John Murray (Firm).

Handbook for travellers in Scotland online

. (page 7 of 73)
Online LibraryJohn Murray (Firm)Handbook for travellers in Scotland → online text (page 7 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


is much larger than the others. These
towers are connected on the N. and



10



Route 1. — Carlisle to Edinburgh.



Sect. I.



S. sides by a lofty curtain at their
interior angles, on the E. and W. by
a lower curtain in the same position,
while the exterior angles are also
connected by an arch which serves to
support the lofty corbelled parapet
that crowns the whole building. It
is believed to have been built, 1244,
by Walter Comyn, Earl of Monteith,
and became the gi'eat stronghold of
the powerful Comyns. One of this
family, "the Wizard" (Lord Soulis),
so irritated his vassals by his
cruelty, that they rebelled against
him, and actually boiled him to
death — the idea of this punishment
having been put into their heads by
the king, Avho peevishly said, when
complained to, " Boil him if you
please, but let me hear no more of
him." The building of such a men-
acing stronghold so near the English
frontier was one of the grievances of
King Henry III., which served as a
pretext for invading Scotland, 1244.
Having been taken by the English in
the reign of David II., it Avas re-
covered from them by the prowess of
William Douglas, called the Black
Knight of Liddesdale, the natural
son of the good Sir James. It was
to this place that he carried oflf Sir
Alexander Kanisay, and left him to
die of starvation, the unfortunate
man supporting life for seventeen
days by some corn Avhich fell from a
granary above, through chinks in the
floor, into his dungeon. The Douglas
family was so powerful that no notice
was taken of this atrocious act.
Queen Marj^ accompanied by Mur-
ray, visited Bothwell here, while he
was suffering from a wound, soon
after Rizzio's murder. (See Jed-
burgh. )

Nine Stane Fdg, on which it is said
that Lord Soulis was boiled, is a de-
clivity 1 m. long and 4 broad, de-
scending to the water of Hermitage.
There is an Old Stone Circle on it,
once of 9 stones, now of 5, 2 of which
are pointed out as having supported



the caldron. Lord Soulis was sus-
pected of witchcraft (see Scott's
"Minstrelsy") —

" Lord Soulis he sat in Hermitage Castle,
And beside him Old Redcap sly."

The pedestrian may make his way
from Hermitage across the hills to
Hawick, about 15 m.]

After leaving Liddesdale the coun-
try becomes very desolate as the rly.
ascends to

32 m. EiccARTON Junct., where
the Border Union Line from New-
castle and Hexham joins the North
British. The summit level is gained
by a tunnel under the ridge of hills
where the Pictish Ditch or Catrail
was carried from Peel Fell on the
Border to Borthwick Water on the
N.W., and from thence into the
neighbourhood of Galashiels, It con-
sisted of a double fosse and vallum,
supported by a number of interme-
diate forts, and was constructed by
the Romanised Britons dwelling on
the Tweed, as a protection against
the Anglian invasions. The Catrail
is well seen beyond Eiccarton, under
the curiously shaped hill called
Maiden's Paps. With a rapid de-
scent down the Hawick side of the
Fells, the rly. enters the valley of
the Slitrig, passing 41 m. Stobbs, the
picturesque seat of Sir Wm. Elliot,
Bart., whose ancestor, Sir Gilbert,
was created a knight by the king,
1643.

45 m. Hawick Stat. At the junc-
tion of the Slitrig with the Te^iot is
the thriving town and Pari, burgh of
Haifick (Inns : Tower, Crown),
which, if jiopulation decided its rank,
would be capital of Roxburghshire,
having 11,355 inhab., while Jedburgh
has 4000. It is an uninteresting town.
The manufactures principally con-
sist of woollens, yarns, stockings, etc.
The manners and customs of the in-
habitants are somewhat savage. At



S. Scotland. Boute 1. — EatvkJc — Branksome Tower.



11



an election they show their contempt
for an unpopular candidate by sint-
ting upon him ! They assisted in
stoning and hooting Sir Walter Scott
in his old age at Jedburgh, 1831.

