History

Kelso
Kelso Abbey founded in 1128 by David I is thought to have been the biggest of the Border Abbeys. It was the setting of the hastily arranged crowning of the nine year old King James III in 1460.

This town developed on the strength of the Abbey and its strategic location at the merging of the Tweed and Teviot Rivers. It was also close to the English Border and for this reason the town was burnt in fighting in the 1500's on several occasion with Lord Darce, Norfolk and then destroyed by the Earl of Hertford in 1545.

The town was rebuild and has more recent links with Walter Scott and the Ballantyne brothers who were printers and publishers.

Floors Castle In 1718 the Duke of Roxburghe commissioned Sir John Vanbrugh to design Floors Castle and in 1839 Playfair remodelled it. It is within the extensive grounds of the castle that James II was killed by an exploding cannon will re-taking Roxburgh Castle in 1460, and a Holly tree in the grounds is said to mark the spot. Floor Castle claims to the largest inhabited mansion in Britain.

The bridge built over the Tweed in 1754 was the link between Roxburgh and Kelso. The Waterloo Bridge built in London in 1800 was modelled on this Tweed crossing.

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Roxburgh Castle
The castle was established on the high ground between the Tweed and Teviot Rivers. In the 12th century it was seen as a very secure location and it acted as a Royal residency in the 13th century, however in the 14th & 15th centuries it passed between the Scots and the English. There were many battles held in this period to try to retake the Castle for the Scots and James Douglas (the Knight who intended to take Robert Bruce's Heart to the Crusades in the Holy Land) was successful in taking the Castle in 1314 and was subsequently Knighted at Bannockburn. In 1460 James II was killed in the process of the Scots recovering this Castle. A more recent castle survived on this site between 1545 and 1550, and it is these limited remains that can be seen now on the grass mound.

Wallace Tower Roxburgh
This was a Royal Burgh in the early 12th century and was slightly removed west along the banks of the Teviot from the Castle.
Within the village is the 16th century remains of the Wallace Tower , this having been an 'L' shaped stronghold of the Ker family.

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Horse Cave
On the opposite banks to the walking path and at the first curve on the river south of the viaduct there is a rise in the land where a series of cave can be identified. The biggest is known as the Horse Cave where Bonnie Price Charlie is reputed to have hidden his horse from the Government Army while moving from Kelso to Jedburgh in the Jacobite uprising of 1745.

Waterloo Tower - Peniel Heugh Waterloo Monument
Standing 150 feet in height on Peniel Heugh (itself being 744 ft) is the 1815 Waterloo Monument erected by the Marquess of Lothian. Around its base are the remains of two much earlier fortifications one being from the Iron Age the latter from the Dark Ages.

Dere Street
This is the Roman Army Road between York and Edinburgh used in the 1st to 3rd centuries by the invading Roman Army. It was a main supply route for the soldier as they moved north from Hadrian's Wall to Trimontium and then into Scotland and the Antonine Wall.

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Jedburgh Abbey
It appears that in the 9th century on the site of the later Abbey there was an earlier church established. However the present ruins and the establishment of a Priory dates from 1118 and by 1147 its status was raised to being an Abbey.

Castle by night Jedburgh Castle
On the elevated site of the present Castle an earlier Castle was established. This passed between the Scots and English and formed a part of the Treaty of Falaise agreement as far back as 1174. This treaty was established to provide security for the ransom of William the Lion. This castle was where King Malcolm IV died in 1165, and the location for Alexander III birth in 1263 and marriage in 1285. It was destroyed under the command of the Scottish Parliament in 1409, and it was not until 1832 that the present jail was built on the site. This building is however know as the Castle and is today an interesting museum.

Queen Mary's House Jedburgh
Queen Mary's House located in the centre of the town was occupied by the Queen for a month in 1566. From here she visited the Earl of Bothwell at Hermitage Castle and while she was ill was visited in the house by Lord Darnley.

In the Castlegate Prince Charles Edward Stuart stayed on his march into England during the Jacobite uprising.

