Tuesday, 22 April 2014

T for Turnbull's and Thomas the Rhymer "

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

  T is for: 
Turnbull's and Thomas the Rhymer 





TURNBULL's  along with Armstrong's, Elliot's  and Scott's, were amongst the most notorious of   families in  the turbulent period of the Border Reivers,  Legend has it that the name came about, when William of Rule, near Hawick, saved King Robert  the Bruce by wrestling to the ground a bull that had charged the king.  For this act, he was rewarded with lands and dubbed "Turnebull". 

William Turnebull assumed a bull's head as his heraldic symbol with the motto, "I Saved The King" both of which have been incorporated into the Turnbull clan crest.

Turnbulls are remembered in the church of Bedrule,  near Hawick, the birthplace of William Turnbull, Bishop of Glasgow  who founded Glasgow University in 1451. 


  

The view from Bedrule Church,  across to Ruberslaw Hill

Earlston, where I live, is best known as the birthplace of  medieval  poet and prophet  THOMAS THE RHYMER , (C.1210-C.1299) , sometimes called Thomas Learmonth,Thomas of Ercildoune,or True Thomas.

He  is said to have gained his powers of prophecy, after falling asleep beneath the triple Hills, whilst hunting.  He met and kissed the Queen of Elfland,  and spent seven years as her guest  before returning to Ercildoune (the old name for Earlston0  then disappearing again for good. 

His prophecies, set down in verse,  included:
  • The death of King Alexander III in 1286, 
  • The Battle fo Banockburn in 1314, 
  • The defeat and death of King James IV at the Battle of flodden in 1513
  • the Union of the Crowns of England and Scotland in 1603.  
 Much of Thomas' life is shrouded in mystery.    Only fragments remain of his  tower hosue, which remains a symbol of the village of Earlston.  He inspired writers like Sir Walter Scott who proclaimed:

                 "Farewell my Father's ancient tower!  a long farewell, said he
              The scene of pleasure, pomp and power, thou never more shall be!"


"Some said to hill, and some to glen their wondrous course had been
                      But ne'er in history o'living men again  was Thomas seen"

The ruins of Rhymer's Tower, Earlston

Follow the next stage of this
A-Z Journey 
through the Scottish Borders

U is for:
A USA Connection and an Unusual Sight 

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrong's
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Ellio's, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick  
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg & Will Ogilvie
A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice & Jethart Snails 
A-Z Challenge K - Kalaidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie   
A-Z Challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose 
A-Z Challenge N - Newark Castle and Nature  
A-Z Challenge O - Oxford Connections - Sir James Murray & Mary Somerville 
A-Z Challenge P - Pele Towers and Princely Connections  
A-Z Challenge Q - Queen of Scots and Queen of Elfland
A-Z Challenge R - Rivers, Rugby and Rumbledethumps 
A-Z Challenge S - Scott's, Sir Walter and 'Scott's View 
 

S for Scotts, Sir Walter and Scott's View in "My Scottish Borders"

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

S is for: 
SCOTTS, SIR WALTER & SCOTT'S VIEW

 THE SCOTT FAMILY were one of the leading protagonists in the period of lawlessness, family feuds, raid and  counter raids, murder and treachery  that marked life for over 300 years in the Scottish Borders up to the early 17th century.  Names such as ~"Wat of Harden" and "Bold Buccleuch?" feature heavily in many a Border ballad telling of their exploits.

Today its head is Richard Walter John Montagu Douglas Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch (pronounced buck-loo), whose home is at Bowhill, near Selkirk   




Walter Scott - Project Gutenberg eText 18396.jpgIt is thanks to SIR WALTER SCOTT (1771-1832) that the Borders has become known as Scott Country after the novelist and poet who  was the most renowned writer of his time -  the first English-language author to have a truly international career.  

His most well known titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Heart of Midlothian, Waverley, Lady of the Lake and The Bride of Lammermuir  He was acclaimed as the inventor of  the modern historical novel.  nvolving tales of gallantry and romance.  

Today the pretigious annual Sir Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction is awarded at Melrose Book Festival presented in a ceremony at Scott's historic home of Abbotsford. 

Although born in Edinburgh, Sir Walter  often visited the Borders to stay with his grandparent who farmed near Smailholm Tower.  Here Scott  became fascinated with Borders history and Borders culture, culminating in the compilation and publication of his "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders",  a three-volume set of collected Scottish ballads, some of which I am featuring in this A-Z Challenge.

