The Life of Dr. Wallace Hume Carothers

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Wallace H. Carothers was born on April 27th, 1896 in Burlington, Iowa, the son of Ira and Mary Carothers.    In the words of Elmer Bolton, Dr. Carothers’ future supervisor, he would eventually become “…one of the most brilliant organic chemists ever employed by the DuPont company”.  During his high school years he developed an interest in science and began reading scientific literature during his spare time.    In 1914 he graduated from North High School in Des Moines, Iowa.    His father’s vision, however, was somewhat limited and he did not recognize his son’s potential.  As a result, Wallace was enrolled in the Capitol City Commercial College of Des Moines in the fall of 1914.

In July of 1915 he graduated from the accountancy and secretarial curriculum. In September of 1915, Ira sent his son to Tarkio College in Missouri which was newly established by the United Presbyterian Church.    In a biographical memoir published by the National Academy of Sciences in 1939, his mentor Roger Adams recalls that “Upon entering college his interest in chemistry and physical sciences was immediate and lasting and he rapidly outdistanced his classmates in accomplishment.   As a student he showed mature judgement and was always regarded by his fellow students as an exceptional person.  Invariably he was the brightest student in the class regardless of the subject.”

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During Wallace’s junior year, Arthur M. Pardee, the chemistry instructor, accepted a position at another institution.    As Tarkio was unable to locate another instructor on short notice, Wallace, who had previously completed all of the chemistry courses, was asked to temporarily fill this position.    He graduated, with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, however his graduation was delayed by one year until 1920, due to his teaching responsibilities. After leaving Tarkio, Wallace enrolled at the University of Illinois and graduated during the summer of 1921 with a master’s degree in chemistry.  During 1923 and 1924 he held the Carr fellowship, which was the highest award offered at that time by the department of chemistry at Illinois.    He ultimately obtained his doctorate in 1924.

In 1926 Dr. Carothers accepted a position as the instructor of organic chemistry at Harvard University. In 1928 Dr. Carothers made a fateful decision to leave Harvard and accept a position as the head of research in organic chemistry at the DuPont “Experimental Station” in Wilmington, Delaware.    Although he would head organic chemistry, most of his research would be conducted in other areas; specifically in polymerization.

In his 1939 memoir, Roger Adams recalls during the years between 1928 and 1936 that Dr. Carothers “…made several contributions to the theory of organic chemistry and discoveries which led to materials of significant commercial importance”.  In the same memoir, Adams also notes that Dr. Carothers achievements were “…recognized by his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1936 ‐ the first organic chemist associated with industry to be elected to that organization.”

Related imageThe two most commercially significant discoveries credited to Dr. Carothers are Neoprene synthetic rubber and a class of materials known as super polymers.    The most important, however, was a specific super polymer known as polyhexamethyleneadipamide; fiber 66.  In the summer of 1935, shortly after the discovery of fiber 66, Wallace presented a paper entitled “Polymers and the Theory of Polymerization” at the Johns Hopkins summer colloquium. Dr. Carothers, however, would never hear the trademark name given to his discovery that was initially known only as fiber 66.

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He never knew the significance of his teams’ invention which was the crowning achievement of a lifetime dedicated to scientific research.  Sadly, this brilliant man suffered with frequent bouts of depression throughout his life and felt that he had achieved very little of any significance.

On April 28th, 1937 he drove to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He most likely drank heavily that evening at the bars and clubs he reportedly frequented.  At approximately 5:00 AM on April 29th, he checked into the Philadelphia Hotel. Roughly 12 hours later he committed suicide by drinking a glass of lemon juice that he had laced with cyanide salt. He was 41.  He reportedly knew that lemon juice, being acidic, would intensify the effects of the cyanide.  The police found no note. How was it that this brilliant man with so many extraordinary achievements became depressed and committed suicide at such an early age?  I would ultimately find the answers to all of my questions in a book entitled, “Enough for One Lifetime ‐ Wallace Carothers, Inventor of Nylon” by Dr. Matthew E. Hermes.

After reading the book, I identified at least eight primary factors that I believe significantly contributed to Dr. Carothers’ depression and suicide. Wallace Carothers’ father was a devout Presbyterian and his selection of the Tarkio Presbyterian College in Missouri for his son’s education was primarily based on his desire to incur favor with the members of the Presbyterian Church, rather than what was best for his son’s future.

Dr. Hermes notes that Ira’s choice to send Wallace to Tarkio was part of “…a sacrifice of his family by his father to the church”.    Although Wallace accepted his father’s decision, it may have been one of the early factors that led to his unhappiness.  Irrespective of his father’s intentions, however, Wallace was destined to become a great chemist. By the time Wallace began his education at Tarkio, he had begun to smoke.  It is unclear, however, what effects this may have had on his depression.

The immediate reaction to this daily vice may have actually been to have a calming effect on his nerves.  However, the long term effects of smoking may have contributed to the serious health problems he suffered later in life and therefore may have been a significant factor in his demise. His later years at Tarkio, Wallace took his first drink during the celebration of a friend’s graduation.    As the years passed, he began drinking heavily on a regular basis.   His drinking corresponded with the prohibition years which eventually proved to be a severely misguided social experiment. Prohibition initially decreased drinking in parts of the United States.

Shortly thereafter, drinking increased to a level higher than it had previously been. Morality cannot be legislated.  Alcohol, albeit of questionable quality, was readily available for anyone who was so inclined and much of the liquor Wallace consumed was purchased from bootleggers.  More than any other single factor it was responsible for his fate as it robbed him of his reason and eventually of his ability to function in a normal manner.  Additionally, alcohol undoubtedly exacerbated his depression and contributed to his health problems.

Unfortunately, during Dr. Carothers’ lifetime, alcoholism was not understood as it is today and no professional help was available. Wallace Carothers suffered from a phenomenon that Dr. Hermes refers to as “intellectual demons”.    This concept can alternately be expressed as becoming possessed, obsessed or fully dedicated to the achievement of a certain specific goal, to the extent that one is willing to sacrifice both sanity and physical well‐being to achieve that goal.

It is, quite literally, the selling of one’s own soul for the sake of achievement.  In the athletic world, for example, many top athletes become fully dedicated to achieving the very highest level of performance that is humanly possible.    In the process, they sacrifice everything else in their lives for an extended period of time; including their relationships with their spouses and families.  In the scientific field of chemistry that Wallace Carothers chose for himself it was a foregone conclusion that he would spend a considerable amount of time battling intellectual demons.

It is often the price that must be paid for any real achievement. By the time Wallace Carothers was in his late graduate years, he referred to himself as leading an “Aboulic” life.  He was describing his inability to make clear and concrete decisions; to choose a definite direction for both himself and his work at any given moment.    The indecisiveness Dr. Carothers felt may have been a side effect of both alcohol and the battles he fought with his intellectual demons.

From the moment Dr. Carothers left his post at Harvard and accepted the job with DuPont, he began referring to himself as an “industrial slave”.  Conventional logic would suggest that he was correct.  Most scientists who work for large corporations are indeed slaves to their jobs in one form or another.  These companies are serious about their research efforts and the ultimate payoff that is eventually expected is continually present in the minds of the upper management.

 

However, the particular job Dr. Carothers accepted with DuPont was anything but conventional.    He was wooed by DuPont with the promise that he would be responsible for choosing the direction of his own research.    He would have nearly limitless funds to purchase the finest lab equipment of his own choosing. These promises initially proved to be true and the company kept its word.

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The positions Dr. Carothers and his piers were hired for were those of true scientists.   It was pure research, for the sake of research. Perhaps, however, Dr. Carothers may have sensed that the position he found himself in was too good to last. After a few short years the company management decided that the goals of their research efforts should become better aligned with the overall goals of the company.    Not surprisingly, they began searching for the shortest route to the ultimate payoff, inherently creating very stressful conditions.

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Dr. Carothers eventually confided to a friend, regarding the state of his job, that an “atmosphere of anxiety has arisen”. All societies function from a long list of unspoken rules and one can expect to pay a high price for any deviation from these rules. The penalty usually comes in the form of being ostracized from the social circles in which one might otherwise be included. Dr. Carothers suffered from the pressure placed upon him by society to conduct his personal life in a manner consistent with his professional career.

Near the end of his life he began an affair with a married woman.  This relationship was viewed negatively by his friends, his coworkers and the DuPont company management which did not want to risk an associated scandal. Dr. Carothers eventually discontinued his questionable relationship, only to quickly enter into an unhappy marriage with another woman. As is often the case, however, those who judged Dr. Carothers did not have all the facts.

The woman he had previously been dating was in the process of obtaining a divorce from her husband.  We may safely assume that the entire experience was very emotionally unsettling. Near the end of his life, Dr. Carothers’ sister Isabel died very unexpectedly. This is reported to have been a devastating event for him.

Being previously worn from all the pressures of life and hopelessly alcoholic, perhaps it was simply unbearable.  In all likelihood, this tragic event was the final factor that led to Dr. Carothers suicide. What lessons and insights can be gleaned from the life of Wallace Carothers?  In his early years, while his health was good, he achieved great success.

Health is the foundation upon which everything else in life is built.  It is the source of energy necessary to bring success to any task you undertake.  Unfortunately, the choices Dr. Carothers made for himself eventually contributed to the decline of his health and greatly diminished his remarkable natural abilities. These choices were undoubtedly a significant factor in his eventual demise.

If Dr. Carothers suspected that the initial terms of his employment with DuPont would eventually change, he was correct.  One should not rely on the events that are occurring in the outside world to be happy.  The unique circumstances we each face on a daily basis are continually changing.  If you allow the present situation to dictate your mental state, you will be happy one moment and sad the next.

True happiness must come from within. Many employers rule through tactics of subtle fear and intimidation, thereby creating an “atmosphere of anxiety”.  The severity of these conditions is directly proportional to times of economic hardship.  Proverbs 22:7 states that “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender.”

Most people are in fact enslaved by their employers to various degrees. The work environment therefore becomes a culture of finger pointing and a breeding ground for paranoia, with many decisions being made as the result of fear rather than common sense.

This situation, in all its various forms, is a leading cause of depression and is often the subject of popular Dilbert cartoons. Perhaps, however, the greatest lesson that can be learned from studying the life of Wallace Carothers is that academic and professional success alone do not equate to happiness. Although traditional success and the associated monetary gains are highly coveted, the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary to obtain them can lead to ones demise if they are not balanced with other important aspects of life.

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Achieving a balance between ones career goals, emotional needs and spiritual needs, promotes a strong personal sense of well being and inner peace.  In Mark 8:36, Jesus asks, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

 

 

 

Wife:Helen Everett Sweetman

She was from Wilmington, Delaware.

Daughter:Jane

She was born 27 November 1937, after the death of Carothers.

 

 

Mark A. Vaught

Primary Sources

Title: Biographical Memoir of Wallace Hume Carothers, 1896 ‐ 1937

Author: Roger Adams

Publisher: National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Date of Publication: 1939

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Kerr, Washington Caruthers

Photographic portrait of Washington Caruthers Kerr, from the <i>Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society</i>, Vol. IV, July-December 1887.  Presented on Archive.org.

 

Washington Caruthers Kerr, geologist, was born in eastern Guilford County in the Alamance Creek–Alamance Church region. His Scotch-Irish parents were William M. Kerr, a small farmer, and Euphence B. Doak, who reportedly possessed unusual mechanical talent. When “W. C.” was a small child, the family moved to the Haw River area in western Orange County, which in 1849 became the eastern section of the new county of Alamance. His father died about 1835 and his mother in 1840, leaving four sons and two daughters. W. C., quick and bright, was the namesake of the family’s pastor, the Reverend Eli Washington Caruthers. Indeed, Caruthers was then the state’s outstanding Presbyterian as well as principal of a good preparatory school in Guilford County. Cared for and guided by his mentor, young Kerr entered the sophomore class at The University of North Carolina and was graduated in 1850 with highest honors. He taught for one year at Williamston in Martin County, and for another year at Marshall University in northeastern Texas.

In 1852 Kerr was appointed as a computer in the office of the Nautical Almanac at Cambridge, Mass., and held the post for almost five years. He also studied at the Lawrence Scientific School and came in contact at Harvard University with such luminaries as Louis Agassiz, naturalist, and Asa Gray, botanist. Between 1857 and 1862 he served as professor of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology at Davidson College, teaching upper-level courses. One of his students recalled in later years: “We used to call him ‘Steam Engine,’ instead of Kerr, such was his promptness to time and rapid motion.” Another remembered: “He was a man of small physical stature,—with massive forehead whose amplitude was increased by baldness and his way of wearing his hair. His face was thin and intellectual—his eyes blue and piercing . . . his voice . . . clear and penetrating. He . . . could not brook shamming or laziness. His rebukes were often cutting—always deserved.” Kerr’s contribution to the Confederacy (1862–64) was as chemist and superintendent of the Mecklenburg Salt Company at Mount Pleasant, S.C., near Charleston; he improved the manufacturing process and cut the cost of firewood by half.

Governor Zebulon B. Vance appointed Kerr state geologist in 1864, but conditions in North Carolina during the final year of the Civil War precluded either systematic work or a salary. In 1866 he was reappointed by Governor Jonathan Worth. Kerr evaluated in Raleigh the “geological reconnaissance” performed by Chapel Hill professors Denison Olmsted and Elisha Mitchell in the 1820s (the first state survey in the nation), and the more detailed survey of state geologist Ebenezer Emmons during the 1850s. Neither, however, covered adequately the western quarter of the state, where most of the mineral resources were located. With an eye on economic development, Kerr concluded that the region beyond the Catawba River merited particular attention, and that an accurate geographic and topographical map of North Carolina should be produced.

Although not a trained specialist, Kerr was a keen observer and hard worker. His first official report stated that he had traveled, “mainly in the saddle,” 1,700 miles in less than four months; his second, 4,000 miles in eleven months. The legislature appropriated only $5,000 annually for all geologic operations, which meant that Kerr could have no permanent assistants. Nevertheless, by 1870 his own statewide survey was ready for publication. The lawmakers, however, placed so low a priority on the work that it did not appear until 1875—a major frustration. Kerr’s 325-page Report of the Geological Survey of North Carolina concentrated on topography, climate, geology, soils, fertilizers, and ores. His large fold-out geologic map was tinted in five colors by Mrs. Cornelia Phillips Spencer of Chapel Hill. The base for this map was that of the federal Coast Survey. After fifteen years of intermittent labor, Kerr in 1882 had calculated his own base, thus providing by far the most accurate map of North Carolina up to that time.

As state geologist he touched every county and, when not in the saddle, employed buggy, spring wagon, boat, handcar, or train. Always he collected specimens for the state museum in Raleigh. His correspondence was voluminous, his conferences frequent, his popular talks and articles many. He was a leading member of the state Board of Agriculture, lectured regularly on geology and related sciences at The University of North Carolina, and prepared displays of the state’s resources for expositions both at home and abroad. A respectable number of his professional papers were read before, and published by, several scientific societies.

Kerr made two important theoretical contributions to geologic science. He was first in the United States to explain a phenomenon that many North Carolinians and South Carolinians had often noticed: along rivers flowing from west to east, their south banks presented bluffs and high ground, their north banks low plains and swamps. Citing Ferrel’s “law of motion” (1859), Kerr deduced that this condition resulted from the coordinate action of stream flow and rotation of the earth. He was also first to describe the alternate freezing and thawing that produced “deep movement and bedded arrangement of loose materials on slopes,” even very slight slopes—a “frost drift” analagous to “glacial drift.” But his belief that glaciation occurred as far south as North Carolina was not accepted.

The satisfactions of his work were countered by certain vexations. Chief among them was the periodic meeting of the legislature and the inevitable confrontation between the state geologist, who favored plans for long-range economic development, and legislators, who expected immediate results for funds appropriated. To Kerr it was “real torture.” Never robust, his health gradually deteriorated (from catarrah of the digestive organs) after age forty. Yet this period witnessed his greatest productivity. An associate declared that Kerr was “often impatient, often despondent” but “clung to his work, impelled and sustained by nervous energy alone.”

In August 1882 he resigned his position to join the U.S. Geological Survey; some of his duties were in Appalachia, some in Washington. While in Washington, he prepared a report on the cotton production and general agriculture of North Carolina and Virginia for the Tenth Census, and wrote the article “North Carolina” for the ninth edition (1884) of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Finally his failing health persuaded him to give up regular work, resign from the Geological Survey, and spend summers in Asheville and winters in Tampa, Fla. The Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society at Chapel Hill elected him president in 1884, and the university honored him with the Ph.D. in 1879 and the LL.D. in 1885. During his lifetime Kerr was almost the only North Carolina-born scientist active in the state. His great service was to open the eyes of the people to their own natural resources, especially minerals. He died, of consumption, at Asheville and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh.

Kerr married Emma Hall of Iredell County in 1853. Their three children were William Hall, automatic-bagging inventor and manufacturer; Alice Spencer, a teacher who died of consumption at twenty-one; and Lizzie, who married Professor George F. Atkinson of Chapel Hill. In a letter to Lizzie from Burnsville dated 17 Nov. 1882, Professor Kerr, as most people called him, unconsciously left a portrait of himself: “I came in here Monday morning from Grandfather [Mountain], Tuesday went to Tom Wilsons, Wednesday to top of [Mount] Mitchell. Ground frozen hard & ice in path to top, & little lines of snow in the furrows of the rocks & whitening the top branches of the balsam trees. Day pleasant . . . I have taken board for party at Ray’s, 4 men & 4 horses.”

References:

At Home and Abroad (Charlotte), February 1883.

Davidson College Monthly, February 1891.

J. A. Holmes, Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society Journal (1887 [portrait]).

A. S. Kerr Papers (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill).

South-Atlantic, August 1878.

C. P. Spencer Papers, Orange County Wills and Estates (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

George Troxler, Journal of Presbyterian History, June 1967.

Additional Resources:

Kerr, Washington Caruthers; Cain, William; Guyot, A.; and Cumming, William Patterson. 1966. Map of North Carolina. Raleigh: State Dept. of Archives and History.

Cornelia Phillips Spencer Papers, 1833-1975 (bulk 1833-1942) (collection no. 00683). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/s/Spencer,Cornelia_Phillips.html (accessed January 17, 2014).

Image Credits:

Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society (Chapel Hill, N.C.); North Carolina Academy of Science; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 1887. https://archive.org/details/journalofelisham04elis (accessed January 17, 2014).

Authors:
Posted in Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Methodist Church, Old World History Scotland, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thomas Carruthers (abt. 1810 – 1883)

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Carruthers-1012

Thomas was born in 1810 in Dumfries, Scotland. It is unclear who his parents were. Perhaps John Carruthers and Mary Bell. However, on Familysearch, a Thomas who was supposedly the son of the above is shown with a different wife and many children. At this time (June 2019), Thomas’s origins haven’t been resolved.

However, there is a Scottish marriage record showing Thomas marrying Agnes Granger or Grainger in Dumfries, Dumfries, Scotland on April 10, 1831. The family journeyed from Liverpool to New York on “The Globe.” Thomas’s occupation was “bookbinder.” The young family with a pregnant Agnes arrived in New York on June 5, 1832. Their first child Jenette was born immediately. Their second child Eleanor was born in 1834 in Petersburg, Virginia. No one seems to have any idea of why they ended up there. Perhaps they were visiting other relatives?

The obituary of daughter Jenetta says that “In 1836 her father’s family removed to Ohio….” The Carruthers’ third daughter Sarah was born in 1844 in Chillocothe, Ohio. One wonders how much occupation there was for a bookbinder in the new world. Nevertheless, in 1850 Chillocothe, “bookbinder” is Thomas’s occupation on the census. Chillocothe is also where two more children were born to the family. Then Agnes passed away in 1852. She was originally buried at the First Presbyterian Graveyard which was relocated to Greenlawn Cemetery, Chillicothe, Ross, Ohio.

In 1853 Thomas married Elvira McCune, daughter of Samuel McCune and Rachel Sexton, in Ross County, Ohio. (Ten years later, Elvira’s sister, Mary Jane McCune married the widower Thomas Wilson who was from Garden Plain and came to live in Whiteside). Thomas and Elvira had a daughter Mary who was born in Chillicothe in 1854.

Around 1856 the family had moved to Whiteside, Illinois. The obituary of daughter Sarah said the family moved to Illinois when she was 12 years old. The obituary of daughter Elizabeth says her parents “bought a farm on Stone street near the Stone street school about two miles from Garden Plain.” Thomas was close to 50 years old and now a farmer. What did he know of the farming business? Did he do some farming while he was a bookbinder or was he a complete novice? It must have been helpful that he had his future son-in-law James Burnett living with him who had been raised on a farm. James was to marry Sarah Francis Carruthers in 1862 and the families continued to live close to each other.

Unfortunately Elvira died in 1867. Once again Thomas needed a wife and he returned to Ohio to marry Sarah J. Wallace. More questions! Had Thomas known Sarah before he moved to Whiteside? Why didn’t he just marry one of the many local spinsters? Looking at Sarah’s background, it seems her family had lived in Ross County, Ohio, so that probably is where Thomas and Sarah had made their acquaintance. Sarah is buried with her parents and siblings at the Old Burying Ground, Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio. Her gravestone clearly says”Wife of Thomas B. Carruthers.” That initial “B” could possibly be helpful someday in identifying Thomas in Scottish records. Thomas died in 1883 and Sarah died in 1904. Thomas is buried at the Garden Plain Cemetery in Whiteside, Illinois, where Elvira is also buried.

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Sources

Name: Thomas Carruthers Gender: Male Birth Date: 18 Sep 1810 Birth Place: , Tinwald, Dumfries, Scotland Baptism Place: , Tinwald, Dumfries, Scotland Father: John Carruthers Mother: Mary Bell FHL Film Number: 1067971 Reference ID: – 2:1645TZT Source Information Ancestry.com. Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.

Name: Thomas Carruthers Gender: Male Marriage Date: 10 Apr 1831 Marriage Place: Dumfries,Dumfries,Scotland Spouse: Agnes Grainger FHL Film Number: 1067961 Source Information Ancestry.com. Scotland, Select Marriages, 1561-1910 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Scotland, Marriages, 1561-1910. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.

“Public Member Trees”, database, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/83728/person/-2095953753/facts : accessed 11 June 2019), profile for Thomas Carruthers. Name: Thomas Carruthers Arrival Date: 5 Jun 1832 Age: 21 Gender: M (Male) Port of Arrival: New York Port of Departure: Liverpool Place of Origin: England Occupation: Bookbinder Destination: United States of America Ship: Ship Globe Microfilm Serial Number: M237 Microfilm Roll Number: 16 List Number: 367 Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1820-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2003. Original data: Registers of Vessels Arriving at the Port of New York from Foreign Ports, 1789-1919. Microfilm Publication M237, rolls 1-95. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

Name: Thomas Carruthers Tax Year: 1865 State: Illinois, USA Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Records of the Internal Revenue Service. Record Group 58. The National Archives at Washington, DC.

Name: Thomas Carruthers Gender: Male Marriage Date: 13 Sep 1853 Marriage Place: Ross, Ohio, USA Spouse: Elvira Mccune Film Number: 000281653 Source Information Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. Various Ohio County Courthouses.

Name: Thomas Carothers Enumeration Date: 19 Jun 1880 Place: Garden Plain, Whiteside, Illinois, USA Schedule Type: Agriculture OS Page: 10 Line Number: 9 Source Citation Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Garden Plain, Whiteside, Illinois; Archive Collection Number: T1133; Roll: 55; Page: 10; Line: 9; Schedule Type: Agriculture

Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Selected Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Name: Thomas Carathers Probate Date: 12 Dec 1883 Probate Place: Whiteside, Illinois, USA Inferred Death Year: Abt 1883 Inferred Death Place: Illinois, USA Item Description: Administrators Record, Vol B-C, 1872-1892 Source Citation Probate Records, 1852-1904; Author: Illinois. County Court (Whiteside County); Probate Place: Whiteside, Illinois Source Information Ancestry.com. Illinois, Wills and Probate Records, 1772-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Illinois County, District and Probate Courts.

Name: Thomas Carruthers Event Type: Burial Death Date: Nov 1884 Burial Date: 1884 Burial Place: Erie, Illinois, USA Church: Newton Presbyterian Church Source Citation Presbyterian Historical Society; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1907; Book Title: Register 1857-1936; Accession Number: Vault BX 9211 .I32448 N42 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.

Name: Thomas Carruthers Gender: Male Birth Date: 1810 Death Date: 1883 Cemetery: Garden Plain Cemetery Burial or Cremation Place: Garden Plain, Whiteside County, Illinois, United States of America Has Bio?: Y Spouse: Agnes Carruthers Children: Jennetta Wilson Eleanor G Dutch Mary C Dutch John Waddle Carruthers Elizabeth Carruthers URL: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/20415178 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.

John Waddle Carruthers (1846 – 1920)

John was born in 1846. He was the son of Thomas Carruthers and Agnes Granger. John married a Pennsylvania woman, Emily J. Blean, daughter of David Blean and Emily Kinkaide who likely was visiting relatives in Whiteside, Illinois, when he met his future wife. John passed away in 1920.

John’s interesting middle name might be a clue to the family’s Scottish ancestors. Perhaps the maiden name of someone’s mother?

(N.B. A granddaughter of John’s sister Frances (Elizabeth Burnett) was to marry another Blean (Leonard W.) in 1912.

Obituary from The Lathrop Optimist,” December 16, 1920, p. 2:

JOHN W. CARRUTHERS
John W. Carruthers, son of Thomas and Agnes Carruthers, was born in Chillocothe, Ohio, October 14, 1846. When seven years of age he, with his family, moved to a farm near Garden Plains, Illinois, where the greater part of his early life was spent. While residing on this farm he united with the Presbyterian church, at the age of 21. He was married to Emily J. Blean, September 13, 1885 and the following year he left Illinois and moved to Turney, Missouri, where he resided for several years, afaterward moving on a farm near Lathrop, Missouri, at which time he united with the Presbyterian church in Lathrop, of which he was a faithful member and a ruling elder until the day of his death.
Mr. Carruthers has left to mourn his death, four sisters. His wife taken from him a little more than a year ago, and from that time on his life was a lonely one, and his home desolate.

Clipping from the Plattsburg Leader, December 24, 1920, p. 5:

Will of John W. Carruthers

The will of the late John W. Carruthers of Lathrop was filed in probate court this week. The will leaves all the estate to his wife but as she had died before her husband the property will go to his brothers and sisters.

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In this image:

  • Sarah Frances (Carruthers) Burnett
  • John Waddle Carruthers
  • Eleanor G (Carruthers) Dutch
  • Jenette (Carruthers) Wilson
  • Elizabeth Carson Carruthers
Posted in Canada, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotch-Irish, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stuart and Jane Carruthers

 

Stuart Carruthers was born on October 11, 1870, in Finch, Ontario.  His father Andrew William Carruthers was 54 and his mother the former Jean Steven was 37. He was 6th born in a family of eight which included my great grandmother Margaret.  Stuart can be found on the 1871, 1881 and 1891 census of Canada living with his family in the Winchester sub-district of Dundas County. His first name was written “Stewart” on some of them as it is in some of the later documents as well.   He married Jane Smirl who had been born in nearby Hallville in 1872 on December 20, 1893, in Russell, Ontario.  The unidentified picture below was among my Grandma’s and I think it looks like some of the Carruthers.  The style of clothes and the type of picture would be about right for 1893 but if anyone can confirm or deny my guess, please do!  My Grandpa Frank Kinnaird lived with Stuart and Jane after the death of his mother in 1894 so it would make sense that he had a picture of them.  The 1901 Canadian Census shows Stuart, Jane, 3 sons, 7 year old Frank Kinnaird and  John O’Neil living at Concession 11 Lot 23 Cannamore, Ontario.  Google maps names a Carruthers Road which intersects with a Stevens Road near this place today!  Five years later J.J. O’Neil would be married to Stuart’s sister Christina and they would be living in Manitoba with Frank, starting a new life on the prairies!

Stuart and Jane had a family of five, four boys and a girl, all of whom married and lived their lives in the same general area of  Ontario:
Orrin Victor ( 1895-1950) married Beulah Jessie Ford
Keith (1897-1964) married Amy Marcellus Loughridge
William John (1899-1978) married Mary Oliphant
Carl Maxwell (1901-1973) married Laina Amelia Lahte
Sybil Maude (1904-1991) – married James Hugh Watson
                               Orrin Victor Carruthers and William Francis Kinnaird 1896
North Winchester
(Postmarked December 1907)

Dear Cousin,

I received your card and we are all well we have pretty good sleighing now I have just tried my promotion examinations.  James Evans is working here now.  He came a few days ago.
Write soon.
Orne

(Postmarked October 1907)
Dear Cousin,
I thought I would write you a few lines we are all well we are through picking potatoes I suppose you’s are all through harvesting.
 Write soon.
Orne
Orrin married Beulah Jessie Ford in 1919 and they had 5 children.  Sadly two boys died in WWII
Keith Carruthers and Amy Marcellus Loughridge married in 1918
The other Carruthers brothers sent postcard as well.
 North Winchester December 7, 1908
Dear Cousin,
I am going to write you a few lines letting you know I think you are forgetting the boy down here called Keith Carruthers and I want you to hurry up and write.
From your remaining friend,
K.C.(Keith Carruthers)

Crysler, Feb. 7 (postmarked 1910)

I thought I would drop you a card to let you know we are all well. Hoping you’s are the same. Are you going to school now? I am.
John Carruthers
Postmark – Cannamore, Ont October 5, 1906

Dear Frank

 I am just sending you this card to let you know there is such a person as Carl Carruthers down here and I want you to write me as well as the other boys. I am (?) big boy now and can read and write too.
from Carl
Stuart Carruthers died young on January 12, 1917, in Morewood, Ontario, at the age of 46.  Tragically, his wife Jane died a short 11 months later on November 3, 1917 at the age of 45.  They are buried in Morewood Presbyterian Cemetery with his parents and sister Margaret.

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Winnipeg’s connection to the Spirit of ’76

Written by: Danielle Da Silva
Community journalist — The Sou’wester

It’s an iconic American image of patriotism and victory and has been reproduced in ways too many to count.

Archibald Willard’s painting Spirit of ’76 is celebrated by our neighbors to the south but it also has a close connection to Winnipeg.

