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The Border Reivers

On 23 October 2019, our talk at the Corner House will be about the Border Reivers.

For three hundred years Northern England and Southern Scotland witnessed the longest and most savage intercnine war in history. This was largely fought by the ‘riding’ names from the upland dales of Northumberland and Liddesdale. These were not Robin Hood characters but well organised and murderous cross-border criminal mafias who preyed on the more exposed lowlands while at the same time pursuing feuds and vendettas of relentless fury which endured for generations.



This was a world where murder, theft, kidnapping and ransom were everyday activities, where loyalty to family was all that counted, these uplands became a blighted ‘threap’ a war-zone where the arts of civilisation, faith and culture could not endure. Set in authority to mind this shop of horrors were the border wardens, our versions of US Marshals but not a white hat in sight. Often the wardens were more a part of the problem than any sign of a solution.

At regular intervals the standard fare of low level conflict and raiding burst into a tornado of violence when England and Scotland were at war, a far from infrequent occurrence. Two kings of Scotland were killed by the borderers, two more captured for ransom.

Our speaker

Although he worked for nearly thirty years in law and related fields, John Sadler’s main passion has always been for military history. Living in the heart of the historic Anglo Scottish Borderland stimulated a particular  interest in ‘The Steel Bonnets’ – the sixteenth century border reivers.

He has a particular interest in historical re-enactment and interpretation for schools, community and local history groups. His approach to history is to make the experience of telling or teaching as meaningful and interactive for the audience as possible, with displays of clothing, arms, armour and firearms, demonstrations of swordplay, musket drill and the odd dash of drama. He sees delivery as much a performance as a lecture.

John is a member of Equity and a Fellow of The Royal Historical Society.

Book now

Our talk will take place on Wednesday 23 October 2019 at The Corner House, Heaton NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). All welcome. FREE for Heaton History Group members. £2 for non-members. Please book your place by contacting / 07443 594154.



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