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selves with the Armstrongs and other broken clans
of the debatable land, and brought trouble upon
themselves in consequence. Before the end of the
sixteenth century, however, a branch of the house
of Lariston was firmly settled at Stobs, whence
sprang a number of subsidiary lairds, who prospered
amain under the shelter of puissant Buccleuch.

The ancient burgh of Hawick has lost all trace of
the defensive character essential to a Border town in
other days. The houses used all to be * bastel '
built, that is, with thick stone walls having no door
to the street, but an entry to a back court, whence
a stair ^ave access to the second floor. Now all is
changed. The present population of i8,coo is
housed just as in any other manufacturing town.
When last I lay in Hawick about ten years ago, the
sole conspicuous vestige of antiquity remaining in
the form of stone and lime was the Tower Hotel
that part of it, at least, which was the castle of
Douglas of Drumlanrig, as superior of the burgh.
This building survived the last burning of the town
by the English in 1570. But an oral relic of times
far anterior to that has been preserved in what is
called the * Colour Song. ' The ceremony of Com-
mon Riding takes place in June, when the Cornet



THE TWEED 173

precedes the magistrates in their perambulation to
the burgh marches, after which the f Colour Song '
is chanted by the crowd assembled in the town. The
words of this ditty are modern, the composition of
James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd ; but the refrain
seems to date from pagan times :

1 Up wi ' Hawick's rights and common !
Up with a' the Border bowmen !
Teribus and Teri-Odin,
We are up to ride the Common. ! '

This has been interpreted as a battle-prayer to
Odin, but its true origin is quite unknown.

'The Teviot,' says Dick Lauder, writing about
1840, c is a peculiarly pure stream, while its purity
is rendered more apparent by its pebbly bed. ' Alas
for this once fair water ! The growth of the hosiery
and woollen industry of Hawick has taken grievous
effect upon its current, which is now badly polluted,
more's the pity, for it flows through a lovely vale,
and is naturally an ideal salmon and trout, stream.

The estate of Cavers, lying on the right bank of
the Teviot below Hawick, remains in possession of
the descendants of Archibald, the second. illegitimate
son of the second Earl of Douglas he who perished
at Otterburn in 1388. The earl left Drumlanrig to
his elder natural son William, and Cavers to Archi-
bald. There are some interesting relics preserved
at Cavers, which are of undoubted antiquity, but the
precise origin of which have been the subject of a
good deal of amicable controversy.

The most important of these relics is a flag of
sage green silk, l about 12 feet long in its present
shortened state, and about 3 feet wide at the staff



174 THE STORY OF

end or " hoist ", narrowing to the ends, which seem
to have been originally forked. ' l About this flag
there are three various traditions current. The
first of these is mentioned by Bishop Percy of
Dromore in a memorandum preserved among the
Duke of Northumberland's MSS. at Syon House.
The Bishop was shown the flag when he visited
Cavers in 1744, and says that * the family of Douglas
of Cavers, hereditary Sheriffs of Teviotdale, have
long had in their possession an old standard, which
they believe to be the very pennon won from
Hotspur by the Earl of Douglas, to whom their
ancestor was standard-bearer in the expedition (to
Otterburn). ' Now, although we may accept Frois-
sart's word for it that Douglas did encounter
Hotspur in single combat before the gates of New-
castle, that he did capture the pennon from his
adversaries' lance, and that it was to recover that
pennon that Percy followed Douglas to Otterburn,
it is clear that this Cavers flag cannot be the pennon.
A pennon was a small pointed or forked affair, like
that on a modern lancer's weapon. No knight in
his senses would have gone into single or any other
combat with twelve or thirteen feet of silk hanging
to his lance.

The second variant of the tradition represents the
flag as Percy's banner captured at Otterburn. The
objection to this explanation is conclusive. The
flag is not a knightly banner, which was square, and
displayed only the armorial bearings of its owner.
It is a standard, a variety of flag which came into

1 The description is taken from the Earl of Southesk's paper on
this relic in the Proceedings of the Society of Scottish Antiquaries for
1901-2, pp. 246-280.



