The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers

Overview


From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, outlaws reigned supreme on the contentious frontier between England and Scotland. Feud and terror, raid and reprisal, were the ordinary stuff of life—and a way of survival. Power was held by the notorious border reivers (the "steel bonnets," named for their flashy helmets), who robbed and murdered in the name of family: the famous clans (or "grains")—like Elliot, Armstrong, Charlton, and Robson—romanticized by Sir Walter Scott. In The Steel Bonnets, George ...
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Overview


From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, outlaws reigned supreme on the contentious frontier between England and Scotland. Feud and terror, raid and reprisal, were the ordinary stuff of life—and a way of survival. Power was held by the notorious border reivers (the "steel bonnets," named for their flashy helmets), who robbed and murdered in the name of family: the famous clans (or "grains")—like Elliot, Armstrong, Charlton, and Robson—romanticized by Sir Walter Scott. In The Steel Bonnets, George MacDonald Fraser, author of the bestselling Flashman novels, and himself a borderer, tells the fascinating and bloody story of the reivers, their rise to power as ferocious soldiers of horse, and their surprisingly sudden fall from grace.
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Editorial Reviews

Hugh Trevor-Roper
A splendid book, both scholarly and readable, accurate and alive...This is a book which any historian can envy.
Independent
Fife has an infectious enthusiasm for the Tour and it shows in every sentence... A difficult book to put down.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602392656
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 301,778
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

The author of the famous Flashman series and the Private McAuslan stories, George MacDonald Fraser worked on newspapers in Britain and Canada. In addition to his novels he has also written numerous films, most notably The Three Musketeers, The Four Musketeers, and the James Bond film Octopussy. He is also the author of Quartered Safe Out Here about his World War II service in Burma, and The Steel Bonnets and The Candlemass Road about the Anglo-Scottish wars. He passed away at the age of eighty-two in 2008.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: The Border Reivers 1
Pt. 1 The Making of a Frontier 11
I Hadrian draws the line
II The moving boundaries
III England v. Scotland, 1280-1500
Pt. 2 People of the Marches 31
IV Border country
V "A martial kind of men"
VI Food and shelter
VII The riding surnames
VIII Hands across the Border
IX Bangtail and company
X The game and the song
Pt. 3 "Shake Loose the Border" 83
XI Lance and steel bonnet
XII How the reivers rode
XIII Nothing too hot or too heavy
XIV A parcel of rogues (William Armstrong of Kinmont, Walter Scott of Harden, Geordie Burn)
XV Carleton's raid
XVI Hot trod and red hand
XVII The ability to kill
XVIII The Wardens of the Marches
XIX Leges Marchiarum
XX Days of truce
XXI The unblessed hand (Maxwells v. Johnstones, Grahams v. Irvines, Kerrs v. Scotts, Scotts v. Elliots, Selbys v. Grays)
XXII Terror, blackmail, kidnapping and "decaie"
XXIII "Fyre and sword upon Tuesday next"
Pt. 4 The Long Good-Night, 1503-1603 211
XXIV Flodden and after. Biographical note on Thomas Dacre
XXV The Devil, and Lord Angus
XXVI Armstrongs in action
XXVII A rope for Black Jock
XXVIII The violent peace
XXIX The road to Solway Moss. Note on the prisoners of Solway Moss
XXX The rough wooing
XXI Wharton and Maxwell
XXXII England's grip broken
XXXIII The Debateable Land
XXXIV The women's touch
XXXV Queen on the Marches
XXXVI The Countess and the reivers
XXXVII The last armies
XXXVIII Reidswire and Windygyle
XXXIX The stirring world of Robert Carey
XL "Fyrebrande"
XLI Lances to Carlisle
XLII The Carleton Brothers
Pt. 5 The Middle Shires 355
XLIII Carey's ride
XLIV Breaking the Border
XLV Malefactors of the name of Graham
XLVI The thieves dauntoned
XLVII After the riding
Appendix I: The Archbishop's Curse 382
Appendix II: The ballad of Kinmont Willie 386
Bibliography 392
Glossary 395
Index 396
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    In his history of the outlaws and border lords of the thirteenth

    In his history of the outlaws and border lords of the thirteenth through sixteenth centuries, the author of the Flashman books notes that Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson were both descendants of three notable Scottish Border clans:

    "Lyndon Johnson's is a face and figure that everyone in Dumfriesshire knows; the lined, leathery Northern head and rangy, rather loose-limbed frame belong to one of the commonest Border types.... Richard Nixon is the perfect example. The blunt, heavy features, the dark complexion, the burly body, and the whole air of dour hardness are as typical of the Anglo-Scottish frontier as the Roman Wall. Take thirty years off his age and you could put him straight into the front row of the Hawick scrum and hope to keep out of his way. It is difficult to think of any face that would fit better under a steel bonnet."
    Reivers also have a role to play in George Garret's historical novel The Succession (Doubleday and Company, 1983, 538 pages).

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    Posted May 19, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2011

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