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Border Neighbours

No love lost between Border neighbours, 1596
As this document shows (small extract above), stories of the violence of Border Reiving on the border between Scotland and England have not been exaggerated. This extract is from the Border Commission's enquiries into the 'Redress of Grievance'. This evidence, collected in 1596, records that many people in Cumberland were murdered by 'Scotes theves'.

We fynde that many great and haynous murders have been and yet continually are committed and daylie increased by the Scotes theves upon hir majesties good subjects to the undoing and discouragement of many for that the wardens of late years have used by agreement amongst themselves to permytt the prosecution of justice in such case and referre the same to the Princes of both Realms so that now the murder of a man is as lytle or rather less feared than the stealing of a cowe.

Carlisle's fear of Scottish invaders, 1745
Hatred flared in Carlisle in 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie captured the city after a two week siege. The inhabitants of Carlisle were convinced that the Highlanders would put their babies onto a spit, roast and eat them! A letter at Barrow Record Office describes the scene a few weeks later as the Duke of Cumberland turned the tables on the retreating Jacobites and in turn laid siege to them in Carlisle Castle: 

"We could here the people Complain from the Town for Distress, which Affected me much they often called for any kind of provissions for Gods Sake and some called Twelve pence for a penny loaf, and doubtless they are in great want"

The lack of food heightened the fear that the rebels would resort to cannibalism!