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Chapter 2: The Description Of The East, West, And Middle Borders Of Scotland, With The Most Notable Townes And Flouds Thereof.

THE Picts had sometimes the principall and most ferrile part of that countrie, which now is vnder the regiment of the Scots, and after they had continued in the same by the space of 1171 yeares, ioined in maner in perpetuall league with the Scots, and mainteining mutuallie the warres sometimes with the Britains and Romans, and sometimes also iarring with their Scotish neighbours, at the last they fell into extreme hatred one of another, till it was brought to passe by the diuine prouidence, that the said Picts were ouerthrowne, their name extinguished, and the kingdome vnited vnto that other of the Scots for euermore. After this time furthermore, although the Scots haue béene verie oftentimes assailed with most dangerous and terrible wars, and oftentimes inuaded by enimies from diuers regions, yet such hath beene the fauour of almightie God towards them, that still they flourish and reteine their estate inuiolate.

Whatsoeuer we haue generallie spoken of Albion, that is chieflie to be vnderstood of the Scots, and farre greater, especiallie among the Scots, as they call them in the high land, as people that haue lesse to doo with forreine merchants, and therefore are lesse delicate, and not so much corrupted with strange bloud and aliance. Hereby in like sort it commeth to passe, that they are more hard of constitution of bodie, to beare off the cold blasts, to watch better, and absteine long, whervnto also it appeareth that they are bold, nimble, and thereto more skilfull in the warres. As for their faith and promise, they hold it with greatest constancie, as Hector hath set downe. Towards the Almaine sea, I find, that Scotland hath the Mers, sometime the most plentious region of the Picts for their march, which so long as the said people did inhabit it, was called Deera, or Dere; but after their expulsion, it was named Mers, that is to say, the marches or limits of their countrie. In processe of time also the Scots extended their bounds euen vnto the Twéed, which now diuideth Northumberland from the Mers.

On the other side of the countrie towards the west, sundrie small bournes descend from the Cheriot hilles, and other mounteines lieng thereabout into the Solue, diuiding Cumberland from Annandale, and so being brought into one chanell, they fall togither into the Irish ocean, & stand for the bounds of Scotland vpon that halfe of the countrie. The Cheriot hilles are in like sort taken for the middle marches of the region, which with certeine small brookes that fall from the same, doo separate both the countries, whereby their limits are knowne. The Mers hath vnder marches at seuerall places (whither it is extended) as sometime the Germane sea, sometime east Louthian, sometime the Twéed, and sometime the Forth, and among manie strong holds and castels, that stand vpon the borders, is the towne and castell of Barwike in time past called Ordolucium, as the inhabitants are called Ordoluci (if Hector be not deceiued.)

The Twéed springeth out from a meane head, and after his augmentation with other small waters that fall into the same, it descendeth with a large course into the Almaine sea. Beyond the Twéed, to the middle march vnder the Cheriot hilles lieth Teuidale, that is to say, the vale of Tiffe: beyond it is Eskedale, or the vale of Eske, of a riuer so called that runneth through the same: ouer against Eskedale on the other side lieth Eusdale, so named of the riuer Eus that passeth thereby, and falleth into the water of Annand: but Tif and Eske doo run into the Twéed: furthermore, on the west side ouer against the Irish sea, lieth Annandale, wherevnto the Annand water giueth denomination, which marcheth sometimes without the bounds of Niddesdale, where all the three riuers aforesaid, that is to say, Eus, Anand and Sulway descend togither in one bottome into the Irish seas.

In Annandale is a loch or lake named Lochmaben, fiue miles in length and foure in bredth, not onlie verie full of fish, but of such kind as few men are acquainted with. Beside this lake also there is a castell of the same name, builded of purpose to restreine the furious dealing of théeues which doo great hurt in those quarters. For not onlie in Annandale, but in all the dales or vales afore rehearsed, are manie strong théeues, which often spoile the countrie, and exercise much cruell slaughter vpon such as inhahit there, in anie troublous time. These robbers (because the English doo border vpon their drie marches, and are their perpetuall enimies) doo often make forceable rodes into the English bounds, for their better maintenance and sustentation, or else they pilfer priuilie from them, as men leading in the meane season a poore beggerlie and verie miserable life. In the time of peace also, they are so invred to theft and rapine, that they cannot leaue off to steale at home: and notwithstanding that they be often verie sore handled therefore, yet they thinke it praisewoorthie to molest their aduersarie, as they call the truer sort, whereby it commeth to passe, that manie rich and fertile places of Scotland lie wast and void of culture for feare of their inuasion.

Not far from the Sulwaie (a water where great plentie of fish is to be had) are manie quicke-sands, and those so perilous that no man may well go ouer the same, but with great difficultie and danger of his life. This vale of Annand was sometime called Ordouicia, and the people thereof Ordouices, whose ancient barbarousnesse is reported to be such, that in times past they refused not to kill and eate such prisoners as had yéelded themselues vnto them. The verie women in like sort would slea their husbands, if at anie time they fled from the field, and returned to their houses, onelie to giue occasion vnto other men to stand to their tacklings at euerie such aduenture. On the west borders and also toward the north lieth Niddesdale, so called of the water of Nidde. It beginneth with a verie narrow course, and increasing broder in the middle marches of Scotland, it finallie restreineth itselfe againe, till it commeth at the sea, whither it runneth with a swift course, as the Scotish writers doo report. In this vale standeth a towne named Dunfrise, wherein manie fine clothes speciallie whites are made, which are brought vp and caried into England, France, Flanders, and Germanie, where they are had in great price and estimation.

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