Murderer,thief And Blackmailer – Border Reiver Richie

Arts-and-Entertainment Richie Graham of Brackenhill was a prominent member of the Graham surname (family) of the sixteenth century. The Grahams were the most infamous of the English Border Reivers; feared by all. They had little respect for the authority which sought to bring peace to a troubled land in troubled times and prospered from the mayhem and turmoil which had beset the Border country of England and Scotland for centuries. Nestled in the Cumbrian countryside, and virtually on the banks of the river Line, Brackenhill tower still stands to this day. Built on the lines of the Scottish style of tower it has recently seen major refurbishment and is now in daily use. Even in its slow decay, prior to its restoration, its obvious signs of affluence and opulence tell of a builder who had the means and the money to build a home which reflected his high position in the Border country of sixteenth century England. Yet its owner, Richie of Brackenhill, alias Richie of Langton or Richie of Langtoon, was a man on the make. He greatly prospered from the Reiving times that plagued the lands of the English Scottish Border: from the money that could be made from extortion, blackmail, counterfeit and murder. Murder in the Border Lands. In 1584 George Graham, alias Parcivall’s Geordie, was murdered by Richard Graham of Brackenhill at Levenbriggs. Richie Graham struck Geordie Graham between the shoulder blades with a lance. With that and other wounds inflicted by Richie’s ac.plice, Simon Graham, alias Symme of Medope, Geordie Graham was to die three weeks later in Carlisle. So much for the bonds of family! It was a crime which pithily demonstrates that some of the Border Reivers were at feud even with their own! Richie was indicted for this murder, and three others, but he was still around in 1596 when he took part in the rescue of Kinmont Willie Armstrong from Carlisle castle. The castle was English, Richie was English and Kinmont Willie was the most notorious of the Scottish Reivers of the sixteenth century. National allegiance meant nothing to Richie Graham. In 1588 Lord Dacre branded him ‘a murderer, thief and outlaw’ but he went unpunished. A Reiver Counterfeit Coiner. Graham was a notorious horse-thief, once stealing eighty horses from the Provost of Falkland in Fife. There was, however, a more lucrative haul from his foray north of the river Forth. He also came away with £5000 worth of gold and silver. This booty, along with the proceeds from blackmail and the lucrative product of his thieving, would greatly enhance his lifestyle. In the top floor of his tower of Brackenhill he employed a ‘koyner’ who transformed the gold and silver into coin of the realm and untold wealth for the unscrupulous Graham. Reiver Blackmail. Richie Graham blackmailed the English peasant farmers of Gilsland and the lands of the lower Esk, a river of great beauty which dominates the south-western part of the Border country. He promised them protection from the reivers of the Scottish Border valleys in return for goods or money. The local folk lived in awe of the notorious English reiver but would not always have the means to pay. They were often reminded of their .mitment to Richie by a list of their names pinned to the door of Arthuret church in present day Longtown, a lovely little market town on the English side of the Border. Many of the folk who attended the religious services at Arthuret , having this stark reminder of the state of their position in this world, would have their minds on other issues than the saving of their souls as they listened to the never-ending sermons directed at their well-being. Reiver Conspiracy and Treason. In April 1596, Richie Graham took part in the rescue of Kinmont Willie Armstrong, the most infamous of the Scottish Border reivers, from Carlisle castle. Kinmont had been taken illegally by the English at a Day of Truce but it wasn’t for that reason that Richie Graham became involved. Kinmont’s imprisonment and the outcry from the Scot’s that it was unlawful meant little to Richie Graham; yet he saw its potential in bringing down the English authority in the West March. The English West March Warden, Thomas Lord Scrope was a pain in the side of the Graham family, not so much for his ability to prevent their lives of crime but because he often had wind of their contemplated raids with a result that they had to be aborted. Involvement with the Scottish clans was a case of treason in the eyes of the English, yet Richie Graham conspired with them before the rescue raid and even entered Carlisle castle to contest any defence from his own countrymen. Border Reiver Held to Account. Following the successful rescue of Kinmont there were those who were prone to divest the names of the conspirators including that of Richie Graham. Two of these were brought before Thomas Lord Scrope to give evidence about the plot to free Kinmont. They were threatened by Richie Graham. He threatened Andrew Graham that unless he retract his evidence against him, ‘hee nor anye of his shoulde be left alive’. Richie was hauled before the Privy Council (in effect the government of the day) in London on charges going back to the murder of 1584 and his conspiracy and treason over the Kinmont affair. The out.e? He was not punished. In 1600 some of the crimes of the Grahams, in which Richie was identified as a principal, were listed. They included the attempt to murder John Musgrave in Brampton, in burning the house to force Hutcheon Hetherington to .e out and face them and when he did in cutting him to pieces, threatening and assaulting the followers of the law of Hue and Cry that eventually none dare raise it, and the murder of anyone who gave evidence against offenders of the law. Graham was allowed to return to his northern homeland after being acquitted of the crimes. Why? Simply because the Grahams as a surname were seen as a potent force in the northern region of Elizabeth l’s realm. They were seen by her government as a buffer against the Scots at a time when hostility between the two countries simmered just below the surface of an uneasy peace. Elizabeth and her Privy Council abhorred the crimes .mitted by the Grahams but ‘looked through their fingers’ at their wantonness. The Grahams were a necessary evil in the north of the country, far from the seat of English power in London, a perfect foil to Scottish domination. Richie disappears from the pages of history soon after 1600. It is presumed he died in his bed some years later, but who knows. Was he eventually a victim of the great clearances of the Border families following Elizabeth’s death in 1603? Then the king of Scotland, descended from the English Tudor royal family from the union of James 1V of Scotland and Margaret, sister of Henry V111, ascended the English throne thus making him king of both countries. He ascended the throne of England. He had much to contest with the unruly surname of Graham. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: