berwick self catering holy island, Oil Mill Lane
home    about    book your stay    location   
berwick self catering holy island



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

The Border Reivers evolved from 300 years of raiding and feuding (often referred to as the Three Hundred Years War), into a race of expert light horsemen, skilled in raiding, scouting ambush and skirmishing. They were cursed in both countries as "evell disposed personnes, Inclined to wildness and disorder", but occasionally hailed as "fine soldiers, able with horse and harness, nimble, wile and always in readiness for any service". Though despised in peace time, it was these very characteristics that made the Reiver so eagerly recruited by their respective national governments in time of war. The English army by 1540 could call on 2,500 such men and this division was called the "Border Horse". It was said that the "most remarkable of the mounted men in Henry VIll's army were the Northem Horsemen who, havlng been called into existence by the eternal forays of the Scottish Border were light cavalry, probably the very best in Europe".

There does not seem to have been a standard uniform, but they were expected to have a "steill cap, jak of plate, botes, spurres, sword, dagger, horsemans staffe, and case of pistolles" and of course a horse. Recruited as light horsemen or "prickers", the role of the Border Horse was simply an extension of their usual daily activities on the Borders. They scouted, ambushed enemy patrols, rustled livestock, stole supplies and provisions and plundered towns and villages. In 1544 a large English force supported by a naval fleet, under the command of the Earl of Hertford, invaded the east coast of Scotland, sacking Leith and Dunbar and capturing Edinburgh. While the main English army was burning the city, they were joined by "400 light horsemen from the Borders, by the King's Majesty's Appointment; who after their coming did such exploits in riding and devastating the country that within seven miles of every side of Edinburgh, they left neither pele, house nor village standing unburnt, nor stacks of corn, besides great numbers of cattle which they brought in daily to the army and met with such good stuff which the inhabitants of Edinburgh had for the safety of the same conveyed ouf of the town".

Observance of religion does not seem to have played a large part in the life of a Reiver, although attendance at Sunday evensong was certainly required at Arthuret. Legend has it that the Reivers also prayed hard enough before a raid to ensure it’s success. Quite often Church services were interrupted by Reiver families bringing their weapons and feuds into the service. The clergy’s attempts to subdue the Borders by threatening hell and damnation went unnoticed; the most famous attempt by the Archbishop Gavin Dunbar of Glasgow in his "Monition of Cursing" stretched to 1500 of the most descriptive words of cursing of all time; it was read from every pulpit in the Borders to little effect, except that some of the more cynical of the Reivers held their own communion service in defiance of the interdict where one Hector Charlton "resaved the parson’s dewties and served them all of wyne"
berwick self catering holy island
www.berwickholidaycottage.co.uk
home    about    book your stay    location   


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