Gail Carruthers, 97, stands next to a print of the iconic American image the Spirt of '76. Carruthers is directly related to the fife player seen on the right, Hugh Mosher. Carruthers is Mosher's great-grand daughter.  (DANIELLE DA SILVA/CANSTAR/SOUWESTER)
DANIELLE DA SILVA – SOU’WESTER

Gail Carruthers, 97, stands next to a print of the iconic American image the Spirt of ’76. Carruthers is directly related to the fife player seen on the right, Hugh Mosher. Carruthers is Mosher’s great-grand daughter. (DANIELLE DA SILVA/CANSTAR/SOUWESTER)

Gail Carruthers, 97, is the great-granddaughter of the fifer on the far right of the painting: Hugh Mosher. According to Carruthers, whose family originally came from Perry, Ohio, and later Brighton, Ohio, the painting is a great likeness to her great-granddad.

“He was a farmer with a big family but he played the fife and he was in the war and he looked the right part to be in the picture, that’s what we were told.”

“He wasn’t a well-known man or anything,” Carruthers explained, surrounded by photos in her Fort Rouge period home. “He was a farmer with a big family but he played the fife and he was in the war and he looked the right part to be in the picture, that’s what we were told.”

Archibald Willard was close friends with Hugh Mosher. The two both served in the Civil War and at the conflict’s close returned to Wellington, Ohio. It was during this period, around 1876, that Willard was inspired to sketch a scene from a commemorative parade titled Yankee Doodle, which closely resembled the current Spirit of ’76. That sketch was the starting point for over a dozen variations on the painting.

“There are at least 14 versions that Willard himself did,” said history curator Emily Lang of the Ohio History Connection.

“He’s a really interesting figure especially in Ohio art. Basically his whole career, with the exception of a short stint in Chicago and his service in the Civil War, was spent in Ohio.”

While the painting at the time of its creation was considered crude by some, over the years it has become a true icon of American culture.

“It’s probably one of the most important pieces of the late 19th century,” Lang said. “Really, the reason why it is so famous is because it has been reproduced in so many different ways.”

The Spirit of ‘76 depicts three musicians marching across a battlefield after victory. On the right, playing the fife, is Hugh Mosher.
SUPPLIED PHOTO

The Spirit of ‘76 depicts three musicians marching across a battlefield after victory. On the right, playing the fife, is Hugh Mosher.

The Spirit of ’76 has appeared in popular culture in many forms: on shopping bags, on the cover of Disney Magazine, on fabric, and as part of sales promotions, to name a few.

The print that hangs in Carruthers’s home was actually part of a mail-in promotion sponsored by Carnation Evaporated Milk. It was the 1970s, Carruthers recalled, and if you sent in a wrapper from the can of milk with 50 cents to the company, they would send you a print of one of four famous paintings.

“I sent it in to Chicago and I said I hoped I could get this because the fifer was my great-grandfather,” Carruthers recalled. “All my relatives who had sent one of these had theirs sent folded. Mine came rolled up, with no creases.”

Carruthers had the print framed and gave it to her mother as a gift. The print has remained with Carruthers since.

Despite the recognition the painting has in America, Carruthers says she doesn’t know much about her great-grandfather and her family rarely spoke about him.

Gail Carruthers's family used to hold regular family reunions. Pictured in the large group photo are primarily descendants of Hugh Mosher. In the bottom left is Carruthers's mother and aunts. (DANIELLE DA SILVA/CANSTAR/SOUWESTER)
DANIELLE DA SILVA – SOU’WESTER

Gail Carruthers’s family used to hold regular family reunions. Pictured in the large group photo are primarily descendants of Hugh Mosher. In the bottom left is Carruthers’s mother and aunts. (DANIELLE DA SILVA/CANSTAR/SOUWESTER)

“Someone said that Hugh, my great-grandfather, visited Washington once and was recognized by people, so they’d speak to him, they recognized him from the painting. I never heard anything else about him, really,” she said.

At 97, Carruthers is preparing to move from her home and has gathered the artifacts she has connected to Mosher including notes, photos, and furniture. Some of the items will be donated to museums in Brighton, Ohio where Mosher is buried and other items have been passed onto her nephew to keep the history in the family.

Carruthers says that while having a relative depicted in American iconography isn’t of much importance to her, her family history through the ages is.

“I am proud to be a Canadian but I am also proud of my American heritage,” Carruthers said. “I am ninth from the Hugh Mosher that came to the United States in 1632. So yes I am proud of them, so I like to see that picture.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Canada, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotch-Irish, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Jersey Colony

Farming in the Middle Colonies

Farming in the Middle Colonies

 

The New Jersey Colony
The New Jersey Colony was one of the original 13 colonies located on the Atlantic coast of North America. The original 13 colonies were divided into three geographic areas consisting of the New England, Middle and Southern colonies.

The New Jersey Colony was classified as one of the Middle Colonies. The Province of New Jersey was an English colony in North America that existed from 1664 until 1776, when it joined the other 12 of the 13 colonies in rebellion against Great Britain and became the U.S. state of New Jersey.

 

Map of 13 Colonies Chart

Around 1524, Giovanni de Verrazano became the first European to explore New Jersey. He sailed along the coast and anchored off Sandy Hook. The colonial history of New Jersey started after Henry Hudson sailed through Newark Bay in 1609. Although Hudson was British, he worked for the Netherlands, so he claimed the land for the Dutch. It was called New Netherlands.

Small trading colonies sprang up where the present towns of Hoboken and Jersey City are located. The Dutch, Swedes, and Finns were the first European settlers in New Jersey. Bergen, founded in 1660, was New Jersey’s first permanent European settlement.

In 1664 the Dutch lost New Netherlands when the British took control of the land and added it to their colonies. They divided the land in half and gave control to two proprietors: Sir George Carteret (who was in charge of the east side) and Lord John Berkeley (who was in charge of the west side). The land was officially named New Jersey after the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. Carteret had been governor of the Isle of Jersey.

Berkeley and Carteret sold the land at low prices and allowed the settlers to have political and religious freedom. As a result, New Jersey was more ethnically diverse than many other colonies. Primarily a rural society, the colony grew to have about 100,000 people.

Eventually, governing power was transferred back to England. For many years, New Jersey shared a royal governor with New York. The governorship was finally split in 1738 when New Jersey got its own governor, Lewis Morris.

Map Of Camden, New Jersey, & Environs

John Cabot was the first European explorer to come into contact with the New Jersey shore. Henry Hudson also explored this area as he searched for the northwest passage. The area that would later be New Jersey was part of New Netherland. The Dutch West India Company gave Michael Pauw a patroon-ship in New Jersey. He called his land Pavonia. In 1640, a Swedish community was created in present-day New Jersey on the Delaware River. However, it is not until 1660 that the first permanent European settlement of Bergen was created.

In 1664, James, the Duke of York, received control of New Netherland. He sent a small English force to blockade the harbor at New Amsterdam. Peter Stuyvesant surrendered to the English without a fight. King Charles II had granted the lands between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers to the Duke. He then granted land to two of his friends, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, that would become New Jersey. The name of the colony comes from the Isle of Jersey, Carteret’s birthplace. The two advertised and promised settlers many benefits for colonizing including representative government and freedom of religion. The colony quickly grew.

Richard Nicolls was made the governor of the area. He granted 400,000 acres to a group of Baptists, Quakers, and Puritans. These resulted in the creation of many towns including Elizabethtown and Piscataway. The Duke’s Laws were issued that allowed for religious tolerance for all Protestants. In addition, a general assembly was created.

Sale of West Jersey to the Quakers

In 1674, Lord Berkeley sold his proprietorship to some Quakers. Carteret agrees to divide the territory so that those who bought Berkeley’s proprietorship were given West Jersey while his heirs were given East Jersey. In West Jersey, a significant development was when the Quakers made it so that almost all adult males were able to vote.

In 1682, East Jersey was purchased by William Penn and a group of his associates and added with Delaware for administrative purposes. This meant that most of the land between the Maryland and New York colonies were administered by Quakers.

In 1702, East and West Jersey which were joined by the crown into one colony with an elected assembly.

New Jersey During the American Revolution 

A number of major battles occurred within the New Jersey territory during the American Revolution. These battles included the Battle of Princeton, the Battle of Trenton, and the Battle of Monmouth.

Significant Events

  • New Jersey is divided into East and West Jersey in 1674. It is reunited in 1702 when it becomes a royal colony
  • New Jersey was the third state to ratify the Constitution
  • New Jersey was the first to ratify the Bill of Rights
Posted in Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Scotch-Irish, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Clydesdale Champion of Carp: Stan Carruthers

Clydesdale horse, Stan Carruthers, Gordon Carruthers Sr, Clydesdales, Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association, Clydesdale breeding program

Born in 1940, Stan Carruthers of Carp, Ontario, was predestined to work with Clydesdales.

“My grandfather was a stallioneer in Carp, and he used to have Percherons,” explains Stan. “In 1922, he sold his Percheron and bought a Clydesdale stallion. That’s how the love affair began.”

As a young man, while Stan would put together the occasional draft team to show and sell with his father, he wasn’t able to work with horses full-time.

Clydesdale horse, Stan Carruthers, Gordon Carruthers Sr, Clydesdales, Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association, Clydesdale breeding program

Stan’s love of horses came from his father, Gordon Carruthers Sr. Photo courtesy of Stan Carruthers

“For the first five or six years, all we ever thought of was war,” says Stan. “School was secondary to me for a long time. They weren’t teaching me what I wanted to learn. The horse industry was all I’d ever lived or dreamed, but there was no teacher for that other than my dad.”

In 1959, after a stint in the dairy industry, Stan began the transition to horses as his primary business. He purchased a pair of Standardbred siblings, Minor Joe and Minor Helen, who would become champions in the show ring as well as on the racetrack.

“There were all kinds of Standardbreds in the Carp area at one time; it was a big industry on a local level,” commented Stan. “Minor Joe was tough and intelligent, and he would go as far and as fast as he had to go to win.”

It wasn’t until the 1970s that Stan would make the switch to breed and show Clydesdale’s exclusively.

“The draft industry was kind of punky in the 1950-60s, but everything flew after 1972,” says Stan. “A friend of mine, Cyril Greene, wanted to get into the Clydesdale business. So, he bought a bunch of horses and asked me if I’d drive them for him. I said yes, but I have to take my dad wherever I’ll go.”

Clydesdale horse, Stan Carruthers, Gordon Carruthers Sr, Clydesdales, Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association, Clydesdale breeding program

Stan started in the horse business with a pair of champion Standardbred siblings, Minor Joe (pictured) and Minor Helen, before making the move to Clydesdales. Photo courtesy of Stan Carruthers

In addition to his driving, Stan was actively involved in the Carp community and sat on the board of the Carp Fair.

“I went on the fair board in the centennial year, 1967, and it was quite big at the time,” says Stan. “All the draft breeds showed together – Percheron, Clydesdale and Belgian – and there was favouritism from the judges. We had enough entries – 12 or 15 hitches in the ring with more guys getting in all the time – that I organized the Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association. Ontario had a club, but they were too far away and there are a lot of breeders in Western Quebec. So, I organized in ‘75, had the first Clydesdale show in ‘76, and in ‘77 I split the Percherons and Belgians into their own organizations.”

Shortly after founding the Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association, Stan decided to breed his own line of Clydesdales. The search for a good foundation mare led him to Truro, Nova Scotia over Christmas break of 1980, where he purchased eight mares and a yearling stallion. One of the mares, Elmview’s Pioneer Betsy (Betsy), would become the matriarch of a long line of Clydesdale champions. Her second foal, Lady Di, became somewhat of a local celebrity in Carp, with 31 championships to her name and several local commercial appearances.

“She was a natural,” says Stan of Lady Di. “When she was in the show ring, the judge couldn’t take his eyes off her.”

Clydesdale horse, Stan Carruthers, Gordon Carruthers Sr, Clydesdales, Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association, Clydesdale breeding program

In 1975, Stan founded the Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association. He is pictured driving with his son, Gordon Carruthers (right). Photo courtesy of Gordon Carruthers

Inspired by the success of the Carp Fair and with a robust herd of award-winning horses to call his own, Stan turned his eyes to a bigger prize: The World Clydesdale Horse Show and Trade.

“Around 1992, the Americans were trying to have a World Show but couldn’t get enough investors,” explains Stan. “It didn’t look like this show was going to happen, so I asked the Americans if they would come to Canada if I could do a world show. They said yes, so I left immediately before they could give it a second thought.”

For seven years, Stan campaigned across Canada and the globe to put together a world-class event. He attracted support from politicians and investors with a business plan that estimated a $35,000 contribution to the Ottawa economy. To attract exhibitors and attendees, Stan set up booths at local fairs, and traveled to Scotland and England to advertise at Highland Shows.

When the show finally arrived on August 25-29, 1999, the fruits of Stan’s labour were evident. With almost 400 horses in attendance at the Carp fairgrounds – including six from the `Clydesdale’s birthplace, Scotland – The 1999 World Clydesdale Horse Show and Trade was, at the time, the largest Clydesdale show and competition in the world.

Thousands of attendees paid the $10 entrance fee to the event. In addition to standard line and hitch classes, as well as an international auction, the eclectic event program included Clydesdale barrel racing, a medieval jousting simulation, and a craft marketplace.

Clydesdale horse, Stan Carruthers, Gordon Carruthers Sr, Clydesdales, Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association, Clydesdale breeding program

tan’s love of Clydesdale competition took him across North America and inspired his travels to the birthplace of the breed in Scotland and England. Photo: Lynn Cassels-Caldwell

“The memories of that were unbelievable,” says Stan of the show. “It was hot – I’ve never seen that many dirty feet and saddles in all my life! But people came, and they’d sit there from 10 in the morning until six at night. I couldn’t believe it.”

Stan sold all six of his hitch horses at the show’s auction, including Lady Di’s most prolific offspring: Carp Valley Harold (Harold), owned by Owl Creek Clydesdales. Harold would go on to win a record number of awards, including seven national champion cart horse titles at the National Clydesdale Show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2007 alone, he captured three titles at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, Ontario, and won both Best Clydesdale Gelding and the Men’s Cart Class at the World Clydesdale Show in Madison, Wisconsin. Harold’s long list of accolades earned the distinction of being one of the top three Clydesdales show geldings of all time.

“He was wild,” Stan says fondly of Harold. “If you hooked him up, you took a deep seat and hung on!”

World-class Clydesdales have continued to emerge out of the Betsy line, including five-time North American Champion, Carp Valley Adrien, owned by John Newell of Richmond, Ontario.

Clydesdale horse, Stan Carruthers, Gordon Carruthers Sr, Clydesdales, Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association, Clydesdale breeding program

Hank is the newest addition to the Carruthers’ current herd, and another foal is on the way. Photo: © EC/Caroline Soble

The current Carruthers Farm herd includes four Clydesdales, with a foal on the way. The numbers are a far cry from the herds of 25 or more that Stan used to maintain, as Carruthers Farm has adapted to meet the fluctuating demands of the draft business.

While the draft industry may be changing, Stan, now 78, has remained a constant force for its advancement in Canada and the local Carp area. He maintains his position as president of the Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association, and still attends as many local horse shows as possible.

“There is no display of horsepower in any of the World Show breeds like the Carp Fair ring,” comments Stan with pride. “It’s the best ring in the world.”

Clydesdale horse, Stan Carruthers, Gordon Carruthers Sr, Clydesdales, Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association, Clydesdale breeding program

Stan (right) has handed Carruthers Farm and its Clydesdale breeding program to the next generations: son, Gordon (left) and grandson, Blake (middle). Photo courtesy of Stan Carruthers

The day-to-day running of Carruthers Farm and its breeding program has been handed down to the next generation. Stan’s son, Gordon, continues to show homebred Clydesdales, descended from Betsy, across North America alongside his wife, Val, and their son, Blake.

“I wanted Blake to be a rider, but no…” jokes Val. “Blake will go to the Royal and World Show with his dad and he just lives for it, and talks about it for a month steady afterward. He absolutely loves it.”

It’s evident that Clydesdales run strong throughout the Carruthers family, but there’s no denying that Stan reigns as the breed’s most fervent champion. As Gordon puts it simply: “There is no one that loves Clydesdale horses more.”

This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of Canadian Horse Journal.

Main article photo: Stan Carruthers, 78 is a lifelong champion of the Clydesdale breed, and brings the illustrious history of Clydesdales in Eastern Ontario to life through his photos and stories. Photo: © EC/Jessie Christie

Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotch-Irish, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clan Carruthers: The Battle of Arkinholm (Langholm)

The Battle of Erkinholme was fought on the 1st of May, 1455.

Red Douglas. Black Douglas

(Supporters of James II) (Rebel forces)

George Douglas Archibald Douglas,

4th Earl of Angus Earl of Moray

Hugh Douglas

Laird of Johnston. Earl of Ormonde

John Douglas

Lord of Balvenie

The Battle of Erkinholme is more commonly referred to as the Battle of Arkinholm, albeit it’s known by some as the Battle of Langholm, primarily because it was fought where the town of Langholm now stands.

More accurately, the battle was fought on the outskirts of present day Langholm, opposite the lower return of a distinctive Z-shaped bend in the river Esk, which flows through the town, at least according to The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland.

The battle is noteworthy for having pitched two sides of the Douglas family at each other’s throats, but then again, that sort of thing wasn’t so unusual in mediaeval Scotland or elsewhere, for that matter. Even within our own family of a Carruthers fights between our own houses of Holmains and Dormont come to mind.

Although a small action, involving only a few hundred troops, it was the decisive battle in civil war between the king and the Black Douglases, the most powerful aristocratic family in the country. As the king’s supporters won it was a significant step in the struggle to establish a relatively strong centralised monarchy in Scotland during the late Middle Ages.

The two sides of Douglas were known as the ‘red’ and the ‘black’. The Chiefly line as they say, of the Douglases was the ‘black’ line, represented by the Earls of Douglas, whereas the ‘red’ line was represented by the Earls of Angus.

Both branches were descended through bastardy, with the Earl of Douglas descending from Archibald ‘the Grim’, an illegitimate son of Sir James Douglas, and the Earl of Angus stemming from an illegitimate child of William, the 1st Earl of Douglas. That made the main protagonists in the conflict at Erkinholme third cousins so, despite the name, the family ties weren’t that close.

There is some uncertainty about the leadership of the royal army. By some accounts it was led by George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus, head of the Red Douglas family, a senior aristocrat, and third cousin to the Earl of Douglas.However other accounts describe it as a force of local Border families, Johnstones, Carruthers, Maxwell’s and Scotts, who had previously been dominated by the Black Douglases but now rebelled against them.

They were reputedly led by the Laird John Johnstone of Johnstone in Annandale, who succeeded his father 1455. The Carruthers Chief at the time would have been

The ensuing Battle of Arkinholm, involved only a few hundred troops on either side, but it was a definitive defeat for the Black Douglas brothers. Archibald Douglas, the Earl of Moray, was killed in the battle and his head was presented to the King. Hugh Douglas, the Earl of Ormonde, was captured and executed shortly afterwards, but John Douglas, Lord of Balvenie, escaped to England, there to join the 9th Earl.

After the battle the Douglas, Earl of Angus (Red Douglas) was awarded the Douglas Lordship of the Black Douglas, along with the original possessions of his ancestors in Douglasdale.

Thomas Carruthers, the 2nd son of John Carruthers the 3rd Laird of Holmains, received a charter for the lands of Corry on 23 July 1484, for his services at the Battle of Arkinholm. The lands of Corry were forfeited from George Corry for implication of him in the Albany-Douglas invasion

Clan Status: Last Chief. Died

Douglas Armigerous Archibald Douglas, 1st Duke. 1761

Johnston Official. Lord Patrick Hope-Johnstone

Scott. Official Richard Scott, Duke of Baccleuch

Maxwell. Armigerous William Maxwell of Carruchan 1863

Carruthers Armigerous John Carruthers of Holmains. 1807

 

Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotch-Irish, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clan Carruthers: Scottish Clans & Families, what are they?

October 2, 2018Clan Carruthers

iu-4

Courtesy of Mercury News

There seems to be a great deal of confusion by some with regards, amongst other things, what a Scottish Clan or family is, what it isn’t and who can use the collective term.

The first thing that needs to be said, which seems to be very obvious to most is it’s Scottish, and therefore totally intertwined with Scotland, it’s culture, it’s traditions, laws and history.

To call a group a ‘Scottish’ clan or family without those links seems strange and surely defeats both the purpose and rational for using that particular adjective to describe a clan or family. Therefore if it doesn’t, it simply isn’t.

An excellent piece written by the Council of Scottish Clans and Associations(COSCA) in the USA, says it all.

cropped-gc-badge-artwork-chosen-logo-10-1.jpg

Carruthers

SCOTTISH CLANS

While the rich and romantic history of the Scottish clan system is rare, perhaps unique, among the nations of the world, not every surname with a Scottish heritage is associated with a Scottish clan.

Indeed, it has been estimated that fewer than 30% of all Scottish surnames carry a history of clan association.

True Scottish clans and traditional clan lands are found in all parts of Scotland including the Highlands and Islands, Lowlands and Scottish Borders.* But not all Scottish family names are associated with a recognized clan.

(Carruthers of course being an very ancient family from the West March of the Scottish borders, was recognised as a clan by the 1587 Act of Unruly Clans, by James VI and the Scottish Parliament.ed.)

THE CLAN SYSTEM

The clan system in Scotland is closely bound up with Scottish heraldry and much is determined by the Lord Lyon of Scotland, the nation’s chief heraldic officer.

The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs acknowledges about 140 clans that have chiefs recognized by the Lord Lyon of Scotland.

Recognition by the Lord Lyon of a chief confers noble status on the clan or family which gives it a legally recognized status and a corporate identity. A family or name group that has no recognized chief has no official position under the law of Scotland.

Many of the cases that have come before the Lyon Court in the last 50 years have related to determination of the chiefships of clans. Presently, several Scottish clan organizations are pursuing identification and recognition of a chief by the Lord Lyon.

(A clan with no Chief is classed as Armigerous as us the case of Carruthers, which is why the Clan Carruthers Society International are working so hard to have a Chief recognised by the Lyon Court, headed by the Lord Lyon, in EdinburghWe are one of those several clans following due process. ed.)

SCOTTISH DISTRICT FAMILIES

If your surname isn’t historically associated with a recognized Scottish clan do not despair.

It is estimated that at least 5,000 of all Scottish surnames are actually district family names and not part of a clan. Often district families were not closely involved in the violent and tumultuous lifestyle of many clans. As the result, members of district families were often better educated, had a higher standard of living and an overall better quality of life by some standards. They carried on Scotland’s commerce and agriculture, contributed to the arts and sciences, and were responsible for many inventions and discoveries that have influenced modern society.

Without question, district families of Scotland played a key role in the growth and development of the nation and its achievements.

More than fifty (50) recognized districts exist in Scotland, each with its own distinctive tartan. If your surname is associated with a family from a particular Scottish district you may proudly display your district’s tartan.

The Scottish District Families Association was formed in 1997 for the purpose of providing an organization for persons whose name or ancestry links them to a Scottish district rather than a clan.

Members of the SDFA receive quarterly newsletters containing news about members, Scots in America, profiles of various districts, and games/festival dates. Members also receive a pin (two pins for a family membership) with the SDFA emblem – a map of Scotland displaying Scotland’s ancient name of “Caledonia”.

SCOTTISH ARMIGEROUS FAMILIES

The Scottish system of heraldry reaches back to the Middle Ages but it is alive and flourishing today. Scotland’s heraldic tradition and laws influence many aspects of the Scottish clan system, including as mentioned above, helping to determine which ‘clans’ have chiefs and who those individuals are and will be.

The expert organization in the field of Scottish heraldry and armigerous families is The Society of Scottish Armigers (SSA), based in the United States. Visit the SSA online and learn more about this fun and fascinating aspect of Scottish clan and family history, law and tradition.

(Inside Scotland, it remains the Court of the Lord Lyon, external to that it is the Heraldry Society of Scotland. ed.)

As the SSA reminds us, ‘outside the jurisdiction of the Lord Lyon, it is in the worst possible taste to pretend that someone else’s Scottish arms are you own, although many people do not realize that this is the case.’

Chiefly Arms of Clan CarruthersAncient and"Honourable' Carruthers Clan Int (LLC) Badge

(The Arms, the main part of which is the shield, but includes a mantle, helm, torse and crest, with the motto above (Scottish Style), are owned by an individual not a family. As stated in the piece by COSCA, misuse is offensive at best. A typical abuse is seen above. The Arms to the left are the Carruthers Arms we all know, which belong to a Carruthers chief once confirmed by the Lord Lyon. To the right is a badge made up of the misuse of the Carruthers arms, the supporter (dragon) mantle, helmet, and scroll for the motto (English style) of the Arms of the City of London, and the supporter (Unicorn) from the Arms of the British Monarchy. ed. )

As you can see, a very succinct, descriptive and informative piece by the Council of Scottish Clans and Associations on what a Scottish clan or family structure is, who can use it, who can call themselves what and where that recognition comes from.

Clan Carruthers Society International has been working over the last 10 years to achieve our goal of having a Chief confirmed by the Lord Lyon leading to the Carruthers clan being considered official through that process. We hope you support us in our endeavours as the official society of Clan Carruthers

Promptus et Fidelis

*www.ClansandCastles.com

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Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotch-Irish, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clan Carruthers: Scottish Clans & Families, what are they?

 

October 2, 2018Clan Carruthers

 

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Courtesy of Mercury News

There seems to be a great deal of confusion by some with regards, amongst other things, what a Scottish Clan or family is, what it isn’t and who can use the collective term.

The first thing that needs to be said, which seems to be very obvious to most is it’s Scottish, and therefore totally intertwined with Scotland, it’s culture, it’s traditions, laws and history.

To call a group a ‘Scottish’ clan or family without those links seems strange and surely defeats both the purpose and rationale for using that particular adjective to describe a clan or family. Therefore if it doesn’t, it simply isn’t.

An excellent piece written by the Council of Scottish Clans and Associations(COSCA) in the USA, says it all.

 

SCOTTISH CLANS          

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While the rich and romantic history of the Scottish clan system is rare, perhaps unique, among the nations of the world, not every surname with a Scottish heritage is associated with a Scottish clan.

Indeed, it has been estimated that fewer than 30% of all Scottish surnames carry a history of clan association.

True Scottish clans and traditional clan lands are found in all parts of Scotland including the Highlands and Islands, Lowlands and Scottish Borders.* But not all Scottish family names are associated with a recognized clan.

(Carruthers of course being an very ancient family from the West March of the Scottish borders, was recognised as a clan by the 1587 Act of Unruly Clans, by James VI and the Scottish Parliament.ed.)

THE CLAN SYSTEM

The clan system in Scotland is closely bound up with Scottish heraldry and much is determined by the Lord Lyon of Scotland, the nation’s chief heraldic officer.

The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs acknowledges about 140 clans that have chiefs recognized by the Lord Lyon of Scotland.

Recognition by the Lord Lyon of a chief confers noble status on the clan or family which gives it a legally recognized status and a corporate identity. A family or name group that has no recognized chief has no official position under the law of Scotland.

Many of the cases that have come before the Lyon Court in the last 50 years have related to determination of the chiefships of clans. Presently, several Scottish clan organizations are pursuing identification and recognition of a chief by the Lord Lyon.

(A clan with no Chief is classed as Armigerous as us the case of Carruthers, which is why the Clan Carruthers Society International are working so hard to have a Chief recognised by the Lyon Court, headed by the Lord Lyon, in EdinburghWe are one of those several clans following due process. ed.)

SCOTTISH DISTRICT FAMILIES

If your surname isn’t historically associated with a recognized Scottish clan do not despair.

It is estimated that at least 5,000 of all Scottish surnames are actually district family names and not part of a clan. Often district families were not closely involved in the violent and tumultuous lifestyle of many clans. As the result, members of district families were often better educated, had a higher standard of living and an overall better quality of life by some standards. They carried on Scotland’s commerce and agriculture, contributed to the arts and sciences, and were responsible for many inventions and discoveries that have influenced modern society.

Without question, district families of Scotland played a key role in the growth and development of the nation and its achievements.

More than fifty (50) recognized districts exist in Scotland, each with its own distinctive tartan. If your surname is associated with a family from a particular Scottish district you may proudly display your district’s tartan.

The Scottish District Families Association was formed in 1997 for the purpose of providing an organization for persons whose name or ancestry links them to a Scottish district rather than a clan.

Members of the SDFA receive quarterly newsletters containing news about members, Scots in America, profiles of various districts, and games/festival dates. Members also receive a pin (two pins for a family membership) with the SDFA emblem – a map of Scotland displaying Scotland’s ancient name of “Caledonia”.

SCOTTISH ARMIGEROUS FAMILIES

The Scottish system of heraldry reaches back to the Middle Ages but it is alive and flourishing today. Scotland’s heraldic tradition and laws influence many aspects of the Scottish clan system, including as mentioned above, helping to determine which ‘clans’ have chiefs and who those individuals are and will be.

The expert organization in the field of Scottish heraldry and armigerous families is The Society of Scottish Armigers (SSA), based in the United States. Visit the SSA online and learn more about this fun and fascinating aspect of Scottish clan and family history, law and tradition.

(Inside Scotland, it remains the Court of the Lord Lyon, external to that it is the Heraldry Society of Scotland. ed.)

As the SSA reminds us, ‘outside the jurisdiction of the Lord Lyon, it is in the worst possible taste to pretend that someone else’s Scottish arms are you own, although many people do not realize that this is the case.’

 

Chiefly Arms of Clan CarruthersAncient and"Honourable' Carruthers Clan Int (LLC) Badge

(The Arms, the main part of which is the shield, but includes a mantle, helm, torse and crest, with the motto above (Scottish Style), are owned by an individual not a family. As stated in the piece by COSCA, misuse is offensive at best. A typical abuse is seen above. The Arms to the left are the Carruthers Arms we all know, which belong to a Carruthers chief once confirmed by the Lord Lyon. To the right is a badge made up of the misuse of the Carruthers arms, the supporter (dragon) mantle, helmet, and scroll for the motto (English style) of the Arms of the City of London, and the supporter (Unicorn) from the Arms of the British Monarchy. ed. )

As you can see, a very succinct, descriptive and informative piece by the Council of Scottish Clans and Associations on what a Scottish clan or family structure is, who can use it, who can call themselves what and where that recognition comes from.

Clan Carruthers Society International has been working over the last 10 years to achieve our goal of having a Chief confirmed by the Lord Lyon leading to the Carruthers clan being considered official through that process. We hope you support us in our endeavours as the official society of Clan Carruthers

Promptus et Fidelis

*www.ClansandCastles.com

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Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotch-Irish, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lion and the Clans

The earliest recorded use of the Lion rampant as a royal emblem in Scotland was by Alexander II in 1222 with the additional embellishment of a double border set with lilies occurring during the reign of Alexander III (1249–1286). This emblem occupied the shield of the royal coat of arms of the ancient Kingdom of Scotland which, together with a royal banner displaying the same, was used by the King of Scots until the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when James VI acceded to the thrones of the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Ireland. Since 1603, the Lion rampant of Scotland has been incorporated into both the royal arms and royal banners of successive Scottish then British monarchs in order to symbolize Scotland; as can be seen today in the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom. Although now officially restricted to use by representatives of the Sovereign and at royal residences, the Royal Banner continues to be one of Scotland’s most recognizable symbols.

