Thursday, April 15, 2021

Scottish English Wars, Skirmishes and Reiving

England and Scotland have had a tumultuous past. Scotland is said to have been founded as a kingdom around 843. England became a sovereign state in 927. The two kingdoms have fought many a battle over land. Because of this, the border between the two countries fluctuated with the strength of a nation. If I counted correctly there were at least 35 wars and battles with just England! The official 'Border Wars' started in 1000.

Because of this animosity between the two kingdoms, reivers arose who would go over the border and steal cattle, burn crops, raid houses, and burn buildings and homes. This type of activity went on during the end of the 13th and into the 14th century. Reivers were not only Scottish coming down to reive and raid England, but Englishmen also crossed the border north to take advantage of the lawlessness at the border. 

Many times the medieval time period as a whole is portrayed as lawless where men and lords could do anything with little repercussions. But that wasn't the case. Law and ordered was enforced if it wasn't the borderland. Lords were held to a high standard and couldn't do as they please as so often portrayed.

By G Cattermole - Scanned from an old print, Public Domain,

But then there was the border land. The kings of both countries tired of the battles and skirmishes that never seemed to end. The wars and skirmishes never really solved anything. The border line may move north or south until the next war but the fighting continued on. The kings had pretty much given up on this part of their country and any sort of peace for it. Instead, they concentrated on other things leaving the borderland wild and unforsaken. Castles were built near the border to add some sense of security for the people and property. But the border lords couldn't contain the lawlessness.

The warring between the countries continued well on into the late 16th century. The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh took place near Musselburgh Scotland in 1547 and was the last set piece battle between Scotland and England before the Union of the Crowns. It was a devastating defeat for Scotland and became known as Black Saturday.

Within a few years, Scotland felt the pains of a major religious reformation. England, would experience their own difficulty under Queen Mary I. Because of the internal difficulty both countries were more focused on their own problems than fighting each other.

Peace was finally ensured when James VI of Scotland became King of England in 1603. He had been raised as a Protestant and was also the son of Mary, Queen of the Scots.

Trying to stay true to history in my new release, Sword of Trust, Bryce, an English lord living on the borderland is forever fighting the Scottish reivers, but one strong willed female reiver really gets his blood pumping.

Deirdre Mackenzie has spent her life hiding from her father and hating the English. However, when she is caught stealing from an English laird, his unexpected kindness begins to melt away her hatred and strums lonely heartstrings longing for love. Bryce Warwick discovers the “boy” caught with his livestock is actually a young woman. After several attempts to lure the truth from her, he determines she is as deceitful as his late fiancĂ©e who nearly cost him his life. But the woman is the least of his worries with the turbulence brought on by threats of another border war and by King Richard's distrust of the nobles.

With old wounds in need of healing and adversaries who would ruin their chances at true love, both must learn to trust in a way they never knew possible.
The stakes are high, secrets prevail, and treason is just a kiss away.

Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 4 horses, 3 dogs, a miniature donkey, and 6 pekin ducks.


  1. Very interesting. I'm not familiar with reivers. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for posting! I wonder how it goes these days for countries (or states) in warring areas near borders?
    This is a GREAT book!