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Uniting the Kingdoms? 1066-1603

 
   

England

The Anglo-Scottish Frontier, 1329-1603

After the death of Robert I, the conflict between England and Scotland continued in a pattern of raiding, occasional invasion, battles and 'cold war'. The Treaty of Berwick of 1357, however, guaranteed a ten-year truce between the two countries, which began a period of uneasy peace that lasted, with frequent interruptions, until 1482.

During this period, the border region began to develop its own identity and conflict in the area became more localized. For example, the Battle of Otterburn (5 August 1388) was essentially the result of a private feud between border families as much as an English-Scottish conflict.

The march landsGlossary term - opens in a pop-up window were garrisoned for national defence, but populated by clans with a history of raiding, feuding and racketeering, who operated within a chivalrous system bewildering to both crowns. During the fifteenth century both England and Scotland tried, largely unsuccessfully, to establish legal control over their own marches and the Debateable LandGlossary term - opens in a pop-up window.

 

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Plan of Debateable Land

 

Lawlessness on the border

The 1480s saw renewed attacks from England, and there were major military campaigns in the reign of Henry VIII. Numerous documents at The National Archives offer enormous detail about life in the marches after 1500, and show, above all, that local rivalries rather than national interest seem to have provided the main motivation for the border population. This attitude was typified at the Battle of Flodden (1513), where border ridersGlossary term - opens in a pop-up window raided the camps of both sides while the main battle was fought between armies recruited elsewhere.

Links

For more on Scottish kings and queens, with useful further links to national and border history:
Scotland's Kings and QueensExternal website - link opens in a new window

For the border reivers and links to more general border history sites:
Border ReiversExternal website - link opens in a new window

For more on legends, ballads and broadsides:
Legends: Ballads & BroadsidesExternal website - link opens in a new window

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Detail from Robert I of Scotland (the Bruce) and his wife Isobel, daughter of John, Earl of Mar. By kind permission of Sir Francis Ogilvy.
 
Detail from Robert I of Scotland (the Bruce) and his wife Isobel, daughter of John, Earl of Mar. By kind permission of Sir Francis Ogilvy.