THE TWEED 175

fashion during the reign of Edward III., and, under
the Tudor Kings, was of fixed dimensions according
to the rank of him who displayed it, graduated from
eight to nine yards long for a monarch down to four
yards for a simple knight. But it could not have
been the Percy standard, seeing that the devices
painted upon it are the St. Andrew's Cross next the
staff, a lion and the Douglas heart and stars, with
the Douglas motto, Jamais arriere (written Jamais
arreyre) on the tapering fly.

The third account (which, I believe, is the one
accepted by the present family of Cavers) makes out
that the flag is the Douglas standard carried at
Otterburn by Archibald Douglas, founder of the
Cavers line. To this there appear only two ob-
jections, either of which is fatal to the tradition.
The second Earl of Douglas carried no lion on his
shield, and the lion is conspicuous among the devices
on this flag. The earldom reverted at his death to
his relative Archibald the Grim, third Earl of
Douglas, who, as Lord of Galloway, certainly quarter-
ed the lion of Galloway with the heart and stars of
Douglas. The other objection is that, inasmuch as
the Otterburn earl was only thirty when he was
slain, his second natural son cannot have been of an
age to act as standard-bearer in the battle. l

Another objection, which applies to all three of
these variants, is that there is no instance of the
motto Jamais Arriere in Douglas heraldry until it
appears on the seal of Archibald, eighth Earl of
Angus (1557-1588). Lord Southesk, sifting all the

1 But he may have been ' the little boy, was near of Douglas kin, '
mentioned in the ballad of Otterbourne as announcing the approach
of the English.



176 THE STORY OF

circumstances, came to the conclusion that the Cavers
flag was a Douglas standard, dating not from 1388,
but from some years after 1452, and belonging not
to the Black Douglas branch, but to the Red.
When George Douglas, illegitimate son of the first
Earl of Douglas, became Earl of Angus in 1397,
he quartered the lion of Angus with the heart and
stars of Douglas, and so did all his descendants,
including the fourth earl, who, on the fall of the
Black Douglas in 1455, received a grant of all the
lands belonging to that great house, and being
Warden of the Marches in 1452, appointed Douglas
of Cavers his keeper of Hermitage Castle. It is not
improbable then, that the Cavers flag was the official
standard displayed by the keeper on that fortress.

With the flag is preserved at Cavers an embroider-
ed glove, supposed to have been taken by the Earl
of Douglas at the same time as he captured Hotspur's
pennon, and to have been a gage of that knight's
lady. That may be so, but the initials K.P. worked
upon the glove are difficult to identify, for Hotspur's
wife was Elizabeth Mortimer, his mother Margaret
Nevill and his only sister Margaret Percy. What
fair lady answered to K ?

Hassendean Burn joins the Teviot from the north
a short distance below Cavers, a name that was
written of old Halstanedene, Hadestanden, and
Astenesdene, and has been further altered in the
modern song Jock o' Hazeldean. Of the tower that
once commanded the junction of the waters, the
only remaining fragment has been made to serve as
the gable of a cottage. It was a house of the Scotts
Sir Alexander Scott of Hassendean fell at Flodden.
In 1564 there occured a serious interruption in the



THE TWEED 177

alliance of the Scotts and the Elliots, probably arising
out of the action of Martin Elliot of Braidley, a son
of the laird of Redheugh, who claimed to be chief
of the whole clan of Elliot in Liddesdale and Teviot-
dale. This gentleman was in constant intrigue with
the English, received pay from Queen Elizabeth,
undertook that his clan should become English with
their whole surname, and their friends the Arm-
strongs, and pledged himself to deliver to the English
Warden Queen Mary's castle of Hermitage for
which he was ready to give four of the name of
Elliot as hostages. 1 It may be supposed that such
proceedings were odious in the eyes of the bold
Buccleuch, the Scotts being perhaps the only Border
clan untainted by traitorous dealings with the southern
power, and especially devoted at this time to the
cause of Queen Mary. Anyhow, the Elliots seem
to have struck the first blow in a feud which raged
with intense fury for a couple of years between
them and the Scotts. On the i8th October 1564,
they attacked Hassendean, and slew David Scott,
the laird. Three days later six men named Elliot,
and strange to say, James the son of Walter Scott,
tenant in Hassendean, were put upon their trial in
Edinburgh for the crime. Five of them were con-
victed ; three were beheaded by torchlight on the
same evening ; while William Elliot of Horsliehill
was condemned to banishment, a sentence which
was remitted in the following year by Queen Mary
at the instance of Ker of Fernihirst. But the family
of Horsliehill never recovered their standing. The
property was sold before the end of the century, and
the feud having been stanched, Elliot entered the

1 Scrope to Cecil 28th 1565 : Ms. Record Office.

12



178 THE STORY OF

service of Auld Wat o' Harden, who gave him a
natural daughter in marriage, whence are descended
the Elliot Lockharts of Wolfelee. !

Hassendean formed of old a separate parish, and
the church, with some fine Norman work, stood at
the junction of the burn with the Teviot, * but was
dismantled on the suppression of the parish late in
the seventeenth century. This was done during
the minority of the chief heritor in the parish, Mary,
Duchess of Buccleuch, and was so much resented by
the people that they assembled in force and killed
the first man who mounted the ladder to begin the
work of demolition. Since then the Teviot has
swept away the churchyard, and has so altered its
own course that the site of the old kirk is now
marked by a sandbank on the south bank.

This term * dean ' representing the Anglo-Saxon
denu, Middle English dene, a narrow wooded valley
or glen, takes the place in lower Teviotdale of the
* hopes ' and * cleughs ' of the upper country. It
recurs again in Denhold, a village at the mouth of
the Dean Burn, a short distance below Hassendean.
More ancient than it appears, Denholm was burnt
by Lord Hertford in 1545. An obelisk on the
village green commemorates John Leyden, the poet,
who was born here in 1775. Two miles to the south
of the village Ruberslaw (1392 feet) rises abruptly
from the plain, marking with its rugged cone the
site of a volcanic shaft in the carboniferous age. On
the opposite side of Teviot Minto Crags (729 feet),

1 Pitcairn's Criminal Trials i. 456*, 466*. See also Proceedings of
the Society of Scottish Antiquaries 1880-1, pp. 93-100, for the curious
details of this sudden feud.

1 There is an etching of it in Cardonnel's Picturesque Antiquities
1788.



THE TWEED 179

thickly clothed with trees, and Minto Hills (905
feet), form a beautiful setting for the modern seat
of the Earl of Minto, chief of the Elliot clan. The
estate was bought from the Turnbulls at the close
of the seventeenth century by Gilbert Elliot (1651-
1718), in whose veins the Border blood ran strong,
for his grandsire, ' Gibbie wi ' the gowden gartins '
married, as aforesaid, 3 auld Wat Harden's daughter,
* Maggie Fendy. ' A famous union this proved to
be, for the energy of both families was perpetuated,
and turned to good account in the service of the
state. Gilbert, first of Minto, applied himself to
the profession of ' writer ' the Scottish term for
solicitor and won early distinction in the trial for
treason of William Veitch, the Covenanting divine
(1640-1722), for whom he acted as agent so success-
fully as to obtain the commutation of the death sen-
tence into one of banishment. This was in 1679.

