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Rescue of Kinmont Willie

  1. Oct 15, 2005 #1

    Evo

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    Staff: Mentor

    I was reading about Scottish Reivers and this was a colorful tidbit.

    The rescue of Kinmont Willie Armstrong

    Three of the most celebrated Reivers of all time were Kinmont Willie Armstrong, Wat Scott of Harden and Geordie Burn. The night before he was hanged in 1596, Geordie Burn admitted that ‘he had lain with above forty men's wives …and that he had killed seven Englishmen with his own hand, cruelly murdering them; that he had spent his whole time in whoring, drinking, stealing and taking deep revenge for slight offences’.’

    Kinmont Willie prided himself on his large scale raids, targeting whole areas rather than individual farms or villages. He would ride at the head of some 300 Reivers, known as ‘Kinmont’s bairns’. One of the most famous incidents in Border history involves the rescue of Kinmont Willie from Carlisle Castle on 13th April 1596.

    On 17th March 1596, a truce-day was held in the Borders, so that Scots and English could meet to negotiate deals and treaties. On the Scottish side was one William Armstrong of Kinmont or 'Kinmont Willie' - perhaps the most notorious of all the Border Reivers.

    As Willie was riding home to his tower at Morton Rigg, just north of Carlisle, a band of Englishmen broke the truce and apprehended him. Kinmont Willie was escorted to Carlisle in chains.
    Willie had been a prisoner of the English for almost a month when the Keeper of Liddesdale, Scott of Buccleuch, decided to launch a rescue attempt. 'Bold Buccleugh' and his party of about eighty men entered the castle on Sunday 13th April and rescued Willie from the English, who were under the command of Sir Thomas Scrope, 10th Lord Scrope of Bolton KG (Knight of the Garter). Buccleugh had bribed a member of the garrison to leave a door unbarred.

    Sir Thomas Scrope

    Together Buccleugh and Willie made good their escape with Scrope in hot pursuit. Scrope was so angered by the audacity of the rescue that he vented his anger by burning the towns of Annan and Dumfries to the ground, capturing two hundred prisoners whom he marched home 'naked, chained together on leashes'. This caused a major diplomatic incident, Queen Elizabeth was furious with Scrope.

    It was also said that north of the Border, James VI of Scotland was so terrified that Buccleugh had ruined his chances of succeeding Elizabeth on the throne of England that he ordered Buccleugh to hand himself over to the English.

    And as for wiley Willie, he was never apprehended again and is said to have died of old age in his bed. The tale of his escape recorded forever in the Ballad of Kinmont Willie.

    Ballad of Kinmont Willie
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2005 #2

    wolram

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    Gold Member

    Another famous Reiver, was Walter scott of Harden or Auld Wat, there are some tales i read of him but remember only parts, one is that his clan would bring him
    his spurs in a covered dish as a hint that stores were getting low.
     
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