There are literary association with Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and William Wordsworth. This was also the hometown of Mary Somerville the mathematician born in 1780 and of Sir David Brewster the scientist born in 1781.

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Monument at Hornshole

Denholm
Home of John Leyden, scholar and poet (1775 - 1881), John Scott botanist (1836 - 80) and Sir James Murray the founder of the Oxford Dictionary (1837 - 80). William Johnstone (1897 - 1981) was born in Denholm and also lived for a time in Selkirk. William Johnstone was a painter accredited with being the founder of modern Art teaching in Britain.
The village has an attractive but somewhat unusual green with the obelisk in memory of John Leyden.

For much more on the history and current activities in this village link to their award winning community website www.denholmvillage.co.uk

Hornshole
This very small location marked by a minor road that crosses the Teviot to the east of Hawick was the site of a local victory over the English soldiers from Hexham. In 1514 a band of local youth stopped a troop of English soldiers who were camping in this area, and stole their flag. This 'Hexham Pennant' remains in the possession of Hawick and is the centrepiece of the annual Hawick Common riding celebrations.

The Horse - Hawick Hawick
The town appears to have had a Castle that was on a flat mound close to today's centre. This was then granted to an Englishman by William the Lion. Later James I granted the town to Douglas of Drumlanrig and in the 1500's it passed to the Scott's of Buccleuch. The town suffered like its Border neighbours at the hands of the English in 1543 - 47, the time of the Rough Wooing

The town remembers it old traditions in the Common riding and the celebration of the return of the young men after Flodden. However the growth of Hawick has been associated with the textile and hosier trade. At its height over 5000 were employed.

The town is also known for its great rugby tradition and the "Greens" have been the home of many Scottish international players.

Two of Hawick famous sons were James Wilson (1805 - 60) born in the town and became a local hat maker before travelling south to develop his career as a political economist. The second was Sir James Murray who was a teacher in Hawick before becoming a Lexicographer (1837 - 1915) and setting up the Oxford Dictionary.

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Ashkirk & the Bishop's Stone
This was the location of the retreat for the very powerful Bishops of Glasgow from the time of the 12th century. The ruined palace was visible up until the 18th century. The Bishop's Stone is a large boulder built into a dyke close to Hartwoodmyres forest and marks the boundary of the Bishop's land.

Bowhill House
Sitting between the Ettrick and Yarrow rivers Bowhill House is the home of the Dukes of Buccleuch. This is a Georgian mansion and within the large estate there still remains the ruins of the early 15th century Newark Castle, associated with a long and bloody history.

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Selkirk Site of Lindean Kirk and likely Selkirk Abbey
The Selkirk area was the setting of the first 12th century Border Abbey founded in 1113 by Prince David (later to become King David I). This Abbey did not last and the Tyronensian monks moved to Kelso and formed their new Abbey in 1128. The most likely location for this is in the area that now has the remains of Lindean Kirk. This site was then used a a church up until 1647.
Although the Way does not pass directly past this site the area can be seen from the Way and there is a waymarked path from close to Shawmount that take the walkers to the location, this being about a 1 mile walk from the Way.

Market Square and Scott statue Selkirk was also home of a Royal Castle and in 1204 William the Lion held his parliament in Selkirk. The town was spared many fights between the Scots and English till Selkirk was burnt to the ground in 1513. This followed the well known return of only one of the 100 soldiers who went to fight for the King on the Flodden fields.

The town also has connections with the Marquess of Montrose who stayed in the town prior to his defeat at the Battle of Philiphaugh in 1645.

There is a close association with Sir Walter Scott who was the Depute Sheriff and sat in the courtroom in the Market Square. Mungo Park is also commemorated, he being a son of the town prior to his missionary and exploring exploits in Africa in the 18/19th centuries.

