History Jar history challenge & a store cupboard of quotes

Sir Walter Scott’s library at Abbotsford

With self-isolation and social distancing becoming a way of life some of you have said that it would be good if I could become a bit more interactive. I admit that this isn’t particularly interactive but it’s a start! Others of you have said that you need something to think about and someone suggested a quoting activity.

Your history challenge this week– should you choose to accept it- is to name as many of England’s royal consorts as you can (no cheating). According to my ruler that lists all the monarchs- not including the Empress Matilda or Lady Jane Grey there have been 41 kings and queens of England. But who were they married to? Answers next Saturday.

Store cupboard of quotes – Add your favourite quote about history in the comments. Let’s see what you come up with! Ideally add the quote and who said it. By all means say why you like it. There are no prizes I’m afraid, just the satisfaction of doing it. My favourite quote about history is actually from Winston Churchill, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

In future I will add a quote challenge on a Sunday but I thought it would be good to make a start. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Home entertainment….

And finally https://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/category/history has lots of History podcasts if you’re looking to top up your history over the coming weeks.

Wardens, Keepers and Trysting Places for Truce Days


The border lands between England and Scotland were divided into six marches.  Three on the English side: The West March (Carlisle), The Middle March (Hexham and Norham); The East March (Newcastle and Berwick) and three corresponding marches on the Scottish side.


Each march was administered by a Lord Warden and his deputy as well as other officers such as land sergeants.  The Scottish wardens were largely local men which meant that there was a tendency for them to become embroiled in family feuds and long-standing enmities.  On the English side of the border the wardens were appointed from further afield as well as from the local population.

In addition to the wardens there was also a man appointed with the title Keeper of Liddesdale.  This was a particularly thankless post as it involved administering the Debateable Land.  A patch of territory approximately twelve miles by four that was home to the Armstrongs, Eliotts and Grahams – or in other words some of the most notorious men in the borders.  It was here too that outlaws and broken men fled since it was neither Scottish nor English.  Some of Liddesdale’s keepers seem to have been as much rogues as the men they were supposed to be keeping under control – The Fifth Earl of Bothwell and the Bold Buccleuch being two that spring immediately to mind.

The wardens  and the Keeper of Liddesdale were responsible for enforcing the March Laws and for seeing that justice was done.  One of the ways of doing this was to hold a Truce Day where both sides met, bills of complaint were filed and trials held. The Ballad of Reidswire demonstrates that these meetings were not always altogether friendly! The Ballad of Kinmont Willie starts with a truce day at Kershopefoot where the English did not honour the truce to allow William Armstrong to return home.

The trysting-places of the Wardens of the Marches seem usually to have been, Riding burn ; for the Middle, Hexpeth gate on Windy Gyle or Gambles-for the Eastern March the Hanging Stone on Cheviot or the path slightly farther westward at head of Coquet ; and for the Western, Kielder stone and Kershope foot. Cp. Lord Scrope’s report, ‘ Cesford also demanded meeting at Gamblespath, instead of Kirshopfoot, the accustomed place, and put off justice for five years.’ (Calendar of Border Papers.)



Click on the horseman to access further information about Wardens and Truce Days from Howard Pease’s 1912 text.

Map showing location of Kershopefoot.



map accessed from http://www.geog.port.ac.uk/webmap/thelakes/html/lakemenu.htm (13.00, 26/02/2013)