The streets are regular, but not
cleanly. Down to 1872 no proper
sewers existed in the place. The
Einscopal Ch. , from designs by G. G.
Scott, is a fine Gothic building. The
parish ch., surmounted by a tall
square tower, was the scene of the cap-
ture of Sir Alexander Ramsay by
Sir Wm. Douglas, who confined him
in Hermitage Castle, and there
starved him (ante).

The only objects of antiquity in
the town are the Moot Hill, a tumu-
lus about 300 ft. in circumference
and 30 ft. in height, the old place
of meeting of the Court of the Manor,
and the Tower inn, once the resi-
dence of the Barons of Drumlanrig,
which still shows traces of its former
strength. It was the only house not
burned down by Sussex in 1570.

Rail to Edinburgh, 53 m. ; Car-
lisle, 45 ; Melrose, lo^.

Excursions — a. Up the Te\^ot
to Branksome, 3 m., and Harden ; h.
Minto Crags, 54 m. ; c. Jedburgh,
11 m. (Route 2).

Ig m. on the Langholm road is
Goldielands, a well-preserved border
fortress of the clan of Scott, the last
of whom was, for " March treason,"
hanged over his own gateway. At
this point the Teviot is joined by
the Borthwick Water.



3 m. from Hawick is a, Branksome
Tower, an ancient possession, from
the middle of the 15th cent., of the
Scotts, Barons of Buccleuch, but
chiefly known as the principal scene
of Sir Walter Scott's " Lay of the Last
Minstrel" : —

" Nine-and-twenty knights of fame

Hung their shields in Branksome Hall ;



Nine-and-twenty squires of name
Brought them their steeds to bower
from stall ;
Nine-and-twenty yeomen tall
Waited duteous on them all ;
They were all knights of mettle true,
Kinsmen to the bold Buccleuch."

Its present aspect is that of a
modern house, and it is the residence
of the Duke's chamberlain (W. Ogil-
vie, Esq.) Some years ago, on the
return of the Duke of Buccleuch
from Malta, whither he had gone for
restoration of his health, a dinner
was givf'n him in a pavilion erected
at Branksome by lOOU of his tenantry,
of whom about 300 were hereditary ;
i.e., who from father to son had pos-
sessed their farms since the days of
the first Buccleuch.

The older part of the building con-
sists of a square tower, ending in
an overhanging storey with a billet
moulding. The rest of it seems to
have been begun by Sir Walter
Scott in 1571, and completed by his
wife, Margaret Douglas.

On returning from Branksome the
tourist should keep the left bank of
the Teviot, and cross the Borthwick
Water by a wooden bridge. 2 m.
farther on cross a burn, and take a
road on right up the course of the
stream to Harden Castle, the ancient
seat of the Scotts of Harden, now
represented by Lord Polwarth. A
curious story exists of a child said to
have been carried off" by the Scotts
in one of their raids, who was
christened by them "The Flower of
Yarrow," and afterwards married the
notorious AYat of Harden. His cus-
tom was to subsist on the spoils of
his freebooting until the serving up
Qf a clean pair of spurs on a dish sig-
nified the emptiness of the larder
and the necessit}^ of a fresh adventure.
The house is devoid of all architec-
tural interest, but the situation is
ver}^ romantic, on the brink of a deep
glen overlooking the Borthwick, and
resembling on a small scale Castle
Campbell near Dollar. From Harden



12 Route 1. — CarUsh to Edinburgh — St. Boswells. Sect. I.



a road on the left bank of the Borth-
Avick leads direct to Hawick

b. Minto Crags (see below).

c. Jedburgh (Kte. 2).

The ^'Silver Tcviot" rises from
the slopes of the ridge of hills that
form the northern boundary of Esk-
dale, and receives in its course to
Hawick the Allan and Borthwick
Waters, besides some minor streams.

Quitting the valley of the Teviot
at Teviot Bank (E. Heron-Maxwell,
Esq.) the rly. reaches

494 m. HassancUan Stat, a, corrup-
tion of Hazeldean, once belonging
to a family of Scotts. On right is
Minto House (Earl of Minto). The
grounds are open every week-day.
The old ch. of Hassendean was de-
molished in 1690. The scenery is
very picturesque at Minto Crags, a
precipitous escarpment overlooking
the Teviot.

