A cross border foray may consist of a few men to a couple of thousand. A Reiver raid did not always put Scot against English or English against Scot. If two clans under the same government were feuding then one clan may assist a reiving party from across the border in a raid on their foe.
The Border Reiver was highly skilled in weaponry and horsemanship. During the frequent wars between Scotland and England the border clans were sought to serve as light cavalry.
The age of the reiver ended with the uniting of the crowns in 1603. When King James VI of Scotland was crowned James I of England, two separate nations became one. For the free flow of trade and travel the border region had to be tamed. James dealt harshly with border clan families and ultimately brought a level of peace to a land that had not experienced peace for three centuries.
(c) 2014 Skip Hall All rights reserved.
From the mid 13th century until the uniting of the crowns in 1603, the Border territory of Scotland and England was a region of Clan feuds, cross border raids, blackmail, and extortion. This land of moors, rolling hills, and battlefields of warring armies produced a people hardened by the elements they lived in. In order to survive, a life of cross border raids was the means by which they, the "Border Reiver", lived. For the Border Reiver a sharp sword and a fast horse were their most prized possessions.
The borders were loosely controlled by the Scottish and English crowns because reivers were a means by which to antagonize the opposing realm. However, for the Border Reiver, their allegiance was family first, border second, their respective king a distant third.
The Border Reivers