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.
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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
b. 7 February 1837 – d. 26 July 1915
James Murray was born in the village of Denholm near Hawick in the Scottish Borders. At seventeen he became a teacher at Hawick Grammar School and three years later was headmaster of the Subscription Academy there. He married Maggie Scott and they had a daughter Anna, who sadly died of TB, Maggie’s health was also suffering and they were advised to move to London but within a year she also died. A year later Murray was engaged to Ada Agnes Ruthven and the following year married her, they had eleven children (all having 'Ruthven' in their name, by arrangement with his father-in-law), the eldest, Harold James Ruthven Murray became a prominent chess historian, and one son Wilfrid George Ruthven Murray wrote an account of his father. All the eleven children survived till maturity and helped him in the compilation of the OED. On 26 April 1878, he was invited to Oxford to meet the Delegates of the Oxford University Press, with a view to his taking on the job of editor of a new dictionary of the English language. On 1 March 1879, a formal agreement was put in place to edit a new English Dictionary. 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.
b. 1460 – d.1538
Was a Scottish abbess and spy. She was the abbess of Coldstream Abbey in 1505 - 1538. Belonging to a family who often provided abbesses to the Abbey in Coldstream, she became initiated in the position in 1505. She was a personal friend to the Scottish queen dowager regent, 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 between 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
b. 1443 – d. 21 May 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.