How will these resources help you?
It probably hasn’t crossed your mind to teach about the Border reivers. They don’t feature in the standard textbooks and often it’s only those teaching in the Elizabethan ‘badlands’ who know what an exciting light they can shed on the 16th century. Between 1513 and 1603 the Anglo-Scottish borderlands witnessed a period of lawlessness more intense than any seen elsewhere in Europe. Economic distress, brought about by the Battle of Flodden in 1513, caused English and Scottish families, who had previously co-existed peacefully, to raid and counter-raid. They burned homes, rustled cattle and horses, and left a trail of death and destruction in their wake. Families who didn’t participate lived in fear for their lives and were frequently blackmailed. On occasion, Scottish reivers penetrated England as far as Chorley in Lancashire, and English reivers got as far as Edinburgh. The situation was so serious that Elizabeth I’s ministers seriously considered reinforcing Hadrian’s Wall. Our teaching of Anglo-Scottish relationships tends to focus on Bannockburn (1314), Mary Queen of Scots, the union of the crowns in 1603 and the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745. The activities of the Border reivers would add a depth of understanding to the teaching of Anglo-Scottish relations in general as well as more specifically to the ways in which the Elizabethan state struggled to maintain law and order. The Border reivers would also make a valuable addition to any preparatory teaching for the GCSE thematic paper ‘Crime and Punishment’.