Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Reiver Curse

All the time we have been here in England we have been in an area has seen its fair share of turmoil. The Scots and the English were in a constant state of warfare for almost 1000 years. During that period of time there was also the problem of the border reivers. They were kind of private raiders and plunderers who moved across the area burning farms, stealing cattle and creating general mayhem,

Shelley’s family and mine seem to have roots in this area. Shelley’s family, the Salkeld’s were on what is now the English side raiding north. Hunter was on the Scottish side raiding south.

The Archbishop of Glasgow, Davin Dunbar was quite upset about the state of affairs and, insisted that a curse on the reivers be read from the pulpit in every parish.

In Carlisle there is a stone with a part of the curse engraved in it and the reiver names are carved into the floor. The sculptor was from a reiver family. Part of the curse is below.

I curse their heid and all the haris of thair heid; I curse thair face, thair ene, thair mouth, thair neise, thair tongue, thair teeth, thair crag, thair shoulderis, thair breist, thair hert, thair stomok, thair bak, thair wame, thair armes, thais leggis, thair handis, thair feit, and everilk part of thair body, frae the top of their heid to the soill of thair feet, befoir and behind, within and without. I curse thaim gangand, and I curse them rydland; I curse thaim standand, and I curse thaim sittand; I curse thaim etand, I curse thaim drinkand; I curse thaim walkand, I curse thaim sleepand; I curse thaim risand, I curse thaim lyand; I curse thaim at hame, I curse thaim fra hame; I curse thaim within the house, I curse thaim without the house; I curse thair wiffis, thair barnis, and thair servandis participand with thaim in their deides. I way thair cornys, thair catales, thair woll, thair scheip, thjair horse, thair swyne, thair geise, thair hennes, and all thair quyk gude. I wary their hallis, thair chalmeris, thair kechingis, thair stanillis, thair barnys, thair biris, thair bernyardis, thair cailyardis thair plewis, thair harrowis, and the gudis and housis that is necessair for their sustentatioun and weilfair.

It goes on for 1100 words or more. A bit excessive. Some Carlisle city aldermen think the stone has brought the city bad luck and want it removed.

Both Shelley and I think the Archbishop went a bit too far. perhaps in explains why both of us have problems with authority figures.

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