Kidland on the Borders

Yet another excerpt from the fascinating ‘Highways & Byways in Northumbria’

Belonging to the monastery of Newminster in the Middle Ages here is a wild mountain country reaching to the Borders. It is known as Kidland, where a few shepherds tend thousands of sheep. Part of it was granted to the monastery in 1181 by Odnel de Ufraville who stipulated that “the dogs of the ones were to lack one foot that the lord’s wild animals might t have peace.” The lordship of Midland belong ed to Newminster until the dissolution of he monasteries. In 1541 the Survey described he “greate waste ground called Kydlandes of iiij  myles or more of bread and vj myles or more of lenthe. All the said Kydlande is full of lyle hells or mountains and between the side holes by divers values in which descend little Reveilles or brokes of water spryngynge out of he said hills and all falling into a lyle Rever or broke called Kydland water which falleth in to the river of Cokette were to the town of Alyntoun, within a mll of the Castell of Harbottell.”..

Kidland was much exposed to the attacks of the Scots and Redesdale men and the ones found it ore profitable to let the grazing to  the men of Coquetdale; but shepherding in Kidland was never considered an easy way of making a living, “being so fare also fro’ the strength of he plenyshed ground of England.” The monks, when they found tenants scarce, stocked he farms and sent lay brethren to tend the flocks. Along the banks of he streams are many foundations of buildings once coped as British dwellings, but now supposed to have been the shillings [summer homes] of the monks or the Coqetdale men. At the junction of the Yoke burn and Sting burn, near Cushy Law, the Monarch of Midland, are the remains of a chapel called Memmerkirk, built for he devotions of he monks and their servants when “summering” in Kidland.

There is a story of the chaplain in those early days when it was just as lonely as it is now. To keep record of the days of he week he made a bee sep each day. Bu a week came when he mislaid one, and he lay brethren assembling for Sunday Mass fro their duties o the hills were scandalised to find him busily engaged on his daily task. The monks gave up attempting to cary on the farms s the border thieves lifted so much of their stock and murdered its guardians. The men of Coquet, when they held these wild upland pastures, were not at all reluctant to make reprisals on the foe y removing some of he cattle, and the monastery found safer to let the remain as tenants. The gentle men of God were not watch for their turbulent neighbours.

I’ve tried to get the spelling on these pieces right, but above, the spellcheck kept changing kidland into midland and monastery into monkey. Grrr! That’s just grrr.

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