Soon after Gibbie himself got into trouble through
his Presbyterian zeal. For the active part he took
in promoting Argyll's rising in 1685 he was con-
demned for treason and forfeited, but was pardoned.
Admitted an advocate in 1688, he became clerk to
the Scottish Privy Council in 1692, was made a
baronet in 1700 and a judge in 1705, with the title
of Lord Minto. His old client, Veitch, by this
time was minister of Dumfries, and Minto never
failed when his duties took him to that town to rally
him about their early acquaintance,

1 Ah, Willie, Willie ! ' he would say, * had it no '
been for me, the pyets had been pyking your pate
on the Nether Bow port. '

' Ah, Gibbie, Gibbie ! ' was the minister's retort,

* See p. 170, ante.



i8o THE STORY OF

* Had it no ' been for me, ye would hae been writing
papers yet at a plack the page ! '

Gibbie's son (1693-1 766), also, became Sir Gilbert
first, and then a judge with the title of Lord Minto.
It is told of him that each year, as he passed with
the other Lords of Justiciary from Jedburgh to
Dumfries on circuit, his friend Armstrong of Sor-
bietrees always brought out a large brandy bottle to
refresh the cavalcade withal. On . one occasion,
when Henry Home, afterwards Lord Kames, accom-
panied the judges for the first time, Armstrong
whispered to Lord Minto l Whatna lang, black,
dour-loo kin ' chiel's that ye hae amang ye in the
front o* the coach ? ' * That, ' replied Minto, * is a
man come to hang the Armstrongs.' * Faith, then,
Gibbie, it's time the Elliots were riding ! ' retorted
Sorbietrees, as he shut the coach door.

Gibbie the second was succeeded by his son, Gib-
bie the third Sir Gilbert Elliot (1722-1777), states-
man, philosopher, and poet ; while the fourth
baronet, also Sir Gilbert (1751-1814), rose to be
Governor-General of India and first Earl of Minto.
His son, second Earl of Minto and fifth Sir Gilbert
Elliot in succession, was a Minister in Melbourne's
Cabinet (1835-41) and in Peel's (1846). His son,
succeeding in 1859 as tmr d Earl, broke the spell,
apparently from being named William instead of
Gilbert, for he was the first of his line not to earn
distinction in the public service. The tradition,
however, has been well restored by the present hold-
er of the earldom, who inherited the ancient family
name of Gilbert, and, having carried it to great
honour as Governor-General of Canada, was appoint-
ed Governor-General of India in the autumn of 1905.



THE TWEED 181

Minto Crags was crowned by a remarkably well-
preserved specimen of a Border pele, which has the
curious name of Fatlips. It was the stronghold of
Turnbull of Barnhills, a branch of the Bedrule family,
whereof there will be more to tell presently when
we enter the valley of Rule Water. A short way
below the summit of the crags is a flat ledge called
Barnhill's Bed, where the laird is supposed to have
kept his outlook.

* On Minto Crags the moonbeams glint,
Where Barnhill hewed his bed of flint j
Who flung his outlawed limbs to rest
Where falcons hang their giddy nest,

* Mid cliffs from which his eagle eye
For many a league his prey could spy ;
Cliffs doubling, on their echoes borne,
The terrors of the robber's horn. '

Lower down are the remains of another tower,
supposed to be Stanyledge, the house of another
Turnbull. Both Fatlips, or Minto Tower, and
Barnhills were wrecked by Lord Hertford in 1545.
Of the history of this robber laird nothing is known
but by vague tradition, but in the Justiciary Record
it is stated that * Hectour Trumbill of Stanyledge,
Hector Trumbill of Barnehillis : George Trumbill,

O '

his brother, and Gavin Trumbill their radir-brother
(uncle) ' were all outlawed in 1 604 for the slaughter
of William, James, Robert, John, Andrew and
Thomas Grameslaw, sons of John Grameslaw in
Little Newton. I have not found any other men-
tion of this horrible massacre, and no particulars
are given in the Records, but Barnhills must have
been a disagreeable neighbour.

