they and others to the number of thre hundrethe parsons (persons) in warlike maner ranne one opyn forrowe (foray) in the daye tyme, on Frydaie in the mornynge last, being 30th August in Tynedale unto certen places that is to say the Keyme, the Reidheughe, the Black Mydennes, the Hill house, the Water head, the Starr head, the Bog head, the High feelde, and there raised fyer and brunte the most pairte of them, and maisterfullie refte, stale and drave awaye fowre hundrethe kyen and oxen, fowre hundrethe sheip and goate, 30 horses and mears and the spoyle and insight of the howses to the walewe of twoe hundrethe pounds, and slewe and murdered crewellie six parsons, and maimed and hurte ellevin parsons (persons), and took and led awaye 30 presoners, and them do deteigne and keip in warlike maner, minding to ransom them contrarie the vertewe of trewes (truces) and laws of the Marches. Whereof they aske redress.(2)
‘At Michaelmas (29th September) 1584 Jake Huntter, Bartie Milburne of the Keam, Jarre Hunter, Michael Milburne and Lante Milburne of Tersett (Tarset) in Tyndaile (Tynedale) complain upon Davyee Ellot called the “Carlinge”, Clem Croser called “Nebless” (noseless) Clem, Thome Armestronge called “Symes Thom”, Will Armestronge called “Kinmothe” (Kinmont), Ector Armestronge of the Hillhouse, and other 300 men, who ran a day foray and took away forty score (800) kye (cows) and oxen, three score horses and meares (mares), 500 sheep, burned 60 houses and spoiling the same to the value of £200 sterling and slaying ten men’.(3)
In 1593, some six years later, there is another complaint by the English against a Scottish raid involving William Armstrong of Kinmont:-
‘On the 6th instant (October 1593), William Ellot (Elliot) of Lawreston, the Laird of Mangerton, and William Armstrong called Kinmott, with 1000 horsemen of Liddesdale, Eskdale, Annandale and Ewesdale ran an open day foray in Tyvedale (should say Tynedale) and drove off “nine hundred five score and five” (1005) head of nolt (cows), 1000 sheep and goats; 24 horses and mares, burned an onset and a mill and carried off 300l sterling of insight gear... Nicholas Forster (son of the English Warden) went to the king, James Vl, who was in the Scottish Borders at Jedburgh, demanding redress for the crime. The king protested it “was done contrary to his pleasure” and his present visit to the Borders was to see justice done and good order kept. A letter was received from the Scottish Council promising redress, but not so effectively as expected, as no “day of delivery is set down” (the handing over of the Scottish raiders). The English doubt that the delays will be dangerous as they note that William Ellot and the principals of the crime have been before the King and “nothing is yet done”. (4)
The king protested it “was done contrary to his pleasure” and his present visit to the Borders was to see justice done and good order kept.
Yet for all his infamous notoriety and his successful and uncontested raids into England Kinmont was to suffer the greatest of indignities when he was captured by the English at a time when he thought he was protected by the law of the Border: At a ‘Day of Truce’.
On the 17th March 1596 a ‘Day of Truce’ was held at the Dayholme of Kershope. The Dayholme was an area of flatland abounding the little Kershope burn, the Border, to this day, between England and Scotland. It was a place traditionally used to hold ‘Days of Truce’, a day when felons and miscreants were brought to the Border Line to answer for their crimes against the Border Law. At the Dayholme of Kershope on that day in the early spring of 1596 gathered about two hundred men to witness that the trial and judgement were both fair and deserved. Half of the witnesses were Scottish, the other half English. Among the Scottish contingent was one, William Armstrong of Kinmont, called by his March Warden to witness the events.
To bring together so many English and Scots who were often at loggerheads and feud could not be achieved without the promise of safe conduct. Therefore, written into Border Law was an ‘Assurance’ that all who attended did so on the understanding that they were immune from confrontation with any enemy from the opposite side of the Border or, indeed, fellow countrymen with whom they might be at feud. The ‘Assurance of the Truce’ was thus the vehicle which gave all confidence that they could attend with impunity. The ‘Assurance’ did not last only for the time that the trials were in session but until the sunrise following the Truce so that all who had attended would have time to return to their homes in safety.
