button to main menu  Clarke's Survey of the Lakes, 1787

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Page 155:-

  Border Histroy


HAVING now traversed that part of the country I proposed, I shall mention a few particulars relating to the border-service, which may not be unentertaining to some of my readers.
  Debatable Land
There was a certain tract of land between the two kingdoms, claimed by both, and inhabited by a set of robbers, without any government or laws; it was like an enter-common between two lordships, and what Blackstone in his commentaries calls Common per cause of Vicinage.
  border laws
  border service

King Edward * the I. residing some time in Cumberland, hearing daily complaints, and perceiving the mischiefs done by this lawless banditti, made a distinct law for them, (after having effected the sovereignty of Scotland) and appointed Robert de Clifford, Lord of Westmorland, the Governor or Lord-Warden of the Marches, as they were then and afterwards called. The lords of manors were bound to serve him themselves for their lands, and to furnish him with a stipulated number of armed men; some with horses, others on foot, at their own expence. From this seems to have arisen the heriot service; for a male tenant dying and leaving a widow, was obliged to let the lord have the best horse the tenant died possessed of; if possessed of two tenements, two horses, and so on, one horse (if he had so many) for every tenement. This certainly was meant to excuse her going to the wars, for where no widow was, no heriot was paid: In this sort of land daughters are not co-heiresses, but the eldest has the whole, and formerly the lord had the liberty of marrying her to whom he pleased, provided he was a man stout of body, and able to bear arms. Since the union of the two kingdoms, wardship has ceased, but heriot-custom continues, and the lords now take the best live
* One would suppose that Edward the I. had no occasion to have appointed a Lord Warden of the Marches, when (according to both the English and Scots historians,) the whole kingdom of Scotland had submitted to him, and John Baliol the then King of Scotland, for ever quitted his claim. Hector Boetius says, that John Cummin brought Baliol, void of all kingly habiliments, with a white rod in his hand, to Edward, unto whom he resigned his whole right that he had or might have to the crown of Scotland; all his nobles did the same, and took the oaths of allegiance; whereupon Edward destroyed all their records, and took away the marble chair, crown, sceptre, and cloth of state, and sent them to Westminster. Yet such bold and warlike men as the borderers could not be at rest; for we read that William Wallace of Cragie, a private man (by some called a Robber) begun a rebellion, and to him went several clans, who drove the Justicar, William de Ormsby, out of Scotland, and gained many victories over the Earl of Warren and others. In those times, it was usual for the leaders of an army to harrangue their men before a battle: Wallace endeavoured to conform to this custom, but all that he could say to his men at the battle of Falkirk was, "I have brought you to the King, hop gif ye can." Boetius says, "in this battle were slain 70,000 Scots," (an incredible number!) Wallace himself escaped, and made head against King Edward for six years afterwards; he was at last taken by treachery and put to death. So vain and superstitious was Edward, that he ordered his son to carry his skeleton with him when he fought against the Scots, as he would then be invincible; it does not, however, appear that Edward's magic was infallible, for at the battle of Bannockburn the English were defeated with a great slaughter.
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