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The ‘Lion Rampant’ Flag

This is NOT a national flag and its use by citizens and corporate bodies is entirely wrong.

Gold, with a red rampant lion and royal tressure, it is the Scottish Royal banner, and its correct use is restricted to only a few Great Officers who officially represent The Sovereign, including;

  • the First Minister as Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland,
  • Lord Lieutenants in their Lieutenancies,
  • the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland,
  • the Lord Lyon King of Arms,
  • and other lieutenants specially appointed.

Its use by other, non-authorized persons is an offence under the Act of Parliament 1672 cap. 47 and 30 & 31 Vict. cap. 17.

Why is the image of a lion so prevalent in Scottish Clan heraldry?

Why would a beast that was never native to Scotland feature so heavily?

The image of the lion in art and culture dates back to pre history and cave paintings. Our ancient ancestors who’s story began in Africa would have admired these powerful beasts and they would become symbols of noble savagery. As society advanced the symbolism became stronger; In ancient Egypt the lioness was merged with the human to create the sphinx.

In almost every other culture the lion was also present. Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persian and many early islamic cultures. Its not hard to understand, after all the lioness is a dedicated mother and ruthless hunter, the male lion a majestic animal that defends his pride with fury. a good role model for early civilisations.

The lion probably entered early Christian culture via a manuscript called the ‘Physiologus’. This document probably dates back to around the 2nd century AD and consists of a number of descriptions of animals and birds as characters in a series of moral tales. In the opening story a lioness gives birth to stillborn cubs but the lioness brings them to life by breathing upon them, this and other similar stories are a direct reference to the idea of Christ’s resurrection and the redemption of man. The Physiologicus also gives us the story of the Pelican wounding herself to feed her young, an image that can be seen on the Stewartcrest.

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In the middle ages the manuscript was translated into latin and spread through central Europe and was adapted into several ‘Bestiaries’ With such strong links to these moral tales such animals would naturally form the cornerstone of heraldic symbolism where they would become like ‘moral flash cards’.

Such tales established the idea of the lion as the ‘king of the beasts’ and so its understandable that heraldic art would take on this concept of using the lion as a symbol of the ruling elite. This symbol entered Scottish heraldry with King William I. Known as William the Lion this tag did not come from his appearance of character but simply from his adoption of the lion as part of his own standard. His successor Alexander II took the same red lion rampant on a yellow ground and made this the royal symbol that would become the well known Royal Standard of Scotland.

I have used the phrase ‘rampant’ above. this refers to the attitude that the animal adopts, in this case raised up on hind legs and paws raised to strike (the lion can stand on either one or two legs depending on tradition although in British heraldry it tends to be one with the other also poised to strike). There are many other attitudes that animals such as lions, wildcats etc can assume; ‘Passant’ is walking with one fore paw raised, ‘Statant’ is standing with all paws on the ground, ‘Salient’ is leaping, ‘Sejant’ means in a sitting position and so on. Other phrases you may hear are ‘Guardant’ or ‘Affrontee’, where the animal faces the viewer and ‘Regardant’ where the animal looks to its rear.

With such strong links to Scottish royalty its no surprise that the Scots nobility would incorporate the lion into their own arms, some such as MacGregor make no secret of this with a lions head and the motto which translates as ‘Regal is my Race’. Here are the clans  and Scottish armigerous families we know of that use the lion symbol in their crests.

Baxter (A Lion Passant) Broun (Rampant) Bruce (Statant) Chalmers (Head and Neck)

Cumming (Rampant) Dundas (Head, Guardant) Fairlie (Head Couped)

Farquharson (Rampant) Heron (Demi Lion Rampant) Home / Hume (Head)

Inglis (Demi Lion Rampant) Little (Demi Lion Rampant) Lundin (Demi Lion Rampant)

MacDowall (Lion’s Paw) MacDuff (Rampant) MacGregor (Head) MacLaren (Head)

MacPhee (Demi Lion Rampant) Maitland (Sejant, Affrontee) Middleton (Demi Lion Rampant)

Moncrieffe (Demi Lion Rampant) Moubray (Demi Lion Rampant) Newton (Demi Lion Rampant)

Nicolson (Demi Lion Rampant) Pentland (Head) Primrose (Demi Lion Rampant)

Stuart of Bute (Demi Lion Rampant) Vans (Rampant) Young (Demi Lion Rampant)

Its easy to be confused about how an animal native to Africa could have such a profound symbolic influence in Europe, we should also remember that lions though not native or wild would have been brought over with invading Romans who would have kept the creatures for games or even as status symbols. Personally though I prefer to believe that it was not these poor caged beasts that influence the heralds of early medieval Europe but the lion tales of old that were seen as symbols of the ancient code of chivalry.

Source:

Rodger Moffet….Director of ScotClans. Expert in all things clan and tartan.

http://www.lyon-court.com/lordlyon/237.html

http://www.lyon-court.com/lordlyon/375.html

 

 

Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotch-Irish, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MOUSWALD: ANCESTRAL HOME OF CLAN CARRUTHERS.

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Brought to you by your Clan Society;
Clan Carruthers Society-International

•INTRODUCTION

Although Carruthers lands extended far beyond Mouswald, it was the home of our chiefs for many years. This description, in part from the 1800’s paints a picture that would reflect what it was like in ancient times.

•CURRENT DESCRIPTION

The ancient parish of Mouswald in Nithsdale, situated 2km northwest of Carrutherstown and 10 km southeast of Dumfries in south-west Scotland lying on the B724 south of the A75. It is The site views southward over the Solway Firth. The parish itself has various spellings in the literature: Mouswald, Mousewald, Mosswald or Muswald.

•INFORMATION DESCRIBING THE PARISH FROM RECORDS OF THE EARLY 1800’s.

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•LOCATION

It is situated on the south western extremity of Dumfriesshire lying midway between Rivers Nith and Annan.

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The name of this parish signifies the ‘Wood’ near the Moss, the latter syllable being derived from the Saxon wealt or walda, a woody district.

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It was formerly written Muswald & Mosswald It is now frequently written Mouswald, which seems incorrect as the elision of U is certainly more in unison with the derivation and mode adopted in precedents.

The Parish of Mouswald lies midway between the Rivers Nith and Annan and is bounded on the west by Torthorwald Parish. On the north it is bounded by that of Lochmaben, on the east by Dalton and on the south by Ruthwell. It has no detached portion within the boundaries of another parish nor within its limits a detached part of any other parish.

The Western Boundary is defined by Wath Burn a small Stream which empties itself into Lochar Water, at which point of junction the latter stream traces the south-western boundary for about ¼ mile the south, east and northern boundaries are not of any strongly-defined natural kind being walls palings runners and roads.

•LANDSCAPE

The appearance of the parish is plain and level with some rising grounds which have however like most other hills in Lower Nithsdale a gentle acclivity. Its length is from 4 to 5 miles its breadth from 2 to 3 miles or per statistics, its Area is 8¼ Miles or 4725 Scotch Acres which is equal to 5953¼ Impl. (Imperial).

The soil on the west side is of a light sandy nature and contiguous to Lochar Moss at the south west, it therefore consists for the most part of a wet and marshy pasture. However, towards the east where the ground rises the Soil is very productive.

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Lochar Moss forms the South western district from which the people procure abundance of fuel. The classification of land may be 4,278. cultivated, 1260 bad pasture and Moss, 256 improvable with advantage and 189 wood.

No minerals abound and there is no manufacture carried on. The highest hill is 700 feet above sea level but is cultivated to its summit. Several rills take their source in the upper grounds, the largest of which is Mouswald Burn which creeps sluggishly over a distance of 3 miles to Wath Burn. Numerous fine springs also contribute to water this parish, several of which having dedicatory names might imply their repute during Popish times.

Lochar Water as previously noticed touching the parish at the south western extremity of the parish, is the only considerable stream.

•SERVICES AND POPULATION

Two turnpike roads from Dumfries to Annan and Carlisle run through the Parish from north west to south east and Glasgow and south-western Railway presents a similar direction towards Gretna. The turnpike and parish toads are all in excellent repair.

There are three villages or hamlets: Mouswald which has a population of 160, Woodside and Cleughbrae which have a joint population of 150.

The parish church a handsome modern structure in a central and convenient situation and placed as it is upon an elevation is a prominent object it is visible from almost every point of the parish. It has accommodation for 386 sitters. The patron is the Marquis of Queensberry carrying a stipend and glebe of £240.15.0. annually.

There is only one parish school which has but limited accommodation and is in indifferent repair. Salary attached to it was £25.13.4 with £9.10.0 fees.

There is also a Free Church and school on Mount Kedar which from their situation at southern parish boundary also accommodate the adjoining Parish of Ruthwell. There is also on the Summit of this hill a handsome monument to the memory of the late Dr. Duncan the first Minister of the Free Church, a man esteemed alike for his great learning, his beneficent public acts and charitable purposes.

However little is known of the early ecclesiastical state of this Parish. A church dedicated to St Peter existed in close proximity to the well called St. Peter’s well, the waters of which no doubt furnished an excellent supply during Popish times, as the spring has never been known to freeze even during the hardest frosts nor does Wath Burn into which it flows ever freeze for a considerable distance after their junction.

•ANTIQUITIES

Several antiquities exist in this parish, respecting which little authentic information can be procured, as the surmises of locals being little in conformity with history and seemingly at variance with the early character of this district.

The remains of two camps are yet visible one at Burronhill near the centre of the Parish and another about ¾ mile north east east thereof.

The former is allowed to be British (Anciebt Briton); from the little remains yet existing, it seems to have had a double fosse and to have been of a circular formation.

The second approaches to that of a square, is of such dimensions only to be occupied as an Outpost – called Castra Aestiva or Summer encampment, and is pronounced by people of locality to be Roman.

Such a supposition seems inconsistent with facts as no Roman remains have ever been found in this locality and no Roman road has ever been traced in the district. The nearest Station or Roman Camp was on Wardlaw Carlaverock about 7 miles distant, with a dense forest and marsh intervening.

If Roman is its Construction it could only be attributed to the period of Agricola’s fourth campaign or his subjugation of the Selgovae, but Tacitus remarks that at that period Agricola was impeded in his march to the east of Lochar Water (the intervening space between Wardlaw and this camp ) by a dense forest and extensive morass. There is argument that it might have been constructed during the undertaking of the Roman Road in the adjoining Parish of Lochmaben. That seems also improbable as the entire district South was long previously conquered. These camps from the above facts therefore may more consistently be ascribed to a much later period.

Another camp is reputed to have existed on Pantath Hill the traces of which cannot now be discerned but a cairn called Stryal or Tryal Cairn although now scarcely discoverable as a distinct feature from the surrounding ground, is pointed out. Tradition affirms its having been the place where malefactors (criminals) heard their sentence pronounced. This cairn was originally 288 feet in circumference.

Another cairn is spoken of called Deadmangill which has now entirely disappeared, the name however is still applied to the glen wherein it was situated. This cairn is traditionally reported to have marked the spot where delinquents were executed.

A tumulus (ancient burial ground/barrow) now called Elf Knowe, where human bones have been found, is reported to have existed near Bucklerhole, at the North western extremity of the oparish.

•MOUSWALD TOWER

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Five Border Towers are said to have existed in this oarish, but examiners have only been able to discover the vestiges of three respectively at Bucklerhole, Mouswald Mains and Raffles. However, they have all been strong square buildings and extend nearly parallel.

The centre one originally belonged to Sir Simon Carruthers and from vestiges still existing and its name “Mouswald Place” was the strongest and most important in the district.

The present proprietor has versus juro antiquairia dubbed his house as The Place of [the] Parish, thus depreciating in importance the once proud and stubborn stronghold. Mouswald Place is a 16th century stone tower house, founded by the Carruthers family and is found within the Mouswald Caravan Park.

The largest and the only remaining border tower of the five in the Mouswald parish, the sites of four others have been lost. Sadly only the eastern half of this tower, with its plain walls and unvaulted basement, stands to any height.
It measured 23 ft. 11 in. by 17ft. 9 in. and the walls were 6 ft. thick. They stood up to 30 ft. high in 1912.

The east wall and the returns at the NE and SE angles, standing to a height of c.10.0m, are all that remain of this tower. The walls are 2.0m thick, except at the NE return where the north wall, battered to a height of c4.0m, is 3.0m thick at ground level.

•HISTORICAL CONCEPT

This land and the land around it belonged to the Clan Carruthers, Mouswald itself up to the 16th century. This is therefore Carruthers country at its heart and is in its entirety as well as some hills, old forest and marshland is also a green and pleasant land with rolling hills, open meadows, streams and rivers nearby. Our heritage is steeped in these lands as Carruthers were lording it here from the thirteenth century, with a reputation for cross-border raiding. Sadly this predisposition finally brought the Mouswald branch of the family to an end when Simon Carruthers was killed in action in 1548. Our clan was then led by the Holmains line, now recognised as the chiefly line, with living descendants to this day.

Being so close to our roots of both the parish of Carruthers and the picturesque Carrutherstown itself, it is obvious that in those days the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. Since then Carruthers have flown to all corners of the world, from all nationalities and from all walks of life.

A BASE NEAR MOUSWALD- Carrutherstown

This is a great place to base oneself as a visiting Carruthers surrounded by our history and artifacts, with Comlongon Castle and it’s Green Lady (see other post on the ghost of Marion Carruthers) being close by. The Carrutherstown Millennium monument, supported by many Carruthers in local populations, is found outside the Village Hall facing away from the elements.

Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotch-Irish, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE BORDER REIVERS

In 1286, King Alexander III of Scotland was on his way to his new young wife’s bed, during a storm, when he fell over a cliff. Whether his tumble was assisted or not isn’t recorded but his lust-driven freefall to oblivion was to have enormous consequences for the border between Scotland and England. From this point in time begins the story of the Border Reivers, also known as Riding Surnames and Steel Bonnets – family bands of hard riding, tough and resourceful men. They existed on plunder, cattle rustling, mayhem and sometimes murder, brought about by a border in a constant state of flux and turmoil.

They were to be a law unto themselves in the Marches either side of the border for over three centuries. Their time finally ran out when the crowns of Scotland and England were joined in 1603 under the Scots King, James VI/I. He broke the power of the Reivers by hanging many of them, dispossessing others and scattering those who resisted his will. It was the end of an enthralling chapter in the history of the Borders.

Below is an account of a 16th century raid on Willmoteswick fortified manor house, the home of the Ridley’s, by the warlike Armstrongs of Liddesdale. This manor guarded the ford at Haltwhistle and is relayed in the famous border ballad, ‘The Fray of Hautwessel’. The death of Wat Armstrong is a sobering reminder of the power of the English longbow.

‘John Ridley thrust his spear right through Sim o’ the Cathills wame (belly) … Then Alec Ridley let flee a clothyard shaft, it struck Wat Armstrong in the ee’, went through his steel cap, head an a’, it made him quickly fa’, he could na’ rise … The best at thief-craft or the ba’ (football), he ne’er again shall ride a raid’.

Band of Border Reivers

At this point in the narrative, it would be a good time to get one very important thing clear about the Border Reivers. They did not wear kilts or plaid, nor did they paint their faces with blue woad. This is a fantastical invention, a fabrication by the actor and director Mel Gibson, in his highly inaccurate film Braveheart. I feel sure there must be many people with no real knowledge of the true history of Scotland, who have watched that dreadful piece of old hokum and fallen for the ‘tartanfest’ it peddles, along with its distorted historical perspectives. His dressing of non-Highlanders in kilts was ridiculous, as ridiculous as dressing the Plains Indians in business suits and ray-bans, whilst they were fighting General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Edward and Wallace

The great families of the borders on both sides of it, were very closely connected and intermarriage was common if not the norm. In the late 16th century it was difficult to find one of the Scottish Armstrong clan for example, who wasn’t married to an Englishwoman. The governments of Scotland and England even passed laws to forbid cross-border marriages on pain of death. The independent borderers generally disregarded these laws and the governments were in no position to enforce them. The marriages continued unabated, as they still do to this day.

Anyway – back to 1286 and the airborne King Alexander III. After his date with destiny the kingdom passed to his infant grand-daughter, Margaret. King Edward I of England saw advantage in this and planned a marriage between the infant queen and his own son. Unfortunately Margaret died in 1290 and the Scottish succession was unclear. Edward I was invited to decide who should succeed to the Scottish throne and had his puppet Balliol installed as king. However, Balliol once installed began to have ideas of his own. He concluded an alliance with France and began to raid across the border into England. Edwards response was swift as he confiscated the property of all Scots in England. The Scots in turn massacred English sailors at Berwick. The Scots king then took the very unwise step of invading England where he met Edwards English army in battle.

It is interesting to note that as King Edward I waited at the border town of Wark with his army, he had with him some Scottish nobles. One of these nobles was a certain Robert the Bruce, later to become king of Scotland in his own right. In the west the Scots attempted to take Carlisle but the city held fast. In the east, Edward took Berwick and there was a great loss of life in that town. Edward and his army then entered Scotland and within five months he had brought the country to submission. The governor that Edward left in charge to control Scotland made a complete hash of the job and as a consequence of his misrule, the uprising of William Wallace happened.

Mighty Hermitage Castle – A Border Stronghold of Scotland

For years after the events described above, invasion followed counter invasion and the devastation all along the border went on for generations, it became a way of life. The area was never to be stable again whilst the two nations were dynastically separate. During this time a unique buffer region was being born, the lawless land of the Border Reivers. 

The constant raids over the border made the growing of crops almost impossible and agriculture broke down. Crops were all too often burnt before they could be gathered and it made little sense to attempt to grow them. The people of the Borders mostly gave up on agriculture and lived by raiding, general skulduggery and blackmail, thus were born the fabled Border Reivers.

A common bond across the border

The word ‘blackmail’ entered the English language from the Border Reivers, along with the words ‘bereaved’ and ‘gang’. The people of the borders had taken a step backwards as far as the rule of law was concerned, everything fell away except the art of raiding and feuding. Powerful families evolved who raided across the border and often feuded with each other. There were also cross border alliances, marriages and even families such as the Grahams, who resided on both sides of the border. Even different branches of the same family feuded, the Kerr’s of Ferniehirst and Cessford were at each others throats for decades.

Another of the long lasting feuds was that between the Kerr’s and the Scott’s. Like Pirates and Smugglers, the Reivers have tended to be sanitised and romanticised over the past centuries and historical inaccuracies of the times have been stated as fact. Our friend Mel Gibson is a prime example of this with his fantastical version of the uprising of William Wallace, as mentioned earlier.

Such was the uniqueness of the people of the Borders, both Scots and English, that they had more in common with each other than those from outside the area, even those from their own country. They understood each other and lived by the same accepted rules. When Scotland and England were officially at war, the Borderers would be fighting on both sides. This was usually for the booty and plunder rather than from any sense of national allegiance. Their fights were never those of national sovereignty or for the rights of kings or the nobility.

The Border Reivers were Scottish when they will and English at their pleasure, or indeed the reverse. When they met on the field of battle as part of national armies, they invariably avoided each other and did each other little harm. Family was everything on the Borders and nationality was no more than a flag of convenience.

The Reivers were expert and skilful horsemen and rode hardy little horses called ‘Hobbys’. These horses were said to be capable of travelling up to 150 miles per day. It is little wonder that raids could happen so far from the border. Raids are documented as having taken place as far south as Yorkshire in England and within three miles of Edinburgh in Scotland. Sadly, these wonderful little horses no longer exist today. Probably the closest thing to them now is the Icelandic horse, which is another small and sturdy breed.

The Riders themselves wore a particular kind of clothing. They wore a steel helmet – hence their name of ‘steel bonnets’ – a shirt, over which could be worn a coat of mail but more usually was worn a ‘Jack’. A ‘Jack’ was a quilted coat of stout leather sewn with plates of metal or bone for added protection. It was an extremely good piece of protective clothing. They also wore breeches and high leather boots. They were considered to be some of the best light cavalry in the world during times of war.

No Robin Hoods

Over the centuries continual raiding laid waste to the Border Marches, so much so that at times the population in the areas found themselves in desperate circumstances. In the mid 1500’s the people of Dumfriesshire were close to starvation due to the depredations of the Reivers. The bands of Reivers were not solely English or Scottish, they could very easily consist of mixed bands and more often than not did. Family as ever on the border meant everything, nationality as we understand it today meant nothing.

The Reivers were no Robin Hoods, they were not robbing the rich to help the poor, they simply robbed to help themselves. They were not outlaws in the accepted modern sense either, as many of the nobles and ‘gentlemen’ were up to their necks in reiving. Often, March Wardens who were supposed to be keeping the actions of the Reivers in check were in fact Reivers themselves, or at least in league with them.

The March Lands of the Scottish Border Reivers

The demise of the Border Reivers

By the 16th century the unique conditions on the border had become an accepted way of life, people had never known anything else. The end came in 1603 with the joining of the crowns. No longer was there a border to be fought over, there was one crown and one country. King James set about breaking the power of the border families and he brutally harried and suppressed them. Whilst Scotland and England had been two separate countries, this pool of fine fighting men was a rich resource for both sides. When the crowns were united, in the eyes of the king they became nothing but brigands and scoundrels, and a menace to the stability of the realm.

Some of the great border families saw which way the wind was blowing and threw in their lot with the king, and prospered because of it. They eagerly rooted out other reiving families on behalf of the king, or even those of their own surname. Wanted men were hunted down and executed. They were now subject to ‘Jeddart Justice’, which was summary execution without trial. All Borderers were forbidden to carry weapons and they could only own horses of a value up to 50 shillings. Deprived of their basic reiving tools all unlawful activities eventually ceased. Many reiving families were also dispossessed of their lands by grasping heidsmen and nobles on the make.

Many were hung or transported to Ulster as part of the Protestant plantations that were to cause so much grief for Ireland over the coming centuries. For the first time in many long years, peace and stability returned to the Border region and it settled into a more civilised state of normality. Only a few powerful Reiver families remained in what was the old Marches with their land and positions intact. Many of the old Reivers who resisted change after 1603 moved to England, Ireland, America and Canada, where their descendents still reside to this day.

That has also been the story for the maternal side of our family, who having been uprooted from the Borders by dispossession migrated first to Cumberland in England, under threat from the noose of ‘Jeddart Justice’ and then a couple of generations later to Suffolk in East Anglia. From there they migrated to Canada, firstly to the province of Ontario and thence out to Saskatchewan and finally some of the family went on to the province of Alberta. 

Our branch of this extended family, in the form of my grandfather, returned to the UK in the mid 20th century just before the onset of the Second World War. Others had returned prior to World War One. They served in the British forces rather than the Canadian during both world wars. Military service has tended to run in our family down the generations, myself included, probably a martial reminder in the bloodline of our old Reiving traditions.

We would recommend that anybody seeking to find out more about the Border Reivers and life on the Borders between 1286 and 1603, should read the excellent and highly readable book by George MacDonald Fraser called – ‘The Steel Bonnets,’ or that other excellent book about the Border Reivers called – ‘The Reivers’ by Alistair Moffat.

A Border Reiver’s Steel Helmet

Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotch-Irish, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Scotland Research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clan Carruthers Q&A for the day.

Another question from a very concerned member of ‘our’ society who read this on another page.

‘Is this true….

Hello, History is being re-written all the time due to all the new DNA findings, so this is confusing to keep up with it all. It always said that we were a sept of the Bruce Clan. To explain easily, that means a cousin, But we have found out that we were in Scotland long before Robert de Bruse senior or junior were around. In fact they both married Carruthers women. Our Carruthers Clan Society Int. LLC is official and at the Clan Gathering in 2918 we will have Chieftans that are being nominated now, and we will vote on a Chief.The Anciet Bruce Tartan was the Carruthers Tartan. Most Carruthers had left Scotland and it did not sell, when Braveheart came out, they renamed it the Ancient Bruce so they could sell it. Many of the tartan companies have gone back to naming it the Carruthers Tartan, now that there are a lot of Carruthers buying it again.’

HERE ARE THE FACTS, point by point, you simply cannot rewrite history :

First off Carruthers is a Scottish Clan, not Norse, English, Canadian, American nor any other nationality. It is and always will be Scottish by its roots, heritage and history.

Q: Are we cousins to Bruce.

A: No, there is no evidence to support this. A sept is a subdivision of a clan ‘with’ or ‘without’ family connection, however we are not as a family related to Bruce.

Q: Are Carruthers a sept of clan Bruce.

A: Septs came into being in those clans or families that didn’t have them, as a construct in the 1800’s. Carruthers were included as they were a) armigerous (without chief) and b) were known supporters of the family Bruce throughout history.

Once a Chief is legally recognised by the Lyon Court in Edinburgh, that will change and the clan will have official status in its own right with all that that entails. Happily this is all in hand.

Q: Did Carruthers exist before the Brus ( Bruce) family arrived in our shores.

A: Carruthers allegedly goes back way before the Normans arrived, to include de Brus, originating in the south western area of Scotland in the Briton kingdom of Strathclyde, now part of which is Dumfriesshire, our ancestral home.

Q: Were the wives of Robert the Bruce and his father Carruthers.

A: No: It is well recorded that King Robert the Bruce had two wives:
Elisabeth de Burgh 1302-1326
Isabella of Mar 1296
Neither of them were Carruthers.

A: Once again historical records show that Robert the Bruce senior married Marjorie, countess of Carrick in 1271. 1256-1292.
She was also not a Carruthers.

Q: Is Carruthers Clan Society Int. LLC the official representative of the Clan worldwide ?

A: Definitely not , it is a business run and registered in the US and there is no evidence to suggest they have any legal claims to be chief or chieftain nor to claiming the Bruce tartan. It is therefore not recognised by the Clan Carruthers Society, nor the clan in general for many reasons, to include those many false and potentially fraudulent claims.

Q: How is the clan Chief picked.

A: If there are no legitimate heirs to the chiefly arms ( eg title of chief), a gathering, supervised by the Lyon Court, may pick a commander for a period of 10 years. This is not the case with Carruthers who have descendants of the chiefly line.

A: Who officially recognises a Scottish Clan Chief

A: Only the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh may recognise with any legality a clan Chief and through them the Clan Carruthers becomes officially recognised. This is in hand. Any self appointed chiefs will not be recognised nor any chieftains the make, only a legally recognised Chief in Scottish law, may raise a clansman to chieftain status.

A: Is the Bruce tartan a Carruthers Tartan

A: As Borderers, and along with all the other Border clans, Carruthers never had a tartan as they wore leather trews not kilts and any plaid used was regional depending on the the weavers and not clan specific . Carruthers Red was designed and registered for the clan to use in 2017 because Bruce is Bruce.

Therefore ALL Bruce tartans are patented and registered to Bruce. This is based on the sett, colours and thread count which is the signature of any tartan. The Bruce tartan commonly used by Carruthers and many other ‘septs’ of that family is a Bruce tartan and not only is it rude and disrespectful to claim it as our own, it is fraud.

https://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/qResults…

Q: Was the Ancient Bruce tartan actually a Carruthers tartan.

A: Simply no. See above, Irrelevant of the prefix: old, ancient, modern or what ever the clue is in the word Bruce and as can be seen above it has been registered to them since the 1800’s.

That same tartan has been freely available and used by Carruthers worldwide as a sept of Bruce and I this used of THEIR tartan.

To say that it never sold is simply inaccurate at best as it represented the Bruce family and was bought by them and their ‘septs’.

My understanding is also that once a Chief is in place and the Red Carruthers tartan officially recognised, and it will be, the major suppliers will start to change the tartan on their merchandise because the one they use is a recognised as a Bruce tartan.

SUMMARY

People have a choice, but before you make that choice please be aware of the facts.

Clan Carruthers Society-International has been tirelessly working for the benefit of the many not simply the few.

History and pedigree dictates we are entitled to it and we are loath to let others make claims on behalf of our family that simply embarrassing and continually shown to be untrue.

Please bear with us, we will have a legally recognised Chief of our Clan and through them Clan Carruthers will take their place as an official Scottish Clan along with the others.

 

 

Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Ewing, Old World History Scotland, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish Borders…”Scottish Marches”

In terms of physical size, Scottish Borders is the 6th largest of Scotland’s unitary council areas. It is only the 18th largest in terms of population, reflecting the largely rural nature of the area. For accommodation in the Scottish Borders.

The Scottish Borders extend from the North Sea coast north of Berwick-upon-Tweed in the east, to Annanhead Hill, only a mile and a half from the M74 motorway, in the west. Travelling south to north it extends from near Canonbie to the spine of the Pentland Hills and to the North Sea at Cockburnspath.

Scottish Borders is bordered to its west by Dumfries & Galloway and South Lanarkshire; and to its north by West Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian.

Historically, the phrase “Scottish Borders” was applied to the whole of the border between Scotland and England, and to the areas on both sides of it, though the alternative term “Scottish Marches” was often used. These were divided into an East March, a Middle March and a West March in Scotland, and a mirroring set of Marches in England. Between bouts of periodic open warfare that ravaged the area for over five centuries until the late 1600’s, the area was a happy hunting ground for cross-border feuds and banditry by border reivers. The East March in Scotland eventually became the traditional county of Berwickshire, and the Middle March became the traditional county of Roxburghshire. 

Roxburghshire, also known as the County of Roxburgh, was one of the 34 traditional counties into which Scotland was divided for administrative purposes. It was the most south easterly of Scotland’s counties and provided a long stretch of the border with England. For much of its history this area was fought over, either by the armies of Scotland and England or during frequent periods of lawlessness, by border reivers.

The main settlements in Roxburghshire were Melrose, Kelso, Jedburgh and Hawick. The county town was Jedburgh. Roxburghshire was also home to the four great border abbeys, Melrose Abbey,Jedburgh Abbey, Kelso Abbey and Dryburgh Abbey. A notable absentee from the list of settlements in Roxburghshire is Roxburgh itself. Today, Roxburgh is a small village about three miles south west ofKelso. In 1400 Roxburgh was one of the most important royal burghs in Scotland, but the frequent conflict between England and Scotland weakened it, and the permanent capture of Berwick-upon-Tweed by the English in 1482 was the final nail in the coffin. Roxburgh was largely abandoned and today little remains beyond traces of the ramparts of its once magnificent castle.

