Scotlands History

Border Reivers

The Border Reivers were gangs of horsemen who raided those parts of England and Scotland within a day's ride of the border between the two countries from around 1300 to 1600. Reivers stole cattle, sheep and horses, and were even known to hire themselves out as mercenaries.

Bands of Reivers were organised according to families and clans - rivalry and feuding between border families gave rise to raiding.

Various rules and rights were observed by the clans and allowed by the ruling classes, including the 'Hot Trod' custom which basically said taking revenge was permitted as long as you were quick (within six days) and loud and obvious about it. Leaving it longer meant seeking official sanction for any action.

  • Painting of unkempt men on horseback, one wearing helmet and armour

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