‘Deadlock and Deliverance’ is the story, told in both fact and fiction, of the capture and rescue of Kinmont Willie Armstrong in 1596. He was the most notorious of the Scottish Border Reivers of the 16th century and had been the scourge of the English for decades.
In itself it is wonderful story, the last great impasse between the Scots and English before the Union of the two Crowns in 1603. It thoroughly deserves its prominent place in Border history. Yet, thanks in the main to the 19th century writers, it follows a hackneyed path, well-worn and unwavering in its context.
‘Deadlock’, however brings a new angle to what is known as the Kinmont Affair. With some surprising results, it examines the relationships of two monarchs, Elizabeth 1 of England and James V1 of Scotland, and two of the foremost characters in Border history, Thomas Lord Scrope, English West March Warden and Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, Keeper of Liddesdale.
Kinmont’s illegal capture by the English and subsequent rescue by the Scots, is set against a background of bitter rivalry, contempt, bravery and effrontery as both royalty and border authority played out a dangerous game. A game that could have had calamitous consequences on the frail peace that held between Scotland and England.