‘The Lawes of The Marches’ is one of the most complete video documents of the ancient border tradition of the Common Ridings, a 700 year old ritual of communal horse riding, all along the border of England and Scotland. These ridings are as much about now, Scotland/England, the current political/social border landscape as they are about marking the common ground and commemorating the past with as much relevance today as when they began in 1500.
Begun 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. 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.
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.