Smailholm Tower from the South

Smailholm Tower from the South

As the crow flies, Smailholm Tower lies almost exactly mid way between Melrose and Kelso. Access is either from the village of Smailholm, whose fine Norman church is worth a visit, or from the B6404, four miles north east of St Boswells. A minor road leads you through the farmstead of Sandyknowe and along a track past an old millpond to the parking area for the tower. From here you have a choice of steep or less steep grassy paths for the final hundred yards.

The landscape that immediately surrounds Smailholm Tower is remarkable. Though the tower lies less than two miles north of the River Tweed, the surrounding chaos of rocky outcrops would actually be quite at home at the opposite end of the country, in north west Sutherland.

It is very easy to see why this site suggested itself for the construction of a defensive tower house. For five hundred years, the border between England and Scotland was witness to repeated wars both large and small, and even in nominally peaceful times, cross border banditry was the norm rather than the exception.

Smailholm Tower stands on a rocky crag that is just large enough to support the tower and the courtyards to its north east and south west. These were surrounded by a tall barmkin wall, now standing to anything like its original height only at the south west end. (Continues below image…)

The Tower from the South Before the Grass Roof was Installed
The Tower from the South Before the Grass Roof was Installed

 

The tower was once the centre of a thriving settlement. The west courtyard was originally home to a hall and a kitchen, though in the 1650s the hall was replaced by a house. Outside the barmkin wall would have once stood cottages, stables and cattle enclosures, and traces of some of them can still be seen on the ground. There would also have been a mill, on the site now occupied by Sandyknowe Farm to the south east of the tower. The millpond still exists.

The only building now standing is the tower itself. This is a fairly typical tower house with five storeys, each of one major room, piled on top of one another. The building has stone vaulting between the second and third floors, and at roof level: indeed, today’s roof is in effect as a vaulted ceiling, which has been given an outer cladding of living grass.

The ground floor is now the Historic Environment Scotland reception and shop, while the mezzanine floor, originally used for storage, has a range of visitor displays and an excellent cut-away model of the tower. The upper three floors originally provided accommodation for the laird and his family.

The main focus of castle life would have been the hall on what is confusingly called the first floor. Above this would have been a main bedroom, with one or more further bedrooms in the top floor under the roof.

Doors from the upper floor give access to two wall-walks, one on the north west side of the tower, the other on the south east side. These would have formed an important part of the tower’s defences when under attack. The location gives staggering views from the wall-walks. Other signs that the tower was not just for show include a gun loop allowing the west courtyard and main gate to be covered, and another above the main door to the castle.

And Smailholm Tower certainly saw its share of action. It was built by the Pringle family in about 1450 and remained in their hands until 1645. During the 1540s Smailholm was attacked repeatedly by English raiders, the raids only ceasing when in 1548 the Laird, John Pringle, became what was called an assured Scot. In return for a promise not to raid England or to help efforts against English raiders in Scotland, his lands would be left alone.

Cross border conflict ought to have ceased with the Union of the Crowns in 1603, but in July 1640 a group of Covenanters successfully defended the tower against an attack from Royalists during the Civil War.

In 1645 the tower was sold to Sir William Scott. The Scotts built a new house in the West Courtyard. This remained in use until the early 1700s, when the family moved to a more comfortable and less exposed house they built a few hundred yards to the east at Sandyknowe.

The most famous member of the Scott family was Sir Walter Scott. As a child he spent time here with his grandparents recovering from polio, and it was at Sandyknowe and in the shadow of Smailholm Tower that Scott came to love the ballads of the Scottish Borders.

The upper three floors of Smailholm Tower are today used as a permanent exhibition of costumed figures and beautiful tapestries that recall Scott’scollections of ballards and the turbulent past of the area.

Smailholm Tower from the Millpond
Smailholm Tower from the Millpond

A particular bone of contention between Scotland and England was Berwick-upon-Tweed. On the north bank of the River Tweed and the county town of the traditional Scottish county of Berwickshire,it was logically Scottish. But logic played little part in the politics of the day and in the two centuries up to 1482 the town changed hands no fewer than 14 times. Since then it has remained a part of England.

The first settlement on the coast north of the English border is Burnmouth, a village mostly hidden at the foot of the cliffs surrounding its harbour. A few miles north is Eyemouth, a busy and attractive fishing port and seaside resort whose fortunes and tragic misfortunes have been closely linked to the sea since the 1200s.

 

Scottish Borders, Showing Main Settlements & Connecting Areas
Scottish Borders, Showing Main Settlements & Connecting Areas

 

From Eyemouth the A1107 provides a quieter alternative to the A1 for those heading north, passing through Coldingham, complete with the church and other remains of Coldingham Priory. Just north of the fishing village of St Abbs, at St Abb’s Head, the coast turns to follow a generally westwards direction along the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. Three miles along the coast are the clifftop ruins of Fast Castle. West of St Abbs the A1 runs past Cockburnspath and close to the hidden gem of Cove

Inland from the North Sea Coast and the A1 lie the Lammermuir Hills, with the villages of Gifford to their north and Duns to their south. West of Berwick-upon-Tweed is Paxton House and the nearbyUnion Chain Bridge. while on the English side of the border is Norham Castle, where some key moments in Anglo-Scottish history were played out.

Two miles east of Duns is Manderston, the epitome of the Edwardian country house, while a little further east again is the Norman Edrom Arch. Seven miles south of Duns is its long term rival for the title of county town of Berwickshire, Greenlaw. Just to the east of Greenlaw is the Richard Hillary Memorial, while to the south is Hume Castle. North of Duns are a series of small village on the southern flank of the Lammermuirs. These include Longformacus and Abbey St Bathans, both on the route of the Southern Upland Way.

Following the main A68 road from Darlington to Edinburgh you cross the border at Carter Bar and descend towards Jedburgh, Smaller and more traditional in feel than Hawick, Jedburgh is overshadowed by the remarkably complete remains of Jedburgh Abbey, just to the south of the attractive centre of the town. Of the castle that once played such a central part in repeated Anglo-Scottish wars, nothing now remains, though the Victorians did build the Castle Jail on the site.

North of Jedburgh the A68 passes through St Boswells. From here it is possible to follow minor roads that loop round to another of the great border abbeys, Dryburgh Abbey. To its north is the William Wallace Statue and the magnificent Scott’s View. A couple of miles further to the north east isSmailholm Tower. There is a fine church with Norman origins, Smailholm Church, in the nearby village of Smailholm. A little north west of St Boswells is Newton St Boswells. Nearby is the fine old Bowden Kirk.

East from St Boswells the A699 takes you to Kelso, which also grew up around its abbey. Kelso Abbeywas once the most powerful and impressive of the four major border abbeys, but thanks to repeated invasions by Henry VIII during the “rough wooing” (see our Historical Timeline) it is the least well preserved of them today.

On the edge of the Cheviots south east of Kelso lie the twin villages of Town Yetholm and Kirk Yetholm, the latter being best known as being the start or finish of the Pennine Way. Also close to the border south of Yetholm is the hamlet of Hownam. North of Hownam is the more substantial village of Morebattle, while two miles to the latter’s west is the ruin of Cessford Castle.

Like Kelso, Coldstream lies on the River Tweed as it makes its way to the sea at Berwick. The town is best known for giving its name to a regiment of the British Army, the Coldstream Guards, formed in 1650. Coldstream lies just half the width of the River Tweed away from England and has had an eventful history as a result.

The main route through the western Scottish Borders is the A7, on which you find the important town of Hawick. In the remote upland countryside north west of Hawick are Ettrick and Ettrickbridge.

North of Hawick lies Selkirk, on a tributary of the Tweed, the Ettrick Water. This was the site of a royal castle from the 1100s but remained a small village until 1791 when it began a century of dramatic growth with the building of woollen mills along the river valley. The woollen industry which was once so important to the Scottish Borders has declined. But parts of the industry still thrive. Lochcarron of Scotland relocated to Selkirk from Galashiels in 2006, and Andrew Elliot Ltd’s Factory and Mill Shop is another excellent example of a working mill.

Further west is the A708. Attractions along this little used road include the James Hogg Monumentoverlooking St Mary’s Loch, and Tibbie Shiel’s Inn. Yarrow Kirk in the tiny settlement of Yarrow has a very unusual plan, while the nearby Yarrow Stone is a very early Christian memorial with a Latin inscription.

An alternative route through the area is provided by a minor road running close to the English borderalong Liddesdale to Newcastleton. This is an estate village built in 1793 for hand loom operators and the street pattern has changed little since. North from Newcastleton is the broodingly forbidding Hermitage Castle, in our view one of the two spookiest castles in Scotland (the other is rather more modern). Nearby is the Chapel of Hermitage.

The attractive town of Peebles lies on the north bank of the Tweed. Its broad High Street leads toPeebles Old Parish Church, built in 1887 and incorporating parts of an older church. The ruins of a still earlier church, Cross Kirk, can be found on the western side of the town, while St Andrews’ Tower, part of a parish church dating back to 1195, also still stands. Peebles is home to the excellentTontine Hotel, while nearby is the John Buchan Story.

West of Peebles, the River Tweed curves south above its confluence with the Lyne Water, passing Stobo Castle and Stobo Kirk on one side, and the Dawyck Botanic Garden on the other. The scattered settlement of Lyne, on the north side of the valley of the Lyne Water, is home to Lyne Church, and to the remains of a Roman fort and, at Abbey Knowe, a dark age Northumbrian cemetery.

To the south is Tweeddale and some of the most remote countryside anywhere in Scotland. In the tiny hamlet of Tweedsmuir near the A701 is the very attractive Tweedsmuir Kirk.

Ten miles north west of Peebles is the attractive village of West Linton with its unusually fine St Andrew’s Church. Heading back towards Peebles you find the village of Eddleston. This is home to the Horseshoe Inn. Between Eddleston and Peebles is the outstanding Cringletie House Hotel.Meanwhile, a minor road to the south west passes close by White Meldon, home to an important hillfort, and to the remains of the hut circles of the Green Knowe Settlement. After leaving Peeblesthe Tweed passes Innerleithen, which grew in the 1700s around its mills. A short distance south ofInnerleithen is Traquair House. This started life as the Palace of Traquair, a favourite retreat of Scottish Kings as far back as 1107.

Galashiels lies not on the River Tweed, but on the Gala Water. It grew as a mill town. Further up the Gala Water is the ancient village of Stow. If you travel east through Galashiels and past the confluence of the Gala Water with the Tweed you come to the very attractive town of Melrose: en route passing the home of Sir Walter Scott, Abbotsford.

Melrose is perhaps best known for being the home since 1883 of a rugby tournament, the Melrose Sevens, held in April each year. In the heart of the town lie the remains of Melrose Abbey, originally founded here by the Cistercians in the 1100s. Melrose was on the route of more than one marauding army from the south, and much of what remains dates back only to the 1400s. And quite a lot does remain, including a fair part of the Abbey Church, said to be the final resting place of Robert the Bruce’s heart. Forming part of the abbey is the excellent Commendator’s House Museum. Melrose is also home to two National Trust for Scotland gardens, Harmony Garden and Priorwood Garden, and to the Trimontium Museum, celebrating the town’s Roman heritage. On the flank of the Eildon Hills south east of Melrose is the Rhymer’s Stone.

North along the A68 from Melrose is Earlston, with, beyond it, Lauder. Lauder is a traditional market town which lies on the western side of the Lammermuir Hills, and is the departure point for the Southern Upland Way as it heads north east to traverse them. On the edge of Lauder is Thirlestane Castle, built to an unusual design in about 1590 and converted into a palace in the 1670s and a grand country house in the 1840s. Also in Lauder is its Old Church. Five miles north is the remote Channelkirk Church, while still further north is the fascinating Soutra Aisle.

https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/areabord/index.html

 

Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society International, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Masterpiece… a British knight of the “Reiving era” .. circa 1530.

Perhaps this is near as we may ever get, to the face of a “Border Reiver”.
(Photo’s courtesy of F.J.A.G.)
   The face of an unknown warrior…. British,
Limestone, circa 1530.
  Find site unknown.
  A fragment, life size, and carved probably from life, by a master carver.
   A battle worn face, helmeted, and with visor raised, carved with an economy of detail… and all the more effective for it.
   The weary face of a man who has seen everything….  and done most of it.
  Carvings such as this are beyond rare, they are near enough non-existent.
  Most sculpture of the era, exists merely to glorify the rich, or to decorate their tombs.
  But this man, stares back at us… haunting us with his memories.
  In all probability he was hacked off a larger sculpture shortly after he was carved. Sometime between 1536 and 1541. During Henry V111’s “Dissolution of the Monasteries,” an era when a massive amount of British sculpture perished.
  The style of helmet, could just be English, and possibly Greenwich.
So far, I have been unable to locate any other depictions of a British knight, carved in this style.

And he may well be unique.

 His face, however, reminds me strongly of the prints of Albrecht Durer, and the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, More “Gothic,” than “Renaissance.”
  But for certain, a masterpiece….
By: Brian Moffatt
Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society International, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unveiling the Wonders of the People and Culture of Scotland

Scotland has a rich cultural heritage that is unique in its own way. To know more about Scottish people, their food and culture read on.

First and foremost I must commend one of our own with this beautiful tartan. I wont mention any names as of yet but those who know him know that he is truly an amazing man. He has so graciously opened up the following tartan to all those associated with the Carruthers family world wide.

 Scottish Kilt is known as :  The National Dress of Scotland

Picture

Red Carruthers Tartan STR11700

The Perth based  THE HOUSE OF EDGAR is the official tartan weavers of the Red Carruthers tartan and producers of all our highland wear: Kilts, Sock Flashes, Trews, Ties, Ladies Sashes as well as various kilt jackets, waistcoats and socks.
It is the longest running family owned commercial weavers in Scotland and the Clan Carruthers Society-International are proud to have links with them, as producers of our tartan.
                                                        NOW ON TO SCOTLAND !
Map of Scotland
Scotland is situated in the Northern part of Great Britain. The country is surrounded by many islands, and the mainland is a part of the island of Great Britain. Scotland’s first inhabitants were known as Picts, a Celtic tribe. There are over 300 castles in Scotland. Every place in Scotland has some history behind it, and is well-known for its scenic beauty. There are many historic sites like burial chambers, standing stones, sepulchers, and castles of Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age.
Callanish Standing Stones
Callanish standing stones
Dating back over 4000 years, the Callanish Standing Stones is a cross-shaped setting of stones. It is one of famous stone circles of late neolithic and early bronze age.
A twisted yew, is the oldest living tree in Scotland which has been around for 3000 years.
Crathes Castle
crathes castle
The beautiful castles in Crathes village in Aberdeenshire, Bothwell (Glasgow), and Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (the British monarch’s official residence in Scotland), are some examples of the rich heritage of Scotland.
Loch Ness
loch ness
Scotland has about 600 square miles of freshwater lakes. Loch Ness is the largest (by volume) freshwater lake and the most visited place in Scotland, where visitors love to explore the natural beauty, wildlife, and catch a glimpse of Nessie, the famous Loch Ness monster. Scotland’s climate is seldom hot, varying between the rainy and cold seasons.
Orkney Island
orkney island
Scotland occupies about 790 offshore islands and includes island groups such as Orkney, Shetland, and the Hebrides.
Edinburgh
edinburgh night
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is one of the largest financial centers of Europe. Glasgow is the country’s second largest and also one of the largest industrial cities in the world. The Scottish economy is dominated by heavy industries, such as steelmaking, shipbuilding, and coal mining.
Scottish People
Scottish people or Scots are an ethnic group indigenous to Scotland. Even today, the vibrant Scottish people proudly uphold their strong traditions. Farmers or crofters, as they are called, live in Highlands and islands of Scotland, which include the Northwestern hilly regions of Scotland. The Scots are very warmhearted and known to have a great sense of humor.
Scottish Clothing
Scottish Kilt Costume
Scottish kilt costume
The basis of Scottish clothing is tartan and kilt. A kilt is a traditional dress made of tartan patterns (interlocked horizontal and vertical stripes in multiple colors). The Scottish kilt is worn by both men and women, as a formal dress on special occasions or at Highland games or events.
Scottish Language and Religion
Historically, Scottish people are associated with many different languages such as Pictish, Norse, Norman-French, and Brythonic, but today none of these are in use. Today, Scottish English, a dialect of the English language, is widely spoken.
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Judaism was followed in Scotland during the Middle Ages. Most Scottish people follow Christianity; but in recent times, other religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Hinduism are also practiced, mainly through immigration.
Scottish Food
Oats, barley, and dairy products are considered as pillars of the rural and urban diet of Scotland. Scottish people are fond of good food. Usually, Scottish people grow their own vegetables and prepare a wide variety of soups and stews; porridge is their staple breakfast. The Scots love to drink tea. The women are known for their cooking and baking skills.
Dundee Cake
dundee cake
A list of a few traditional Scottish recipes would include, Dundee Cake, the Black Bun (traditional Scottish cake served at New Year), Scotch Pie (double-crust meat pie), shortbread oatcakes, and smoked salmon.
Haggis On A Silver Platter
Haggis On A Silver Platter
Haggis made from sheep’s pluck, is another traditional delicacy of Scotland.
Scotland is renowned all over the world for its famous cheese, shellfish (lobsters and oysters), dairy products, Aberdeen-Angus, a breed of beef cattle known for its rich and tasty meat, and Scotch Whisky. The latter is famous all over the world and brings huge income to Scotland.
Arts and Crafts
Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross
Scotland is known for Celtic art, in the form of jewelry, artworks, and silverwork. A celtic cross is a creative symbol of a cross combined with a ring surrounding the intersection. On the Isle of Iona (Scotland’s west coast) fantastic, carved stone monuments and crosses were made in the golden age of Celtic art in the early 20th century.
The Lion and the Unicorn
The Lion and the Unicorn
The unicorn represents Scotland and the lion represents England. The shield symbolizes the Scottish Royal Arms.
The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, known for its fabulous art collections, houses 4000-year-old carved stone balls belonging to the Bronze Age, carvings, and artifacts, ornamental gold objects and religious carvings and illuminated manuscripts from medieval times.
Scotland is famous for its contemporary arts, crafts, sculptures, paintings, and landscapes. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh is home to an outstanding collection of paintings, sculptures, prints, and recent works of artists. The Red Rag, a leading art gallery in UK, promotes the finest art collections of Scottish artists.
Music and Dance
Bagpipers and dancers are a delight to watch at gatherings in Scotland. Highland dances are more difficult to perform and require great stamina and skill. The Highland dances have their base in the ancient folk customs and were earlier performed by only Scottish men; but now they are performed by women as well.
Sword Dance
Sword Dance
The Highland Fling and the Sword dance are the oldest traditional Highland dances of Scotland. Male warriors performed the dances to celebrate their victory after returning from war. Now, they are performed at national events and dance competitions. One can take a glimpse of Scottish culture at the annual festival called Scottish Highland games.
Bagpiper
piper playing bagpiper
Scotland is known for its traditional folk music and has influenced music across the globe. Their music ranging from bagpipers to contemporary folk music is truly amazing, and it continues to entertain people.
Scotland has made many contributions to the world of music. MacUmba is a unique group of musicians based in Scotland, who fuse the traditional sounds of Scottish bagpipes with musical rhythms of Brazil. They have played at many events and festivals across the globe, and continue to entertain the audience all over the world. Scottish rock bands like Runrig and Wolfstone, famous for fusion of Celtic folk with rock rhythms, have made a mark on the global map.
Scotland hosts the International Festival of Music and Drama at Edinburgh every year. The music and drama festival has come a long way since it was started in 1947; and today, it is one of the world’s largest cultural events.
Every year, Scotland celebrates the Burns an’ a’ that! festival on the 25th January, the birth anniversary of the national poet of Scotland, Sir Robert Burns. During this festival, fantastic food, dancing, traditional music, literary, and poetry events are organized. The Scottish opera and Scottish ballet are two companies which perform the art traditions in Scotland as well as across the world.
Sports
Golf
Golf sport
Scottish people are very fond of sports, and it forms a very essential part of their culture. Scots are passionate about the golf, so great sports facilities are provided across the country. There are very famous golf courses in the country. Scotland is renowned as the ‘home of golf’.
Football
Football sport
Scottish people also follow football with great passion. Scotland has its own national team and represents in the international football. England is their favorite football opponent.
Recently, Tennis has become a popular sport in Scotland. The famous Scottish tennis player Andy Murray has made the country proud by winning major tennis championships. Scots also enjoy traditional sports like hammer throwing, tossing the pole, light and heavy athletics, and Scottish wrestling which is performed at clan gatherings.
Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Caruthers Family History, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society Canada, Clan Carruthers Society International, Clan Carruthers Society USA, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swords of the “Border Reivers.”

“Number 33.” “The “Amen” Sword?” A German Military backsword of Landsknecht form, circa 1525.

A rare German backsword of “Landsknecht” form. Circa 1525.
Blade marked with the number “33.”
(Photos courtesy of F.J.A.G.)
Dimensions :-
Backsword, with ricasso, and twin fullers as far as the double edged tip.
Overall Length :-  40 and one half inches.
Blade Length :- 35 and one sixteenth inches.
Ricasso :-  2 and one quarter inches.
blade width 1 and one eighth inches at ricasso tapering to 7 eighths of an inch at point where blade becomes double edged.
Back edged for 11 and three quarter inches.
Notched once (maybe twice) on each side just above the back edge.
Point of Balance:- 5 and one half inches below the “cross.”
Weight:- 1 pound 15 ounces
Outside of hand.
Inside of hand.
Front view.
Rear view.
Below are a number of “detail” views.
“Assembly Marks” on Tang, Guard……
…. and Pommel. (four notches on each.)
Traces of red paint… probably from an old “Armoury” number.
Pommel detail inside of hand.
(different on either side.)
Pommel detail outside of hand.
  Note… Just where the lower guard almost touches the ricasso, there is a tiny fleck of gold. This may come from a contact knock, or it may be that the hilt, which has been heavily corroded, was once gilded.
Closer detail of “gilding” on lower guard.
On the back of the blade, just before it becomes “double edged” is a small”notch (perhaps two) on either side. I have commented on these in he past, and still have not managed to find any writing on their purpose. (See my posting of 13/12/13, detail below.)
There they are again…. but why?
(And, I’ve another excellent example to photograph with similar notches, when I have time out to travel.)
So…?  What about the “Number 33″….?
  Good question too!…. Well I’ve said it before… but there is very little on swords, and on blades in particular that has no meaning at all. And they are frequently inscribed with religious symbols, crosses, orbs… invocations to the Almighty for help in combat.
  Many years ago I was the proud possessor of a blade, crudely inscribed with a crucifixion, and the words “Consummatum Est,”
Christ’s last words on the cross…. “It is finished.”
  But in the case of the sword… this also has a double meaning….
i.e…. It,  (the duel, or combat) is over, and the enemy is vanquished.
(Unfortunately… way back, I fell upon hard times… and sold that blade… the tang was stuck with a double H, one on top of the other… and if you find it… I’d be interested in buying it back!)
  But I digress… So back to the “Number 33.”
  And Yes, it could be no more than an Armoury number.
But…. Symbolically the number “33” can represent the word “Amen!” which just like Consummatum Est…. marks “The End”…
“It is over”….  “It is finished”… Or perhaps, more correctly “So be it.”
  What you do is add up the numbers of all of the letters.
  1 – 13 – 5 – 14… which equals…. 33.
If you don’t believe me… give it a whirl on the web… It’s quite well known in “certain circles.”
  The Freemasons with their 33 degrees (no I’m not one!) get quite excited about it an’ all.
  But it is much more than that…. because the number also represents the Seal of Solomon, which you perhaps know better as “The Star of David.” Which is in fact an ancient “cabalistic” and magical symbol, which has only become Jewish in the last couple of hundred years.
  How that works is that the “star” is actually two interlinked triangles, each triangle with it’s three sides, representing “3” so, two triangles represents “33.”
  Now that is seriously weird stuff… way back to the good old Knights Templars… (if you want believe all of that stuff.)
  But back in the day… well perhaps folk did believe it…
  And the Seal of Solomon would be quite a thing to have on your sword blade….
   Which, (or “Witch?”) is why this is Andrew’s sword in my forthcoming “The Watchers of Enoch.”
Position, and orientation of “33” symbol on the sword.

  And it may be worth commenting, that in this position, the blade could be intended to be viewed point up. Which may indicate that the sword was intended to have a secondary (or primary?) ceremonial role.
  Rule of thumb I know… decoration to be read thus :-   point up… ceremonial… point down… a fighting blade….. bit of a dodgy theory, and not one of my own…. but it is interesting, because observation indicates that it is quite frequently true.
Close up of “33” symbol on the blade.
  This is the only “similar” blade mark I can find… It’s from Dudley S. Hawtrey Gyngell’s “Armourers Marks,” of 1959, and is said to be “Italian, 16th century.”
  It may, or, more likely, may not be connected, but whatever… it still reads 33.
  Feel free to speculate… Mr Gyngell gives no further information as to the location, or to the type, of the sword which bears this mark… frustrating isn’t it?
“Seal of Solomon”… “Star of David…”
  Curiously, this symbol still exists as the “Proof Mark” on swords… right through to modern times!
That’s it on an 1855 Wilkinson blade….
  And, to the best of my knowledge, it still goes on!
  I mean, where did it come from… Now surely that’s worth a bit more research!
  Here below is a starting point.
But do have a care…’cause this is entering seriously odd territory.
 And it’s quite capable of destroying the very best of reputations.
 Perhaps it ought to be left well alone… or to our old friend “Dan Brown.”
  ….. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
 http://www.midnightfreemasons.org/2013/10/the-magick-of-king-solomon.html
   That second reference, was apparently published, (29th October 2013)….  in anticipation of Halloween?…. or at least I hope so… Folk certainly can be strange!
  My own take on it all?…
  Well, the triangle is a powerful symbol, and can be seen to represent “strength.” (since it is difficult to distort a triangle.)
Two interlocked triangles, should represent strength and unity, which is a nice concept, and one which in this day and age is oft forgotten. Therefore it would make a good “proof mark.”
All of which fits in nicely with my own “Three Commandments” :-
Be Nice to Folk…
Keep it Simple…
And…. If it ain’t broke… Don’t fix it!
(Plus…Laugh a lot… because it’s good for you.)
  What it all meant, back in the 16th century… Well, who knows…. But all one should expect to see, if one goes peering into dark mirrors… is dark reflections. By: Brian Maffatt

 

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The Eildon Hills, Sacred Mountains of the “Scottish Borders”, and “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”

     The Eildons.

 

This is a view of the Eildon Hills, near Melrose, with the Pringle Tower of Smailholm in foreground.

It was taken from just west of Kelso on the road to St Boswells.
The Eildons are one of the most important sites in the Borders, and though the obvious archeology has been at least partially investigated, much yet remains to be done.
The North hilltop is surrounded by ramparts over three miles long, enclosing an area of 40 acres which contains the rock cut platform bases of at least 300 houses.
The site has been occupied since at least 1000 BC and at the peak of its occupation the population is believed to have been three to six thousand, the largest bronze age population known in Scotland.
In the 1st Century AD, the Roman Army built the massive fort of Trimontium (Three Mountains) at the foot of the hills, on the banks of the River Tweed. They also constructed a signal tower with a tiled roof in the centre of the hillfort.
There is evidence that the Eildons have always been regarded as a holy place, and a probable site of ceremony, and there are several holy springs around the base of the hills.
Arthur and his knights are said to be sleeping in a chamber within the hills, the rock of which was by repute, cleft into three by the wizard Michael Scot.

La Belle Dame Sans Merci.
The Story of Thomas Rhymer.
Sir Joseph Noel Paton.

And of course…..The Eildon Hills are where Thomas the Rhymer met the Queen of Faerie.

Sir Thomas Learmonth, of Erceldoune,  (modern Earlston) circa 1220 – 1298, was a genuine historical personage, better known as Thomas the Rhymer, who according to legend, met with the Queen of Faerie (Elfland), near “Huntlie Banks,” on the Eildon Hills.
The Queen of Faerie, appears as a beautiful lady, mounted on a fine horse.
Thomas kisses the lady, (or has sex with her,) as a result of which she loses her beauty, and is transformed into an ugly hag.
He is then transported with her to “Elfland” via long and torturous paths. They pass three roads, the path of righteousness, the path of wickedness, and the path to “Elfland,” which they take.
Upon her arrival in Elfland the ladies beauty is restored.
Although Thomas believes that he has resided in Elfland for only a small number of days, in fact, three or seven earthly years, have passed ( depending upon which version of the ballad is consulted,)
After the passing of seven years, Elfland must pay a “Teind” i.e. a fee to the Devil, the teind being the most handsome man available, and the Queen fearing that Thomas will be chosen, returns him to the real world, having first granted him the gift of prophecy. He is thus obliged to speak the truth. Hence his other title of “True Thomas.”

A similar tale is associated with the well at Carterhaugh near Selkirk, and forms the basis of the ballad of “Tam Lin,” a young knight who falls from his horse, and is transported to Elfland by the Queen of Faerie.
Tam Lin lurks by the well, appearing when a young girl plucks a double rose. He then demands either a possession, or the virginity of the young lady in question.
Thus he succeeds in getting Janet (or Margaret depending on the version) pregnant.  When her father questions her about who the father of the child may be, she returns to Carterhaugh, plucks a second rose, and when Tam Lin appears, she questions him, and learns of his plight.
Once again as in the ballad of Thomas the Rhymer, Tam is to be a sacrifice to Hell, having resided in Elfland for almost seven years. However, he can be rescued and returned to mortal form, and if Janet performs the correct procedures as the Faerie procession passes by on Halloween, he will return to earth.
If she does this he promises to marry her.
All proceeds according to plan, and after he has been turned into a number of beasts, and a finally, a burning sword, which Janet casts into the well,  he is restored.
The Queen of Faerie is angered,  but Janet wins her Knight.

These stories are ancient, and in antiquity the Faerie were far from being small winged creatures who lived at the bottom of the garden. They were much more sinister, indeed, in witchcraft ceremonies the principal female participant actually bore the title of “The Queen of Faerie.” (See Margaret Murray, “The Witch Cult in Western Europe,”) and bearing this in mind, perhaps it is not impossible that Thomas the Rhymer did indeed go off for some time with the “Queen of Faerie,” or at least with a “Queen of Faerie.”
Now that would certainly provide a new slant on the legend.