A little to the S. is Denliolm, the
'birthplace of John Leyden, who was
successively a clergyman, a doctor,
and a professor of Eastern languages.
He was a great friend of Sir Walter
Scott's, and contributed to the " Min-
strelsy of the Scottish Border;" an
obelisk has been erected to his me-
mory. Conspicuous from Denliolm
is the eminence of Euhcrslaiv —

" That lifts its head sublime,
Rugged and hoaiy with the wrecks of
time." Leyden.

Some crags on the summit are
called "Peden's Pulpit," from the
fact that Alexander Peden, the cove-
nanter, used to preach from them.
Cavers House (J. Douglas, Esq.)
is a large square building, erected
about 1400, by Sir A. Douglas, and
contains the banner carried before
Douglas at the battle of Otterburn.

53. m. Soon after leaving Bclses
Stat, the traveller gains a distant
view of the triple heads of the Eildon



Hills, which form the leading feature
in the scenery of the district, and
crosses the Ale Water, a picturesque-
ly-wooded trout-stream which joins
the Teviot near Ancrum.

At 58 m. , Newtown St. Boswells
Junction, two lines branch off — 1.
through Earlston and Dunse, to join
the N. British at Keston (Rte. 4) ;
and 2. to Jedburgh and Kelso, where
it forms a connection with the N.
Eastern Rly. to Berwick (Rte. 2).

The situation of Newtoivn St.
Bosivells {Inns: Buccleuch Arms, —
Railway) at the foot of the Eildon
Hills, is very pretty. In feudal
times this village contained ISBastel
houses, which were destroyed by the
English in the 16th cent. E. of
the village are the hunting stables
of the Duke of Buccleuch. On St.
Boswells Green a great Sheep Fair
is held in July. Overlooking the
village, at a considerable height, is
Eildon Hall (Lord Henry Scott), a
seat of the Duke of Buccleuch.
From the singular isolation and triple
cone of these hills (respectively 1216,
1385, and 1327 ft. in height), they
at once strike the attention of the
traveller ; in addition to which, great
interest has always attached to them
from the tradition of the magic
charm of ' ' the words which cleft
Eildon Hills in three." "Michael
Scott was once on a time much em-
barrassed by an evil spirit, for whom
he was under the necessity of finding
constant employment. He com-
manded him to build a ca^lld, or
damhead, over the Tweed at Kelso ;
it was accomplished in one night,
and still does honour to the infernal
architect's engineering skill. Michael
next ordered that Eildon Hill, which
was then a uniform cone, should be
divided into three. Another night
Avas sufficient to part its summit, as
we now see it. At length the en-
chanter conquered the indefatigable
demon by employing him to make
ropes out of sand." — W.S. These



S.Scotland. Boide 1. — Eildon Hills — Dnjlmrgh Ahhey. 13



hills are also connected with the
prophecies and sayings of Thomas
of Ercildoune, usually known as
"Thomas the Rhymer," who was
supposed to have been carried cap-
tive by the Queen of Elfland and
detained for more than 3 years in the
enchanted country within the hills.

From the summit is a beautiful
view extending over the counties of
Eoxburgh and Selkirk.

The antiquary will find on the
northern cone a Camp defended by
earthen ramparts.

As a Eoman station it was known
by the name of Trimou tium. Much of
the interpretation of the Roman mili-
tary movements depended on the
identification of " Trimontium," usu-
ally placed on the X, side of the
Solway. Gen. V\.oj remarked that
everything harmonised Avith the
supposition that Trimontium was
Old Melrose, under the Eildon Hills,
and he gives in his Military Anti-
quities a view of the hills from the
place where the Roman road crosses
the Cheviots on the way to the
fortress.

[Xewtown St. Boswells is distant
about 2 m. from the ruins of Dry-
hurgh Ahhey. '\ Follow the high
road to St. Boswell's, and take the
first turning to the left when past
the turnpike. This lane leads down
to the Tweed, which is crossed by a
suspension bridge.

