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July 2003
The Grahams
Sunset over the Eastern Marche
Sunset over the Eastern Marche

Builders of Brackenhill Tower and terrors of the borderlands. We take a look at the history of the Graham clans.

SEE ALSO

Brackenhill Tower
What it is and why it's important.
-
Restoration
Information about the project from BBC Cumbria.
-
BBC Restoration
Homepage featuring all the buildings in the series.
-
The Grahams
Original owners of Brackenhill and feared throughout the Borders.
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The Border Reivers
Who they were and what they did.
-
Lowther Castle
Cumbria's very own fairytale castle.
-
Newland blast furnace
Part of Cumbria's industrial heritage.
-
151 Queen Street
A piece of 18th Century luxury in the heart of modern town.

WEB LINKS

The Border Reivers - who they are, what they did and when they did it!

The clan Graham association - everything you could want to know about Clan Graham.

FACTS

The motto of the Grahams is "Ne Oublie" or "Never Forget".

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The end of the Graham's reiving days
Ritchie Graham and his family's reiving continued unbounded until the early 1600's. But the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 allowed James VI of Scotland to also become James I of England and the reivers days were numbered. In the week following the death of Queen Elizabeth I the Graham, Armstrong and Elliot clans, celebrated with one last, almighty rampage lifting over four thousand cattle. This is known as 'Ill Week' and much of the English/Scots border was left ruined.

In 1606/7 James I ordered the transportation of Richie Graham to Ireland. At first the family were dispossessed. However, the survival instinct of the Grahams insured they never fully lost their foothold in the debatable lands. Once James had declared the reiver and the Grahams in particular as virtual outlaws, the landed lords in the area began to reclaim the reivers homes and land.

In 1606, the forth Earl of Cumberland claimed Brackenhill Tower and its lands as his own. Richie Graham was now dead, but his widow protested and produced the tower's title deeds showing that her father-in-law had purchased the property from Sir Thomas Dacre. Richard (her son and that of Richie Graham) in due course returned from exile in Ireland and continued to reside there. It was in this way that the Grahams of Brackenhill were able to retain their land and eventually repopulate the area. The property was handed down from father to son for five generations.

After his exile to Ireland one of Richie Graham's descendents continued to make friends in high places. His relative James walked to London and managed to get a position in the court of the newly crowned King James I of England. He became a master to the Duke of Buckinghamshire made a lot of money returned to the family seat at Netherby as a gentleman.

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