The term Border Reivers means rivers in the Borders, in the UK The Borders means also a specific geographic region, like the marches, etc. My question is this: the spelling REIVERS: Is it a British or a Scottish spelling?

    I am only interested in the spelling and pronunciation in England & in Scotland

    +1  Views: 269 Answers: 2 Posted: 12 years ago

    2 Answers

    Hard to say - but here is an interesting read about the issue. I learned a lot reading it (and still do not know the specific answer to your question!) NAMES
    The word 'reive' which was 'reave' in England comes from the Old English word 'reafian' which means to rob. The Border Reivers held sway in the English Scottish Border lands for centuries, i.e. the counties of Northumberland and Cumbria on the English side of the Border Line and Dumfriesshire,Selkirkshire, Teviotdale and Berwickshire on the Scots side.
    As a result of the Scottish Wars of Independence at the end of the 13th and early decades of the 14th century and the uneasy peace which existed thereafter between England and Scotland up to the middle of the 16th century which included intermittent warfare as at Flodden Field, Pinkie Cleugh and Solway Moss, the Border people were left destitute and resorted to theft. The theft was indiscriminate, it mattered little whether it was from fellow-countryman or enemy from across the Border.
    So 'reive', old Scots or 'reave' old English, from even older English prior to the 11th century in the word 'reafian' meant to rob. Sorry but the word has nothing to do with 'rivers'. Hope this helps.

    Tom Moss.

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