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Guy Farrish

I think Fraser was going for exhaustive but I think I’m with you on exhausting.

The problem I find with Reivers books is that ‘serious’ approaches are really socio-economic or anthropological histories and that is quite difficult to turn into a light read or a wargame scenario.

On the other hand the popular approach suffers from romanticism and/or an episodic story that leaps about all over the border and is hard to work into a coherent theme beyond ‘Ooh! They were ‘orrible/brave weren’t they?!’ Many popular accounts concentrate on the end of the Borderers reign – the late 16th early 17th centuries but their medieval genesis probably deserves more work. I still haven’t decided whether they were any use as formed troops in armies – you sometimes get praise heaped on the other side’s border horse for their ferocity but commanders often seem to have regarded their own border horse as a mixed blessing and because of cross border family connections nobody knew whether to trust them in an Anglo-Scots battle. A bit like cossacks – a bloody nuisance – but to whom?

Add to that an urge by many 19th century/early 20th century authors to make it almost exclusively an England v Scotland thing rather than about Mafia families nicking stuff and kidnapping people and it can get confusing.

Talking of which – having been inspired to drag Fraser off the shelf yesterday and follow a few references I see that Robert Borland’s ‘Border Raids and Reivers’ is now free on Kindle.