The ‘Day of Truce’ at the Dayholme of Kershope was over before sunset on the day, it was but a minor affair held to comply with the requirements of Border Law. Both the English and Scottish contingents began to make their way homewards. Kinmont with a few acquaintances from the Scottish West March rode down the Scottish side of the river Liddel whilst his English counterparts made for home down the English side. All were confident that the ‘Assurance’ of the Truce still held and would do so until sunrise of the next day. Suddenly the English turned and rode furiously across the river and chased Kinmont, just as suddenly aware that he was in imminent danger, down the Scottish bank. Not far from where the rivers Liddel and Esk join forces and run from there to the Solway Firth the Scottish party was overtaken and overcome. Kinmont was bound to his horse and conveyed, under guard, to Carlisle castle to await a decision on his future from Thomas Lord Scrope, English West March Warden, who was away on business at his ancestral home of Bolton castle in Wensleydale, north Yorkshire.
Following the capture, the Scots were up in arms and claimed quite rightly that Kinmont Willie had been taken against the Assurance of the Truce and thus the English, in their rush to take the Scot, had transgressed the Border Law.
His capture by the English, the defiant yet rambling stance of Scrope in his efforts to justify Kinmont’s imprisonment in Carlisle castle is adequately documented in the Calendar of Border Papers. Likewise the fury of his Scottish counterpart, Sir Walter Scott of Branxholme and Buccleuch, Keeper of Liddesdale, who rattled and railed yet endeavoured to effect Kinmont’s release through petition and diplomacy is also well recorded.
The relationship between these two main adversaries in Kinmont’s capture was particularly strained even by the standards of the times. March Wardens, acting for the west, middle and east of the country on each side of the Border were, at the very least in office to work in harmony. It was paramount in the role that they worked together to subdue the unruly Border people. The reality was somewhat different. Often the Wardens of the Scottish and English Marches were at loggerheads as favour towards a particular family or clan on one side of the Border created friction on the other. There were many Wardens down the ages, with an eye for the main chance, who were not adverse to the receipt of a lucrative backhander from the product of the reive should they be willing to turn a blind eye to the reprehensible proceedings.
Scrope and Buccleuch took this iniquitous relationship to a newer and higher level.
Scrope was to say of Buccleuch on the day following the capture of Kinmont:-
‘Buccleugh’s messages and letters, extant with me, carried always in there fronte a note of pryde in him selfe and of his skorne towards me… a backwardness to justice, except the kind that he desired, which was solely for the profit of his own friends, and showed his disposition to disquiet the frontier, and disturb the peace between the princes’. (Elizabeth l and James Vl). (5). At another time Buccleuch had insisted that a notorious English reiver be brought to the Truce Day for trial and due justice but had then refused to hear the case because the ‘recettor’ or receiver of the stolen goods was not also present. Scrope was furious but his ire fell on deaf ears.(6).
Their relationship was cold, inert and replete with attitude and stance.
Their relationship was cold, inert and replete with attitude and stance. It did not augur well in coming to agreement in the case of the capture of Kinmont Willie Armstrong.
Scrope wrote to Elizabeth l asking what he should do with Kinmont. In his opinion he was such an important prisoner that he needed the ruling of the English monarch as to the course he should take. Should he bend to Buccleuch’s demands for Kinmont’s release or should he hold on to the great Scottish reiver? He did not receive a reply and thus deemed that it was best that Kinmont should stay where he was, warded in Carlisle castle. Moreover he would have lost face with the Scottish West March if he had been ordered to loose Kinmont and probably have witnessed an escalation in the number of raids into his Wardenry. The Scots would not have been slow to perceive the lack of support from the highest of English authority and taken advantage of the fact. Thus the silence of Elizabeth brought some relief to the embattled English Warden.
