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The Debatable Land Audiobook by Graham Robb

The last place to be conquered #neoublie

Don't miss the opportunity to listen to the full audiobook The Debatable Land, free at our library. The Debatable Land was an independent territory which use...

Border warlock
Border Reiver Family Heritage & Genealogy

Border warlock

Witchcraft in the Borders-

North Berwick saw Scotland’s first mass witch trial take place in the late 16th century, at a time where a climate of fear surrounding magic had already compelled the Scottish justiciary to put into law the Witchcraft Act in 1563. The case of the North Berwick witch trials bears out not only the scope of misdeeds that would constitute witchcraft, but also the terrible lengths to which prosecutors would go to extract confessions from witches.

Moreover, the involvement of King James VI, which was to prove instrumental in the execution of many of those suspected of witchcraft in these cases, illustrated that fear of sorcery transcended class barriers. After having tried and failed on numerous ocassions to bring his prospective bride, the 14-year-old Anne of Denmark, to Scotland due to storms at sea, he suspected witchcraft at work. Suspicion initially fell on Geillis Duncan, a local maid who had been seen practicing healing (from which it was deduced that she could also harm). Under torture, she implicated three others in sorcery, and proof of her witchcraft had been established via ‘the Devil’s mark’ discovered on her neck. Alleged witches and warlocks from across Edinburgh and East Lothian were implicated, including Agnes Sampson, Agnes Thompson, Doctor Fian, Robert Grierson, Barbara Napier and Euphame Macalyean. Most or all of the accused were tortured into confessing witchcraft, with the Devil’s mark found on their necks. The presence of Satan at a gathering that the accused had attended had also been recounted; a man dressed in black had allegedly instructed the witches that the king should be killed, an oath that was sealed by a kiss on the Devil’s buttocks.

Macabre rituals were relayed in confessions given to the king, including meetings where a cat had been thrown out to sea in order to prevent the king’s ship’s safe arrival. In another account, a wax likeness of the king had been made in order to aid the witches’ plot against him. Most bizarrely, venom from a toad had been extracted and mixed with urine along with a foal in an oyster shell, again concocted to aid the monarch’s demise. Some of the witches were well-connected individuals in their towns and cities, often mingling or associated with gentry, but they nevertheless , saw their end at the hands of the hangman, with only the man alleged to have orchestrated the entire affair, Francis Stewart, the Earl of Bothewell, acquitted of the charges brought against him. Bothwell’s acquittal came about after it was argued that Richard Graham, one of the accused sorcerers who was executed in 1592, gave testimony against Bothwell that was concluded at trial to be unreliable given his reputation as a sorcerer, and hence his unreliability as a witness.

The case of Isobel Gowdie, in contrast to many other Scottish witch trials, was marked by the accused’s readiness to confess her crimes. The extent of Gowdie’s confessions were also remarkable: under seemingly little duress, she confessed details of meetings with the Devil and of various witchcraft practices familiar to the general public. Among her many confessions upon apprehension on the suspicion of witchcraft in 1662, Gowdie had claimed that she had renounced her baptism and given herself to Satan: “I denyed my baptism, and did put the one of my hands to the crowne of my head, and the other to the sole of my foot, and then renuncit all betwixt my two hands, to the Devill.” Other activities that Gowdie confessed to included sexual encounters with the Devil, changing straws into horses, meeting with the Queen of the Fairies, stealing milk from cattle using magic, and, worst of all, the attempted destruction of the Laird of Park’s children through witchcraft. Other confessions included how she and other witches had charms for various uses, from transmogrification to curing ailments and diseases, and even charms for killing or maiming others. She recounted one man, Harry Forbes, a minister of the Auldearn parish, whom she and other witches wished prolonged suffering upon. A noxious concoction of gall’s flesh, toads’ guts, barley, finger and toenail clippings, a hare’s liver and cloth pieces had been made to aid the endeavour, with a song also recited by the conspiring witches. Gowdie, who also offered lascivious details of her encounters with the Devil detailing his sexual prowess and physical appearance, is a difficult case to square: not enough information exists to know the degree to which she was prompted to give these answers by her interrogators, nor is it known in what mental state she was in when giving these confessions. It can be said that she had a certain amount of pride in the activities she described, outwith the murders she admits to (it is noted that she expressed regret for these acts).

No record exists of what happened to her and the many witches implicated by her testimony, but it can be reasonably deduced that she and the others named were executed. The Witches of Bo’ness One of the last major witch trials in Scotland took place in Bo’ness, where six people were tried and executed for partaking in witchcraft as well as associating with the Devil. By 1679, scepticism was growing among the general public about witchcraft, and instances of witchcraft were not as widely reported as they once were. Moreover, prosecutions that did come about seemed to amount to little more than drunken or libidinous behaviour, which, when framed in the context of the time, was concluded to be the product of sorcery or some similar evil. The accused, five women and one man, were said to have been in the Devil’s company as they all drank ale. Some of the women were also alleged to have had sex with the Devil. The group were also charged with conspiring to bring harm to a man named Andrew Mitchell, but details on whether they succeeded in the alleged endeavour, as well as any record of what became of the man, are scant, and therefore hard to verify. It is thought that William Craw, one of the co-accused, may have been playing a confidence trick on the women, many of whom were vulnerable and lonely, in partnership with ‘the Devil’, likely an accomplice of his. Or, it may be that the group merely took refuge from their lives by way of alcohol and partying, the indulgence of which may have been tantamount in the eyes of a jury to being involved in witchcraft. All six were executed in Corbiehill, strangled and burnt at the stake.