Dryburgh {Inii : Melrose Abbey
H. ) Adjoining the modern mansion
of the Erskines, the ancient Ahhey of
Dryburgh, of which there are still
considerable remains, surrounded by
yew-trees nearly as ancient, is charm-
ingly situated on a semicircular piece
of land, round which the Tweed
sweeps broad and swift. It never was
of great size or wealth, but almost
every part of the monastic buildings
is still represented by a fragment. It
was founded in 1]44 by Hugh de
Morville, Lord of Lauderdale (or, as
some say, by his master, David I.),



In 1-322 the abbey was burnt by
Edward II., but was rebuilt soon
after. In 1544 the English, under
Sir Geo. Bowes and Sir Brian Latoun,
again burnt it, and in all probability
it was never rebuilt.

Of the Church, which was ori-
ginally 190 ft. long by 75 broad,
there is left only part of the outer
walls and the bases of the piers, the
N". transept, with its E. aisle, the
western entrance, and the original
chapel of St. Moden. The IST. tran-
sept aisle, known as St. Mary's, is
the burying-place of the Erskines ;
and here, too, are buried Sir Walter
Scott and his wife (under one monu-
ment), his son, and his son-in-law,
John Lockhart, as also his ancestors,
the Haliburtons of Xewmains. This
chapel opens into the choir by 2
pointed arches, above which are
quatrefoil openings, and a triforium
gallery.

The Chax)tcr -house, which is on a
lower level than the rest of the ch. , is
still entire. It is a very plain long
building, with a simple vaulted roof,
and the sedilia, on the E. side, are
formed of Romanesque arches, inter-
laced. St. Moden's chapel inter-
venes between the chapter-hoiise and
transept. Part of the walls of the
refectory are left, and its gable end is
still decorated with a rose window.
Next to the refectory is the abbot's
parlour. The arms of the last abbot,
James Stewart, are carved over the
staircase leading to the dungeon,
where refractory brethren were shut
up. At the dissolution of religious
houses the Dryburgh estates were
granted to John, Earl of Mar. He
gave it to his 8rd son, from whom it
descended, after being sold and re-
purchased, to the family of the Earl
of Buchan. Dryburgh House, in
whose grounds the ruins stand, be-
longs to the Hon. Mr. Erskine. A
fixed charge is made for admission
to them — apply at the Lodge.

On a neighbouring hill, overlook-
ing the Tweed, is an atrocious red



14



Route 1. — Carlisle to Ediiiburgh — Melrose.



Sect. I.



sandstone effigy, put up by a former
Earl of Buchan as an effigy of
Wallace. That hero suffers much
from the clumsy worship of his
Scotch adorers.

The tourist, instead of returning
across the ferry to N ewtown St. Bos-
wells, may keep along the N. bank
of the Tweed to Melrose ; but as this
road is generally the subject of an
excursion from Melrose, it is given
under that place. (See below. )

[A third excursion may be made
from Newtown St. Boswells to An-
crum Moor, which lies about 4 m.
on the road to Jedburgh, passing
St. Boswells Green, celebrated for its
July fair, which attracts flock-masters
and wool-merchants from all parts.
The name of St. Boswell was derived
from St. Boisil, once a prior of Mel-
rose.

Between it and the Tweed is Les-
sudden, an old border house, "the
small but stately and venerable
abode of the Lairds of Eaeburn " (E.
Scott, Esq.) From behind the village,
at the Braeheads, the tourist obtains
a lovely view of Dryburgh Abbey.

The Waterloo inllar will be ob-
served to the left on the top of Peniel
Heugh, on which there are a couple
of camps.

4 m. Ancrum Moor, where in 154.5
the Earl of Angus and Norman
Leslie defeated 3000 English under
Lord Evers and Sir Brian Latoun,
as they were returning laden with
plunder from a devastating inroad.
The timely appearance on the field
of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, with
a chosen body of retainers, decided
the fortune of the day. Both Evers
and Latoun being killed, the English
were routed with great slaughter and
loss of booty.

