Full text: Grenzen und Grenzregionen

claiming that the Glasgow bishopric was coterminous with the kingdom of 
Nevertheless, even while we emphasize the fact that in securing a well-defined 
Border on the Solway-Esk-Cheviot-Tweed line the rulers of England and Scotland 
were prepared to see ancient units of kingship (to which they laid claim) cut in 
half, we need to make one important qualification. The English kings of the 
twelfth and thirteenth century were heavily committed to territorial and dynastic 
ambitions south of the English Channel, as dukes of Normandy, counts of Anjou, 
dukes of Aquitaine or Gascony etc. It would have suited their interest to preserve 
and consolidate the West Saxon character of their kingdom, even if this had not 
already been deeply entrenched in the geography of English government, the 
location of royal headquarters at Westminster, Windsor, Winchester, Clarendon 
and Gloucester, the distribution of royal demesne and of the richest sources of 
royal revenue. Although the kings from William Rufus (1087-1100) to Edward I 
took very seriously their grip upon Cumbria and Northumbria, they could not 
spend much time visiting these regions which were remote from the castles, hun¬ 
ting lodges, monasteries and rich trading towns of southern England, Normandy, 
Maine, the lower Loire valley, Poitou and Gascony whence their power was 
derived and where, one feels, their hearts really lay. 
The much poorer Scottish kings, by contrast, were drawn to the northern sections 
of Cumbria and Northumbria which the Solway-Tweed Border allowed them. Even 
a casual glance at the maps which scholars have constructed of twelfth- and 
thirteenth-century Scotland would show how important in this period were the 
valleys of Tweed and Teviot, the (by Scottish standards) agriculturally well- 
favoured province of Lothian, and, further west, Clydesdale and the Ayrshire 
plain8. Here with few exceptions were the wealthiest Scottish trading towns 
(burghs'), Berwick upon Tweed, Roxburgh, Haddington, Edinburgh, Stirling, 
Rutherglen, Renfrew and Ayr9. Here also, again with relatively few exceptions, 
were the religious houses on which the royal house and its most favoured followers 
lavished their surplus wealth (chiefly in the form of land), the abbeys of Jedburgh, 
Kelso, Dryburgh, Melrose, Newbattle, Holyrood and Paisley, the priories of 
Coldingham, Haddington, Manuel and Lesmahagow10. Of the numerous centres 
of royal government in active use in the earlier medieval period only Aberdeen, 
Perth and Forfar, north of the Forth, could compare in importance with Stirling, 
Linlithgow, Edinburgh, Roxburgh, Jedburgh, Rutherglen, Ayr and Berwick south 
of the Forth. 
The consequence of this was that the Border was of much more immediate concern 
to the rulers of Scotland than it was to the rulers of England. At least this was true 
Chronicon de Lanercost, ed. Stevenson, J. (Glasgow, Maitland Club, 1839), 65. 
8 E.g., McNeill, P. and Nicholson, R., An Historical Atlas of Scotland, c.400-c,1600 (St. Andrews, 1975), 
maps 22-3, 28-30, 36-8, 50-1. 
9 Ibid., maps 28-29; Pryde, G., The Burghs of Scotland (Oxford, 1965). 
1 ® Cowan, I.B. and Easson, D.E., Medieval Religious Houses, Scotland (1976). 

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