Border Reiver

1565 - 1603

Walter Scott, 5th of Buccleuch, 1st Lord Scott of Buccleuch (1565 – 15 December 1611) was a Scottish nobleman and famous border reiver, known as the "Bold" Buccleuch.

Knighted by King James VI of Scotland in 1590, Buccleuch was then appointed by him Keeper of Liddesdale and Warden of the West March (Borders). He then was appointed again as Keeper of Liddesdale in 1594. It was in this capacity that two years afterwards he orchestrated the rescue of renowned Kinmont Willie Armstrong who had been arrested 17th March 1596 and imprisoned in Carlisle Castle.

Buccleuch, in his capacity as Keeper, petitioned the English Warden Sir Thomas Scrope for Armstrong’s release without success. Unable to effect Armstrong’s release by diplomatic means, on the night of 13 April 1596 Buccleuch led a party of men to Carlisle and successfully broke Kinmont Willie Armstrong out of prison.

The raid on Carlisle Castle created a diplomatic incident between England and Scotland, which led Buccleuch to surrender himself to the English authorities and who sent him from Berwick upon Tweed to London.

When Buccleuch reached London, and, having been presented to the Queen, was asked by Elizabeth I of England how he dared to undertake an enterprise so desperate and presumptuous, Buccleuch is reported to have replied, "What is it that a man dare not do?" Unaccustomed though she must have been to such rejoinders from her own courtly nobles, Elizabeth not only did not resent the answer, but turning to a lord-in-waiting, said, "With ten thousand such men, our brother in Scotland might shake the firmest throne of Europe."

He was created a Lord of Parliament, as Lord Scott of Buccleuch, in 1606 (pursuant to a commission from King James dated 18 March 1606).

From 1604 until the truce of 1609, Buccleuch led a company of Borderers in the service of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange during the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish. This conflict in Holland became known as the eighty years war 1568-1648.

Buccleuch died on 15 December 1611, and was interred at St Mary's Kirk, Hawick.



1568 – 1648

The “Eighty Years’ War” or Dutch War of Independence ran from 1568 to 1648. The war began as a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces against the political and religious hegemony of Philip II of Spain, over the sovereignty of the Habsburg Netherlands.

The thirty years 1618-1648 war was a series of wars in Central Europe between the Protestant Union (German Evangelical States) with intervention from Danemark (1625-29), Sweden (1630-35), France plus continued Swedish particpation (1635-48) and the Catholic League (German Catholic States including Austria-Habsburg, Bavaria and Spain). It was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history. It was the deadliest European religious war, resulting in eight million casualties.

Initially a war between various Protestant and Catholic states in the fragmented Holy Roman Empire, it gradually developed into a more general conflict involving most of the great powers. These states employed relatively large mercenary armies, and the war became less about religion and more of a continuation of the France–Habsburg rivalry for European political pre-eminence.

Walter Scott, 1st Earl of Buccleuch, the son of the “Bold” Buccleuch, took up his father’s mantle in 1627 and travelled to Holland with one hundred local volunteers to take over the Buccleuch Regiment. Walter was under the command of Frederick Henry. His regiment were probably present at the sieges of Groenlo (Grol) and Maastricht. He died in London in 1633, having made several journeys back and from Holland, and is buried in Hawick.



1643 – 1647

The Great Civil War reached Francis Scott, 2nd Earl of Buccleuch on 18 Aug 1643, when   the first mustering of the fencibles was ordered against Charles I. Buccleuch wanted to do his part for the Kirk & Covenant, and at just seventeen years of age, raised a full regiment of soldiers – named the Tweeddale Foote.

The regiment mustered at Hawick on 18 Jan 1644, and entered England as part of Leven’s army; the blue bonnets were over the Border. The Tweeddale Foote fought at the battle of Marston Moor on the 1 July, where their morale broke and ran off the field. The battle though was a victory for the Scots and English Parliament. The Tweeddale Foote got the chance to redeem themselves at the siege of Newcastle a few months later, and acted with valour on the taking of the town on 19 Oct 1644.

The regiment was disbanded on 5 Feb 1647; and was remodelled, to be re-named the Colonel Walter Scott’s regiment. Francis died in Dalkeith on 22 November 1651, and was buried in Dalkeith Church.