1. 6 m. from St. Boswells, nearly
on the battlefield, on the N. bank
of the Ale, is Ancrum House (Sir
Wni. Scott, Bart.), destroyed by fire
1873, rebuilt in Scotch baronial
style 1875, beyond which a road on



1. crosses the Ale Water to Hawick.
In the neighbourhood are Chesters
(W. Ogilvie, Esq.) and Kirklands
(The Misses Richardson). The rocky
banks of the Ale above AnciTim
are excavated with caves, used as re-
treats in time of war or invasion.
One of them was the favourite retreat
of Thomson the poet.

Passing rt. Mount Teviot, the seat
of the Marquis of Lothian, and cross-
ing the Teviot, the tourist enters 8 m.
Jedburgh (Rte. 2).]

Distances of Neivtoivn St. Boswells
from— Melrose, 3 m.; Dryburgh, 2
m. ; Jedburgh, 154 ; Hawick, 12 ;
Lillyard's Edge, 4 ; Eildon Hills, 2.



From Newtown St. Boswells the
line takes a curve, following the
contour of the valley of the Tweed,
and leaves on right Old Melrose, the
site of the original abbey of St.
Aidan of Lindisfarn. The situation
is peculiar, the river surrounding it
as at Dryburgh.

61 m. Melrose Stat. {Inns : George,
King's Arms) is a small town of
1141 inhab., having nothing at-
tractive in its streets or buildings,
but it is surrounded by neat villas,
charmingly situated at the foot of
the Eildon Hills, and overlooks the
Tweed. There are Established, Free,
and Episcopal churches. In the
]\larket-place is a stone cross bearing
the arms of Scotland. Melrose is
celebrated for "the most beautiful not
only of the Scottish Second Pointed
churches, but of all the northern
fanes of whatever age. The splen-
dour of middle-age romance which
Scott has thrown around the place
has almost obliterated its older and
holier renown, when it was described
by Bede as the home of the meek
Eata, the prophetic Boisil, the aus-
tere Cuthbert ; when, with Colding-
ham, and Abercorn, and Tyninghame,
it was the lamp of that Anglo-
Saxon Lothian, which, deriving its
own faith from lona, sped the glad



S. Scotland.



Boute 1. — Melrose.



15



gift to many an English province,
and even sent a missionary across
tlie seas to become the apostle of the
Austrasian tribes on the Meuse, the
Waal, and the Rhine." — Quarterhj
Review.

5 minutes' walk from the station
through the town, descending the
hill, brings yon to the entrance of
the Abbey, at its AY. end. The W.
front is entirely gone.

The building which we now see
standing in such venerable ruin is
the third abbey — the iirst having
been founded at Old Melrose (see
ante), on the decay of which King
David I. built a second in 1136, and
filled it with Cistercian monks from
Rievaulx. Melrose lay on the high-
way of English invasion, and in con-
sequence the Abbey was destroyed
over and over again, notably in 1322,
by the troops of Edward II.

King Eobert the Bruce at once
set to work to repair the damage,
and devoted £2000 (a large sum in
those days) to this purpose. It was
again destroyed at the fruitless inva-
sion of Scotland by Richard II. 1385,
when the English entered Scotland
on the eastern side and the Scots
entered England on the west, each
army afraid of the other, and intent
only on plunder and destruction.
In the existing ch. there is scarcely
anything older than the 15th cent,
say about 1400. It is interesting to
find in the S. transept a monumental
tablet recording the name of the
architect or master-mason, one John
Morro or Murray by name, by whom
probably it was rebuilt. This is the
work now standing, though much
altered by the restorations which
subsequent injuries rendered neces-
sary. In 1545 it was plundered by
the English under Evers and Latoun,
and soon afterwards it received more
serious damage from the Earl of
Hertford. Its next enemies were
the Reformers, and since then it has
been plundered considerably for the



sake of the materials. At the disso-
lution of the religious houses Mary
bestowed the abbey and its property
upon Bothwell. At his proscription
it reverted to the Crown, and, after
passing through many different
hands, is now the property of the
Duke of Buccleuch.




WEST END ENTRANCE FROM THE TOWN
PLAN OF MELROSE ABBEY.

a E. Window, Bruce's heart.

6 Douglas Burial Chapel.

c Michael Scott, the Wizard.

d Lord Evei-s.

e King Alexander II.

/Morro's (the architect) Monument.

