"The Borderers" is a small group of enthusiasts, from all over Britain (as well as some members who travel across from the Netherlands) who have come together in order to pursue and research the way of life of the Border Reivers - "The Steill Bonnets" - and is carried out through a programme of "Living History".
The group is based at Old Buittle Tower in Dumfries and Galloway Region in the South West of Scotland, not too far from the ancient haunts of the Reivers. The Tower is home to Jeffrey and Janet Burn who provide the facilities used by the society, which include horses, stables, a forge, a dyeing facility and a recreated Period Kitchen and Medieval Hall. The work of the Society can be seen by the public at weekend shows. The Easter and August Bank Holidays events are open to the general public. Other events are held approximately every six weks apart from Easter to December (see “Diary” page). A more specialized weekend is held with our last event of the year, the Christmas Fayre held in early December. Admission to this event is by pre-booked ticket and is limited to 20 people per day on the Saturday and Sunday of the weekend. The cost of £16 (£10 for children) includes a Period Lunch (with wine!). For further information ring 01556 612 607 or hit the “Ticket Events” button above.
The Border Reivers were bands of brigands, organized in family groups (rather like the Clans of the Highlands of Scotland) who caused anarchy in the lands on either side of the Scotland-England Border for over 300 years, from the 13th Century until the early years of the 17th Century. They committed theft, robbery, 'recett' (the selling on of stolen goods), murder, wounding, arson, kidnapping and extortion. Their actions introduced words such as "Blackmail", "Bereaved" and "Gang" into the English language.
Although the Reivers spanned the 13th to 17th Centuries, we portray them and their lives as they would have been in the 16th Century, when they were at the height of their power. To find out more about the Society click on any of the links at the top of the page.
The efficacy of the Archbishop's Curse [at the top of the page] can be gauged from the fact that in November 2001 a Christian group in Carlisle said they would be writing to the Roman Catholic Church to ask someone in authority to have they curse lifted. They blamed it for the severity and length of the outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease which hit Cumbria worse than anywhere else in the country!!!
A 2005 update to the above: Carlisle City Councillors have been asked to remove a large boulder which had been placed at the city’s Tullie House Museum as part of the Millenium improvements. On this boulder is inscribed a portion of the Archbishop’s curse. This is now being blamed for the floods which devastated parts of the city at Christmas 2004, the closure of many of the city’s industrial firms with its resultant unemployment and even for the inability of Carlisle United, the city’s football tem, to score goals. Carlisle Councillors turned down the request. The original curse must have taken a long time to have an effect on the Reivers - 1525 to 1610 in fact.
".....I curse thair heid and all the haris of the thair heid; I curse their face, thair een, thair mooth, thair neise, thair toung, thair crag, thair shoulderis, thair breist, thair hert, thair stomok, thair bak, thair wame, thair airmes, thair leggis, thair handis, thair feit, and everilk pairt of thair body, frae the top of thair heid tae the soill of thair feit, before and behind, within and withoot....."
Part of a curse placed on the Border Reivers by The Archbishop of Glasgow in 1525
Please browse though the site - though it might take you a while! On it you will find not only information about our group but about the Border Reivers in general. Please e-mail if you have any information you feel should be on the site or any questions about Reiving or The Borderers.
All photos on this website (unless stated otherwise) are © Seán Barbour, The Borderers. For permission to use these images please use the “E-Mail Us” Button