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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Aussies linked to treacherous North East English heritage

As Scotland urges Australians to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors at ‘Homecoming’ in 2009, North East England also gives Australians the opportunity to learn more about their past; and some may find stories of tragedy and treachery.

Within the borders of North East England and Scotland lie many stories of Australian heritage and ancient family connection. The Border Reivers, who many Australians’ surnames are linked to, ruled North East England and created chaos across the North East England and Scottish border. The Reivers were made up of Scottish and English clans and families, who as a result of their geographical position, were constantly subjected to violence associated with the various armies passing through the townships during the war between England and Scotland in the 13th – 17th Century.

The Reivers (robbers) were known to have a strong allegiance to their family rather than to their country, and their craft at defending and raiding became so notorious the hierarchy in both England and Scotland employed them as a first line of defense against invaders.

Many Australians can trace back their family history to that of the Border Reivers. Popular names such as Armstrong, Davidson, Gilchrist, Collingwood, Cranston, Young and Scott, can be traced back to the Reivers’ clans.

A popular route taken by travelers to Britain is the Newcastle to Edinburgh track, which sees visitors leave Newcastle, travel throughout North East England and cross the border into Scotland. Travelers pass through the beautiful Northumberland district, visiting the historic Alnwick Castle, known for its role in the Harry Potter films; and north to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, famous for its Christian links and Lindisfarne Mead. Further north, the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed offers travelers a unique travel experience, where locals are sometimes English and sometimes Scottish. Bisected by the great River Tweed the historic town is scattered with local farmers markets and local arts and theatre performances.

“With Homecoming in 2009, taking the route through North East England into Scotland is the perfect opportunity for Australians to discover their past, explore the beautiful scenery of two wonderful countries and learn about the historic border battles of centuries past,” said Kim Heaselden, International Brand Manager of One North East.

The areas of North East England and Scotland are steeped in history that can be explored when visiting the region. North East England is home to the largest number of castles in the UK, with many of the castles remaining in the hands of the descendents of their original owners.

Aussies can check to see if their family name was associated with this synonymous time in British history and even find a castle or its remains that was partially occupied or used by their ancestors by visiting www.BorderReivers.co.uk.

To take it a step further and visit the towns in which the Border Reivers lived, visit www.northeastengland.com.au to find suggested travel itineraries and accommodation packages available in North East England.
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