(Irving) with his clan, entered the Debateable Land at 11 a.m. and carried off seven
hundred English cattle. The retort of Lord Maxwell to an English remonstrance was
that the English had "sett stob and staik" in the ground, and so begun an effective
occupation for their own country in violation of the above conditions. The case came
up again in 1522 for consideration at a meeting of Commissioners representing both
countries, when it was denied on behalf of the English that any settlement had
been made. Moreover, even if dwellings had been erected, that did not justify the
taking of the cattle in the daytime, it being permissible only to burn the houses and
take any men or goods within. Everything outside was inviolable except during the
night hours. ¹ The case seems to have dragged on with new pleas and no definite
result save a suggested division of the masterless territory.
More serious was the migration of Grahams and Armstrongs into the Debateable
Land. A family of Grahams, banished from Scotland about 1516, settled on the
English side of the Esk (cf. p. xxxviii.). Henry VIII., for service done, gave the eldest
son "good lands," and the head of the family or "chief" was established at Netherby.
They were allied with and favoured by neighbouring great men, associated them-
selves with other Grahams on the Sark and Leven and intermarried freely with
their neighbours, the Armstrongs. Certain of them in time received lands in Scotland
from Lord Maxwell, while others had pensions from noblemen in Scotland "for
service done and to be done"; just as certain of the Armstrongs became pensioners
of Henry VIII. and got lands in Cumberland. ² The Armstrongs were a Liddesdale
clan, with the head of the family at Mangertoun, but apparently had grown too
numerous for their share of Liddesdale. Parties of them, during the 16th century,
migrated into the neighbouring river valleys of Ewes, Esk, and Wauchope, and one
company settled in the northern part of the untenanted Debateable Land, thus
becoming neighbours to the Grahams. These two clans were "well matched for a
pair of quiet ones"; for both, in view of what is said above, it was a necessity that
they should hold their position by force; and their opportunist politics and irregular
habits within a disputed territory were a main source of local and international
trouble on the West March (cf. p xxxviii.).
Now in 1518 we hear that the Armstrongs "ar in the Debateable landis and
agreit with Ingland, and kepis there markat daily in Ingland." ³ Ten years later
three Armstrongs - John, Simon, and Thomas - each called "the laird," and two
others have erected their towers in the district. Lord Dacre, the English Warden,
was accused of conniving at the Scots settlements. ⁴ This encroachment, however,
was apparently not agreeable to higher quarters, and Dacre undertook an expedi-
tion against them. The Armstrongs were warned, and Dacre suffered a humiliating
repulse, though he succeeded in burning "ane place called the Holehouse," which
was apparently the tower by the river Esk, now called the "Hollows" (No.43).
On the same day the Armstrongs made a counterstroke to Netherby and worked their
will there. When Dacre demanded compensation for the Netherby raid, Lord
Maxwell presented a contra account in the burning of the Hollows. Dacre pointed
out that the "Holl house" was an illegal residence, since it was in the Debateable
Land: ⁵ Maxwell insisted that it was within the lordship of Eskdale. A second
descent by Dacre was more successful. He completed the burning of the houses,

1 Armstrong's Liddesdale, p. 215.
2 Border Papers, ii. Appendix.
3 Act. Dom. Con. cited in Armstrong, p. 211.
4 Letters and Papers, iv. part ii. No. 4420.
5 Ibid., No. 4014.

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