4. Border Reivers

For over 300 years the border region between England and Scotland was a war zone, populated for the most part by bandits, thieves and murderous cut throats. They mostly lived by stealing. They divided themselves into surnames ganging together with some and feuding with others in the shifting alliances of border politics. Surnames such as Armstrong, Elliot, Hume, Kerr, Robson, Charlton, Nixon, Graham or Forster and many more. For a full list scroll to the bottom*. If you have one of these surnames these are your ancestors.

This tour lasts about 6/7 hours and will drive through the English and Scottish ‘middle marches’ looking at the land and some of the buildings where these people lived their often harsh and difficult lives. I will explain why there was no law here and some of the events that happened, these often involved the governments of both countries as well as the borderers themselves.

ITINERARY

  • The road trip of over 100 miles begins in the gorgeous village of Corbridge.
  • We go North up the old Roman road through a wild landscape to the villages of Otterburn and Elsdon.
  • Then cross the border into Scotland at Carter Bar. The view is spectacular.
  • Down into Liddesdale, the notorious home of the Elliot’s and Armstrong’s back over the border at Kielder and South towards Hexham then back to Corbridge.

I will stop frequently and explain what you’re looking at and events that happened there. Lunch will be in a pub or hotel along the way.

All my tours can be customized, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

  • Price £300 per day. (Per Group)
  • Additional £100 if starting at Carlisle or Durham City.
  • Additional £75 from Newcastle.
  • £25 deposit to secure your day

Gallery

Hermitage Castle in Scotland

Hermitage Castle in Scotland

Elsdon Village in England

Elsdon Village in England

Kielder Lake in England

Kielder Lake in England

Haughton Castle in England

Haughton Castle in England

Chipchase Castle in England

Chipchase Castle in England

Winter's Gibbet

Winter’s Gibbet

*Border surnames:

Archbold, Armstrong, Beattie, Bell, Burn, Carleton, Carnaby, Carruthers, Chamberlain, Charlton, Cockburn, Collingwood, Crozier, Cuthbert, Dalgleish, Davison, Dixon, Dodd, Douglas, Dunne, Edgar, Elliot, Fenwick, Fleming, Forster, Gordon, Graham, Grey, Watson, Haig, Hall, Hay, Hedley, Heron, Hetherington, Hodgson, Hogg, Hume, Huntley, Irvine, Johnstone, Kerr, Laidlaw, Lowther, Maitland, Maxwell, Milburn, Milburn, Murray, Musgrave, Ogle,  Oliver, Percy, Pringle, Radcliffe, Redpath, Reed, Riddell, Ridley, Robson, Routledge, Routledge, Rutherford, Salkeld, Scott, Selby, Shaftoe, Simpson, Sneddon, Storey, Swinton, Tait, Telfer, Trotter, Turnbull, Wake, Woodrington, Yarrow, Young.

There are probably more. Some of these ‘clans’ played a bigger role in history than others but all suffered in the lawless times.