In truth, however, war was never to be long a stranger to Border life; if not
national war, then the scrimmage of local feud or the foray of needy or robbed neigh-
bours. Constant reminders of the possibilities of the situation were the lines of
beacon stations for warning the inner country of the approach of invaders, one fol-
lowing a succession of heights up Annandale, the other up Nithsdale. ¹ Such a warning
in the late autumn of 1448 ² may have brought out the force that stopped a Percy
raiding column from Northumberland at Gretna between the Sark and Esk, when
Douglas and his brothers the Earls of Moray and Ormond were leaders, and the English
were thrust back into the rising tide of the Solway. This failure was an endeavour
to inflict reprisals for a Douglas raid as far as Alnwick the year before. Another
example of what the border country was specially exposed to suffer is in the raiding
activity of English columns for many months after Flodden. In May 1514 Lord
Dacre completes his report of destruction thus:
"And upon the West Marchies of Scotland, I haif burnt and distroyed the town-
shipps of Annand, Dronok, Dronokwod, Tordoff, Fyshegewghe, Stokes, Estrige, Rye-
lande, Blawetwood, Foulsyke, Westhill, Berghe, Rigge, Stapilton, Wodhall, Rayn-
patrike, Woddishill, Overbrotts, Nethirbrotts, Elistrige, Caluertsholme, Beltemmount,
Hole, Kirkpatrike, Hyrdhill, Mossesyde, Stakehughe, Bromeholme, Walghopp,
Walghopdale, Baggraye, Murtholme, Langhane, Grymesley, and the Watter of Esk,
fro Stabulgorton downe to Cannonby, beyng vi myle in lienth. Where as there was,
in all tymes passed, ccccth pleughes, and above; whiche er now clerely waisted, and
noo man duelling in any of them, at this daye; saue oonly in the Towrys of Annand,
Stephill, and Walghopp." ³
These episodes were connected with national policy as a whole, but Dumfriesshire
had a standing source of trouble of its own in the Debateable Land, to which reference
has already been made (see p. xviii.). The understanding as to this piece of territory
was that there should be nothing that could be interpreted as permanent occupation
by subjects of either country. With the special exception of the priory of Canonby
and its dependencies, it was to be a Border waste. Settlements upon it might be
raided with impunity, but clearly there was here an opening for difference of judgment.
Thus, on 23rd June 1517, some leading Dumfriesshire gentry, including the brother of
Lord Maxwell the Warden, the lairds of "Hempesfielde" (Charteris of Amisfield),
Twnwald (Tinwald, Maxwell), Ross and Holmeendes (Carruthers), and John Irwen

1 Acts Parl. Scot., i. 716, A.D. 1448: "Item it is fundin statut and vsit in tyme of werfar anentis bailis
birning and keping for cuming of ane Inglis oist in Scotland, ther sal ane baill be brynt on Trailtrow hill;
and ane uther on the Panchnat (Panteth) hill; ane on the Bailze (Bailie) hill, abone the Holmendis; ane on
the Coldanis (Cowdens), abone Castelmylk; ane on Quhitwewin (Whitwollin), in Drivisdaill; ane on the
Burane Skentoun (see Art. 18), in Apilgarth perochin; ane on the Browane (Brown) hill; and ane on
the Bleise, in the tenement of Wamfray; ane on Kyndilknok (Kinnelknock), in the tenement of
Johnestoune; ane on the Gallowhill, in Moffet perochin: and syne in Nyddisdaill, ane on the Wardlaw;
ane on Rahothtoun (? Trohoughton); ane on Barlouch (Beacon Hill); ane on the Pantwa hill (same as
above); ane on the Malowhill (Art. 339); ane on Corswyntoun (Corsincon); ane on Crwfell (Crufell,
Sanquhar); ane on the fell abone the Dowlwerk (? Dowlarg); and ane on the Watchfell. And to ger
thir balis be kepit and maid the shiref of Nyddisdaill and the stewart of Ananderdaill, and the stewart
of Kirkcudbricht, in Gallowai, salbe dettouris, and quhasa kepis nocht the balis ordinance and statut
beand maid in tym of werfar sal pay for ilk defalt a merk."
Most of these sites can still be identified on the map, as given above from a paper by Dr George
Neilson in Trans. Glasgow Arch. Soc. (1889-95), p. 356. The watch tower on Panteth hill (Mouswald)
was still identifiable as late s 1845 (New Stat. Acct., iv. p. 445).
2 On the date, see Scot. Hist. Rev., vol. ix. p. 197.
3 Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 462; cf. Letters and Papers, Henry VIII., vol. i. p. 806.


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