Buccleuch wrote to Thomas Salkeld, Scrope’s deputy warden who had directed the English at the ‘Day of Truce’ at the Kershope burn. He demanded Kinmont’s release. He did not receive a reply. At the same time Thomas Lord Scrope wrote to Cecil giving details of the capture and hinting that the Assurance of the Truce at the Dayholme had terminated at sunset on the same day and not at the following sunrise which was the norm. Cecil sought guidance as to the procedure at a Truce Day from Sir Ralph Eure who stated that the Assurance would normally terminate at the sunrise following completion of the Truce but that often, following dialogue between the Wardens, other times were agreed. One of these was sunset of the day if the ‘bills of complaints’ were few in number and those who had attended lived near enough to make their way home before sunset.
In all, the conclusions of the deliberations between Burghley and Eure were open to interpretation. They added not only confusion but an effective smoke-screen behind which the English held on to Kinmont against the rising crescendo of calls from the Scots for his release. (7).
Scrope would suffer because of his intractable and dictatorial approach towards the very men with whom he should have promoted harmony and unity when William Armstrong of Kinmont was captured and imprisoned in Carlisle castle. The Lowthers and the Carltons, both prominent north Cumbrian families, would endeavour to best Thomas Lord Scrope following Kinmont’s incarceration. Scrope, on one occasion, was to sum up his approach to those who served him in a letter to Lord Burghley, Elizabeth’s chief minister, in 1593. ‘ This I consider no small contempt and scorning of my authority… for I hold myself so much dishonoured by the disobedience of any under me, that I must beseech her Majesty to countenance my orders in execution of my office…’ (8). Working behind the scenes as the episode unfurled were the premier English Border clan, the Grahams. They were friends with Thomas Carleton, erstwhile Captain of Carlisle castle who had been dismissed by Scrope because of his double-dealing with the Scottish reivers. The latter readily invaded the barony of Gilsland at Carleton’s behest as long as a percentage of the takings came his way. When Scrope became aware of Carleton’s double –dealing he dismissed him out of hand. Fair as this was, Thomas Carlton from that time forward harboured a deep and lasting grudge against the English West March Warden.
The Grahams requested that Buccleuch should meet them to discuss the Kinmont affair. They inhabited the areas verging on the rivers of Esk and Line (Leven in the 16th century) as well as Netherby and Mote and had no great affinity with the Armstrongs of Liddesdale and Ewesdale, thus the request to meet Buccleuch was intriguing to say the least. At the meeting the Grahams ventured the thought that Buccleuch, suitably accompanied with a party of Scottish reivers mainly from the vales of the rivers Liddel, Ewes and Annan, should raid Carlisle and force their way into the castle and rescue him. Carlisle castle was the second strongest fortress on the Borders, only the castle of Berwick was stronger, and Buccleuch saw little chance of breaching its walls without a veritable army of Scots from the Border valleys. When, however, the Grahams intimated that there would be not only inside help from the inmates of the castle but also a journey south through English territory uncontested by any of the English clans, Buccleuch warmed to the notion. The Grahams were emphatic in their claim that there would be no resistance to the raiding party’s crossing the Border into English territory.
Buccleuch, apprehensive as he was at the involvement of the Grahams, was convinced that there was little option to their aid. There would be no better chance of freeing Kinmont. Then again Kinmont was married to one of the Grahams and family ties were the mainstay of the Border clans. Allegiance to the clan was paramount.
After further meetings held at Carvinley (north of Longtown and Netherby) and Archerbeck (near Canonbie), the final plans were agreed at a dinner in Langholm castle where all the main plotters and instigators had gathered earlier in the day on the pretext of watching the horse racing on the Castleholm. It is significant to note at this point that the English Carletons had been present at these meetings. To confer or plot with the Scots was considered March Treason by the English and was punishable by death, but Thomas Carleton, confident in his ability to outsmart Scrope and even higher authority, cared little for the law. He avidly desired to witness Scrope’s downfall and saw the rescue of Kinmont as the perfect means to achieve his aim. There was also a remark recorded from the mouth of Lancelot Carleton:- ‘If this comes to passe (the release of Kinmont) it will make an end of my Lord Scrope and devide Mr Salkeld and hime’.(9).
The remainder of the men heading for Carlisle, now about fifty strong, made their way under cover of darkness through the Graham lands of Esk and Leven.
