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The Middle March of Scotland

Map of the Middle March of Scotland, boundaries and generalities.

The Scots Middle March was Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire and sometimes “the county of Liddisdaill”, though the last usually had a separate warden or “Keeper”. The Scots Middle March had a frontier with all three of the English Marches.

The unruly parts of the Borders lay in Roxburghshire which adjoins England. The important towns in this county were Jedburgh, Kelso and Hawick; the chief town of turbulent Teviotdale.
The Kerrs of Cessford and Ferniehurst were the two most prominent families of the March and were often at feud.

Of the whole March, Liddesdale was the most offensive to England, especially the surnames of Scott, Armstrong and Elliot. The “Keeper of Liddesdale”, who was often in league with the thieves, had a secure stronghold in the Hermitage, a very strong castle which stands on the Hermitage Water, a tributary of the Liddel. The inhabitants of this Wardenry and its western neighbour troubled England most and redress for their outrages was very hard to get.

The once prosperous town of Roxburgh no longer exists. Its proximity to the border was its undoing and it was in English hands throughout much of its history. In 1460 James II was killed at the siege of Roxburgh Castle by an exploding gun. His widow Mary of Gueldres ordered the dismantling of both the castle and the town.

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