However….. In 1819 the entire subject received a huge boost in popularity when Keats, apparently using “Thomas the Rhymer” and “Tam Lin” as his models, produced the ballad “La Belle Dame sans Merci.” a.k.a. “The Queen of Faerie.”
From that date on, the subject became one of the most popular themes for artists, and in particular for those artists associated with the Pre Raphaelite brotherhood.
Here are a few……

 

Frank Dicksee, “La Belle Dame sans Merci.”
John William Waterhouse, “La Belle Dame sans Merci.”
Arthur Hughes, “La Belle Dame sans Merci.”
(Note the ghostly figures she’s already carried off, in the background!)
Walter Crane, “La Belle Dame sans Merci.”
Henry Meynell Rheam, “La Belle Dame sans Merci.”
(Note, once again, see the spectral onlookers?)
Frank Cadogan Cowper, “La Belle Dame sans Merci.”
And finally, my own “personal favourite” artist….
Sir William Russell Flint, “La Belle Dame sans Merci.”

Those above, are  just part of the influence of “Thomas the Rhymer,” and “Tam Lin” on the art and thought of the 19th into the early 20th Century.
As for poor old Sir Joseph Noel Paton….. These days he is listed (dismissed?) as “a painter of Fairies,” as in the little winged variety. Yet in his own day he was more renowned than the Pre-Raphaelites.
  Further, he was a collector of arms and armour, and many of his paintings are full of authentic detail.

Sir Joseph Noel Paton, “I wonder who lived in there.”
  He illustrated the ballad “The Dowie Dens of Yarrow,”……..full of swords and daggers.

And he produced at least one oil painting for the engravings for this book, but so far I have only been able to locate a single example.
Sir Noel Joseph Paton deserves better recognition than he has as yet received.
He left his arms and armour collection to the Nation, and until recently it was displayed in two cabinets on the rear stairway of Chambers Street Museum up in Edinburgh, but since the so called “modernisation” of the Museum I’m informed that it is now somewhat harder to find.

 Why not ask to see it if you’re up there!
  Our legends are disappearing rapidly.
  Last year I ended up in Borders General Hospital, (recovered now, thank you) which is built on the slopes of the Eildons.
 Nurses kept asking how I was, and I told them I would be O.K. as long as no beautiful ladies arrived on dapple grey horses. They all thought I was mad……  No-one knew what I was talking about!
  Strangely, Dingleton Mental Hospital is also on the site, although part of its function has now been transferred to Huntly Burn House. (Huntlie Burn!)
 Where Thomas the Rhymer went away with the Faerie!
 What a bizarre (and hopefully unintentional?) sense of humour officialdom does seems to have!
  And now the local Council seem Hell bent on allowing building on the slopes of the Eildons. But believe me…… not everything is known about that site,  and no developer ought to be allowed anywhere near there.
The Eildons are quite probably as important to Scotland as the pyramids are to Egypt, but of course our so called”archeologists,” along with our ever popular “television personality” historians, much prefer to work abroad and in the sunshine…… and so our own history gets ignored.
And, even in the 21st century our very own ancient folk beliefs are still pretty much a taboo subject. Never were any “Witches,” or  “Queens of Fairie” here….. Much safer to stay with the Egyptians, Incas, Native Americans etc.
And …..that’s the reason that one day, if we are not careful, some developer will be allowed to build on what ought to be our “Sacred Mountains.”
Strangely, there are fewer illustrations of Tam Lin, but a very odd movie was made of the story back in 1970. It starred Ava Gardner, and Ian McShane, and was directed by Roddy McDowell.
So…….. here’s a little “Lovejoy” from the movie.

 

And here’s the cast, at Ava’s birthday party.

  And in 1974, Steeleye Span took Thomas the Rhymer into the charts, but that was back when Folk was still “Pop.”

The images above are all well and very good………..But this below is how the King and Queen of Faerie were actually depicted in Shakespeare’s era…….

   Photo courtesy of FJAG

These magnificent walnut carvings date from the very early years of the 17th century, and by extreme good fortune they survived the demolition of a large country house, where they had been incorporated into a fireplace surround!

But some things, so far, defy identification. For instance……..

Photo courtesy of FJAG.

 What are we to make of this pair? A naked lady wearing three leaves on her head, and clasping a heart between her hands, and a bearded man holding an (oak?) leaf, and crowned with a Christian cross and what appear to be a pair of asses ears…..

(Addendum…. With regard to the lady with the heart… see my posting of 28th July 2015.)

….The carvings appear to be fragments of a court cupboard probably dating to the second quarter of the 17th century. It would be fascinating to know what the rest of the decoration consisted of.
But they were, it seems bought in an antique shop, and their previous history is unknown.
So far…… the best explanation is that the Lady is the Queen of Faerie, and that it is a parody of some description on the conflict between the old and “new” religions.

This is the problem. I know for certain that most of our early “folk carvings,” and in particular those of a “secular” nature, are hidden away in the basements of our public museums, both the large and the small. And…..little attempt has been made to catalogue them.
What is worse, is that our public museums now have authority to sell off items from their (usually reserve) collections to raise funds. As a result much of our as yet unclassified national heritage is under threat.  And quite frankly, no-one seems to be aware of it.
Our auction houses have little knowledge of “folk Art,” or “folk Religion,” since most of their experts have suffered a classical education, and whilst they are well versed in Greek and Roman Mythology, anything outside of that simply passes them by.
Our secular art, at least what of it has survived the ravages of both Church and State, is carved into the fabric of our buildings, and our furniture. It is engraved, etched and inlaid into our arms and armour.
It is a fertile field for study, and those who wish to make a start would do well to equip themselves with a cheap paperback copy of Sir James Frazer’s “The Golden Bough,” and perhaps, with a more expensive 5 volumes of the Child Ballads. (Now, thankfully available in paperback from Dover Publications.)
It’s all out there to be found, and written about!  So……Why not venture forth!….and find some goodies before everyone else does! By: Brian Moffatt

 

 

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Armour 2. The Real Thing, a fighting breastplate of the era of the Border Reivers, circa 1590.

A fine battered and battle scarred breastplate of the late 16th century.

I have often been asked just what kind of armour the Border Reivers wore, and apart from the upper echelons of society the answer must always be the same…..Whatever they could get their hands on!
“Scottish” armour near enough does not exist. Some was made in the 15th and 16th centuries, mostly by French armourers in Royal employment, but none appears to survive, and of the rest…. well, if it does exist, then it has as yet to be positively identified.
And so the “Reivers” made do with their “jacks,” and whatever other pieces of English or continental armour (mainly “German”) that they could beg, borrow, or more likely…… steal.
But this below is as near as I have ever seen to the battered and adapted armour which must have been in use in this area in the late 16th Century,
                             

                                          This is Christie Armstrong’s breastplate

Photograph’s courtesy of FJAG

I have never seen another like it.  It has more sword cuts, and lance damage than any other, and the riveted reinforce at the neck is almost unique.  It has been added to stop sword cuts upwards to the neck, and to prevent a lance glancing upwards from the surfaces of the breastplate.

This is detail of just some of the damage, we tried to count the blows, and the types of weapon, but eventually we just had to give up!

And this is a side view, just to illustrate the profile.  I will return to the subject of the development of the breastplate in future postings.

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Guns of the “Border Reivers.” A very good Nuremberg all steel wheellock pistol circa 1585.

An extremely rare “plain” wheellock pistol circa 1585.
From the workshop of Peter Danner.
(Ex. Evan Perry collection. Ex. Royal Armouries.)
(photos courtesy of F.J.A.G.)
Odd View eh?
  And why you ask is it so very rare?…
  Well… it’s because our old friends the “Victorians” took most of the surviving examples, and “improved” them with lots of lovely etching and gilding… and the ones that managed to escape their attentions, are now the rarest of all!
  (Watch out, ’cause they did it with armour as well.)
  These plain straightforward guns must have been produced in their thousands… but few have made it through to the present day.
  They are also the direct ancestors of the Scottish all steel pistols made at Doune (and elsewhere.)
  See what I mean… that’s the wheellock under discussion at the back… and that in front of it is an Alexander Campbell (Doune) of the mid 18th century.
Alex. Campbell is reckoned to be about as good as it ever got. And so that above represents the beginning and the end of the “Scottish” (sic.) pistol, or more correctly of the all steel pistol in Scotland.
 Here are some more views of both pistols:-
There ought to be a belt hook on this side, but unfortunately it has not survived.
 Yes!… As the eagle eyed amongst you will have noted, Mr Danner’s initials, are out of line, and struck the wrong way around?
  And that is why I’ve classed it as “workshop of” rather than “by.”
  Imagine the situation… the pistol has been completed… It is perfect…  it is inspected… it is given the Nuremberg Guild mark…. and then?….
  Oh dear… the circumstances will be familiar to anyone who has worked in a large machine shop…
  The gun is passed over to the “apprentice” to strike the final marks…. A simple enough task… and surely not outside of his capabilities?
  But… the apprentice has celebrated the weekend rather too  enthusiastically, and is suffering the aftereffects of imbibing copious amounts of fine German Beer….
  He picks up the punches… he wavers… and then… he strikes…
  Those rather out of kilter initials… D…. P.
   Acht! Gott im Himmel…. They are the wrong way around!
  Quickly, surreptitiously,  he the conceals his mistake by placing the gun at the bottom of the batch of pistols he is working on….
  Perhaps if he is lucky… His master will never notice.
  Today…. We can view it as a little human touch… and one which adds interest to the piece.
   Lord knows what Mr Danner would have said!
   In the North East… where I come from… such things were referred to as “Monday morning pieces.”
   Nothing really changes does it.
   So remember… Never put your precious motor vehicle in for service on a Monday.
Detail of the initials.
The label on the butt plate is original to the Evan Perry Collection.
Like the little “boxing hare” locksmiths mark?
All in all, a fine untouched and interesting pistol of around 1585, with just that little extra added eccentricity.
This is what it eventually evolved into…
The Scots turned the ends of the butt plate down into “ramshorns” and came up with their very own style!
Note the belt hook, which is missing from the Nuremberg pistol.
That is a worn example which has probably seen a lot of action… but as I said above… Alexander Campbell of Doune is about as good as it gets…
Here are the dimensions:-
Wheellock :-
Weight :- 2 pounds 9 and a half ounces.
Overall Length :- 15 and three eighth inches.
Bore :- half an inch.   .50 … about a half ounce ball?
Barrel :- 8 and one quarter inches from touch hole to muzzle.
Alexander Campbell :-
Weight :- 1 pound 4 and three quarter ounces.
Overall length :- 12 and seven eighth inches.
Bore :- nine sixteenths of an inch.   .56 inches. Bit over a half ounce ball…
Barrel :- 7 and five eighth inches touch hole to muzzle.
 By: Brian Moffatt
Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society International, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The “Steel Bonnet” A Master at work. A very good and untouched South German Burgonet circa 1580. It gets no better than this!

It gets no better than this!
Photos courtesy of F.J.A.G.
This is a “munitions” burgonet, circa 1580.
Untouched. Not even cleaned!
  But… a “munitions,” (?) burgonet with a one piece skull, hammer raised by a Master Armourer.
  Although from an armoury containing mostly “munitions quality” helmets, this one stands out.
  It bears neither an armourers mark or a guild mark. But with work of this quality, why shouldhe bother to sign it, since back in those days the quality alone, would signal exactly who made it.
  This is freehand sculpture in metal, of the very highest standard.
 Dimensions:-
Front to back:- 11 and one quarter inches.
Width:-             8 inches.
Height:-             11 and one quarter inches.
Weight:-            3 lbs 12 ounces.
Right View.
Left View.
Front View.
Showing original lining.
Back View.
Top View.
Note the fine quality of the “roping.”
View from below back.
The line of that comb is just perfect!
And the broken leather strip is the original suspension for hanging the helmet on a peg!
Never seen that before.
There… you can see it better from the front below.
  But just look at the line of this helmet in the photos below….   Incredible… and remember, this is a man working fast and freehand, on munitions work.
  Not spending weeks, or even months, on the armour of some little Lord Fauntleroy, who wants a nice shiny suit to prance around in on parade day…. this really is a fighting man’s helmet. And anyone who has ever picked up a hammer and tried their hand at raising metal will appreciate just how difficult it is to achieve such an elegant balance of curves.
  Armour, and fighting armour in particular,  is quite probably the most difficult, and least appreciated form of Art metalwork. It also has to be superbly functional…. which parade armour although magnificent in its own right, for certain…. is not.
  This burgonet is all about the curves of light playing upon metal, and the production of an elegant shape with few surfaces for a weapon to grip upon… in fact… almost early “stealth technology?”
  See how the comb curves into the bowl? No ridge for a blade to gain purchase in… clever… don’t see that too often.
  I’d love to know just who did make this one….
As you can see from the photo below…
The left cheek piece has been reworked after some battle damage.
Just beautiful… and in my own humble opinion, about as good as it ever gets.
Those of you who regularly follow this blog, will no doubt have noted the similarity to the “Howard Curtis” Burgonet of The “Steel Bonnet” post 5. (10/3/13.)… Same hand…. possibly?…. Same School… Maybe?
Why not go have another look, and make your own minds up!
The “Howard Curtis” Burgonet… similar?
….Fabulous though, aren’t they..?
Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society International, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swords of the “Border Reivers.” Of Hearts, Heart brooches, Heart burials, and “Rules of Engagement,” ….

                                                        “I give Thee my Heart”…..
                                                    Not words to be spoken lightly?
                                                                  Scotland’s “Holy Trinity.”
The three great heroes of the Wars of Independence.
(Keeping it brief!)
  William Wallace, Robert  Bruce, and Sir James “The Good” or if you prefer it Sir James “The Black” Douglas.
  As we all know, Wallace died at the hands of the English in 1305.
  Bruce united Scotland, became it’s King, and died of leprosy on June 7th 1329.
  His last wish, spoken directly to his friend and lieutenant, Sir James Douglas, was that after death, his heart be removed, and taken by Douglas to the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem.
  The elaborate preparations for the journey took around nine months, but in the spring of 1330, Douglas set out in the company of a group of knights including a certain St Clair of Rosslyn.
  It has been commented that the progress was carried out with full pomp and ceremony.  A Royal Progress, just as if King Robert himself was actually present.
  Unfortunately, in August of 1330, whilst travelling through Spain, the group decided to join forces with King Alfonso in his campaign against the Moorish emirate of Granada, and Sir James, still carrying the heart of Bruce in a casket around his neck, was cut off from the main body of troops, surrounded, and killed.
  His last action before his death was to remove the casket, and throw it forward over the heads of his enemies, with the immortal words “Forward Brave Heart.”
  Douglas was found after Alfonso’s victory, dead upon the field of battle, with the heart lying beneath his body. Although some authorities claim that it was not the physical heart, but a device emblazoned upon his shield.
(If this was so…. then why would the heart not also be inlaid upon the blade of his sword…  after all he did have nine months to prepare….)
  Whatever… Bruce’s heart was recovered…
Douglas’s heart was removed…. his body was rendered down… the flesh was buried in Teba, and his bones together with his own heart, and the heart of Bruce were returned to Scotland.
Heart casket of Sir James Douglas,.
St Brides Church, Douglas.
  Douglas’s heart and bones were buried at St Brides Church, Douglas, South Lanarkshire where they remain, whilst Bruce’s heart lies buried at Melrose.
  The story is well known.
  Now for those who may think I went a little far with the last posting…..
The death of Sir James Douglas whilst carrying the heart of Bruce to the Holy Land, was to Scotland, to put it in modern terms, the equivalent of the death of Princess Diana, and “911” rolled into one.
  The Nation was devastated.
  The last great hero of the Wars of Independence, killed, whilst carrying the heart of the King to the Holy Land….
  And it is my contention, that it was at this moment in history… that Scotland took up the image of the heart, as the iconic image of both fidelity, and of the Nation’s Independence.
Heart brooches, later to be known as “Luckenbooths” or “witches brooches”  first make their appearance in Scotland at almost the exact time of the death of Douglas.
  They appear to have been exchanged by lovers as symbols of fidelity, performing much the same function as the modern engagement ring, but they also had a second function, of warding off the “evil eye,” (hence “witches brooches,” not because witches actually wore them, but to keep them away.)
Many were passed down, generation to generation, and often bear more than one set of initials on the reverse.
Heart Brooch circa 1400 found in Fife.
  And all of this, goes very much further…..
  In 1274, John Balliol of Barnard Castle, died. (no, not the “Puppet King of Scotland”… his Dad!)
  John’s wife Devorgilla, “The Lady of Galloway,” had his heart removed… embalmed… and carried it about with her, in an ivory and silver casket for the remainder of her life.
  Upon her death, it was buried with her at Sweetheart Abbey, in Dumfries and Galloway… and yes… that is where the name came from.

Sweetheart Abbey, New Abbey, Dumfries.
(Don’t get many days like this one… fine, light angles just right, and no visitors wandering all over in front of the camera!)

(That little figure, centre frame, is my Maureen, taking a photo of me, taking a photo of her, taking a photo of me…. daft aren’t we?)

And here it is looking the other way.

  This is Sunday morning in the Borders in high summer on one of the major “Tourist Trails”, but there are no folk in the frame…..   Probably because you have to pay to get in…. and that can get expensive…
  So a lot of visitors, particularly those with a couple of kids, simply take a couple of “snaps” over the fence, then make do with sitting in the sunshine in the little cafe opposite with a coffee and a sandwich.
  But “empty” places have far more atmosphere…  And so, for us, it was worth it, just to be able to stand alone, and undisturbed in that side chamber with Devorgilla’s tomb, (see below,) and to be able to take these photo’s….
(Note:- If you insist upon doing the whole “Official Scotland Trip,” particularly with the family, you would be well advised ask about buying season tickets… it will save you a fortune.
  Or… better still, do your research well in advance and look out all of the marvellous, free, and virtually unadvertised history that the Borders has in abundance.)
Tomb of Devorgilla.
Sweetheart Abbey.
Severely damaged, head missing but still she clutches her husband’s heart to her breast.

*     *     *     *     *

Now… Time for a word from our Sponsors….
(Yep!…. that’s me as well folks…. Feel free to take a coffee break.)
                                                            (C) The Celtic Goldsmith. Teviothead. 2015.
Inspired by all of this, here is the most recent addition to our Jewellery Collection.
The Saltire Heart Cross.
Silver and Rose Gold.
Designed by Brian Moffatt.
Made by Kenneth Erik Moffatt.
And available only from
The Celtic Goldsmith. Teviothead
by Hawick. TD9 0LF.
  St Andrew’s Cross in rose gold.
  The hearts, are symbols of both love, and fidelity.
  Each individual heart represents one of the Gospels, and the design further reflects the use in early Border jewellery, of the heraldic four petalled primrose, which is also an emblem of both Resurrection, and the renewal of Nature in Spring.
*     *     *     *     *
Now back to history…..
  And….. here is another proposal…
  What if the words “I give thee my heart,” meant much more than just sentiment?
  What if… it meant the gift of ones living physical heart?
   And what if the exchange of heart brooches indicated that ones heart truly became the property of ones partner.
  What a fine way to ward off the “evil eye” of would be molesters.
  Would not an evil minded lecher think twice before groping a comely young lady if he thought some big hairy knight with a sharp little blade, may take exception, and remove his credentials….
   All fantasy you say….
Then just have a look at this….
  This casket contains a human heart… it was found March 2014, in the the Convent of the Jacobins, in the city of Rennes, Northwestern France, and dates from the 17th century…. it was found with the body of a Lady buried in a lead coffin.
She was dressed in a nun’s habit…. but she was not a nun.
  The heart belonged to her husband, and she appears to have entered a Convent after his death…
  But that is not all… her own heart had been removed… and speculation is that that organ is buried elsewhere along with her husbands remains.
  Gruesome? …. or…..The ultimate act of Love and Fidelity…. an example of the actual physical exchange of hearts.
Four other similar burials were found in the same location, all containing heart caskets.
Makes all of that modern nonsense of stag and hen nights with the surrounding misbehaviour look just a bit frivolous don’t you think?
I mean if you didn’t keep that vow…. then oops… sorry, but there goes your heart!
(Probably preceded by your swanicles!)
Here is a link to the article….

 When did it all start? When did it end..?
Lots of opportunity for more research here surely?
Three heart burials, Balliol, Bruce and Douglas, all occurring within a relatively short period of time, all of folk whose origins were in a very small area….
I mean, just how old was this practice? Are we looking at a very old tradition indeed? Perhaps with origins way back into prehistory.
It also raises the question of whether or not Devorgilla’s  heart was removed after death and perhaps… buried with her husband? ….. Now I don’t know the answer to that one… But what a tradition that would be.
Come on.. get going…

There is a good PhD. in all of this if anyone fancies a go….

1828 pattern Scottish basket hilted sword.
  Whatever….  the heart motif continues to be a principal element of the decoration of Scottish weapons and can be found on dirks, targes, and swords, right through to today.
(A note for anyone wishing to follow this line of research… the “modern” concept of the Sacred Heart of Christ, does not really come into being until the 16th century.)

Heart brooches in Scotland have never received the research they deserve, and the majority lie undisturbed in the basements of our major museums. (I know because I have seen them!)
The full history remains to be written. But the secret world of Museum Basements is very difficult to access, and even if you can… it is impossible to tell if you have really been shown the entire collections.
Secretive lot are “curators,” well worth a study all of their own…

Another fascinating aside with regard to the Scottish “Luckenbooth” heart brooch, is that the early settlers in what is now the USA, “traded” heart brooches with the Native Americans, who liked them so much that they began copying the designs, and so successful were they, that it is often difficult to distinguish “replica” from original.
Many Scottish men intermarried with the “Indians”(sic) and so a number of the makers of such “copies” had Scottish surnames.
This also occurred way up there in Canada, and quite a few of the old time carvers of “totem poles” were also of half Scottish descent.
The influence of Scots, and Anglo-Scottish Borderers on the early (in some cases very early indeed) development of the United States, is a subject worthy of much more serious study than it is currently receiving….
It certainly wasn’t all kilts, tartans, bagpipes and broadswords……
Unfortunately academic interest on the side of “the pond” is at an all time low… so perhaps it is up to you guys over there to rekindle the torch…
I’ll continue doing my best…..
But Hey…. While you’re waiting… Why not read my book!

  29th July 1500 hrs.
   Just came across this one from a “dig” up in Aberdeen…
“Heart brooch on the breast of a young man.”
  Pity, but it seems to be undated as yet. Looks 17th or 18th century to me…. If it’s earlier, then that would be even more interesting.
  But a male burial with a heart brooch…
  It comes from the excavation of the”Mither Kirk.”
by Brian Moffatt
Posted in Border Reivers Scotland, Caruthers Family, Clan Carruthers, Clan Carruthers Society International, Education, Old World History Scotland, Scotland Clans, Scotland History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Border-Reivers-Kinmont-Willie-Armstrong-Trail

The-Kinmont-Willie-Armstrong-Trail

Carlisle-Castle-Cumbria-was-the-Place-of-Imprisonment-for-Kinmont-Willie-Armstrong
Carlisle-Castle

A Trail in Kinmont Country embraces the places associated with the homes of the main protagonists in the capture and rescue of Kinmont Willie Armstrong,most notorious of the 16th century Border Reivers, and the sites where men of the Scottish Border clans and their English adherents met in secrecy to lay their plans, and thus challenge the might of one of England’s seemingly impregnable Border fortresses, Carlisle castle. Also included are some of the sites that will forever enrich the great heritage of the Borders.
At the southern point of the trail is the formidable pile of Carlisle castle, its keep still proud and massively squat against any invader. A fort or castle has stood here for two millennia, so important has the site been in times past in maintaining a balance of power between the north and south of mainland Britain.

It was here, in March 1596, that Kinmont was imprisoned and from where he was rescued after four weeks.
The river which runs to its north is the Eden, a beautiful sight to behold in the warmth and serenity of a bright midsummer’s evening yet tumultuous and turbulent after the rains of spring or awesome in its swell during dark midwinter gale.
Head north from the castle to the M6 and junction 44 and from here follow the A7. On the second bend to the right out of Longtown, a small market town about nine miles north of Carlisle, stands a cottage on the left named Dickstree. At the time of Kinmont Will it was the home of a blacksmith. According to tradition it was here that Buccleuch’s rescue party awoke the inmates on that rain-soaked dawn in April 1596 and asked that Kinmont’s chains should be removed. It is said that Buccleuch thrust his lance through the window of the cottage and coaxed the sleeping inmates awake with a gentle poke of the otherwise fearful weapon. It is a worthy little anecdote that conjures thoughts of the finality of Kinmont’s deliverance, albeit far from the truth. Kinmont was never in chains, never required the services of a blacksmith although we are told in the ballad of Kinmont Willie by Sir Walter Scott that Kinmont’s ‘airns played clang’. Poetic licence indeed, but such wonderful imagery!
About one and three quarter miles further north on the A7, to the right, Kirkandrews Tower stands proud on the banks of the Esk. Its name tells a story of its own. If Kirk is the Scots for Church then this place, most definitely on English ground now, would at one time have been Scottish. Standing in what was debateable ground from the original formation of the Border Line, its name is a poignant reminder that the Scots influence can still prevail on land that has been English for centuries.

The-Border-Reiving-Family-of-Graham-helped-rescue-Kinmont-Willie-Armstrong
Kirkandrews-on-Esk-Tower

A visit to the vicinity of the tower is definitely worth the effort of a detour. It is surely a pleasure to walk along the banks of the Esk here with Kirkandrews Tower and church on one side of the river and Netherby, a mansion of fine proportions in the distance, on the other. On the site of Netherby once stood the tower of the main branch of the Graham clan, the real force behind the springing of Kinmont. Going back to the time of the Roman occupation of Britain a fort, Castra Exploratorum, existed on this site with a road from there to the Mote, where, in the reiving times, another grayne of the Grahams had their place of residence. Netherby and Mote were often at feud.
There are some beautiful walks within the grounds of Netherby. To sample the delights of its sylvan attraction it is necessary to follow the signs for Netherby and Catlowdy which point to the right off the main street in Longtown.
To reach the charming lands surrounding Kirkandrews tower turn to the right off the A7 at the sign for Kirkandrews on Esk Church, follow the track down to the church, and park.
Reflect. The scenery is beautiful especially in the days of autumn when the trees to the east and south, aware that winter will soon be here, hold one last delight in the changing colours and contrasts of their leaves.
Return to the A7 and turn right and north. Prior to the right turn for Canonbie off the A7 a sign welcoming all to Scotland at the Border between the two countries stands near where once the Scots Dyke divided the Debateable Land into Scottish and English ground. The Debateable Land was an area about 12 miles long from north to south and up to 4 miles wide from east to west. Prior to the division in 1552 there were centuries of arguments about which country owned the ground. A haven for those on the run from authority, it became a place where murderers and thieves were wont to settle, happy in the confidence that few who endeavoured to maintain the law would dare to enter its limits. At one stage in its long and dubious history, in an effort by the authorities of the day to reduce its population, it was not a crime to kill within its borders.
The Border folk were allowed to pasture cattle within its bounds but only from the rising of the sun to its going down. No-one was allowed to build a house in the Debateable as such an act signified a desire for permanency, a state not to be condoned by the law of either country on ground that was ‘threap’ or of debateable ownership. In the wonderful vernacular of the time to build by ‘stob and stake’ was a crime.
To the east, but not seen from this road stood the tower of Carvinley where the Carletons met with some of the Grahams prior to moving over the Border to meet Buccleuch at Archerbeck.
The road that leads to Canonbie is the B7201. Follow this road off the A7. Canonbie is a beautiful Borders village. It nestles snugly in its confines, is a mix of bright and modern housing and the more traditional stone built dwellings so evocative of the area. It is hard to believe that little more than a mere two centuries ago Canonbie could not boast of one stone-house. Confidence in a more settled future, free of the threat of the endless squabble and confrontation over its nationality was still a sticking point perhaps, or old habits were taking a long time to die.
The river Esk shows off its beauty to stunning effect in the vicinity of this lovely place. There is a serenity and peace there now at complete odds with the days when it was the centre of controversy, the hub of the Debateable Land, and subject of perpetual argument between English and Scots.

The-River-Esk-at-Canonbie-is-a beautiful-River-in-the-Scottish-Borders
The-River-Esk-at-Canonbie

Follow the road through Canonbie and cross the bridge over the river Esk. The B6357 leads from here to Newcastleton. The village of Rowanburn is soon reached. Here, by the roadside, on the right, is a larger than life carving to the memory of Sandie Armstrong, an inhabitant of the village in the reiving times. His tower, it is said, stood on the ground behind the memorial. If the representation of the man seen here is a true reflection of his size, then he surely was ‘Lang Sandie of Rowanburn’. He was hanged in 1606 after being on the run for almost six years. He was a member of the ambush crew who murdered Sir John Carmichael in 1600. Carmichael was a Scottish Warden noted for his fairness to all irrespective of nationality. He was waylaid as he rode the ground between Langholm and Lockerbie at a place called Raesnowes. His crime? He had incurred the wrath of the Armstrongs who were humiliated by a boyish prank of some of his followers. Alexander Airmestrang, known as Lang Sandie of Rowanburn, was hanged at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh for his part in the crime. He admitted that he had taken part in the murder, ‘which he declared was brought upon against his will.’
About half-a-mile further on, still on the B6357, to the left, stands the farm of Archerbeck. It was here that a number of the men behind the rescue of Kinmont met, some for the first time, to bond and declare their commitment to the freeing of the great Scottish reiver. Soon the village of Harelaw is reached. It was here in the tower of Hector Armstrong that Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland was lured after his rising to free Mary, Queen of Scots had failed. He was betrayed, some say, by Hector and eventually beheaded in the Street in York in 1573. ‘To take Hector’s cloak’, a saying still common in the Scottish Borders, refers to this despicable act and its meaning of betraying friend or ally.
After about another four and a half miles, on the same road, the sign for Kershopefoot is seen. This sleepy little hamlet is just about ½ mile to the right of this road across the bridge over the river Liddel. As the bridge is crossed the Kershope Burn can be seen to the left where it joins the Liddel. This insignificant little burn is the Border between England and Scotland. In the reiving times from its source to its confluence with the Liddel, the English patrolled its length day and night in the autumn and winter months. It was easily fordable, easy for the formidable Scottish clans of Liddesdale to enter the opposite realm and embark on yet another spoiling raid of innocent or enemy. The nerves of the English watches would be fraught and edgy were they assigned such an insufferable commission. Many would be the sighs of relief when the dawn broke over the cold winter landscape.
Follow the minor road until the sign for Sorbietrees and Newcastleton is seen to the left. Bear left here and follow this road for about a mile until, at a ‘T’ junction, the sign for Brampton and Bewcastle is met. Turn right here and follow this road for just over a mile. At this point a bridge over the Kershope Burn is reached. Park where convenient off the road.

