The Border ballads are the creation of a medieval frontier community who were Borderers before they were Scots or English and whose first allegiance was to the kinship group, the Surname. In this study, James Reed discusses the ballads within their geographical and historical environment as the unique record of a people tenuously surviving in a world of poverty, violence and superstition, yet singing down the centuries their strange and melancholy tales of love and hate and longing, of thieving and killing, of jealousy, incest, witchcraft and revenge.
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