Border Reiver Family Heritage & Genealogy
Border Reiver Family Heritage & Genealogy

Border Reiver Family Heritage & Genealogy

Researching the heritage of the Border Reivers along the Anglo-Scottish Borders. Surname origins and Y-chromosome DNA analysis.

Named as a reminder of past clan territory  and family's nearby , Graham's of Blaatwood, Torduff, Dornock and Stapleton ...
Graham Arms

Named as a reminder of past clan territory and family's nearby , Graham's of Blaatwood, Torduff, Dornock and Stapleton Towers, https:/

Family run Restaurant and Bar open Thursday to Monday

Big respect to Tom moss - For starting the ball rolling -
tom moss - Google+

Big respect to Tom moss - For starting the ball rolling -

tom moss - Factory Manager, Textile Company - Lappet Manufacturing, Carlisle. - Walton, Cumbria, England - Textile technologist who excelled at Latin and Literature at school. Great love of history, especially the English Scottish Border from Roman times to the Border Reivers. Love my job through th...


There have been eight baronetcies created for persons with the surname Graham, two in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia, two in the Baronetage of England, one in the Baronetage of Great Britain and three in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom.

The Graham Baronetcy, of Braco in the County of Perth, was created in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia on 28 September 1625 for William Graham. The title became dormant on the death of the fourth Baronet in c. 1700 but has since been assumed by the Duke of Montrose.

The Graham Baronetcy, of Esk in the County of Cumberland, was created in the Baronetage of England on 29 March 1629 for Richard Graham. He represented Carlisle in Parliament, was a Gentleman of the Horse to King Charles I and fought at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642. The third Baronet served as Ambassador to France and as Secretary of State to King James II. In 1681 he was created Lord Graham of Esk and Viscount Preston in the Peerage of Scotland. After the Glorious Revolution he was condemned for high treason but was later pardoned. The peerages became extinct on the death of the third Viscount in 1739. The late Viscount was succeeded in the baronetcy by his kinsman William Graham, the sixth Baronet.[1] The thirteenth Baronet never successfully proved his succession and was never on the Official Roll of the Baronetage. As of 31 December 2013 the present Baronet also has not successfully proven his succession and is therefore not on the Official Roll of the Baronetage, with the baronetcy considered dormant since 1975.[2]

The Graham Baronetcy, of Norton Conyers in the County of York, was created in the Baronetage of England on 17 November 1662 for Richard Graham. This was in honour of his services to The Restoration of the monarchy. Graham was the second son of the first Graham Baronet of the 1629 creation.

The Graham Baronetcy, of Gartmore in the County of Stirling, was created in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia on 28 June 1665 for William Graham. The title became extinct on the death of the second Baronet in 1708.

The Graham Baronetcy, of Netherby in the County of Cumberland, was created in the Baronetage of Great Britain on 15 January 1783 for James Graham. He later represented Ripon in the House of Commons. This branch of the Graham family was descended from the Very Reverend William Graham, fourth son of the second Baronet of the 1629 creation. The second Baronet was a prominent statesman and notably served under Lord John Russell as Home Secretary from 1841 to 1846. In 1885, Lady Hermione Graham, the mother of the fourth Baronet and a daughter of the twelfth Duke of Somerset, inherited Somerset House in Park Lane, but it was soon sold.[3] The sixth Baronet held the honorary post of Lord-Lieutenant of Cumberland from 1958 to 1968 and was President of the Country Landowners Association from 1971 to 1973.

The Graham Baronetcy, of Kirkstall in the County of York, was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom on 3 October 1808 for James Graham. He sat as Member of Parliament for Carlisle between 1812 and 1825. The fifth Baronet was Lieutenant-Governor of Grenada from 1875 to 1877. On his death in 1895 the title became extinct.

The Graham Baronetcy, of Larbert House in Larbert and of Househill in Dunipace in the County of Stirling, was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom on 4 December 1906 for John Graham. He was a member of the firm of William Graham and Co, merchants, of Glasgow, and of Grahams Co, of London, East India merchants. This branch of the Graham family is descended from John, third son of Sir Davis Graham, ancestor of the Dukes of Montrose. The fourth Baronet was Ambassador to Iraq from 1974 to 1977 and to Iran from 1979 to 1980.

The Graham Baronetcy, of Dromore in the County of Down, was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom on 23 January 1964 for Clarence Graham. He was a director of John Graham, Ltd, engineering contractors, and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Ulster Unionist Council from 1947 to 1963. As of 2014 the title is held by his son, the second Baronet, who succeeded in 1966.



The Debatable Land


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