N. Chapter-House.

The ch., about 250 ft. long, con-
sists in plan of a presbytery at the
E. end, the width of the central
aisle, of a choir with aisles of 6 bays,
extending 3 bays beyond the tower
W. as far as the low stone rood-
screen of late date, which divided it
from the nave. The nave extended
over 5 bays. The transepts had E.



16



Boute 1. — Carlisle to Edinlurgh — Melrose. Sect. I.



aisles. From tlie tower to the W.
end along the S. side of the nave
extended a row of 8 side chapels
separated by buttress Avails, and be-
tween these chapels and the central
aisle ran a peculiar narrow S. aisle,
richly gi-oined, of wliich 3 bays re-
main. The IST. aisle was much
wider, but has no chapels. Every
part of the ch. will rei)ay careful
study. The remains of stone vault-
ing over the E. end side aisjes and
chapels is very elaborate, and the
bosses and capitals of columns dis-
play in their intricate and delicate
foliage, especially in the leaves of
curly kale, the proverbial skill and
fancy of the Scotch masons.

The nave is completely spoilt by
some heavy piers and circular arches
which were put up in 1618, when the
abbey was fitted up as a Presbyterian
eh., and which obscure the elegant
Pointed arches of the original struc-
ture. The S. aisle is divided into a
series of chapels, each serving as the
burial-place of some family.

In the .S*. transept is one of the
finest loindows. It is 24 ft. high
and 16 broad, divided into 5 lights,
and ornamented at the top with
flowing tracery of much elegance. It
ought to be viewed from the outside,
in combination with the door and
panelled Avails 'and buttresses.

In the churchyard oiitside is the
grave of Sir David Brewster.

We turn next now to the East end.

" By a steel-clenched postern door,
They enter'd now the chancel tall,
The darken'd roof rose high aloof,
On pillars lofty, light, and small :

The key-stone thatlock'd each ribbed aisle.

Was a fleur-de-lys, or a quatre-feuille :

And corbels were carved grotesque and
grim ;

And the pillars, with cluster'd shafts so
trim.

With base and with capital flourish'd
around,

Seem'd bundles of lances which garlands
had boimd."

The principal beauty of the chancel
is the E. windozv of 5 lights, with its



exquisite tracery. This approaches
the Perp. style more closely than
anything in the abbey, and is almost
the only example of the style in
Scotland. This windoAV, and the E.
end adjoining, date probably from
the reign of James IV., who married
Margaret, daughter of Henry VII.
Sir Walter Scott's description of this
window is very poetical and accu-
rate, except in the doubtful use of
the word " oriel."



"The moon on the east oriel shone
Through slender shafts of shapely stone

By foliaged tracery combined ;
Thou wouldst have thought some fairy's

hand
'Twixt poplars straight the osier wand,
In many a freakish knot had twined ;
Tlien framed a spell, when the work was

done,
And changed the willow wreaths to
stone."

Lay of Last Minstrel.

Directly in front of it lies (it is
said) the heart of Robert Bruce,
which Douglas attempted in vain to
carry to the Holy Land. A slab of
dark marble, spotted with mountain-
limestone corals, is pointed out as
covering the graA'c of Alexander II.
Against the opposite wall is the
grave of James, 2nd Earl of Douglas,
slain at Otterburn, 1388, also of
Sir William Douglas, the knight of
Liddesdale. There is also the tomb
of Lord Evers, who was killed at the
battle of Ancrum Moor, 1445, after
plundering the abbey ; and close to
it the supposed tomb of Michael
Scott the Wizard.

" Before their eyes the Wizard lay,
As if he had not been dead a day."

But others assert it to be the tomb
of Sir Pirian Latoun, colleague of
Evers, and slain along with him.

On the N. of the nave is all that
is left of the Cloisters, including a
very rich circular-headed doorwa)^ of
late date, the one through which
William of Deloraine passed into the
ch. This and an elecjant arcading



S. Scotland. Route 1. — Smailholm — Abhotsford.



17



attached to the transept wall con-
stitute one of the beauties of the
Abbey.

" He led the way
Where, cloistered round, the garden lay.



Online LibraryJohn Murray (Firm)Handbook for travellers in Scotland → online text (page 7 of 73)