BORDER LIFE

  The Law

This was a time when lawlessness and corruption were rife in all sections of the community. Even those who were good law abiding citizens were drawn into the web and became as corrupt as the others.

The conditions were generally caused by almost constant warring, weak government, and poverty.  

Laws were passed time and again in attempted to protect the people. No doubt their intentions were good but both governments were completely unable to enforce them.
As one official put it: 'What is needed is a law to enforce all the other laws.'
 

Border Law

ĎJust put a lighted peat on the end of a spear, or hay-fork, or sickle, and blaw a horn, and cry the gathering word, and then itís lawful to follow gear into England, and recover it by the strong hand, or to take gear frae some other Englishman, providing ye lift nae mair thanís been lifted frae you.

 

Thatís the auld Border Law, made at Durennan in the days of the Black Douglas.í

 

From ĎThe Black Dwarf.í

The Hot Trod

Victims of crime, who had had their livestock lifted, were allowed to cross the Border, 'without let or hindrance', in pursuit of the thieves up to six days after the offences, to try to recover their property. This was known as the 'hot trod.' They were required to each carry a lance tipped with burning peat and follow the trail with 'hew and cry, and hound and horn' 

 

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