Smailholm Tower, near Kelso
In 1799, Scott was appointed Depute Sheriff at Selkirk - a post he held until his death.  His statue stands outside the Courtroom where he dispensed justice.

Scott's  home at Abbotsford, on the banks of the River Tweed, near Melrose  is now a major visitor attraction major visitor attraction where you can see his library of over 9000 volumes, his writing desk and his treasure trove of  Scottish artifacts and historyLast year a new visitor centre, telling the story of his life,  was opened by the Queen

Abbotsford Morris edited.jpg
Abbotsford in 1880 

Sir Walter Scott died in 1832 and is buried in Dryburgh Abbey. 

En route his funeral cortege stopped at his favourite spot which became known as SCOTTS VIEW.  It remains the economic image of the Scottish Borders.

Scott's View with dusk over the Eildon Hil

"This is my own, my native land" 
         
       

Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Borders

Follow the next stage of this
A-Z Journey 
through the Scottish Borders

T is for:
Turnbulls & Thomas the Rhymer

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders"






A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick  
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg & Will Ogilvie
A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice & Jethart Snails 
A-Z Challenge K - Kalaidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie   
A-Z Challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose 
A-Z Challenge N - Newark Castle and Nature  
A-Z Challenge O - Oxford Connections - Sir James Murray & Mary Somerville 
A-Z Challenge P - Pele Towers and Princely Connections  
A-Z Challenge Q - Queen of Scots and Queen of Elfland
A-Z Challenge R - Rivers, rugby and Rumbledethumps  
 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

R for Rivers, Rugby and Rumbledethumps

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

R is for: 
RIVERS, RUGBY & RUMBLEDETHUMPS






River Tweed near Dryburgh Abbey











The Scottish Borders is a land of RIVERS, with the 97 mile long River Tweed rising in Tweedsmuir in the west of the region and winding its way through the towns of Peebles, Innerleithen, Melrose, Kelso and Coldstream to flow into the North Sea at  Berwick-upon-Tweed on the east coast.   

The Tweed  is one  of Scotland's prime trout and salmon rivers and its many tributaries include the Teviot, Ettrick, Leader, Whiteadder and Blackadder. 


Leader Water at Earlston  where I now live 
 
 River Teviot at Hawick where I used to live



A wintry Slitrig Water  at Hawick


 Jed Water at Jedburgh where I used to work 



RUGBY is the pride and passion of the Scottish Borders and the game of Rugby Sevens originated in Melrose in 1893.

Known as the "Voice of Rugby",  Borderer Bill McLaren (1923-2010) was born and brought up in Hawick.  He became a PE teacher and journalist, whose own rugby playing career had been halted by serious illness.   But he achieved fame as a radio and TV commentator, known throughout the rugby world at home and abroad.  He was greatly respected for his distinctive tongue, his skill with words, his unbiased commentating,  his knowledge and meticulous preparation, compiling detailed anecdotes and notes on players, matches, and teams.   His archive is now housed at the Heritage Hub in Hawick.   Memorial busts to Bill McLaren have been unveiled in both Hawick and at Murrayfield, Scotland's international rugby ground in Edinburgh.


RUMBLEDETHUMPS  is a traditional dish from the Scottish Borders made of potato, cabbage and onion - similar to the English buble & squeak and the Irish colcannon.  

Shredded onion and cabbage are lightly sauteed in butter and potatoes are added, mashed with butter, salt and pepper.  The mixed ingredients can then be topped with cheddar chees and baked  until golden brown.  




Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Borders
Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey 
through the Scottish Borders

S is for:
Scotts, Sir Walter and Scott's View

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders"






A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick  
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg & Will Ogilvie
A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice & Jethart Snails 
A-Z Challenge K - Kalaidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie   
A-Z Challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose 
A-Z Challenge N - Newark Castle and Nature  
A-Z Challenge O - Oxford Connections - Sir James Murray & Mary Somerville 
A-Z Challenge P - Pele Towers and Princely Connections  
A-Z Challenge Q - Queen of Scots and Queen of Elfland

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Q for Queen of Scots & Queen of Elfland

Welcome to a Look Around 

 "My Scottish Borders"

Q is for: 
QUEEN OF SCOTS and 
QUEEN OF ELFLAND 




in 1566, Mary Queen of Scots  went to Jedburgh,  staying  in a bastel (fortified) house belonging to the local Kerr family.  Hearing that Lord Bothwell (later her third husband)  lay wounded at Hermitage Castle, Mary set out on an arduous return journey of 80 miles to visit him. She arrived back from a dreich moorland ride, ill and close to death and is later said to have remarked "Would that I had died in Jethart", as her troubles crowded upon her.
Mary Queen of Scots House, Jedburgh 






QUEEN OF ELFLAND 


Elf Queen
The Queen of Elfland
 Legend tells that the Queen of Elfland met Borders poet Thomas the Rhymer (c.1210-c.1290) and transported him to her kingdom in the nearby Eildon Hills. Thomas served the Queen for seven years before he returned to his own land with the gift of prophecy

TRUE THOMAS lay oer yond grassy bank,
  And he beheld a ladie gay,
A ladie that was brisk and bold,
 Come riding oer the fernie brae. 

