The Border Reivers along the Anglo-Scots frontier, were known for their raiding and thieving - a terror to society. They gave rise to such words as 'blackmail', 'caught red-handed' and 'bereave' - certainly not the kind of people to meet on a dark night. This book explores their origins, on how & why they came about. The reivers were a unique phenomenon to British history, created by a combination of unique circumstances. The society which emerged is explored, with chapters examining aspects of their communities, such as - family life, farming, marriages, nationality, sports & pastimes, clothing, weapons, tactics, beliefs and religion (lack of). Those who held the difficult job of stopping the reivers from their thieving, the March Wardens, are also looked at.
The reivers are looked at as more than professional criminals, explaining why they lived a life of crime. Placing them within the context of the British Isles as a whole. An understanding on why they took to the saddle and committed theft on a regular basis is explained using contemporary reports. The consequences of being caught in the act (which the reivers saw as their job) of stealing is examined, illustrating the regular danger in which they put themselves. Where they brave, resourceful, romantic, heroic, honorable, dangerous, treacherous, cruel or murderous ? ... Or a mixture of descriptions. The reader can decide.
The book is one of three. Volume two looks at the reiver's themselves, presenting short summaries on all of the 'Riding' families, with biographies on individuals - plus chapters highlighting the main offenders. The full extent of the reiver's crimes are laid bare, with examples of their cruel acts. And volume three explores the fight against the reivers and the slow battle to stop their raids, and ultimately, remove them from society.