The-Kershope-Burn-divides-Scotland-from-England
The-Kershope-Burn

A lovely little walk is in prospect.
Walk across the bridge and take the path immediately to the left. Follow this for about ¾ mile until the Dayholme of Kershope can be seen across the burn. It is situated at a bend in the burn, on Scottish soil, and instantly recognisable by its wide expanse of level ground. All is peaceful here now in stark contrast to the reiving days when hundreds of armed men from both the nations of Scotland and England would gather to witness the trials of those who had fallen foul of the Border Law. Many of those present would be as guilty of crime as those on trial or at deadly feud with others in attendance. Often they would be seeking vengeance from those they rubbed shoulders with at the Day of Truce.

It-was-following-a-Day-of-Truce-at-the-Dayholme-of-Kershope-that-Kinmont-Willie-Armstrong-was-captured-by-the-Englishd
The-Dayholme-of-Kershope

Further to the east, and a long walk of many miles and thus not for the fainthearted, lies the Limey Syke or Lamisik ford, a spot where two countries, England and Scotland, and three counties reach out and join in uneasy harmony. A hostile and lonely place is the Lamisik. In the day when Rome ruled in these northern parts it was a crossing place on the route from Bewcastle to the Wheel Rig and what was known in other times as the Catrail. It was a route of much interest in that the Whele Causeway traversed the heady tops of the hills to the north. The Causeway was the much used passage of Scottish armies heading down Liddesdale and into England bent on teaching their southern neighbours a lesson in might is right or in response to the latest list of atrocities that devastated their northern homelands. It was at the Whele Kirk, a church on the Causeway, in 1296, that Edward 1 rested on his journey north to subdue the Scots. His vengeance, taken out on the poor folk of Berwick, was to lead to two hundred and fifty years of bitter and atrocious conflict between the nations of Scotland and England. Alas it is a frustrating quest to find the remains of this important place. The modern blight of endless trees overtakes all, obliterates everything in its path. What might have been clear to see in the earlier part of the twentieth century is no longer obvious. The mind and soul rest easier though when at last the hallowed ground is seen. It is there!
In the reiving times the Lamisik ford was the oft-traversed line of entry into England and Tynedale for the clans of Liddesdale. Here is ground that harbours many a tale of the reiving times and further to our east and south, and not part of our immediate trail but well worth a visit, are the lands of Bewcastledale, home, in the sixteenth century of some of the most violent men who ever rode the Borders. One such was the Jack Musgrave of the story.
The castle of Bewcastle, once a stronghold against Scottish raids into Tynedale, stands ruined and impassive on the site of even older forts which can be traced back to the days of the Roman occupation.
The land is a mix of lush pasture and upland moor and bog, pleasing to the eye on the lower slopes of the hills, harsh and daunting towards the skyline. Looking up the valleys to the hill tops it is not hard to imagine that one is in a different time when men eked out a living from the barren land and lived in constant fear of the next raid. The next band of violence, appearing as if from nowhere, would often bring destitution in its wake and sorrow and despair for those left alive. Loved ones were lost in defence of the meagre living, and, inevitably, the pursuit of vengeance invaded the hearts of those left behind and kick-started the feud that was not resolved for generations.
A notable scholar once visited the graveyard at Bewcastle in the days of feud, theft and murder, and was struck by the absence of graves to adult men. There seemed to be mainly the graves of women and those unfortunate enough to die young. On inquiring of a local woman why this should be, he was told that most of the men of Bewcastle had ‘a’ been hangit at weary Caerl.’ They had been hanged for their reiving ways at Carlisle!
Walk back to the bridge over the Kershope burn and drive back to the point where the ‘T’ junction was encountered. Here the sign points directly ahead for Newcastleton. Please follow it. Within ½ mile the house of Sorbietrees is seen. Here stood another Armstrong tower in the reiving days. Just over a mile further on this same road a tarmac road to the left goes to Mangerton Tower. The road is signposted Riverview Holiday Park.
Given the power and sway that the Armstrongs once held in lower Liddesdale it is a disappointment that such scant remains are all that are to be seen. But hope in a future that will preserve what is left raises the mind to a more positive frame. At least some of it has survived its violent history and, more surprisingly, the depredations of what should have been a more enlightened age when its massive stone was used for the bed of a railway line!

Mangerton-Tower-Liddesdale-Home-of-the-Chiefs-of-the-Armstrong-Clan
Mangerton-Tower

Mangerton tower was the main residence of the Chief of the Armstrongs for centuries. It lies to the right of the old Waverley railway line. It can be reached by driving past the holiday caravans that now stand in what was once a place of bitterly contested ground, but the tower is far better walked to, either from the village of Newcastleton, or at least this intersection of the roads. Forget the sights and sounds of the modern times and think on a time when only the wistful call of the curlew or the alarm ‘scaap’ of the snipe, the gentle lap and gurgle of the river Liddel, and the pastoral and homely visions of the valley opening to the south would be the only companions there on the journey home. At least on a good day!
Return to the place where you turned left on the road to Mangerton and turn left.
Newcastleton is less than mile away. Cross the bridge over the river Liddel and turn right. Here stood the tower of John Elliot of Copshaw, another who answered the call to free Kinmont. The tower is long gone but the village still evokes thoughts of the reivers. Nearby are the Side and the Park. They are names for the most part forgotten but there was a time when they would strike terror into many a heart. Jock of the Park was the reiver who almost killed James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, the most powerful man in southern Scotland, and third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. Jock of the Side was to offer shelter to the Earl of Northumberland after the Rising of the North failed to free Mary and re-instate Catholicism as the religion of England. Northumberland was shunned by his erstwhile partner in rebellion, a Dacre of Gilsland, and headed for Liddesdale where he knew he could count on succour and aid.
To the north still in Newcastleton, on the banks of the Liddel to the right of the road, stand the decaying remains of an early nineteenth century mansion. Beneath it lies the vault of what was the tower of Whithaugh, the home of another branch of the Armstrong clan. The Whithaugh Armstrongs were particularly active in the last days of the reiver, at feud with many of the neighbouring clans as well as the English.
Take the road through the village should a mere view of Whithaugh on the opposite bank of the Liddel be of interest, otherwise turn left at the sign for Langholm. It is by the building occupied by the Bank of Scotland.
This road goes past the site of John of Copshaw’s tower situated where the Helcaldron burn is now channelled past what was the railway station. The road takes a steep ascent at this point and passes, on the left, a monument to John Byers, pseudonym Bluebell, who was a great worthy of a great little village. His love and knowledge of Liddesdale is yet unsurpassed. His ability to turn that love into words brings the valley alive. His homely descriptions are rendered with a poetical lilt and command of the language that complements his vast knowledge of the times, people and places now long gone. His history of Liddesdale is a pure delight. Incomparable!
The scenery ahead is splendid whatever the time of year and more than a compensation for the lonely and narrow stretch of road that needs to be negotiated with some care. Fortunately there are passing places aplenty. Ahead are magnificent views of Tinnis Hill and the open vastness of Tarras moor It is little wonder that Tarras was a fastness of the reiver and a veritable haven to those on the run from authority. Its bent and bog are a danger even now to the inexperienced walker. Before sheep grazed the land it would be tree-covered. The tree-lined steep banks of the burns bear testimony to that. The reiver knew the ground right well and would often pick his way through tuft and quagmire to the shelter of the woods where he knew not many would care or dare to follow. The road eventually heads steeply downhill and reaches the A7.
Turn right here and head north for Hawick. The road wends itself through Ewesdale and lower Teviotdale, setting of some of the most delightful, picturesque and yet, in complete contrast, awe-inspiring scenery in the Borderlands. The contrast of the lonely hill top and verdant river bank is a feast to the eyes and not soon forgotten. Ewesdale has a beauty all its own. Flanked by magnificent, steep-sided hills in its northern reaches that must yet hide evidence of a more violent day, it yields a gentler scene in its southern margins. Here to the south of the valley the hills are less forbidding, less wont to hem the wanderer into narrow pass and defile. The Ewes Water, is less constricted and spreads itself joyfully between wider banks, and meanders slowly and thoughtfully down to its confluence with the river Esk.
After fourteen miles the road passes the sign that leads to Carlenrig and that infamous spot where an anointed King of Scotland acted with the rashness of youth and took the law into his own hands. Here Johnny Armstrong of Gilnockie and many of his followers were hanged after being lured into the presence of the King. It was a sad day in the history of the Borders and one which Kinmont would never forget.
Within another four miles the hamlet of Newmill is encountered. Turn right in Newmill at the signpost for Southfield and cross two river fords until a cattle grid is reached. Here a footbridge over the Allan Water leads to a steep-sided hill. It is not very high and worth the scramble to view what remains of what must have been a formidable place some four hundred years ago. At the top, and not easily seen in late Spring or Summer when the leaves of the trees are in full array, stand the remains of the Tower of Allanhaugh. Much of it has fallen down the hillside; a part of the vaulted basement stands forlorn on the crest of the hill. Will this be the last generation to see something of the home of that branch of the Scott clan who were often at feud with their blood relations of Branxholme?

Allanhaugh-Pele-Tower-Only-the-Vaulted-Roof-Remains
The-Remains-of-the-Vault-of-Allanhaugh-Tower

Return over the fords to the A7 and turn right. Two miles north of Newmill, on the left whilst negotiating a left-hand bend, the tower of Branxholme can be viewed. It is easily missed given the attention necessary to drive safely around the bend so stop in the lay-by to the right over a narrow bridge just north of the Tower and walk back to the place where one of the major forces of the reiving times held sway for many a generation. Branxholme is a place long associated with Walter Scott of Buccleuch of the story, indeed the whole family of that name, for centuries. The original castle containing four corner towers was burned in 1532 and again in 1570. Indeed in that year it was gutted with explosives by the Earl of Sussex. But the resilience of the Border Lords is to be admired as rebuilding immediately commenced. The five story tower that stands on the skyline above the river Teviot, known as the Nesby or Nebsie Tower, is the only prominent vestige of that rebuilding. A mile further on, across the river Teviot and the valley to the north and east, seemingly imperious on the skyline, is Goldielands Tower, home of another Walter Scott who also rode for Carlisle and the freeing of Kinmont. Should the site of Goldielands be of interest there is a track to the right off the main A7 opposite a tourist sign for Wiltonburn Country Cashmeres. Although it is difficult to park in this vicinity it is possible with a little thought and ingenuity. Park on the verge, just to the south, where a minor road leads to Whitchesters. From the tourist sign it is only ½ mile to the top of the hill and this impressive Border pele tower.

Branxholme-Tower-Teviotdale-Scottish-Borders-Home-of-the-Chiefs-of-Clan-Scott
The-Nesby-Tower-Branxholme

Travelling further up the beautiful valley of the river Teviot, still on the A7, the signpost for Roberton is encountered which points to the left over a bridge across the river Teviot. This road is the B711. By following this road the enchanting glen of Harden is to be found to the right after about 1½ miles. Deep and steep-banked, it was a perfect lodge for beasts stolen from the English side. Perched above the glen is Harden House. Lost in its grandeur are the remains of Harden Tower, home of the irascible Auld (Old) Wat of the story.. The glen alone is worth the detour from the main road. It has a timeless air, seems to the mind to be little changed from the days when English beef was coaxed and cajoled to move on and surrender itself, lose itself in the confines of the steep-sided banks below the tower.

Harden-Glen-Where-Walter-Scott-of-Harden-Hid-the-Cattle-he-Stole
Harden-Glen

Turn and head back for the A7. Watch out for a sight of Goldielands Tower on the skyline across the valley, an impressive sight if ever there was one. On reaching the A7 turn left and head north until Hawick is reached. At the little roundabout head right for the town centre then immediately right again at the signpost of the B6399 for Newcastleton. Follow the valley south past Stobs Castle and its Black Lodge. After just about 13 miles, past the farm named Whiteropefoot an old animal byre is seen on the right. Opposite this, but unseen because of the trees, stands the Nine Stane Rig. It was here that legend and lore says the wicked warlock De Soulis, Lord of Liddesdale, was wrapped in lead and boiled alive. An eerie place is the Nine Stane Rig to this day, be rest assured; a place, foreboding would dictate, is not to be visited in the gloaming. Carry on down the valley for about another two miles and a sign to the right invites the traveller to Hermitage Castle.
This minor road, which leads to Hermitage, takes us through a valley which, together with the road that leads from Newcastleton to Langholm, typifies the terrain of the reiving times more than any other in the southern borders. Here there is no forestry to blight the contour of hill or burn or to hide the harsh magnificence of a land that comes alive with the spirit and soul of a time now forgotten.
To the western end of the valley the views are superb, outstanding, and somewhat comforting after being hit with the aggression and austerity which is Hermitage castle.
Standing on the banks of the Hermitage water, the castle is a tangible testimony to a more violent time when hatred and fear, aggression and caution ran hand in glove and ruled the everyday lives of the people of Liddesdale. It stands tall, strong and aloof and almost reeks of war, murder, and intrigue. Yet there is more than a hint of sadness and shame emanating from its hoary walls.

Once a bastion of the Scots against English armies moving north, and yet often in English hands, it was home to the Keeper of Liddesdale. At the time of the rescue of Kinmont Willie from Carlisle castle that role was filled by Walter Scott, 11th Laird of Branxholme and Buccleuch. Today the castle sleeps uneasily, still ready to spring into life and defend the valley against all aggressors.

Hermitage-Castle-Stood-Sentinel-to-Liddesdale
Hermitage-Castle

It was here that James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, was taken after being knifed by Jock of the Park, an Elliot of Liddesdale, at Bilhope to the west of the castle. It is often said that this furious encounter took place at the Tourneyholme at Kershopefoot nigh Will o’ Greena’s stone, but the Billhope is the place where the man bent on subduing his unruly border charges was to meet a man of too hot a mettle to be easily silenced. Bothwell, at the time of his clash with Elliot was Warden General of the Borders. Hermitage was his residence. Following the attack by Elliot, Bothwell was carried back to the castle, his own headquarters near to death. He could only gain access by pardoning those reivers of Liddesdale who had broken out of the dungeons in his absence and taken over the castle. An Elliot of the Shaws, a place still to be seen in Liddesdale, was prominent in negotiating the release of the reivers, much to the chagrin of Bothwell’s followers.
Bothwell married Mary, Queen of Scots in May 1567. Only one month later, together, they faced the rebel Lords of Scotland at Carberry Hill near Musselborough. The Lords, all fearing the power of Bothwell now that he was King consort, had rebelled on the pretext that he was the main instigator in the murder of Mary’s second husband, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley. There were many of those who opposed Bothwell and Mary equally as guilty, and had been main players in the murderous plot. They were only too aware that Bothwell was party to their involvement and could tell a different tale to that which they promoted.
Although the two armies were evenly matched and initially spoiling for a fight, not a blow was struck as the contest became a personal confrontation between Bothwell on the one side and the Lords on the other. At one stage it was decided that the outcome of the conflict should be determined by single combat between Bothwell and anyone of the army of the Lords who was his equal. Although a match was eventually agreed, Mary, at the last minute, forbade it to take place. She gave herself up to the Lords in return for a promise that Bothwell would be allowed to leave the field without immediate pursuit and she would receive honourable treatment. Mary and Bothwell would never see each other again.
Bothwell fled north to Orkney of which he was now Duke: his mission purportedly to drum up support and levy troops for his wife. Eventually, after being pursued on behalf of the Lords by Kirkcaldy of Grange, in a sea chase which would end in a battle lasting three hours and in which the main mast of Bothwell’s ship would be shot away, he escaped by the skin of his teeth. Fortunately, at the time when Kirkcaldy’s men were to board Bothwell’s ship, a gale blew up. Bothwell, taking advantage of this, boarded one of his smaller ships and ran before the storm. He was driven across the North Sea to Norway and apprehended on his arrival. He was taken to Bergen where Frederick 11, king of Norway and Denmark, realising the importance of his prisoner, had him arrested. He saw in Bothwell, a hostage of such position and renown, a possibility of exchange for the islands of Orkney and Shetland. Up to about a century before these had been Danish possessions but now were part of the Scottish nation.
Bothwell would eventually end his days incarcerated for ten years, the last five of which were spent in the castle of Dragsholm in Denmark.
It is said that from the minute of his arrival in Dragsholm he was chained to a post half his height in the dungeons of the castle and left to rot. He would not see the light of day again, had no contact with any other being, and would eventually die a victim to insanity in 1578.
Up to the early 1970s it was still possible to view what was claimed to be his body, which had been preserved. It lay then in an open-topped coffin on display in the church of Faarvejle, a village six miles from Dragsholm. In the mid nineteen thirties the body was supposedly verified as that of Bothwell from a scar which could still be seen on the forehead. This had, it was said, resulted from one of the wounds inflicted in the brawl with Jock of the Park.
On the orders of the future Queen of Denmark the coffin was closed and can now be seen in a side chapel. If this was Bothwell’s end then the light finally went out on a man who had brought down a kingdom and, unwittingly, been instrumental in bringing to a head the clash between two of the most remarkable monarchs in our history, the queens of Scotland and England. Bothwell would die ten years after Mary fled south of the Border intent on enlisting the aid and succour of her ‘dear cousin’ Elizabeth to promote her re-instatement to the Scottish throne. As a result of her rash and foolish impetuosity, like Bothwell she would spend the rest of her life in close confinement. Unlike him she was surrounded by a small army of servants, was allowed to ride out on occasion, and had many well-wishers. There were many who espoused her cause, had sympathy with her predicament, and dreamed of the day when she should be free once more.
Bothwell would die a horrendous death after years of total isolation, no contact with another human being. Held in the blackness of the dungeons of Dragsholm for the last five years of his life, it is a perfect irony that in death he would spend many years within the next four centuries exposed to the light of day.
But alas, this is only one, and perhaps the more sensationalised version of his death. True there were many of his contemporaries who vouched that he died insane, unable to endure the absolute horror and filth of his confinement. Records of the time would seem to corroborate that from 1576 he figured little in the expenditure of the castle and had been left to rot.
It is, though, a possibility that Bothwell was always treated as a state prisoner whilst in Dragsholm and that the biggest threat to his wellbeing was inactivity and boredom. He could have died of liver failure due to the excessive drinking which alleviated the torment of that ‘glorious, rash and hazardous young man’ who was caged and wasted after a life of high position and riches, adventure, conspiracy and defiance.
Whatever his end there is no doubt that Bothwell, in his day, Duke, Earl Admiral, and the consort of a queen, was one of those special characters that help to bring an age alive. Brash and tempestuous though he might have been, with one eye always on the main chance, seemingly out for his own gain at the expense of all around him, he exhibited many other facets to a personality which are now, and it would seem, have always been, conveniently ignored. Look a little closer and there are more than just hints of longstanding loyalty and devotion to his country and those who had the right and, just as importantly to him, the wit to rule it.
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There has been a castle here at Hermitage, of some sort, for many centuries. Originally a wooden fort in the times when the family of De Soulis reigned supreme in Liddesdale, it developed in later times into the formidable pile which can be viewed today. The family of De Soulis had other fortified residences in the fearsome valley of the Liddel, firstly at Clintwood, not far from Dinlabyre, and then overlooking the river at Old Castleton, near to the churchyard of Castleton. This was the site of Liddel Castle, not to be confused with Liddel Strength, which was the Mote of Liddel.
Many are the tales of injustice and murder at Hermitage, some undisputed fact, others that have been embellished down the years; many put into verse by the great Border poets.
The castle is said to be sinking in its own iniquity. It was the home of the De Soulis family for generations when they were Lords of Liddesdale. According to tradition they were a tribe to be reckoned with in more ways than one. One of their number was reputed to be a warlock and so alarmed the minions and servants within the castle, that they eventually overpowered him and carried him away to the Nine Stane Rig and did away with him in the manner already related. At least tradition and folklore would tell us that this is the case. It is an improbable story but such is the stuff of legend!
Hermitage was the scene of the murder of the Cout of Kielder, a brave young giant of a man of Northumberland, son purportedly of Sir Richard Knout, with whose family the De Soulis’ were at odds. After being invited to hunt with De Soulis on the pretext that the two families should resolve their differences he was invited to dine within the castle. When at his ease a boar’s head was brought to the table, an ancient portent that death was imminent. Alarmed, he forced his way out of the castle only to be overpowered by superior forces and drowned in the Hermitage Water at a spot still known as the Cout of Kielder’s pool. There is a long mound to the west of the castle. It is reputed to be the grave of this unfortunate young man. The great poet and humanist of the early nineteenth century John Leyden was much taken by the fate of the Cout, and put his feelings into verse which is still admired. Today a monument to the memory of Leyden stands in the village of Denholm, four miles north-east of Hawick. Here his home can also be seen.
At Hermitage Alexander Ramsay was starved to death for daring to compete with the power of the Douglas’s. Long after the castle was abandoned, the skeleton of a man and that of a horse were said to be found sleeping in the earth beneath the dungeons. Some said they were the remains of Ramsay and his horse, though why a horse should be imprisoned is beyond comprehension. Strange bedfellows indeed!
All the tales add to the rich and fascinating heritage of Hermitage; give meaning to the cold, imperious and sombre stone.
On leaving the castle carry on westwards and delight in the sights of hill and burn.. Along the route pass the sites of two towers of the Elliots, Braidlie and Gorranberry. Above them stands the hilltop still called the Queensmire. It was in this place that Mary, Queen of Scots supposedly lost a watch, some accounts say a spur, when her horse stumbled after her visit to see Bothwell following his encounter with Jock of the Park. It turned up over two centuries later when the land was drained.
The spirit of the Reiver is still very much alive in this district. As the gate of Braidlie is passed an ominous warning could be seen until quite recently. Drive quietly past. The sign said ‘Forget the dog, beware of the Owner.’ It would seem the spirit of the Elliots still reigns in this little vale.
At Burnfoot of Ewes the A7 is reached once more. Turn left and head for Langholm. It is about 7 miles. It was at Burnfoot that Buccleuch and Andrew Graham were in deep conversation about the ‘springing of Kinmont’ in the story.
Deeply proud are the people of Langholm of its rich and varied heritage. Today it is quiet, but there was a time when its ground was bloodily contested, when its people were caught up in feud and the quest for power. Tarry a while and venture from its homely high street. There is many a gem to encounter within its bounds; valley, river bank and hill thrive with a beauty unsurpassed.

The-Confluence-of-two-Beautiful-Rivers-the-Esk-and-the-Ewes-at-Langholm-Dumfriesshire-Scottish-Borders
Confluence-of-the-Rivers-of-Ewes-and-Esk-at-Langholm

It was within the walls of Langholm castle that the raiding party met and planned the ‘springing’ of Kinmont. Alas, little remains, but it was a place of splendid proportions in its hey-day; a place of major significance, strategically situated as a defence against English marauders intent on moving north to the Scottish heartlands or west to the valley of the Annan.
Head south. The remains of Auchenrivock or Stakeheugh can be seen about 3 miles after leaving Langholm. It is but a short walk of ½ mile up the hill from the sign for Auchenrivock cottages to see the remains of what must have been a formidable place in times gone by. Stakeheugh was one of the homes of the notorious clan of the Kang-Irvines in the reiving days.
Just further south, on the same side of the A7 is Hagg on Esk.
Both are mentioned in the story.
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Take the sign to the left off the A7 for Hollows and follow the road until, meeting an opening to the left, a track leads to the Tower, known in former days as the ‘Hollas’ or the ‘Holehouse.’ On the verge of the beautiful river of Esk, it has witnessed many an English inroad into the Debateable Land and stands today when many of its ilk were razed to the ground.. Perhaps it escaped demolition because it was used as a centre of operations in the horror of the Pacification of the Borders, the killing times, when the Border clans were hanged without trial or, the lesser of two evils, viciously evicted from the lands they had inhabited for centuries. Once there note the massive stone and the small door-way. The consideration tells a story all its own of days when men knew the need to be safe in their beds and able to defend themselves against the next wave of intended destruction coming screaming out of the dark landscape. Today the Tower is a museum to the Armstrong’s and contains much information about that most famous of all the reivers of that name, Neil Armstrong, who made a raid of 240,000 miles in July 1969! He went to the moon! His ancestors can be traced back to the ‘muckle toon’ of Langholm. It was a proud day when he visited the town and was given its freedom. It is fitting that he is remembered in the homelands of his ancestors.

Hollows-Pele-Tower-now-a-Museum-to-the-Armstrong-Clan
Hollows-Tower

Go through the gate to the left of the tower and the banks of the Esk are soon reached. A beautiful river is the Esk. It is a pleasure to behold its serenity on a high summer’s day and its strength when autumn gale whips up its waters. Linger on its banks; revel in the birdsong and sylvan beauty or the tumultuous white spate of a river that can show its anger. They are both part and parcel of this wonderful place.
Return to the minor road, turn left. Go past the cottages on the right and turn right at the ‘give way’ sign. The A7 is literally yards away at the top of the hill. Here turn to the right and within yards turn left for Annan. Follow this road which is the B720. Although the road number changes follow without any divergence until Evertown is reached. Less than half-a-mile through Evertown the sign for a school can be seen on the left. Next left off the road, just over a mile past the school opposite a red telephone box, a minor road leads to Tower of Sark farm. To the right of the farm lies the churchyard of Sark and the end of the journey.
Near at hand to this lonely but still hallowed ground stood Morton Rigg, in the Scottish Debateable Land. The tower, home of Kinmont, overlooked the Scots Dyke.
Spend a while in the churchyard. Like many a cemetery in the southern borders the church is long gone. One has to wonder if the Whithaugh tribe of Armstrongs were responsible for its destruction. Following the Monition of Cursing of the Archbishop of Glasgow, Gavin Dunbar in 1525, when he berated and excommunicated the reiver families for their murder and feud, their response was to knock down as many as thirty churches within the vicinity.
Kinmont, we are told, lies under the sod here but there is no headstone to mark the spot. If he does lie here, and, should he have died in his bed there is no reason to dispute it, then he rests in a peaceful place. In recent years the turf has been fleetingly removed from a particular spot to reveal a slab covering the grave of a notable person. It is marked with the strong arm of the Armstrongs, and is likely to be the resting place of Kinmont Will. The cemetery is a quiet spot, serene and somehow timeless. The river Sark runs below the site, a gentle curve of water here, meandering to the Solway.

Sark-Churchyard-Dumfriesshire-Scottish-Borders-the-reputed-resting-place-of-Kinmont-Willie-Armstrong
Sark-Churchyard

Return to the A7 and home.
Whatever the direction, the trail passes places of particular interest to our story.
All are accessible.
Some still invoke thoughts of the day of the reiver. They are stark, seemingly impenetrable and little changed.
Others have succumbed firstly to destruction in the day of supposed atonement when the reiver was to be eradicated from home and hearth, and then to the vagaries of time. These strong houses and towers might be ruined and have lost their meaning in a more settled time.
But all still tell a story.
The imaginative mind, sensitive to the aura of these places, can still conjure up thoughts of a different age when strength of character, fortitude and indomitable will strove to overcome destruction, theft, fear and adversity; when life was hard and precarious and often unjustly lost.
The soul of the Border-er is there yet.

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16th century Fatlips Castle Border Peel tower in Roxburghshire, Scotland

 

                                                    Fatlips Castle as it stood in 1857

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Fatlips-architechure

 

Fatlips Castle, a 16th century pele tower of rectangular stone was founded by the Turnbulls of Barnhill. The castle sits in Roxburghshire atop the Minto Crags 2 miles northeast of the village of Denholm and 1 mile east of the village of Minto.

The entrance to the tower leads to a vaulted basement with a spiral stair in one corner giving access to the other two stories and a garret. A round caphouse found at the garret leads to a corbelled parapet. Magnificant views of the Borders and Ruberslaw can be seen from the parapet. The tower is 8.15 meters from north to south and 9.83 meters from east to west.

Fatlips was acquired by Sir Gilbert Elliot in 1705, whose family became the Earl of Minto. The castle was extensively restored in 1857 by Sir Robert Lorimer. The interior was further renovated in 1897-1898. It was used as a shooting lodge and private museum until about 1960. Since that time until very recently, the building was in ruins, worsening each year. It was to the point that there was not much roof at all left and the door was cemented closed to prevent people from entering and being injured.

How Fatlips got its name has several theories. One is that the Turnbulls had a child with Down Syndrome, and he lived in the castle away from others. Another goes back to a supernatural being known as Fatlips, named so by a disturbed woman who lived in castle shadows during the day and wandered about at night. When asked how she survived and found food, she said that the spirit Fatlips provided it.

TCA Arms Letters Patent 6x9

The Turnbull Clan Association (TCA) has been granted official arms by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, Edinburgh, Scotland. This is indeed a milestone for TCA. While in the past only a few Turnbull individuals have been granted official arms, this is the first time that Turnbull Clan itself has been recognized with its own Arms.

Perhaps the most common acceptance today for the name is said to have come from the male members of the Turnbull household greeting house guests. It is suggested that they were more forward than what was accepted for the times, with the gentlemen kissing the ladies upon entering the castle.

Fatlips Castle, being a significant part of Turnbull history, has long been a destination point for Turnbulls of the Borders and visiting Turnbulls. It has been a dream that the castle be restored and saved from destruction. Many years ago, Gemma (honorary Turnbull) Barnard set about informing people of Fatlips peril and to bring awareness of its need for restoration. Gemma’s love for the castle stems from her childhood. Growing up in the Bedrule area, she used to climb the crags to the castle frequently, where she could play and look out across the beautiful Borders. It hurt to see how each year, Fatlips fell into more disrepair.

Fatlips Castle was the stronghold of the noted Border Reiver, Turnbull of Barnhill. The tower of “Mantoncrake”or “Mynto Crag” was burnt in Hertford’s raid on the Scottish Borders in 1545. Following the Turnbulls, the tower has been owned by Sir Gilbert Elliot who’s descendants became Earls of Minto and own the property to this day.

The rectangular tower is 56 feet (17m) tall, 26 feet 9 inches (8.15 m) from north to south, and 32 feet 3 inches (9.83 m) from east to west. When the interior was complete it comprised four storeys plus an attic surrounded by a parapet walk.

Fatlips032513 6 -                                        From inside the caphouse with new roof and walls.

 

A number of possible origins for the name “Fatlips Castle” applied to the Minto Crags Borders peel (pele) tower. We have heard the following and favor none above the others.

There was once a goat nicknamed Fatlips on the dunion which warned of the approaching English by bleating loudly.

