If you have read the story of Parcy Reed, you will understand why the Hall family gained a reputation for bad faith even though, on this occasion, only a small group of Halls were involved. Nevertheless, they were all 'tarred with the same brush.'

Thereafter, when any Hall sought refreshment, it became the custom to set the cheese before him bottom up to express his host's displeasure at his presence. 

It might be interesting to go to www.multimap.com and print in your surname. You may get a surprise!

Don't forget to allow for variations in spelling. 


Tweed and tweed.

The word 'tweed,' applying to the material of that name, has nothing to do with the River Tweed.

The word was derived as a result of an error made by an English clerk who wrote the Scot's word 'tweel' (woolen cloth) as 'tweed.'

Another associated word - twill.


And finally

Wearing the kilt

The kilt, being a practical outdoor garment, failed him only once, and that occurred during a short lived interest in bee-keeping.

J M Bannerman.




My luve is like a red red rose

That's newy sprung in June,

My luve is like a melody

That's sweetly played in tune.

But fair thou art, my bonnie lass

So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve you still, my dear,

Till all the seas gang dry,

Till all the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi' the sun,

And I will luve thee still, my dear

While the sands o' life shall run.

Robert Burns.   


In a Selkirkshire Churchyard

Here lies Tam Reid,

 Who was chokit to died,

 Wi' taking a feed, 

O' butter and breed, 

Wi' owre muckle speed,

 When he had nae need,

 But just for greed 
Hang a thief when he’s young, and he’ll no steal when he’s old.
Lord Braxfield


During reiving raids Scottish women were known to have accompanied their menfolk to gather up anything they found useful.


Till meets Tweed 

The Tweed is essentially a Scottish river. Only at Berwick does it have English soil on both banks. There is only one major tributary flowing from England and that is the Till. They meet north east of Coldstream, about 14 miles from the sea.


Tweed said to Till

‘What gars ye rin sae still?’

Says Till to Tweed,

‘Though ye rin wi’ speed

And I rin slaw

Whar ye droon yin man

I droon taw.’


Advice to a reiver

Never take to sawing on the branch that's supporting you, unless you're being 
hung from it.


The Unblessed Arm

The Reiver families had a tradition that when a male child was christened his right arm was excluded from the proceedings, so that, in later life, it was free to strike blows without conscience.


Castle Dungeons

Dungeons were intended to accommodate unimportant people. Usually, the nobility were provided with comfortable quarters, and they were often allowed a considerable amount of freedom. 

They might be allowed to roam around a castle, when a guard often accompanied them. This privilege was granted to Mary, Queen of Scots, during her many imprisonments. The main reason for such preferential treatment was that their prisoners were valuable and a ransom could be demanded for their complete freedom.

The less fortunate, however, were incarcerated in appalling conditions, often with death being their only means of release.

Purpose built prisons were often sited near the castle gatehouse as the guards on duty could keep an eye on the prisoners. 

The oubliette (from the French – to forget) was a purpose built windowless cell, the only entrance being a grill in the roof down which a prisoner would be lowered by a rope. Food was also delivered in this way.  The roof was too high for the prisoner to reach. 

An even worse type of oubliette was narrow and shaped like a bottle so that a prisoner could not lie down. 

Prisoners were at the mercy of their guards and would often starve to death due to neglect. 

At the Border History Museum, the old jailhouse, at Hexham, look under your feet, through the grill, at the unfortunate creature below you!




Berwick is a town of conflicts.


  • The River Tweed forms part of the boundary between Scotland and England. Berwick stands on the north bank of the river, the Scottish side, yet it is in England.
  • Berwick is the obvious county town of Berwickshire, in Scotland, yet it is in England and part of Northumberland.
  • Scots law applies to the fishing rights of the Tweed which, at that point, passes Berwick with English territory on either bank. The fishing laws extends to 4 miles into the North Sea, yet beyond 3 miles is in international waters.
  • Although Berwick is in England it is in the Scottish Football League and all its fixtures are with Scottish teams.
  • In its history as a border town is has changed allegiances 13 times.


Border Stories Index