On 12th April 1596 the rescue party, about seventy strong, assembled at Mortonrigg, Kinmont’s tower in the Debateable Land and headed south for Carlisle at sunset. When they reached the eastern end of the Scots Dyke, the contingent from Annandale led by the Johnsons broke away from the party and went into hiding. In true reiver fashion they would remain there through the night and contest any pursuit of the rescue party on their return.
The remainder of the men heading for Carlisle, now about fifty strong, made their way under cover of darkness through the Graham lands of Esk and Leven. They encountered no-one. The Grahams had done their work well. On reaching the Staneshaw bank above the Eden (modern day Stanwix), the Irvines of Bonshaw (a tower still to be seen near Kirtle Bridge), broke from the others and concealed themselves near the road north. Again they would come into their own should the rescue party be pursued on their rush for Scotland after the rescue attempt.
Soon after the remaining twenty-five or so of the raiders, mainly Armstrongs now, were looking across the river Eden, near its confluence with the river Caldew, at the formidable pile of Carlisle castle. Leaving their horses on the north bank, they swam the river, and made their way to a postern gate in the western wall of the castle. The gate was opened from the inside, probably by one of Thomas Carleton’s servants still employed as a member of the garrison.
Only five of the raiders entered the castle. They knew the exact whereabouts of Kinmont’s warding because on the previous day a Graham, on legitimate business, had been told by one of the garrison, sympathetic to the cause, where Kinmont was held.
The weather on the night was horrendous. On the ride south the rescue party had been buffeted by torrential rain. On entering the castle they were served by the weather as the watch, almost to a man, were undercover, protecting themselves from the worst of the elements. Thus their entry was hardly contested. Only two men attempted to impede their progress to Kinmont’s cell and they were soon dealt with. Another guard, marshalling the entrance to the cell, was badly wounded.
The rescue party, now with Kinmont in their midst, left the castle, swam the river, and were soon on their way home to Scotland. The Irvines, stationed at the Staneshaw bank and the Johnstones at the Scots Dyke were soon to swell their numbers.
Scrope was to claim in letters to Lord Burghley that the castle had been attacked by 500 men from the Scottish Borders. In a letter to the Privy Council he wrote:- ‘Yesternighte in the deade time therof, Walter Scott of Hardinge (Harden, south of Hawick), the chief man about Buclughe, accompanied with 500 horsemen of Buclughes and Kinmontes frends, did come armed… unto an outewarde corner of the base courte of this castell and to the posterne dore of the same-which they undermined speedily… brake into the chamber where Will of Kinmont was (and) carried him awaye… The watch, as yt shoulde seeme, by reason of the stormye night, were either on sleepe or gotten under some covert to defende them selves from the violence of the wether… Yf Buclugh him selfe have bin therat in person, the capten of this proude attempte, as some of my servants tell me they hard his name called upon… then I humblie beseech that her Majesty (Elizabeth l) wilbe pleased to send unto the Kinge (James Vl) … that he maye receive punishment’.(10).
Scrope’s initial assessment would prove to be way off the mark. The humiliation he suffered on learning that the postern gate had been opened from the inside and, to add insult to injury, that the raiding party was but twenty-five strong, left him bemused, dispirited and looking for any available scape-goat.
He was soon to point the finger at his own subordinates for the ease with which the castle was breached:
‘ And regardinge the myndes of the Lowthers to do villeny unto me, havinge beene assured by some of their owne, that they woulde do what they coulde to disquiet my government, I am induced vehementlye to suspect that their heades have bin in the devise of this attempte, and am also persuaded that Thomas Carlton hath lent his hand hereunto; for it is whispered in myne eare, that some of his servauntes, well acquainted with all the corners of this castell, were guydes in the execution herof’.(11).