A local Elliot recounted to us that in the early 18th century the family had a child with Down syndrome who lived out of sight in the tower. The servants who cared for the child used the name Fatlips Castle. This seems improbable as the Elliot family themselves would surely not have used the name Fatlips which appears on their mid-18th century documents.

It is said that one of the pleasures of a visit to Fatlips used to be that “every gentleman, by indefeasible privilege, kisses one of the ladies on entering the ruin.”(Chambers, Robert (1828). The Picture of Scotland I. William Tait. p. 328n.)

Fatlips is the name given to a legendary spirit dwelling in Dryburgh Abbey in Berwickshire, Scotland by a hermit woman who took up residence in the ruins of the abbey. She claimed that Fatlips stamped the moisture away from the ground where she slept with his heavy iron boots. This gave rise to the notion that Fatlips lived in medieval ruins.

Another theory is Fatlips Castle got it’s name because its owner, the Earl of Minto, liked to kiss his female guests without their consent. It was built by the Turnbulls of Barnhills, notorious Border reivers, and burned during the War of the Rough Wooing in 1545,  is a Scottish Borders icon perched atop Minto Crags looking out over Teviotdale, past Denholm and Bedrule, onto the famed Ruberslaw mountain, and beyond, towards the English border. This Borders Tower has been known through the centuries as Mantoncrake Castle, Catslick Castle, Minto Castle, and most affectionately as Fatlips Castle. The reason for the name Fatlips remains a mystery with a number of amusing proposed origins.

Fatlips Castle dominates the skyline from its vantage point on Minto Craigs, near Denholm, and its battered walls are again the focus of attention from those worried fort its future.

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The magnificent view from Fatlips of the Teviotdale Valley.

For years there have been calls for the crumbling property, on the Minto estates, to be restored to its former glory.

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This photo of the west gable of the tower, is taken from the shelter of the stair doorway leading into the 1st floor Hall, and shows the 2nd floor, where the laird’s bedroom would have been, and the garret room within the parapet walkway, with the vestiges of its pine wall paneling. Both of the upper two levels have fireplaces in the west gable.

Now comes news from David Black, chairman of the Borders branch of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, that the organization is concerned about the state of the buildings, and has even had informal discussions with the National Trust about the issue.

“The tower is deteriorating and there is a lot of public concern about that.” Mr. Black told the “Southern”.

“Fatlips is one of the most important buildings in the Borders and it is clearly under threat.

“It can’t be allowed to crumble away – it is of great landscape value.

“Our stand is that we want to encourage a positive use for it, and feel an effort must be made to ensure the building is saved and used.”

When contacted by the “Southern” for an update on the situation with Fatlips Castle, the Earl of Minto, whose family trust oversees the property, explained he was unable to comment fully because such matters were now the responsibility of his son, Lord Melgumd, who was currently abroad.

However, Lord Minto did claim his son had taken measures in the recent past to help safeguard the imposing building.

“I know for a fact he has taken some measures to help preserve it for the future, and this was all carried out in accordance with Historic Scotland.” Said Lord Minto.

The photo above is of the west gable of the tower, is taken from the shelter of the stair doorway leading into the 1st floor Hall, and shows the 2nd floor, where the laird’s bedroom would have been, and the garret room within the parapet walkway, with the vestiges of its pine wall paneling. Both of the upper two levels have fireplaces in the west gable.

From a distance, Fatlips Castle stands sentinel over the River Teviot as it has done for centuries, but closer inspection reveals signs of serious degeneration. Pictures by Gordon Lockie

Representatives of Scottish Borders Council planning and development department last had discussions with Lord Melgumd about 18 months ago.

“Our main contact with the estate has really been with the view of ensuring access to the towers by members of the public is denied on safety grounds,” explained SBC conservation officer, Mark Douglas.

“Currently, I am not aware of any active proposals for the restoration of the tower.”

The 16th century structure was first restored in 1857 and then renovated in 1897 – 98 by Sir Robert Lorimer, as a shooting box and private museum.

Three stories high, it has a vaulted basement and a parapet walk, and its curious name is said to stem from the noted Borders freebooter, Turnbull of Barnhill.

In olden days the lands of Minto were owned by the infamous reiving family, the Turnbulls, who also built the 16thcentury core of the now demolished Minto House, the center of an architectural furore some years ago.

In days gone by it was also written that one of the pleasures of a visit to Fatlips used to be that “every gentleman, by indefeasible privilege, kisses one of the ladies on entering the ruin” (Chambers).

Sadly, in recent years it has been rather less romantic attention, proving an attraction for vandals.

Previously, it seems that interest from potential restorers has not found much favor with the owners.

Fatlips passed into the ownership of the Elliott family – and subsequently the Earls of Minto – when it was obtained by Sir Gilbert Elliott in 1705.

Mr. Black says he can remember visiting the tower as a child, when it was used as a museum, and thinks it was used up until the early 1960s.

“An ideal use would be for an organization like the Landmark Trust to take it over. The Landmark Trust acquires buildings of historic and architectural significance.

“It has taken over some weird and wonderful buildings, restored and repaired them, and has then been terrifically successful in renting them out.

“Something like that would be an ideal way of preserving it.

“The Borders badly needs a symbol to regenerate hope – something representing the spirit of the Borders for the millennium – and what could be better than a Borders tower”

Related image

The 2nd and garret floor levels of Fatlips Tower. The fireplace was in what would have been the laird’s bedroom, above the Hall. The opening to the right with its stone seats, now out of the reach of vandals, contains a north opening window.

These towers had different methods of supporting the successive floor levels. In some, the walls narrowed at each floor level and the resulting ledge supported the floor joists. Here, corbel stones supported a wooden beam that ran along the wall, which in turn supported the joists – and if the precarious state of that one remaining garret floor joist doesn’t persuade you not to go in there, nothing will!

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The door on the left opens off the stairwell into this, the castle’s Hall. The window looks out of the south side of the tower, across Teviotdale. The Hall is unusually well provided with windows, having one in each wall – perhaps an improvement made by Sir Robert Lorimer. The window openings of early stone castles were usually little bigger than the size of the window itself, and as a result, did not let much light in through what was usually a very thick wall. It was subsequently found that by building a larger recess, much more light could be obtained through the same size window. The provision of stone window seats was a further innovation. All the windows in this tower are provided with seats, which I am sure is not original.

Inside the restored Fatlips Castle

Inside the restored Fatlips Castle
The 16th century 4-story tower on Minto Craigs has recently been restored and access is possible by obtaining a key from the Thos. B Oliver garage in Denholm. The charge in 2013 is £10 but £5 is refundable on return of the key. The internal floors have been removed but a stone spiral stair leads to the rooftop parapet walkway where the views to the surrounding countryside on a good day are stunning.
Fatlips Castle restored (2013)
Fatlips Castle restored (2013)
This 16th century 4-storey tower with machicolated parapet walk and crowstepped caphouse on Minto Craigs was restored in 1857 and 1897-8, but had fallen into a bad state of disrepair in recent years. The building has recently been restored once more under the management of the Tweed Forum. £220,000 of funding for the project was secured from Historic Scotland, Scottish Borders Council Landfill Tax Credit Scheme and Lord Minto. Major work was carried out in restoring the parapet walls and installing a new roof. Space around the building has been improved by the removal of some trees.

 

There is evidence of an older fort nearby, possibly from the Bronze Age. Little is known of that fort or how the site was likely used during the Roman occupation. The site was used by the Turnbull Border Reivers from the mid 1300s through the 1600s. In 1375, Walter Turnbull received a charter for the barony of Minto from King David II, son of Robert the Bruce. Walter’s son, “Out with the sword”, John Turnbull, built the first of the second millennium towers atop Minto Crags towards the end of the 1300s. That tower, which provided a distant view towards England, used bonfires to signal the occupants of Bedrule Castle, across the River Teviot to the south, of impending danger.

Fatlips Castle was was destroyed in 1545 by Lord Hertford (Edward Seymour) sent by England’s King Henry VIII who was pursuing Mary Queen of Scots’ betrothal to his son Edward VI. The tower was restored in 1857 by Sir Gilbert Elliot and the interior was renovated by the architect Sir Robert Lorimer in 1898 as a shooting lodge and private Elliot museum. The building fell into grave disrepair during the latter part of the 1900s. In 2013 the exterior was restored, as shown in the photograph below.

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Lowland Scots

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The Scottish Lowlands are made up of the southern portion of Scotland, the central region, the eastern coast, and most of the northeastern coast. The bulk of Scotland’s population (about 80 percent) lives in the Lowlands, particularly in the urban and industrial areas around such major cities as Glasgow and Aberdeen, as well as in the capital city of Edinburgh. Taken as a whole, the Lowlands comprise some 48,648 square kilometers in land area and have a population in excess of 5 million. The climate is generally cool and wet, but there is variation across the region. There are few thunderstorms and little fog. Days are long in summer, short in winter.

Unlike that of the Highlanders, the language of Lowland Scots is not Gaelic but is rather a variant form of English introduced by Germanic settlers in the region as early as the sixth century a.d. The distinctiveness of what is now called “Scots” or Northern English, which was once called “Inglis,” is great enough to merit its treatment as a language in its own right, rather than simply a dialect of the official or Standard English of southern Britain. Scots is a language with a long literary tradition, dating back to the 1300’s. In the early 1700’s English was made the official language, at least with regards to administration, for all of Britain, and Scots suffered a loss of prestige for a time. However, the linguistic tradition remained strong, borne in ballads, verse, and folk songs and preserved in the mid-seventeenth-century poetry of Robert Burns, perhaps the most famous of writers associated with the tongue.

History and Cultural Relations

The Romans arrived in the Scottish Lowlands in a.d. 80 but left few traces of their stay. During the period known as the Dark Ages, four groups emerged in Scotland: the Picts in the north; the Scots (of Irish origin) in the west; the Britons, who were related to the Welsh, in the southwest; and the Angles in the southeast. Linguistically, these groups were distinct from one another: the linguistic tradition of the Angles derived from Low German and Saxon English, the Scots and Britons spoke Gaelic, and the Picts possessed a language of their own. The formation of a unitary nation out of these disparate groups came about as a result of external pressures and the slow growth of Christianity in the region.

The first Scottish king, formally recognized, was Malcolm II (1005-1034), who inherited control of the southwestern portion of Scottish territory and won lands to the southeast through conflicts with England. But through the eleventh and twelfth centuries, ruler ship was frequently disputed among local leaders, and individual petty kings often sought English alliances to strengthen their causes. By the late thirteenth century, this state of affairs had resulted in increasing English control over the region. King Edward I of England arbitrated among claimants to the Scottish throne and installed John Balliol in that position for a time—though he was later to depose Balliol and assume personal control in 1296. The Treaty of Northhampton, in 1328, confirmed Scottish nationhood.

At about this time the house of Stuart arose, from which line came a succession of Scotland’s leadership, nearly ending with Catholic Mary Stuart, who was beheaded in 1587. Her son became James I of England and James VI of Scotland. The last reigning Stuart was James II of England (James VII of Scotland), who was forced to abdicate in 1688, largely because the predominantly Protestant Scots rejected his devout Catholicism.

The year 1707 brought about the formal Act of Union with England, linking the political entities of Scotland and England. While the political fortunes of the two nations have remained joined one to another since that time, the strong sense of a specifically Scottish national identity has never been erased, and to this day there are strong movements aimed at establishing Scottish independence.

Economy

The Lowlands consist of both rural and urban, agricultural and industrial, areas. Within the Lowlands, regional differentiation is marked in part by divergent economic practice. Although the county of Lothian, for example, is predominantly industrial, East Lothian is known as “corn country” and possesses some of the most prosperous farms of the region, while the Borders are associated with sheep husbandry. Glasgow is the industrial heart of the region, with its economy centered on the busy Clyde docks. It is thus difficult to describe some overall Lowland Scots culture, tradition, or economy. Once known for having higher wages and greater economic opportunities than the rest of Great Britain, the area has suffered something of a decline since the middle of this century, and unemployment has led to significant out-migration. Its traditional industries include shipbuilding and coal mining, both of which have grown less prosperous in recent years. Newer industries include electronics. Women working outside the home can be found today in all fields, but in the past they were associated largely with the textile industries and domestic work. In agricultural regions, a greater division of labor by gender was to be found, with women traditionally occupied in hand weeding and reaping with the sickle; culturally they were prescribed from working with horses. In the Scottish Lowlands, as elsewhere in industrialized regions, there is a marked difference in wage levels for men and women, with women often earning substantially less than their male counterparts.

Scotland as a whole has long honored the idea of education and equal access thereto. Public education, once controlled by the churches, came more and more under the control of the state during the nineteenth century. Higher education is highly valued, and the universities of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and Glasgow are of world renown. It was not until the last decade of the nineteenth century that women were legally granted full-status access to university-level education.

Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious affiliation in Lowlands Scotland is pluralistic, and sissenting churches have included the Secession, Relief, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic churches. The Free Church of Scotland was created in the mid-1800s, and the Catholic church underwent a significant increase during roughly the same period, largely as a result of a major influx of Irish immigrants who fled to Scotland to escape the Irish potato famine. Also during this period, the Secession and Relief churches, which had formed in rebellion against the control of the Crown over the established Church of Scotland, were merged to form the United Presbyterian church. Church affiliation is to some degree linked to socioeconomic position in the Lowlands, with tradespeople predominating within the United Presbyterian church, the “landed gentry” associated most strongly with Episcopalianism, and rural laborers largely belonging to the Church of Scotland. Church influence in daily life was and remains strongest in rural areas as compared to urban ones.

The contribution of Scots to literature and the arts is immense. Lowlanders of world renown include R. L. Stevenson, Walter Scott, A. Conan Doyle, J. M. Barrie, David Hume, and Adam Smith. The Borders are famed as the heartland of minstrels and were the home of Walter Scott. Thomas Carlyle was born in the rural southwest. Burns wrote of the rich agricultural world of East Lothian.

 

Select Source:  Encyclopedia of World Cultures
COPYRIGHT 1996 The Gale Group, Inc.
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PRIVY COUNCIL OF SCOTLAND (And the Carruthers)

As I research the Carruthers family in Scotland I find more and more about our Border Reivers and begin to understand just how difficult it must have been to live back then. I did come across an old book showing how some of our earlier Carruthers were quite the rascals but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’ll start off with the explanation of what a ‘Privy Council’ is that way when I refer to it you will know what I’m talking about.  I found this information at the National Records of Scotland.

One of  Robert I’s  Lord Chancellor of Scotland was a man by the name of  Bernard, Abbot of Arbroath (later Bishop of the Isles) 1308–1328 Bernard, Abbot of Arbroath, lived from about 1260 to 1331. He is best remembered as the man who oversaw the drafting of the Declaration of Arbroath, seen by many as one of the most important and influential documents in history. Bernard’s origins are the subject of academic disagreement. A history written in 1726 identified him with “Bernard de Linton”, whose name appears as the church minister at Mordington in the Scottish Borders on the long list of the Scottish “great and good” giving allegiance to King Edward I of England in the “Ragman Rolls” of the 1290s. It is now more usually agreed that Bernard, Abbot of Arbroath, was actually Bernard of Kilwinning, who had briefly been Abbot of Kilwinning Abbey in 1296.

 

Arbroath Abbey

Arbroath Abbey

Either way, the man we are interested in served as Chancellor of Scotland in 1306, and again from 1308 to 1328, and was Abbot of Arbroath Abbey from 1310 to 1328. He went on to serve as Bishop of the Isles from 1328 until his death in 1331.

Declaration of Arbroath

Declaration of Arbroath

The Declaration of Arbroath was a letter addressed to Pope John XXII and signed by most of the great and good of early 14th Century Scotland. It was dated 6 April 1320 and its aim was to get the Pope to overturn the 1305 Papal recognition of England’s supremacy over Scotland, and the excommunication of Robert the Bruce: both of which had followed Bruce’s murder of John Comyn in Greyfriars Church in Dumfries. The document drew on legal and historical arguments made by Baldred Bisset which had won papal favour for the Scottish cause in the years around 1300, and listed atrocities committed by the English. It also went much further, introducing the idea of a king who could only rule with the approval of his people, and said that in Scotland it was the people themselves who were sovereign, and not the monarch as in England.

Kilwinning Abbey

Kilwinning Abbey

The Declaration is perhaps best known for its ringing and oft quoted reference to freedom: “…for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

The Declaration of Arbroath, and the (since lost) parallel letters to the Pope from Robert the Bruce and the Scottish Bishops did gain the lifting of Robert’s excommunication. It also led to Papal intervention that brought about the Treaty of Edinburgh & Northampton of 1 March 1328, under which the English King Edward III recognised the Kingdom of Scotland as a fully independent nation in return for £20,000 Sterling. The peace only lasted five years, but the Declaration of Arbroath is seen by many as having a much more lasting impact, influencing both the Magna Carta in England and the US Declaration of Independence.

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The Privy Council of Scotland was a body that advised the monarch.

In the range of its functions the council was often more important than the Estates in the running the country. Its registers include a wide range of material on the political, administrative, economic and social affairs of Scotland. The council supervised the administration of the law, regulated trade and shipping, took emergency measures against the plague, granted licences to travel, administered oaths of allegiance, banished beggars and Gypsies, dealt with witches, recusants, Covenanters and Jacobites and tackled the problem of lawlessness in the Highlands and the Borders.

Like the Parliament, the Council was a development of the King’s Council. The King’s Council, or curia regis, was the court of the monarch surrounded by his royal officers and others upon whom he relied for advice. It is known to have existed in the thirteenth century, if not earlier, but has left little trace of its activities.

By the later fifteenth century the council had advisory, executive and judicial functions though surviving records are mainly confined to the last. It is at this period that the ‘secret’ or privy council makes its formal appearance when, in February 1490, parliament elected 2 bishops, an abbot or prior, 6 barons and 8 royal officers to form the king’s council for the ostensioun and forthputting of the King’s authorite in the administracioun of justice.

The Lords of Secret Council, as they were known, were part of the general body of Lords of Council, like the Lords of Session and Lords Auditors of Exchequer. After 1532 much of the judicial business was transferred to the newly founded College of Justice, the later Court of Session. The council met regularly and was particularly active during periods of a monarch’s minority. A separate register of the privy council appears in 1545 and probably marks the point at which the secret council split off from its parent body.

After 1603 James VI was able to boast to the English Parliament that he governed Scotland with my pen. The council received his written instructions and executed his will.[1] This style of government, continued by his grandsons Charles II and James VII, was disrupted during the reign of Charles I by the Covenanters and the Cromwellian occupation. There are gaps in the register during the upheavals of 1638–41 when the council was largely displaced by an alternative administration set up by the Covenanters and during the Cromwellian period, the council ceased to act at all.

After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II nominated his own privy councillors and set up a council in London through which he directed affairs in Edinburgh, a situation that continued after the Glorious Revolution of 1688–9. The council survived the Act of Union but for one year only. It was abolished on 1 May 1708 by the Parliament of Great Britain and thereafter there was one Privy Council of Great Britain sitting in London.[2] [3] [4]

Until 1707, The Privy Council met in what is now the West Drawing Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. It was called the Council Chamber in the 17th century.

The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland (1545–1689) was edited and published between 1877 and 1970 by John Hill Burton, David Masson, Peter Hume Brown and Henry Macleod Paton.

Lord President of the Privy Council

The President of the Privy Council was one of the Great Officers of State in Scotland. The Lord Chancellor presided over the Council ex officio, but in 1610 James VI decreed that the President of the College of Justice should preside in the Chancellor’s absence, and by 1619 the additional title of President of the Privy Council had been added. The two presidencies were separated in 1626 as part of Charles I’s reorganisation of the Privy Council and Court of Session. The Lord President of the Council was accorded precedence as one of the King’s chief officers in 1661, but appeared in the Estates of Parliament only intermittently.

There is a partial roll of the year 1587, from a period preserved in the records of the Privy Council, of which I transcribed that part relating to the Borders. It contains the title only. But I have added the surnames in parenthesis. The Rolls of the Names of the Landislordis and Baillies duelland in the Borders and in the Hielandis quhair broken Men hes dwelt and presently dwellis.

Borders, Middle March.

Earle Bothuile {Bothwell), Laird of Phairny-hurst {Ker),^ Earl of Angus {^Douglas), Laird of Bukcleuch (Scott), Sherif of Teviotdale {Douglas of Cavers), Laird of Bedroule (Turiibull), Laird of Mynto {Turnbull), Laird of Wauchop (Turnbull), Lord Heries {Harries, afterward Earl of Nithsdale), Laird of Howpaislott {Scott), George Turneble ofHalroule, Laird of Littledene {Ker), Laird of Drum-lanrig {Douglas), Laird of Chisholme {ChisJiolme), Laird of Johnnstoun {Johnstone), Laird of Apilgirth {Jar dine). Laird of Holniendis (Carruthers), Laird of Graitnay {Johnstone), Lord Heries {sic-bis). Laird of Dynwyddie {of that Ilk, or Maxwell), Laird of Lochinvar {Gordon). There is another list of the same period in the privy council records of only eighteen names, all of which are recorded in these lists except only ” Moff- ettis” and ” Latimers.” The following is that part relating to the Borders,  of the commencement and all but completion of an  intended role of the names of the landed proprietors over the whole of Scotland in 1590, from the records of the privy council.

Annanderdaill. Johnnstoun {of that Ilk), Apil-girth {Jardine), Holmendis  (Carruthers), Corheid {Johnstone), Frenscheland {French), Bodisbeik {Hew-itt?), Wamphray {Johnstone), Dynwoddie {of that Ilk, or Jardine or Maxwell?), Elscheschelis {John-stone), Halathis ( ), Cokpule {Mtirray), Nubye {Johnstone), Wormombye {Irving), Corrie {Johnstone), Castelmylk {Stewart or Maxwell), Boneschaw , Brydekirk-Carlile {Carlyle of Bridekirk), Locarby {Johnstone), Purdoun {Purdo)  of Glendenning?), Glencors {of that Ilk), Reidkirk {Graham), Blawatwod {Graham), Gillisbye (Gra-ham), Wauchop-Lindsay. Roxburgh and Selkirk. Cesfurd {Ker), Grene-heid {Ker\ Littleden {Ker), Sir John Ker of Hirsell, Fawdounsyde {Ker), Gaitschaw {Ker), Corbett {Ker), Garden {Gradon-Ker?), Schaw of Dalcoif, Quhitmore {Whitmore), Quhitmurehall  {Ker), Sunderlandhall {Ker), Lyntoun (Ker), Yair , Phairnyhurst  Ancrum, Robene Ker of Newtoun, Andro Ker of Newhall, Thomas Ker of Caveris, Wat Ker of Lochtour, Andro Ker of Hietoun, James Ker of Lyntellie, Mackerstoun {Macdougal), Steidrig {McDowell of Stodrlg), Mow {of that Ilk), Riddell {of that Ilk), Edmestoun {Edmondstone), Mungo Bennet of Ches- teris, William Kirktoun of Stewartfield, William Anislie of Fawlay, Overtoun {Fraser), William Mader of Langtoun, Hundeley {Rutherford), Vlm {Rut her ford), Edzarstoun Rutherford), eorge Rutherfud of Fairnyngtoun, David Rutherfurd of the Grange, Johne Rutherfurde in the Toftis, Johnne Rutherfurd of the Knowe in Nysbit, William Ruth- erfurd in ittleheuch, Walter Turneble in Bedroule, John Turneble of Mynto, Hector Tumble of Wau- chop, Tumble of Halroule, George Tum-ble of the Toftis, Hector Tumble of Bernehillis,
Walter Tumble of Bewlye, Tumble ofBelses, James Turneble of the Tour, Tum-ble of BuUerwall, Edward Lorane of Harwood, James Douglas of Caveris, sheriff, William Douglas of Bonejedburgh, Tympenden {Douglas), Johnne Doug-las of Quhitrig, Gavin Eliot of Stobbis, Well Eliot of Harthscarth, tutour of Reidheuch, Will Eliot of
Fallinesche, Robin Eliot of Braidley, Mangertoun {Armstrong), Quhittauch {Armstrong), Bukcleuch {Scot), Wat Sc^t of Goldelandis, Robert Scott of Allanhauch, Howpaislott (Scot), Glak {Elphinstone), Eidschaw (Scot), Syntoun (Scot), Lard of Hassinden , Walt Scott of Chalmerlane.

 

 

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Border Reivers – the ‘Great Cause’

Big List of Scottish Clans…..

Alexander III

Alexander III

In 1286 Alexander lll of Scotland died when his horse was blown over a cliff whilst on his way to Kinghorn in Fife on a stormy gale-strewn night. He was on his way to see his new wife, his second wife, Yolande de Dreux. So ended what is sometimes known as Scotland’s Golden Age: an age when peace reigned between Scotland and its southern neighbour England and the country prospered as a result.

KINGHORN CASTLE

Alexander had been a good king and, for the most part, was friendly with his English counterpart, Edward I. Indeed his first wife, who had died, was Edward’s sister.

Edward had often demanded fealty from Alexander. He viewed England as the superior race, but he declined forcing the Scottish king to bend to his will. Such was their friendship, cemented by the ties of marriage.

Unfortunately for Scotland, Alexander’s children, two sons and a daughter had predeceased him. One of his sons died at the age of nine, the other on his twentieth birthday. He left as his heir a granddaughter Margaret, known to us as the Maid of Norway. She was the child of the marriage of Alexander’s daughter, also Margaret and now dead, and the King of Norway.

The Community of the Realm which, following Alexander’s death, ruled Scotland through six guardians, was keen to safe-guard the minority of the Maid and thus ensure her succession to the Scottish Crown.

In negotiations with the English king the young girl, about six or seven years old, was promised in marriage to Edward’s infant son, the future Edward ll. To the Scots it was a move which sought to maintain the peace which the country had enjoyed during the lifetime of Alexander lll; to Edward l a means by which he would eventually achieve total domination of his northern neighbour. The agreement was ratified at the Treaty of Birgham.

However Margaret died in Orkney on her way to Scotland from Norway in 1290, some say of seasickness. Her death put an end to any alliance of the two countries by marriage and any consideration that Edward had for the Scots as an independent nation.

It is not known how Edward l became involved in the succession for the throne of Scotland but he was seen by the Scots to be a man who could be trusted to make the right decision. Why should they question his involvement? To that time he had always treated the Scots with fairness. More-over he was well respected. He had the authority, the reason, the power and persuasion. He was perceived as a man with a formidable legal mind, the best in Europe it is said. He would sort the wheat from the chaff and chose the rightful successor from the thirteen claimants, the ‘Competitors’, who now squared up to each other in their quest to become the king of Scotland.

Edward’s involvement would, however, come at a considerable cost. He demanded that the Scots accept that England was superior to Scotland and that he was its Overlord. Indeed before he would begin his deliberations on who should be king he had demanded fealty from the Scottish lords. Most had accepted his dictates, the Bruce included, and signed what are now known as the Ragman Rolls which still exist. One name missing from the Roll is that of Wallace, synonymous now with ‘Braveheart’, a name that would resound throughout the lands of Scotland within a few short years.

Edward, satisfied that he was about to gain more than a foothold for the Plantagenet dynasty in the lands north of the Border, gathered the thirteen claimants at Norham Castle.

Norham Castle

The deliberations on who should be king lasted nigh on two years. They would become known as the ‘Great Cause’.

Both countries would suffer as a result.

The two main ‘Competitors’ for the throne of Scotland were the families of de Brus and Balliol. Eventually Edward chose John Balliol as the Scottish King. He would become a mere ‘puppet’ in Edward’s hands and eventually rebel in late 1295. In that year Edward demanded fealty from Balliol; demanded that he join the English in their wars in France. It was a move to far for Balliol; As king of Scotland he would not be treated as an ordinary English Baron whose lands were held at the behest of the King. He made an alliance with the French and invaded northern England.

The English Border people were savaged by the Scottish attacks into their lands. Not suspecting any inroads from the north, their lands were devastated by the Scots; crops and houses burned, both people and animals butchered in the merciless acts of retribution from the humiliated Scottish king.

Edward l Monument at Burgh by Sands, Cumbria

 

Edward’s response was quick and savage. At Easter 1296 he invaded Berwick, then in Scottish hands, and put all to the sword it is said. Tytler, a historian, tells us that 17000 folk lost their lives in the English attack on Berwick. Men women and children, he said, were put to the sword. Whilst this is not true, the population of Berwick in 1296 would be little more than 500, it is an indictment of Edward l’s policy of Scottish domination, that he was utterly ruthless in his treatment of the people of Berwick: people who, for the most-part were not in a position to defend themselves.

Thus began the Scottish Wars of Independence with the emergence of William Wallace (Braveheart) and Robert the Bruce.

The Wars would last, off and on, for 250 years.

The people on both sides of the English Scottish Border would suffer untold loss for their birthright. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Vast armies of English or Scots would lay waste the lands that they inhabited; their houses, harvests and beasts were razed, burned or stolen to satisfy the hatred of the soldiers of a foreign nation or fill the bellies of an army on the move.

The Border folk, including the Carruthers, lost life, limb and loved one in the relentless surge for domination and were left destitute of the basic needs of life and living.

They were nothing if not hard and obdurate and they reacted in the only way left open to them in such dire circumstances. They stole where they could, be it from erstwhile friend on the same side of the Border Line or enemy on the other.

The Borderer became the Border Reiver. His dominance of the English-Scottish Border lands would last for centuries as feud, blood-feud, murder, death and extortion and blackmail would become the norm; a result of allegiance to the only people he could trust – his clan or family. It seemed, for centuries, that there was no answer to his disreputable activities.

In 1603, the Union of the two crowns of England and Scotland would eventually bring a form of peace to a troubled land. The two nations would be united under one King, James VI of Scotland and l of England. The Border Line from the Solway Firth in the west to the North Sea at Berwick in the east would still exist, indeed it still does to this day, but it would no longer divide two peoples.

The Border country became the Middle Shires of a new United Kingdom.

The Border Reivers were summarily executed, transported to the bogs of Roscommon in Ireland or conscripted to the protestant Low Countries in their fight against catholic Spain. They would slowly disappear from the landscape.

It would take another century but peace would eventually reign in the lands of the Scottish English Border.

 

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Border Reivers-West March Warden is Murdered by the Armstrongs.

Sir John Carmichael of that Ilk was murdered in June 1600 by a party of  Scottish Reivers  as he rode from Langholm to Lochmaben to attend a Warden Court.

THE RIVERS ESK AND EWES AT LANGHOLM.

THE RIVERS ESK AND EWES AT LANGHOLM.

Sir John was born in 1542, son to an illustrious family which hailed from Lanarkshire. He was a direct ancestor of the Earls of Hindford.

