Culture: Anglo-Scots Borderer
Setting: raiding, Border Marches 16th-early 17thc
* Marsden 1990 p16
"Reiving was very much a family business. Extended families, their in-laws and their allies, made up the larger raiding parties and the names of the principal reiving families abound throughout the official papers of the time. Indeed, it has been said that the great family names of the Borders -- Armstrong and Elliot, Scott and Kerr, Maxwell and Johnstone, Graham and Forster, Nixon and Crosier -- are assured of immortality if only in the pages of Pitcairn's Criminal Trials.
"It is important to note that raiding may have begun as a cross-Border activity, but by the sixteenth century it had grown into a much more complex business. Raids from valley to valley on the same side of the Border were no rarity, especially when fuelled by 'deadly feuds' between families. Intermarriage across the Border line made its own substantial contribution to the shifting network of sympathies and alliances between surnames that corresponded only in the sketchiest formality with national allegiances.
"Thomas Musgrave, an official on the English West March and author of the Report on the Border Riders of 1583, sums up the personality of the Borderers as 'a people that will be Scottish when they will and English at their pleasure.'"
* Marsden 1990 p17
"...[L]iterary assessment apart, the ballad-makers were certainly forging no less than a legend. Their ballad chronicles have provided raw material for almost every subsequent portrait of the reiver in his steel bonnet, his 'lang spear' carried low, mounted on his 'hobbler' sure-footing its way across the trackless moss of the Border line. That portrait of such powerful romantic appeal is in no measure diminished, and even enhanced in immediacy, when it is set against solid historical record."