Scrope even received an anonymous letter implicating the Carletons and Grahams:-
‘ Right honourable lord, pleaseth your lordship to ken this truth of the takinge oute of Kynmont… and speciallie Englishmen dwelland within the ground of England quha (who) was counsell and causers of it… Albeyt the Layrd of Buckclughe tooke the deede on hand, there is others that sarvis mare blame. The dischardginge of Thomas Carlton of his office (Scrope had dismissed him as Constable of the castle earlier that year) hes helpit your lordschip to receave this schame, with the help of Richey of Brakonhill (Brackenhill tower is still to be seen near Longtown), and others of the Grames (Grahams) quha was led by their counsel, hes done what they coulde to breake the countrey ever san Thomas was dischardged his office…’ (12).
All hell let loose following the rescue. Elizabeth l was incandescent with fury that one of her premier Border strongholds had been attacked in time of peace between the two nations.
Kinmont went in to hiding in Ewesdale and within a very short time resumed the ordinary business of his life- reiving. His last known raid was on High and Low Hesket (on the A6 between Carlisle and Penrith). After that he fades into oblivion and it is assumed that he died in his bed in about 1603 and is buried in Sark churchyard near his tower of Mortonrigg.
All hell let loose following the rescue. Elizabeth l was incandescent with fury that one of her premier Border strongholds had been attacked in time of peace between the two nations. On learning from Scrope that Walter Scott of Branxholme and Buccleuch was responsible for leading the raid she demanded that he be turned over to the English for due punishment. James Vl of Scotland was between the ‘rock and the hard place’. Much as he admired Buccleuch and was sensitive that the eyes of the whole of Scotland were fixed on how he would deal with the English monarch’s demands, he was very conscious that he could not afford to alienate the English sovereign. In 1586 at the ‘Treaty of Berwick’ James had been granted a pension of £4000 by the English monarch, millions in today’s money, and a promise of sorts that he would rule in England on her death. As was his usual wont he stammered and stuttered and prevaricated.
Buccleuch was eventually warded in Berwick much to the satisfaction of Elizabeth but not before he had responded to a despicable raid by Thomas Lord Scrope in retaliation for the Kinmont rescue. Scrope led a raid into Liddesdale and rounded up as many of the reivers as he could lay hands on. He led them naked and chained like dogs into Carlisle, leaving their women folk and children stripped and naked to fend for themselves. It is said that some of the children died of exposure. Buccleuch, in response, raided Tynedale and Redesdale in Northumberland and was witness and party to over thirty murders. He claimed that he had only responded to raids by the English into Teviotdale and that he followed the traditional, and hallowed ‘Hot Trod’ which was a legitimate following of the thieves even into the other country as long as it was accompanied with ‘Hue and Cry’. Were the thieves caught ‘at the reid hand’ (red-handed i.e. still driving the stolen cattle and sheep), then it was easy to claim, should they be killed in the ensuing melee, that they contested the raid to retrieve the beasts. (13 and 14).
As the English ambassador to Scotland claimed in interviews with James Vl and the Scottish Privy Council, war between the two nations had often resulted from reasons of far less magnitude than what had transpired on the rescue of Kinmont and its aftermath.
Ultimately sense prevailed and Elizabeth made peace with the man who was to succeed her on the throne of England, but not before the relationship had been severely tested.
On his way to the Low Countries with a contingent from the Scottish Border valleys to fight against Catholic Spain, Sir Walter Scott of Branxholme and Buccleuch met her Majesty, Elizabeth of England.
He was asked how he had dared to attack the castle of Carlisle in time of peace. His response was typical of the man, who without doubt was the premier figure on the Border of the late 16th century: ‘What, madam, is there that a brave man may not dare?’ (15).
Elizabeth turned to her courtiers and is reputed to have said: ‘Give me a thousand such leaders and I’ll shake any throne in Europe’. (16).
The story of Kinmont’s capture and rescue was celebrated in chant and verse for over two centuries after the event in the Scottish Border valleys before the man who had a great love of the Border Lands, allied to a pen and genius which would ensure that he would be known for all time, took up the story of Kinmont and produced one of his most famous Border Ballads: ‘The Ballad of Kinmont Willie. That man was Sir Walter Scott who would go on to be the most celebrated author in Europe with an audience which would adore his work for over a century. His ‘Waverley Novels’ are still read and loved today, but it was one of his first works, his ‘Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border’ which would make his name. It was a collection of the ballads, chants and poems with which the folk of the Border valleys had entertained themselves for centuries. The age-old stories, handed down from generation to generation, had lost nothing in the telling down the years and Sir Walter was to embellish, enhance and alter at will even further to provide posterity with a stirring account of the lives, loves and deaths of the Border people. He had scoured the Border valleys from north to south in his quest to listen to and record the rousing incidents and events of the forbears of the Border folk.
