The Debatable Lands

An area of ground which extends across the border between England and Scotland, the Debatable Lands are centred around Canonbie but stretch for 13 miles (21 km) from the Solway Firth in the southwest to Windy Standard, 5 miles (8 km) east of Langholm. They average 4 miles (6.5 km) wide. Forming part of the West Marches, the ownership of this area was in dispute between the two countries from the 14th to the 16th centuries, resulting in it becoming a lawless and dangerous region run by local reivers, primarily the Armstrong family, who denied the authority of either government. The area became a base for criminals who pillaged the surrounding settlements and farms. In 1552 a commission of both governments was formed to settle the boundary and the Scot's Dyke was built across the Debatable Lands to form a clearly-defined border.

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