The Border Reivers

The surname Musgrave originates from Westmorland in Cumbria, where there is a place of that name.  The name means a grove where mice lived and the first owner of the surname will have originated from here.

Musgrave was an important surname during the Reiver period as they were often appointed as Wardens of the Marches, giving them responsiblility for maintaining law and order in the area.

A folk ballad sometimes refered to  as ‘Lord Darlington and Little Musgrave’ links the name with County Durham and tells how a Musgrave was caught sleeping with the lord’s wife in a bower at Oxenhall, on a cold November night.  A foot page discovered the lovers and reported back to Lord Darlington who approached them as they slept.  He said:

'Arise, arise my little Musgrave, and put your clothing on, It shall never be said in all my life, that I slew a naked man. ’The first blow, his wife got a deadly wound, the very next blow Lord Darlington gave, Musgrave lay dead upon the ground'.