The Scottish Middle March, 1573-1625

The Scottish Middle March, 1573-1625

Power, Kinship, Allegiance

Anna Groundwater


Royal Historical Society



A new investigation of James I and VI's policy in the troubled Border region between England and Scotland.
The Scottish Borders experienced dramatic change on James VI's succession to the throne of England: where characteristically hostile Anglo-Scottish relations had encouraged cross-border raiding, James was to prosecute a newly consistent pacification of crime in the region. This volume explores his actions in the Middle March, the shires of Roxburgh, Peebles and Selkirk, by examining governmental processes and structures of power there both before and after Union. It suggests that James utilised existing networks of authority, with the help of a largely co-operative Borders elite that remained in place after 1603; kinship and alliance helped to form these networks, and government is shown to have used their associated obligations. The book thus overturns the traditional view of a semi-anarchic region beyond the control of government in Edinburgh.
Building on this account of the transformation wrought by Union, the volume also places the Middle March in the context of Scottish state formation and the intensification of administrative activity and political control, particularly within James' determined efforts to suppress feuding. It therefore tests wider claims made by historians about the changing nature of governance and judicial processes in early modern Scotland as a whole, and within a nascent "Great Britain".

Anna Groundwater lectures in British and Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh.


248 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series
Hardback, 9780861933075, September 2010
Paperback, 9781843838388, August 2013
Library eBook
Royal Historical Society
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

A frontier society?
The socio-political structure of the Middle March
The administrative structure of the Middle March
Middle March men in central government
Crime, feud and violence
The road to pacification, 1573-1597
Pacification, 1597-1625


A well-written and substantial contribution to our understanding of early modern Scotland. SCOTTISH STUDIES NEWSLETTER

Will be of interest not just for scholars of the region, but for those interested in kinship and feuding, the development of governance in Scotland, and Anglo-Scottish relations under James VI and I. SIXTEENTH-CENTURY JOURNAL

This book is a window into the ways that the monarch, government and local power brokers were able to create stability. It reconsiders Borders history from a Scottish perspective, while forming a crucial piece of the scholarship on Britishness. HISTORY SCOTLAND

Should be read by those interested in the history of borderlands. NORTHERN HISTORY

This careful analysis is an indispensible addition to 17th-century Scottish, Stuart and British history. Essential. CHOICE

A valuable contribution to the history of the Scottish state. INNES REVIEW

Well researched, well written and contains a lot of new information for any who are interested in Borders history. SOUTHERN REPORTER

Author Bio

Anna Groundwater lectures in British and Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh..

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