‘Each glen was sought for tales of old,
Of luckless love, of warrior bold,
Of sheeted ghost that had revealed
Dark deeds of guilt from man concealed;
Yea, every tale of ruth and weir
Could waken pity, love, or fear,
Were decked anew with anxious pain,
And sung to native airs again.’
In the ‘Ballad of Kinmont Willie’ by Scott, there is a different approach to that portrayed by the primary sources. It depicts the Scottish Border reiver as romantic figure, steadfast and true. The allegiance of the Border clans, one with another in times of dire circumstance, was of such high ideal that all thought of danger in raiding Carlisle castle and vengeance by the English as an inevitable consequence was put aside in the quest to rescue Kinmont and bring him home to the Scottish Border valleys.
The ‘Ballad of Kinmont Willie’ is stirring stuff indeed, one of the best of the Border Ballads. It has pace and verve and spirit and high ideal. Far from the truth it might be but in his ballad Sir Walter has ensured that the Border folk will never forget at least two of their charismatic forbears. Kinmont Willie Armstrong and Walter Scott of Buccleuch will live on. (17).
- Author: Joseph Bain, fellow of the Antiquaries of Scotland.
Title: Calendar of Letters and Papers relating to the affairs of the Border of England and Scotland. Volume 1 a.d. 1560-1594 and Volume ll a. d. 1595 – 1603.
Publisher: The Authority of the Lords Commissioner of her Majesty’s Treasury.
Place of Publication: H.M. General Register House, Edinburgh.
- Ibid. Volume 1. Page 109. 174. Scrope to Walsingham.
- Ibid. Volume 1. Page 314. 595. Liddesdale Offences.
- Ibid. Volume 1. Page 508. 908. Forster to Burghley.
- Ibid. Volume 2. Page 114. 237. Scrope’s Report of Buccleuch.
- Ibid. Volume 2. Page114. 237. Scrope’s Report of Buccleuch.
- Ibid. Volume 2. Page 139. 283. Eure to Burghley.
- Ibid. Volume 1. Page 511. 912. Scrope to Burghley.
- Ibid. Volume 2. Page 365. 699. Scrope to Burghley.
- Ibid. Volume 2. Page 120. 251. Scrope to the Privy Council.
- Ibid. Volume 2. Page 122. 252. Scrope to Burghley.
- Ibid. Volume 2. Page 126. 257. Anonymous to Scrope.
- Ibid. Volume 2. Page 259. 515. The Commissioners to Burghley.
- Ibid. Volume 2. Page 305. 602. Bills against Buccleuch.
- ‘The Condition of the Border at the Union’ by John Graham. Page 104.
- Ibid. Page 104. Publisher: George Routledge, London. 1907.
See also ‘Border Raids and Reivers’ by Robert Borland, Minister of Yarrow.
Publisher : Thomas Fraser, Dalbeattie. 1898.
- ‘Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border’ by Sir Walter Scott.
Consisting of Historical and Romantic Ballads.
Publisher: Ward, Lock and Co. Warwick House, Salisbury Square, London.
For more information on the Border Laws there are a few works at hand.
The ‘Lord Wardens of the Marches’ by Howard Pease is an admirable work and does justice to the initial thirteen clauses of 1249 and the subsequent amendments up to the Union of the Crowns in 1603.
In 1705 Bishop Nicholson of Carlisle published his ‘Leges Marchiarum’ (The Laws of the Border Marches). Mostly in Latin and the product of the secretary to the two Scropes, West March Wardens from 1561 to 1603, they have ensured that posterity is aware of the Border Laws which hold a singular place both in the legal and political history of our island nation.