Three miles or little more to the north of Minto



i8 2 THE STORY OF

another Turnbull had a castle at Belses. This laird
was simply an atrocious villain, and met his doom
in 1602, when he was tried for the slaughter of John
Hamilton Cumnock in 1579, and of William Turn-
bull, younger of Rawflat, in 1 600. Also for seizing
Adam Turnbull, servant to Walter Turnbull, finding
him with fetteris, and hinging him be the feit and
schoulderis (shoulders) over ane balk (beam) for the
space of X days, quhairthrow (whereby) his feit rottit
fra him. ' Also for shooting William Turnbull,
younger of Rawflat, brother of the murdered William,
in the arm and thigh in 1602, besides a host of
minor crimes such as sheep and cattle stealing, burg-
lary, etc. Evidence was defective against the accus-
ed, and he was acquitted on the main charges, but
convicted of * weiring and schuting with hagbuttis
and pistolettis, * and was sentenced to be taken to
the Market Cross of Edinburgh, and there ' his
richt hand to be strukin fra his airme. ' This was
on 2oth July. A month later the mutilated wretch
was tried afresh on a charge of * the filthie cryme of
incest and adulterir with Marioun Trumbill spous
to Jok Trumbill in Belsis, his brother sones wyfe, '
and being convicted was hanged forthwith. l

Opposite Minto Crags the Rule Water comes as
an important affluent to the Teviot, draining the
northern and eastward slopes of the range that sheds
Slitrig Water from its western face. After the
confluence of the Lurgies and Wauchope Burns,
Rule enters its narrow main valley, passing the
kirk and manse of Hobkirk (properly Hopekirk),
where James Thomson spent some of his early years
and composed much of The Seasons.

1 Pitcairns's Criminal Trials ii. 421, 425.



THE TWEED 183

The present spiritless parish church, built in
1858, replaced a wretched structure of 1692 or
thereabouts, which was built of far nobler material.
When it was taken down, the rubble-work was
found to contain many carved stones from an earlier
building, which were scattered and used as marks
for graves. That excellent antiquary, Mr. A.O.
Curie, has succeeded recently in recovering a few
carved capitals enough to fill one's heart with bitter-
ness against the cruel hands that wrecked the ancient
fane. For it is evident from the style of decoration
on these stones, which is similar to that displayed in
Edrom Church and on the east cloister doorway of
Dunfermline Abbey, that here stood the original
Ecclesia de Roule, an exquisite example of Norman
building dating from the first half of the twelfth
century. Mr. Curie also discovered in a game-
keeper's garden at Harwood, a mile and a half from
Hobkirk, the mutilated head of a cross, not Celtic
but mediaeval, which had been built into the wall of
a byre. Earlier than that, it was ascertained that
this stone had been unearthed from the foundations
of Appotsyde, once the tower of the family of
Loraine, now extinct. The hill road to Slitrig and
Liddesdale lay past this tower, and Mr. Curie
suggests that this cross stood by the wayside, citing
the analogy of other wayside crosses of similar
peculiar design, the limbs of the cross being of the
patee or Maltese form, strengthened by a circular
band left in the solid stone. The meaning of such
crosses is explained in Wynkyn de Word's Dives et
Pauper (1496) : * For this reason ben crosses be the
waye ; than whan folke passying see the cross they
shoulde thynke on hym that deyed on the croysse



1 84 THE STORY OF

and worshippe hym above all thynges. ' Less
sordid reminders, surely, than the field-signs of
soaps and patent pills with which we suffer our
routes of travel to be defaced nowadays !

Close to Bedrule, a tiny hamlet beside the kirk
of the parish so named, may be traced the foun-
dations of that tower where once the chief of the
lawless little clan of Turnbulls held sway. The
entire race has passed away ; none of the name is
numbered now among the landowners of Scotland ;
but all up and down this water they have left their
mark on the landscape in the shape of ruins, or at
least foundations, of their strongholds Wauchope,
away up among the moors ; Hallrule, in the pleasant
haugh below Bonchester ; Fulton, a well-preserved
house on the right bank fronting dark Ruberslaw,
and so forth.

