One of the most complete documents of the ancient Anglo/Scottish Common Rides, The Lawes of the Marches follows the political/social border and how the landscape between England and Scotland is and was acted out during the 2014 Referendum vote.These ridings continue a 700-year-old ritual of communal horse riding, meaning as much now as they did when marking the common ground and commemorating the past when they began in 1500.
Originating in the era of border raids and the infamous bandits, the Reivers, the film explores the ridings against the Elizabethan document, The Lawes of The Marches, a treaty to control the lawless West, Middle and the East Marches on both sides of the boundary. During this time, the families and clans across the Marches would switch nationality, raiding across the border to create a frontier of terror and crime. Governed by The Lord Wardens of the Marches, it was not a geographical border but The Lawes of The Marches, which formed the border control for borderers during this time.
Designed to preserve the boundaries of individual towns, the Common Ridings are now a series of hugely popular annual summer events which begin in May in Berwick Upon Tweed, and end in August in Coldstream, and which include hundreds of participants and horse riders literally following in the steps of their ancestors. Lengthy marathons that begin early in the morning and end in the early hours, with pre-riding ceremonies to ordain the principle riders and standard bearer as the Ridings are a unique Scottish Borders tradition.
The Lawes of The Marches was produced during the Berwick Visual Arts Residency for the 10th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival and was funded by The Arts Council England.