Borderlords : the impact of Anglo-Scottish border magnates on government, 1341-1424
By Ashleigh McLean
Master’s Thesis, University of Guelph, 1998.
Abstract: This thesis is an investigation of the impact of the Anglo-Scottish Borderlords on their governments. An assessment of the English families of Percy and Neville illustrate that these Borderlords had a definite impact on their government. As the guardians of the frontier with Scotland, the English Borderlords had a standing army at the government’s expense due to their appointments as Wardens of the March. The wardenship and the accompanying military power made the Houses of Percy and Neville forces to be reckoned with in English government.
An investigation of the Scottish families of Douglas and Dunbar shows their evident influence on the Scottish government. It does not appear, however, that these Borderlords had a greater impact than other Scottish magnates. This is due to the different administrative policies of the Scottish government, coupled with the two countries’ different views of kingship.
Introduction: Border regions or Frontier regions provide numerous facets for historical study. The study of frontiers was begun by Frederick Jackson Turner in his 1893 essay on the American frontier and the frontier in general has been a fruitful topic for historians ever since. Medieval historians have seized on Turner’s thesis and applied it to the edges of the expanding medieval state. These frontiers have been defhed as ‘regon[s] of unremitting action between two cultures[,] at many levels From religion to domestic service, to medicine, to war, to reactive revulsion by both peoples’. The medieval border is a region where peoples of different ethnicity or customs, language and law live side-by-side,’ or places where people of different cultures struggle with each other for control of resources and political power. Medieval borden are regions where government administration forces peoples of widely divergent cultures into close proximity, and one result is only to be expected. Frontiers are areas noted for not only juxtaposing differing peoples, but the struggle for power which delineates them as ‘societies organized for war’ .