Thursday, February 14, 2019

The 'Border Clearances' and the Graham Reivers in Roscommon

(this was emailed to me by a friend a few years ago)

After the so-called ‘Ill Week’, when the riding clans of the Scottish borders raided deep into England after the accession of James I in 1603 in search of plunder, radical measures were taken to bring law and order to the Borders.

In the crackdown that followed ‘terror tactics’ were used. ‘Clan leaders, were dealt with. Thirty-two Armstrongs, Batys, Elliots, Johnstons and others were hanged. Fifteen more were sent into exile and 140 outlawed and in that year alone a force of 2,000 Scots left the region to fight for the Dutch in their war with Spain’.

The Graham family were singled out for ‘transportation’ or ‘transplantation’ to County Roscommon. They were to be settled together in order ‘the better to conserve their language and manners without mixture’. It proved impossible to keep the Grahams in Roscommon.

There was later a formal proposal to transplant them to Ulster in 1610. In practice, this was to happen unofficially. While keeping the Grahams together did not work in practice, the manner in which so many Scots were planted together in Scottish precincts during the Plantation of Ulster may well have helped to ‘to conserve their language and manners’.

Sources: Calendar of State Papers Ireland, James I, 1603-6, 1606-8, 1608-10; Michael Perceval Maxwell, Scottish migration to Ulster; Robert Bell, 'Sheep Stealers from the North of England': The Riding Clans in Ulster: History Ireland, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Winter, 1994), pp. 25-29


HMark said...

Mark, the past hour has slipped by very quickly as I've been dipping into your blog and then The Border Clearances came up - such a coincidence as I'm reading Alister Moffat's history book The Reivers. I interviewed him years ago for Radio 4 'Open Country' deep in Reiver Country - and I discovered along with many's a good story that as a student he'd worked a summer or two in our family lemonade business in Kelso. Anyway, great blogging Mark,