Days of unrest in the Borders
30th April, 2018
From Medieval times to the reign of King James I in the 17th Century, there existed a vicious cycle of warfare, raiding and reprisal in the Scottish and English Borders.
Survival, therefore became the most important element in the Borderers uncertain life.
By the beginning of the 16th Century, raiding or reiving had become a way of life so when people built homes of great or small size, the emphasis was on security.
Fortified buildings on both sides of the Border range from castles to tower houses and defensible farmhouses known as bastles.
There are many of these buildings in Northumberland, some in a very ruinous condition, some complete. An almost consistent feature is lack of outside windows (and doors) at all levels.
The picture shows Hepburn (Hebburn) bastle in Glendale near Wooler Northumberland.
This small fortress is actually a storehouse from the 15th Century. It could house a garrison of 20 horsemen whose task it would be to thwart the depredations of Scottish marauders.
For more information click on Hepburn Bastle.
(Adapted from Keith Durham's 'Strongholds of the Border Reivers' Osprey Publishing Limited 2008)
Photo: Sheila Bull