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The Scottish Marches is a term for the border country on both sides of the border between Scotland and England. From the Norman conquest of England until the reign of James VI of Scotland, who also became James I of England, border clashes were common and the monarchs of both countries relied on March Lords to defend the frontier areas known as the Marches.

On both sides of the border there were the West March, the Middle March and the East March. These regions nearly mirrored each other but there was some overlap between the Scottish and English regions.

Berwick-upon-Tweed, a strategic town on the north bank of the River Tweed, (the traditional border in the East March), is slightly closer to Edinburgh than Newcastle. It was fought over many times (between 1147 and 1482 the town changed hands between the two nations more than 13 times), as late as the reign of Elizabeth I of England, the English considered it worth spending a fortune on the latest style of fortifications (trace italienne) to secure the town against Scottish attack.[1]

The Marches were also fertile ground for many bandits and raiders who exploited the fluid nature of the border for criminal activity. One of the most successful and notorious was Geordie Bourne whose gang exploited the English East Marches in the 1590s. Bourne was captured and executed in 1597.

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Coordinates: 55°11′N 2°41′W / 55.183°N 2.683°W / 55.183; -2.683

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