We're quickly at Flodden Battlefield to learn about a devastating day for Scotland. Then, following the foothills of the Cheviots we're on small pretty roads with wide views and reiving stories. There's qypsy music at Kirk and Town Yetholm - the twin towns where the clan chiefs were buried after Flodden. We cross Roman 'Dere Street' before dropping into Jedburgh with its stunning medievil abbey. The way back to Hawick, home of Scottish knitwear, is by Denholm, birthplace of two extraordinary men who made an impact on the world.
Trail length is 40 miles, driving time is approximately 1 ¼ hr and the trail will take you a full day.
Please explore the trail map and plan your day by taking advantage of your Reivers Pass, free when you buy this trail.
For the best audio experience please download our free App to your Mobile/Tablet device enabling GPS activation and allowing you to relax, and just Drive and Discover.
Musical excerpts from "A Reivers Moon" By kind permission of Ian Landles and Alan Brydon
Drone footage by Above the Borders and Borders Aerial Photography
Sir James Augustus Henry Murray
1837 – 1915
James Murray was born in Denholm near Hawick, the son of a draper. From 1879 until his death in 1914, he was the principal editor of the first Oxford English Dictionary. He became a teacher at Hawick Grammar School aged 17 and three years later was headmaster. He and his wife moved to London 'to escape the Scottish winters' and he took a job in a bank whilst still pursuing his consuming interest in language and philology. He spoke six languages and had a good knowledge of twelve more. In April 1878 he was invited to Oxford to discuss the job of editing a new dictionary of the English language. It was expected to take ten years to complete and be some 7,000 pages long, in four volumes. In fact, when the final results were published in 1928, it ran to twelve volumes, with 414,825 words. All of his eleven children survived till maturity (unusual at that time) and helped him in the compilation of the OED. Murray is remembered in the 2019 film starring Mel Gibson, 'The Professor and the Madman'.
1460 – 1538
Was a Scottish abbess and spy. She was the abbess of Coldstream Abbey from 1505 to 1538. She belonged to a local landowning family who often provided abbesses to the abbey and was a personal friend to the Scottish queen, Margaret Tudor. As the abbey was near the border of England and Scotland, it was in the midst of the warfare between the nations in 1513. On hearing of the defeat at Flodden she instructed that the bodies of the dead be brought to her for burial in consecrated ground. This noble act is still commemorated each August by a ceremony in the town. She skillfully managed to balance the interests of the two nations to the benefit of the abbey and was reputed as the best agent England had in Scotland. In 1538, she was succeeded as abbess – and reputedly as agent – by her relative Janet Pringle.
Thomas Howard Earl of Surrey
1443 – 1524
The Earl was 70 years old when he led the victorious English army for King Henry VIII at the Battle of Flodden. A clever and experienced campaigner, he had fought under three previous English kings and spent three years in the Tower of London having been on the losing side at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Born into an aristocratic family he married Elizabeth Tilney on 30 April 1472, with whom he had 10 children. Elizabeth sadly died on 4 April 1497, and on 8 November 1497 he married her cousin, Agnes Tilney, and they had 7 children, seventeen children in total and was the grandfather of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard and the great grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I.
Sir Andrew Kerr of Cessford
b. 1485 – d 18 July 1526
Married Agnes Chrichton on 20 October 1487, they had two children Isabel & Walter. Ancestor of the Dukes of Roxburghe, he was the tough heidsman of the Kerrs and built his stronghold Cessford Castle. He led his men to join James IV at nearby Flodden in 1513 and survived. Continuing as a power in the land, he became ‘Warden of the Middle March’ in 1515. He was killed in 1526 while escorting King James V to London. His son, Sir Walter Kerr, murdered Walter Scott of Buccleuch in Edinburgh, but later became local advisor to Mary Queen of Scots.