The chief of the Turnbulls, a giant in stature and
strength, met his death in single combat before the
battle of Halidon Hill on I9th July 1333. The
English army was drawn up awaiting the ill-judged
attack of the Scots under Archibald Douglas, * The
Tineman,' Regent of Scotland, when Turnbull stood
forth leading a huge mastiflfon a leash, and challeng-
ed any English knight to single combat. Sir Robert
Benhale or de Venale, a young cavalier of Norfolk,
accepted the challenge, though greatly inferior in
height and strength to the Scottish champion.
Turnbull loosed the mastiff at the Englishman,
who, stepping nimbly aside, caught the beast such a
swinging blow on the loins as severed its hind
quarters from the fore. Then he faced Turnbull,

1 See Mr. Curie's paper, Proceedings of the Society of Scottish
Antiquaries, 1903-4 pp. 416-421.



THE TWEED 185

whose mighty bulk put him at a disadvantage.
Benhale was too quick for him, parried his attacks,
leapt out of reach of his mace, until the giant was
completely blown. Then Benhale went in : first he
shore off Turnbull's left hand and then his head.

The Turnbulls were a clan formidable out of all
proportion to their size, and seem to have been at
feud with all their neighbours in succession. After
making up their quarrel with the Scotts, they did not
shrink from attacking the powerful Kers. In 1601
six of them, including Thomas of Minto and Hector
of the Firth, together with the five Davidsons and
'Jaquie' Laidlaw of Rawflat, were tried for the
murder of Thomas Ker, brother to Sir Andrew of
Fernihirst, and of his servant George Glaidner.
This was a most daring outrage, committed in
broad light on Holy Cross Day (4th May) at
Jedburgh Fair. The Turnbulls attacked Ker's
house with a force of thirty men. Ker's brother
Sir Andrew, Provost of Jedburgh, gave chase, over-
took the murderers, and slew two of them, to wit,
Robert Turnbull of Bewlie and William Middlemas
of Lilliesleaf. For this rough and ready reckoning
he was tried formally with eighteen others ; but
there was no miscarriage of justice. Proceedings
against the Kers were not pressed; but of the Turn-
bulls four were sentenced to death, though only
one seems to have been brought to the gallows
Andrew, brother to the * Gude man of Bewlie, '
slain by the Kers. 1 Little is heard of the Turnbulls
in local history after this.

The name of this parish, Bedrule, carries us far
back into Celtic times for it is said to commemorate

1 Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, ii. 370-381.



i86 THE STORY OF

Bethoc, the wife of Radulph, the son of Dunegal,
who was joint proprietor with her husband, and had
probably been heiress, of the manor which appears
in the thirteenth century as Rulebethock, and in the
fourteenth as Bethokroule.

In this tuneful Border land there is no deed so
dark, no life so obscure that it may not be embalmed
in song ; and thus it happened that a drunken brawl
between two strolling fiddlers furnished Allan Cun-
ningham with the theme of one of his best-known
lays. William Henderson lived at Priesthaugh in
Teviotdale in the seventeenth century, earning a
livelihood by his skill on the violin. The liveliness
of his strains combined with his convivial habits to
earn him the byname of * Rattlin', Roarin' Willie'.
He had a rival, Robin of Rule Water generally
known as * Sweetmilk ' from the place of his abode.
These two were drinking together in Bedrule one
day, when they fell to disputing about their res-
pective merits as musicians. Words would not
settle the matter ; they adjourned to the river bank
to fight it out with swords ; Willie ran Robin
through the heart, and went into hiding. Had
Sweetmilk been without powerful friends, a few
months in retreat might have absolved Willie from
the consequences of his act, at so light a ransom
was mere human life reckoned in those days. But
Sweetmilk was the special minstrel of the Elliots of


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