Her skirt was of the grass-green silk,
  Her mantel of the velvet fine,
At ilka tett 2 of her horse’s mane
  Hung fifty silver bells and nine.

True Thomas he took off his hat,
  And bowed him low down till his knee:
“All hail, thou mighty Queen of Heaven!
  For your peer on earth I never did see.”

“O no, O no, True Thomas,” she says,
  “That name does not belong to me;
I am but the Queen of fair Elfland,
  And I’m come here for to visit thee

Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

Follow the next stage of this 
A-Z journey 
through the Scottish Borders

R is for:
Rugby, Rivers and Rumbldethumps



Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders"



A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest 
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie 
A-Z Challenge J -Jedburgh, Jethart Justice and Jethart Snails  
A-Z Challenge K - Kaleidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose  
A-Z Challenge N - Newark Castle and Nature  
A=Z Challenge O - Oxford Connections - Sir James Murray & Mary Somerville 
A-Z Challenge P - Pele Towers and Princely Connections  




Friday, 18 April 2014

P is for Pele Towers & Princely Connections

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

P is for: 
PELE TOWERS and 
PRINCELY CONNECTIONS




PELE TOWERS  were a distinctive feature of the Scottish Borders and Northumberland landscape. Sometimes called Bastel Houses or Tower Houses, they were small fortified keeps, built for defensive purposes, where beacons could be lit to warn of impending danger.  Walls were thick.  windows like slits and the ground floor  provided space for livestock to be kept safe, whilst the  family  living quarters were above. 

The term "Pele" is said to derive from the old French  "piel" meaning  a fence made of stakes.


 The 65 foot high Smailholm Tower is a prominent landmark, west of Kelso. The Pringles, built the tower in the first half of the 15th century,  and it suffered repeatedly at the hands of English raiders.   It later passed to the Scott family and the grandfather of writer Sir Walter Scott, who found inspiration there for his "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders"

These crags, that mountain tower,
Which charmed my fancy's wakening hours

Methought grim features, seamed with scars, 

Glared through the window's rusty bars

 And still I thought that shatter’d tower
The mightiest work of human power.

                                                         
Known as "the Young Pretender", PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD STUART  (Bonnie Prince Charlie)  marched through the Borders in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745  on his advance into England to claim the throne from the Hanoverian  King George.   

The Prince stayed at Traquair House, Peeblesshire,  reputed to the oldest inhabited house in Scotland.  The Bear Gates, built in 1739 were closed in 1745 with the Earl of Traquair promising they would never be opened again until the Stuart's returned to the throne - so they have remained closed ever since! 


Charles stayed in various town in the Borders including Kelso and Jedburgh before marching into England. Town Council records have survived and comment on the movement of Jacobite troops through the Borders. Support, however, was very limited and towns pledged support for King George. 

The 1745 advance was halted at Derby , followed by a retreat back to Scotland, culminating in the Battle of Culloden, and the rout of the Jacobite army - the last major battle on British soil.  



PAXTON HOUSE, overlooking the river Tweed near Berwick upon Tweed, was built for a PRINCESS. 

Patrick Home,  who had been educated at Leipzig University in Germany,  spent time at the court of Frederick the Great of Prussia.  In an unsuccessful attempt to woo Sophie de Brandt,   Patrick had the house built c.1758 to create one of the finest examples of neo Palladian architecture in Scotland, with interiors by Robert Adam and furniture by Thomas Chippendale.  But the marriage was thwarted by the couple's families and never took place. 

Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Borders
Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey 
through the Scottish Borders

Q is for:
Mary Queen of Scots
and the Queen of Elfland

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders





A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick  
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg & Will Ogilvie
A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice & Jethart Snails 
A-Z Challenge K - Kalaidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie   
A-Z Challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose 
A-Z Challenge N - Newark Castle and Nature  
A=Z Challenge O - Oxford Connections - Sir James Murray & Mary Somerville