Kirk o the Forest - Selkirk This is a ruined church dating from 1748 with a commanding view over the town to the west of Selkirk. This was built on the site of a 12th or 13th century church where in 1297 William Wallace was given the title of 'Guardian of Scotland' after his victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

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Wallace Tower

Abbotsford This was the home of Sir Walter Scott between 1812 and his death in 1832. Built on the site of Cartley Hole Farm, this house and gardens were developed under the very careful direction and guidance of Sir Walter Scott.

Abbotsford is a common point on this route and the Sir Walter Scott Way. To access a much fuller history of Sir Walter Scott visit The Sir Walter Scott's Way history page.

Turn Again Stone Skirmish Hill and the Battle of Melrose
On the site of the Waverley Castle Hotel close to the Tweed there was the last known Border Clan feud between the Scott's who were fighting for the release of James V and the Ker's of Cessford. The Ker's won the battle and were in pursuit of the Elliot's as they escaped west. At a point overlooking Abbotsford, Elliot turned and speared Ker to death. It is said that the 'Turn Again Stone' in this elevated point marks the spot.

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Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey
David I founded the Cistercian Abbey in 1136. It suffered in the Wars of Independence in 1322 and under Richard II in 1385. Then in 1544 the Earl of Hertford effectively destroyed the Abbey. The building was plundered and it was not until 1822 when Sir Walter Scott became involved that the building was protected and preserved.

Other Royal connections with the Abbey relate to the second Abbot Waltheof who was the son of Queen Matilda of England, and to the fact that Alexander II ordered his body to buried in the Abbey. Another royal burial relates to King Robert I (Robert Bruce) heart. It was returned from Spain and the Crusades after Sir James Douglas was killed by the Moors.

Melrose
The town originally know as Fordel grew around the Abbey. The Mercat cross dates for 1642 but it was the influence of Sir Walter Scott that saw the growth of the town as a tourism centre.

To the west is the village of Darnick with its 15th century Peel Tower. This was original the home that Sir Walter Scott wanted to acquire.

Newstead Trimontium Marker To the east is the village of Newstead; this was the location of a Roman Camp built on the line of Dere Street, the Roman road from York to Edinburgh. This fort was first build in 79AD under Emperor Agricola but several new and developed phases followed over the next 150 year. The final occupation of the fort by Roman's was under Emperor Septimius in the period of 208 AD. For more details on the history of the Trimontium Fort visit the Trimontium Trust official website.

Even further east on a bend in the Tweed is Old Melrose the site of the earliest Christian settlement. This was established by St Aidan followed by St Boisil and St Cuthbert in the 7th century.

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Dryburgh Abbey
The earliest mention of Dryburgh is in 622 and relates to St Modan, a follower of St Columba who was said to be the Abbot of Dryburgh. No sign of the Abbey remains have been found and the next know development was not till the 12th century.

Hugh de Morville founded this abbey in 1152 for monks from Alnwick. Destroyed by the English in 1322, 1344 and 1385.

After the Monks had left it was under the control of lay nobles and this fell to Thomas Haliburton the great grandfather of Sir Walter Scott. The Halliburton's later sold this right and only retained the opportunity for the family to be buried in the Abbey. In the grounds are the graves of Sir Walter Scott and Field - Marshal Earl Haig.

Also buried close to Sir Walter Scott is the biographer and critic John Gibson Lockhart. Lockhart was to become the son in law of Sir Walter Scott and his 'Memoirs of the Life of Scott' became the recognised work on Scott's life.

Bemersyde
Bemersyde House with its tower dating back to 1535. The land has been associated with the Haig Family since the 12th century, however it is perhaps today best known for its association with Field - Marshal Earl Haig who returned to the ancestor home after the First World War. This was an interesting fulfilment of a Thomas the Rhymer prediction. This was also a favourite location for Sir Walter Scott to visit.

Smailholm Tower Smailholm Tower
This is a rectangular tower of the early 16th century that is well preserved and now is a visitor attraction and museum.

Close by is the village of Smailholm with its 13th century church and a Laird's house dating back to 1707.

Below the Tower is Sandyknowe Farm which was owned by Sir Walter Scott's grandfather and where Sir Walter spend some of his childhood years.


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