He was Scottish Deputy March Warden at the ‘Day of Truce’ which was held on the Border in the hills aside present day Carter Bar in July 1575. The Day of Truce, a meeting to try the perpetrators of crime, both English and Scottish, was enshrined in Border Law. March Wardens from each side of the Border presided over the affairs and were charged with bringing the criminals for trial; juries were a mix of both Scots and English. Yet the ‘Day’ was a time when many men attended from both England and Scotland to witness that fair play presided throughout.

In 1575 numbers who attended were limitless; it was not unusual for a thousand men from each country to witness the events. Thus it was nigh on impossible to bring Scots and English together without inviting many who were at feud. Such was the turmoil that reigned in the Border country that even blood-feud prevailed as men from the same clans and same side of the Border rubbed shoulders at the Truce but smarted for revenge at the sight of an adversary with whom they were at odds. The atmosphere was charged with belligerence and aggression, yet there was little alternative. All invited might ostensibly be there to see fair play but there was another reason, unspoken yet acknowledged by all. Their presence was some insurance that neither side would take advantage of the other, nor resort to violence should any judgement be deemed unfair by family or friend of the accused. All who attended the Truce were to arrive unarmed but the reality was so different. No man would have been so foolish as to adhere to this code in the cauldron of ill feeling which prevailed. The Wardens turned a blind eye to the steel which swung at each man’s belt.

All took an oath to honour the precept of the Truce. They swore that they would not offend ‘by word, deed or countenance’.

THE BORDER MARCHES

THE BORDER MARCHES

At the Raid of the Redeswire Carmichael fell victim to the invective and guile of Sir John Forster, seventy-five years old, and English Middle March Warden. Reaction to the aggressive exchanges of the two Wardens soon spilled over to the men of both sides who attended and all hell let loose.

The Redeswire affair was the last battle between English and Scottish Border Reivers and the last time that the English used the longbow in warfare. The English came off the worse in this encounter and Carmichael was warded in York in an effort to appease the wrath of Elizabeth l of England. Sir George Heron of Chipchase in Tynedale, Northumberland was murdered in the affray.

There was at least one other occasion where Sir John Carmichael played a prominent part. In the Raid of Ruthven in 1582 the sixteen year old king of Scotland, James Vl, was captured by William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, and confined for ten months. Gowrie was unhappy at the influence of Catholicism and the effect this might have on the young king. Carmichael held the same views and readily espoused the cause of ridding the nation of the pro-catholic and pro-French influences epitomised in the young king’s cousin, Esme Stuart.

Carmichael was soon pardoned for his part in the affair. In 1588 he was one of the ambassadors sent to Denmark to negotiate the marriage between James Vl and Anne, daughter of the king of Denmark.

When Carmichael was made Warden of the Scottish West March in 1598 he had come of age. For all his turbulent past he was respected as a Warden who would see fair play between the English and Scots. There were many in the Scottish Border Lands who resented his impartial approach; none more so than the Armstrongs of Liddesdale.

LIDDESDALE

LIDDESDALE

In 1600 Carmichael made it plain that he would use his power as March Warden even against his own people and especially the Armstrongs whose raids south of the Border were a particular embarrassment to a man dedicated to bringing peace to the Borders. The Armstrongs decided to plead for leniency on the promise of amendment to their nefarious ways and sought an audience with Sir John. They sent a brother of William Armstrong of Kinmont to parley with Carmichael, one Alexander Armstrong, known as Sandeis Ringane. Carmichael had heard the promises too many times before and would have no truck with the Armstrong clan. Their past outrages deserved the punishments he held in store.

 

THE RUINS OF MANGERTON TOWER; THE MAIN ARMSTRONG STRONGHOLD

THE RUINS OF MANGERTON TOWER; THE MAIN ARMSTRONG STRONGHOLD

At the meeting with Carmichael were a few of his young followers. They began to taunt the elderly Armstrong and endeavoured to humiliate him at every opportunity. It would seem that Carmichael did little to curb their youthful pranks and overt hostility to the once powerful warlord. At one stage they removed his sword and filled his scabbard with egg yolks. Having replaced the sword it was now impossible to remove it from the scabbard.

Sandeis Ringane was besides himself with fury and swore that should any of the present company of Carmichael ever stray on Armstrong land he would have no compunction in pulling his sword and ridding the world of their odious presence.  The meeting broke up with acrimony.

On his return home Sandeis Ringane told his sons of his mistreatment. His eldest son, Thomas Armstrong, said little in the way of comfort to calm the distress and shame of his unfortunate father but the thought of revenge was soon at the forefront of his mind.

He knew that next morning Sir John Carmichael was to leave Langholm and ride for Lochmaben where he was to preside over a Warden Court. The journey, through hilly woodland, would surely present the perfect opportunity to confront the illustrious March Warden.

THE RUINS OF LOCHMABEN CASTLE

THE RUINS OF LOCHMABEN CASTLE

Accordingly next morning a party of Armstrongs including Thomas Armstrong and his father along with a Taylor, a Forrester, a Scott and a Graham lay in wait for Carmichael at a place still known to this day as the Raesknowes, on the way to Lochmaben. As the March Warden passed the ambush party a number of hagbutts rang out and Carmichael fell dead.

The ambush party scattered and sought refuge at the homes of friends who had been apprised of the intention to kill Carmichael but they were relentlessly pursued on the orders of King James.

Carmichael was a king’s Warden of the Marches and the perpetrators of the murder were therefore considered as traitors. Murder in the Border lands was pretty commonplace in the 16th century but this one was different. Murder of a man appointed by the King himself was not to be tolerated. The wrongdoers would pay the ultimate price for their rash and impetuous crime against a King’s man.

In 1601 Thomas Armstrong, son to Sandies Ringane, was apprehended, taken to the Mercat Cross at Edinburgh and hanged. Before he stood the drop that ended his life his right hand was cut off. Subsequently his body was wrapped in chains, the lifeless corpse hung up at the Borroughmuir.

‘And Thomas Armstrang, “sone to Sandeis Ringane” was condemned to be “tane to the mercat croce of Edinburgh, and thair his richt hand to be stricken fra his arme; and thaireeftir, to be hanget upoune ane gibbet, quhill he be deid; and thaireefter, to be tane to the Gallows on the Burrowmure, and thair his body to be hangit in irn chains…

Thomas Armstrong was the first man ever to be hanged in chains after death; at least he is the first recorded as such in the Scottish records. Even in death he was to suffer for his crime, his body subject to the butt of endless atrocity by the Edinburgh populace.

One man evaded capture until 1606.

Should you ever find yourself taking the road from Canonbie to Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders, you will come across a statue to Lang Sandy as you pass through the village of Rowanburn. It is on your right as you pass through the village.

Lang Sandy, as his name implies, was a huge man. His real name was Alexander Armstrong, the board at his feet simply declaring that he was hanged in 1606.

He took part in the ambush and murder of Sir John Carmichael in June 1600 but was not caught until six years later.

At his trial he admitted the murder but not before saying that the crime was brought on against his will.

The murder of Sir John Carmichael would herald the end of the Armstrongs as the superior force in the Scottish Border Lands. Within three years of the murder, James Vl of Scotland would also rule in England on the death of Elizabeth l. He would not forget the atrocity committed by a clan that had often been the bane of his endeavours to cement a lasting and firm relationship with the English queen before her death. Many of the Armstrongs would be unjustly hounded and persecuted, evicted from their lands, deported and executed without trial.

Carmichael’s death would signal their demise.

LANG SANDY OF ROWANBURN

LANG SANDY OF ROWANBURN

Border Reivers

Border Reivers

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The border Reivers

The Armchair Archaeologist….

This is the Hermitage Valley from Timothy Pont’s survey of Liddesdale, circa 1583.
For ten years, from 1978 until 1988, my family and I lived at Dinleyhaughfoot, just above the “tower” marked as “Graistounhauch” on the map above, and I know this area well.
But back in those days, there was no “Google Earth,” and almost all of the overflight photographs were held by the Ministry of Defence, and “classified.”
Back in the 16th century, it is reputed that “Liddesdale” could field 3000 riders, and whilst I have commented elsewhere that this figure may have been exaggerated, due to the same riders being counted several times over, depending upon which “warlord” (sic) led the raid…… i.e on some occasions the riders were Armstrong’s (men) and not Armstrongs, (surname) and on the next the same men were Elliot’s (men) and not Elliots,(surname). That still means that Liddesdale, over the centuries was a heavily populated, even an overpopulated valley.
So…… Where are they all…. and where are all of those many thousands of burials?
Where are all of the towers, and other habitations?
Well….. No-one knows…. And the reason, in the main, is that no-one has really bothered to look!
Which is truly tragic. Because the people who were cleared out of this and other valleys, on both sides of the “Border Line” around the time of the Union of the Crowns, were some of the most dynamic people Britain ever produced, and they went onwards and outwards, throughout the world.

Here is a very familiar form of “Irish Hilt” circa 1600, excavated in “Historic Jamestowne”

 

And here is the basket guard from a Lowland Scots “Disc Hilt” from the same source.

The “Borderers” were hugely responsible for the early colonisation of what is now the United States, and formed a very large contingent in the push west across that Continent.
And yet in their own homeland, because the clearance was so efficient, they are largely forgotten.
The Borderers as an ethnic grouping have almost disappeared, swamped out (in Scotland) to a great extent by the spread of the “Highland Image” of the Scot.
On the English side of the line, perhaps the last remnant is the “Geordie.”

And Tyneside to this day boasts a very large number of the old Border “surnames.” Mostly, because those who didmanage to remain after the clearances of the 16th and early 17th centuries, were forced off the land due to the mechanisation of farming in the 19th and 20th centuries, and they ended up in the mines, steelworks,  and shipyards of Tyneside.

But now…… Thanks to modern technology, it is possible to sit at home, and to look for the very locations where the old time reivers actually lived!

This is a satellite shot of “Lada” just to the left of Hermitage Castle on Pont’s map. (or at least I think it is. It has never been excavated.)
The house outline is around thirty feet long, and it lies on a “dry mound” just above a stream.
Look carefully, and you can make out a rectangular field enclosure just below the house.
I was told years ago, that this was one of the locations occupied by “The Croziers.” So if that is you… then you may just be looking at the Ancestral Estates! And there is a fair bet, that some of your forebears are lying there, looking up, from just under that turf….. not too far away at all.
(Bet that makes the hairs on your arms stand up and prickle!)
You know, if this was in the USA……. Native American…… First Nation….. whatever, then all of this valley would be protected, at least until it was properly recorded….. But it’s not…. and so it isn’t!

“Lada” is fairly typical of a Liddesdale “dwelling”….. not a tower at all….. just a small farmstead! And the valley ought to be littered with them.  The problem is, that they are hard to see at most times of year, due to an overgrowth of bracken.

This is “Graystone Haugh”……. and Graystone Haugh Tower ought to be visible just to the left of the yellow text. But it isn’t……
Back in the 1980’s you could still see it, but since then, too many tractors have been over the site, and now it’s gone forever!
And that is the danger. Forestry, Farming, Windfarms. None of which, are particularly friendly to archeology. And without any doubt at all there is a marked reluctance amongst both landowners and councils to record what sites there are.
Go out there, and the last person you are likely to meet is an archeologist!
But here is a little bit more…….

 

Here is the chapel just to the west of Hermitage Castle. The “Lady’s Well” is more ore less where marked, but so overgrown that I fell into it last time I was down there!
All of that just to the west is pretty much unexplored. The house platform, and rig cultivation is another typical “Liddesdale” dwelling.
The “Drowning Pool” is where the “Cout of Keilder” was allegedly held underwater by the spears of wicked Lord de Soulis’s men.

Another of Hermitage Chapel.

These are ancient turf walled field systems at “Toftholm Knowes” on the hillside south of Hermitage Castle.

And this is a piece of hillside west of Toftholm Knowes.
I’m not sure what all of that is, but it deserves a better look.
“Stells” (the word comes from the Vikings) those stone enclosures, round and square, to herd sheep into are often built out of the remains of stone houses, since no-one liked to carry stone far. The light brown stuff is dried out bracken.
There could be “rig marks” i.e strip cultivation within that open sided rectangular enclosure?
(By now you will have realised that at least some of those old “reivers” were also growing a few “veggies?”)
And this sort of thing just goes on and on.
It’s tragic really, because given time and enthusiasm, it ought to be possible not just to locate all of those old towers and farmsteads, but also it ought to be possible to say just what families lived there. So…. If you are an Armstrong, Elliot, Nixon, Crozier etc., then you ought to be able to go and stand within the outline of the houses that your families once occupied.
But you can’t.
Yet all is not lost, because the Scottish Government, in a strange fit of generosity, has made all of the old maps available, “free gratis” via NLS MAPS!  Now combine this with Google Maps, and without moving from your computer you can do your very own research!
Believe me, NLS Maps is one of the best resources ever. But if you want hard copy of the Pont Series on the Border…. Well, we actually do have copies for sale ourselves!

But scroll back to the map at the beginning of this post. See the two towers at the top of the frame? The ones marked “Goranberry.” Well, life is full of little surprises, because although the right hand one is gone without trace……. here are a couple of photo’s of what remains of the other one……..

“Old Gorrenberry.”
  And it’s still liveable!

 

“Bastle House,” Old Gorrenberry, Liddesdale.

A much altered, and considerably modernised “Liddesdale Bastle House.” (Foundations and other “lower bits” probably dating back to the 16th century.
(The “Bastle house” is a sort of “economy version” of the better known and much larger “Pele or Peel Tower…..  I’ll try and cover all of that in a later posting.)
Friends of mine used to live here, and farmed the land. You go up them stairs, and back down again into the lower storey.
It’s not recorded by the Historic people up in Edinburgh, but there is little doubt that this is the tower on Pont’s map.
There was a more original one at Toftholm, (on the bottom right of the Pont map.)
That wasn’t recorded either. It was used as a byre, and was demolished around 25 years ago!
Anywhere else in Britain, and it wouldn’t matter so much. But the people of Liddesdale are something of a “lost tribe” (like most of the Border Surnames), and we know almost nothing about them, or their culture. And that above is probably the only remaining inhabitable “bastle house” in the valley.
If you’ve read my earlier post “Hermitage Castle, in the footsteps of the Artists,” then you will also be aware of the “Gorrenberry Kelpie.”
I’ve had many a cup of coffee in that little “bastle” and if you have a feel for such things….. Well all I can say is that it has an “atmosphere”which is second to none. (And a pleasant one at that!)
And that’s a fine stone dwelling for 16th century Liddesdale, and proves that not everyone lived in relatively small turf houses.
That little building is precious, almost unique……..a gem well worth preserving.

11th February, 2014.

Just a small update.

Speculation?

The “bastle” at Old Gorrenberry is just below the “d” in “Old.”
Sooo…… I pulled up the map again, and had a look for Mosspatrickhoopswyne, and Ginglenwells, because, due to the topography of the land, there are not many locations where they could be situated.
The land falls away from “Old Gorrenberry” both to the top and bottom of that frame. It falls to the two burns, and then rises sharply into quite considerable hills.
Remember that I said that they didn’t carry stone far to build those “stells,” and that they sometimes dismantled derelict houses to do so?
Well, pull that frame up on your computer, and have a good close look…..Mosspatrickhoopswyne…. (some mouthful that one is)….  probably lies below, and to the left of the capital “M” above.
And Ginglenwells, is probably below and to the right of the centre of the word itself. There could just be a rig cultivation system visible there, but on the other hand it may just be drainage.
But of course….  you must make your own minds up.
And I have no doubt at all that some archeologist will be spluttering in their coffee over all of this!
Whatever…. It looks like a good afternoon out when the weather gets fine, and I get rid of this flu!

14th of February 2104.
Still stricken down with “lurgi,” but we had to drive down to Newcastleton (Copshawholme to you initiates) yesterday to pick up some paperwork, so we decided to take the scenic route.

And this is an “on the ground” view of “Ginglenwells.”
It was a difficult drive, over higher ground than this, and we were up above the snow line for quite a way. The family played hell with me for even going out but as they saying goes… “you can’t keep a bad man down!”
Funny how those satellite shots flatten all of the landscape.
And I photographed this, around three hundred yards west……

Now, once again, that has the look of a Liddesdale dwelling….. raised ground…. near stream…. reasonably flat…. stell….. and this one even has a track up to it. So I’ll put that one on the list as well for me “day out.”
 And off down the road we went, and a mile or three on, we took the right hand turn and drove down past Toftholme.
(Back to Mr Pont’s Map)
  Now…. See Toftholme, top left just below “Castell of Hermitage?” Well drop your eyes down, and you will come to “O.Raa,” and then “N.Raa.”
  There is a lot of that about in the Borders. Three sites, but in this case one is missing. It probably ought to read Raa….. Over Raa…… and then Nether Raa.
Meaning Upper, Middle and Lower.
 And in this case, one of those names survives to this day.
For this, is Netherraw Cottages built probably around 1870.
So……. You ask? Not much to shout about there…..
But…….

What’s this, built into the stonework between the windows…..?

A “Heraldic Arch” ……. and it’s too small to be a doorhead, or perhaps even a window lintel.
  I won’t bore you with the heraldic detail, but the three devices on the right, could be either “stars” or “spur rowels.” But that “thingy” on the left I have never seen anywhere before. It’s not in my dictionary of heraldry, and as far as I can tell, it’s not in any of my “Liddesdale books” either.
  Neither does this stone appear to be recorded anywhere at all.
 It may have come from one of the towers at “Raa.” But the quality of it suggests the possibility that it may also have come from either Hermitage Castle, or in my own rather humble opinion, from the now ruined Chapel.
 Heraldry is a funny thing…. There is a lot of it about in Liddesdale, on tombstones and elsewhere. But unfortunately, there is a problem!
  Ye Olde Reivers did use heraldry…..  they just forgot to register it!
  I mean….. if you were an outlaw…. would you trot off to Edinburgh to register your “Arms.”
  Highly unlikely.
 But….. You can go up there now, and register a new version. (It’ll cost you mind.) And lot’s of folk do.
  And so….. much of the old (and authentic?) heraldry remains “unofficial” to this day.
  I’ve been thinking…… and if you are going to try your hand at locating sites in the Borders, then perhaps you ought to be aware of this…..
That is the hillside just west of Old Gorrenberry.
And it is the curse of the “Historic” Borders.
  Because that is Forestry…. new plantings, and it is gobbling up huge areas of land where the landscape has never been properly surveyed.
  It’s not even good wood. It’s most likely sitka spruce….. which grows here like a weed. And few folk even know exactly who owns most of it. A certain well known DJ once had quite a bit. A major tobacco company was involved. Rumours abound of Irish Insurance companies and all manner of others.
  I don’t know the mechanics of the finance, but most of it seems to benefit people who never even set foot here.
 Frankly it’s poor stuff, grows too quick, and if you’ve ever tried a bit of DIY, then you don’t need me to tell you about it’s structural properties.
  And a lot of that wood goes for pulp, some of it even ends up as toilet paper, and currently, there is a saying going the rounds, that everyday, politicians both in Westminster, and Holyrood wipe their backsides on a tiny bit of the Borders!
  Ugggh!…. I mean that’s disgusting.
  I know that in certain places I will be viewed as anti-development, but that’s not entirely true. We in Britain are very aware of the precious nature of our natural environment, and there exist heavy penalties for those to destroy our wildlife.
  All I would like to see, are similar penalties, or stronger, for those, who with no regard for anything but money, deliberately destroy, or refuse to record our historic sites.
  But once again, money talks, and perhaps that is too much to hope for.
    No… It’s not the Somme…. This is what the landscape looks like after that forestry is cut…..
  Here it is in a bit more detail…..
  And you can imagine what that does to archeology. But there are other aspects to it as well….
  Up here, in the hill country, the soils are thin, poor, and what overlay there is is built up over tens of thousands of years. Some bits are peat, but some locations have very little soil indeed. After they’ve cut like in the photo’s above, they replant…. and what the long term effects on the landscape will be after “they” have finished with it, we have yet to find out.
Also….. the fast run off of water from the heavy drainage installed when the forestry is planted, can cause flash flooding downstream, and there is a general consensus (outwith of the “official view,”) that all of that sitka spruce has raised the acidity of the river waters, with a catastrophic effect on the salmon and trout populations.
  Oh, and since I know that you are going to ask…. “Why have they left those few skinny poles still standing.”……. Well, they are for the wildlife that once lived in the forestry to live on!  And no…I’m not kidding this time!
  You know… all of the red squirrels… birds of prey etc.
  We used to have a lovely “squirrel lady” came round once in a while to count and check on the population of “reds,” just to make sure they were being properly nurtured…… Wonder what happened to her?
  There’s mile after mile of landscape just like that above, and huge movements of displaced wildlife.
  I’d lived up here for very many years before I saw my first badger, but now since all of this harvesting of timber, they have become the commonest form of “road kill.”
16th February 2014.
Shouldn’t have gone out.
Knocked myself back by two or three days!
 So, be warned, if you get the flu….. then don’t go out in the snow and the ice. Stay at home in the warm, and nurse a bottle of whisky or something.
  But…..  Here I am back!
  After we left Netherraw, we drove south, and turned for Newcastleton, (better known locally as Copshawholme,) You can see it on the Pont map above, all fenced around.
  The actual “Modern” (sic) village wasn’t built until the 1790’s by the Duke of Buccleuch, (well, not personally by him) and what you are looking at is actually a deer enclosure, liberally sprinkled with dwellings, the names of which will be familiar to many aficionado’s of the reivers. (particularly the “Armstrongs”.)
 But, I digress…….. See where the two rivers join (part?) on the map? Well, just below that point is where the “Liddesdale Stone” was found.
  Never heard of it?
  Well that’s it below.
 The Liddesdale Stone.
Detail of inscription.
And this is what it says.
“Here lies Carantus, son of Cupitianus.”
  Now those are very poor photo’s, taken way back in 1933, when the stone was found.  How very odd that no-one has bothered to update them. Because…… this (depending upon who you ask) is the earliest Christian tombstone from Scotland!

In fact that statement is not exactly  true, because the stone has been dated to the late 5th or early 6th centuries. And back then there really were no Scots…….. Which  is probably why it is so little known.
Carantus, and his Dad, Cupitianus, were native Britons. What the Anglo-Saxons would refer to as the “Wealas.” Who are known today as “The Welsh.”
See my earlier posting, “Arthur in the Borders.”…… Because that is the thing….. here we have a memorial stone to two men, who are Native British Christians. Living within the “Arthurian Era.” Just ten miles from “Arthur’s Seat,” and around twenty two miles from Arthuret.
Conclusion….. If there ever was an “Arthur” on the Borders, then there is a good chance that he knew either Carantus, Cupitianus, or both of them.

So why is this not well known…… And once again I don’t know.
That stone above was an accidental find by a wee laddie….. Just what would turn up if there was ever an organised and systematic search?
Here is the best account I can find of the discovery……

“In August 1933, a stone was found in the river bed of the Liddel, just below the inflow of Ralton Burn.
It was noticed by a small boy walking with his father, and described by the boy as having “printing on it.” It had evidently been incorporated in a dyke which had been washed away by recent flooding.
It was recovered form the river, and found to measure 5′ 8 inches. by 1′ 9 inches. by 11 inches., and to carry the inscription “Hic Iacet   Caratini fili  Capiteiani”  (sic) which translates as “Here lies Carantus,
son of Capitanus (or Capitaneus)
The stone was dated at the time, or very shortly afterwards as late 5th or early 6th century, by Sir George MacDonald, K.C.B.
The Stone was presented to Buccleuch Estates, who in turn presented it to the National Museum.”

Who quite frankly have never made enough of it.
So…… There is no doubt at all where stone was found.
In the bed of the river Liddel, where the Ralton Burn runs in.
But where did it originally stand? In all probability not too far away. Possibly a little upstream?
Maybe….maybe not.
Unfortunately, a road alignment a few years back somewhat devastated the land just upstream, and as far as I know, no investigation of that land was made at that time. (I could of course be wrong).
But here are a couple of interesting photo’s.

  Now this, without a shadow of a doubt, is where the “Liddesdale Stone” was actually found, just to the left of the “F” in “Found.”
And that, shows the “modern” location on the Government’s Canmore website!
 Both the location, and  the map reference have been changed.  The description however, remains the same.
 I can’t account for that. But I’ll ask around, and update as necessary.
  Do you know, the more I think about it…… A lot of the pieces of the “Arthurian” story exist…… It’s just that no-one really wants to put them into place.
  There was no “Arthur” because there are no “Arthurian artifacts,” and there are no “Arthurian artifacts” because there was no “Arthur.”
  Reputations are at stake, and so, no serious academic likes to even mention “The Arthurian Era.”
   Funny isn’t it…… I mean it’s all a bit like the 9th Legion. (See my earlier posting on that!)
   But down there, where the Ralton Burn, joins the Liddel, wouldn’t it be nice to see a little bronze plaque, and perhaps Tourist Marker.
  Because this is a Christian country….. and “The Liddesdale Stone” is quite likely one of our earliest Christian tombstones.
  And it is of immense importance.
And finally, and on a somewhat lighter note…..
Whilst I was searching around for interesting info. I decided to have a look at a circular grove of Alder trees just alongside the A7 north of Langholm.

 

Funny things these circular groves.
They are supposed to be incredibly old…. grow out over from the remains of one original tree, and the process just keeps on going.
But Alders are weird anyway. Scandinavian legend associates them with the Alder Maidens. Elf like creatures who dance at night, and lure young men away never to be seen again!
From the front they are beautiful, but their backs are hollow!
So beware!

Nils Blommer 1850. Alder Tree Girls.

These are they dancing!………. In a circle!

I think that with the Alder maidens we are touching on a very ancient tradition indeed. Remember Nimue imprisoned Merlin within a tree.

 This is Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. ” The Beguiling of Merlin” 1872-77.

It illustrates Nimue reading from a book of spells, in order to lock poor old Merlin within, this time, a hawthorn tree.

In Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Ariel is imprisoned within a pine tree by the witch Sycorax.
Can’t find a decent illustration of that one. There are one or two about, but they’ve turned Ariel into one of those little “fairys” with butterfly wings!

However….. The subject of trees, sinister maidens, and the locking of persons within trees, is worth more research.

But look again at that photo of the Alder Grove. Because once again there are some interesting and unrecorded enclosures. And that photo was taken in May, you can tell by the hawthorn blossom, and in the morning. (angle of the shadows)
The time of year and light angle are important, because in differing light angles, different features of the landscape become visible. And Google maps get updated every few years. So if you see it today, you may well not be able to see it next year.
But give it a go….. because it is well worth it.
Oh, by the way…… You arms and armour enthusiasts may be interested to know that folklore and arms and armour do have a connection.

Much of what we know is due to good old Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden!
…… Who was more than just a soldier, he was also a folklorist,  and instructed his priests to record all of the records of the old beliefs. Something which was certainly not done in Scotland!

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Ancient church where William Wallace was named Guardian of Scotland is uncovered in Selkirk

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found the remains of the Borders kirk where Wallace was recognised after victory over the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.

Selkirk's Auld Kirk where the remains of a church linked to William Wallace have been discovered

Selkirk’s Auld Kirk where the remains of a church linked to William Wallace have been discovered

The historic event occurred after he defeated English forces at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.

A ceremony took place in front of gathered nobles and clergy in the Kirk o’ the Forest in Selkirk.

A geophysics survey in the ruins of the town’s 18th Century Auld Kirk has revealed remains of a medieval chapel.

The investigation was expected to find traces of its 16th Century predecessor but instead it showed remains which could pinpoint the spot where Wallace was honoured.

It is a scene which was depicted in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart.

The church itself was demolished and later churches built on the site.

Dr Bowles said: “Ruins of the Auld Kirk date from the 18th century, but we knew this had replaced earlier churches on site from the 12th and 16th centuries.

“It has been widely acknowledged that this was the site of the Kirk of the Forest where Wallace was made Guardian of Scotland following his and Andrew Moray’s defeat of the English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.

“We had been expecting the geophysics survey to uncover a 16th century church that we know to have existed and which was a replacement to the medieval church, but the only evidence in the survey is in relation to the medieval church.

“The association between Wallace and the local area is quite well documented, with Wallace using guerilla tactics to fight the English from the Ettrick Forest, and the Scottish nobles made Wallace Guardian of Scotland in recognition of his military successes.

“Wallace went on to become the legendary figure he remains today.”

We hope to work with the community to make the most of this fascinating discovery and the tourism potential it has.
Colin Gilmour, Selkirk CARS project manager

Dr Chris Bowles, Scottish Borders Council’s archaeologist, said: “The association between William Wallace and this area is quite well documented, with Wallace using guerrilla tactics to fight the English from the Ettrick Forest.

“We knew vaguely that this site was associated with Wallace, and that the Scottish nobles made him Guardian of Scotland at the Kirk o’ the Forest in recognition of his military successes.

“We had been expecting the geophysics survey to uncover a 16th Century church that we know to have existed and which was a replacement to the medieval church, but the only evidence in the survey is in relation to the medieval church.”

He said they found the “foundation footprint of a medieval chapel” within the footprint of the 18th Century church.

“There are certainly wall lines forming an east-west aligned rectangle,” he said.

“The measurements are similar to St Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh Castle and point to it possibly being a Romanesque chapel.

“If it is the Kirk o’ the Forest, it is where Wallace was honoured. He went on to become the legendary figure he remains today.”

‘Limited investigations’

Dr Bowles, who commissioned the survey by the University of Durham in conjunction with the Selkirk Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (Cars), said the site could now become a visitor attraction.

“While these geophysics results suggest a medieval chapel beneath the later church, we are very restricted by the burials in the area to allow any excavation,” he said.

“But in the future it may be possible to conduct limited investigations in areas where there is no evidence of burial.”

Gary Stewart, convenor of the Society of William Wallace, hailed the discovery as “a rare physical link to the hero”.

Site survey

It is hoped the site could become a visitor attraction

He added: “This is a fantastic discovery, and another piece in the jigsaw of Wallace’s life.

“It lets us know the exact place where Wallace was appointed as Guardian.”

Colin Gilmour, Selkirk Cars project manager, said the discovery could draw tourism to the town.

He said: “There is nothing currently signposting people to the Auld Kirk site, but with this latest discovery it could become a major attraction and assist with the regeneration of the town centre.

“We hope to work with the community to make the most of this fascinating discovery and the tourism potential it has.”

Scottish Borders councillor Ron Smith said the discovery strengthened the links between William Wallace and Selkirk.

A re-enactment of Wallace’s appointment to guardianship could be held at the site later this year.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-36158808

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Mouswald

This is Carruthers country.
They were lording it here from the fourteenth century, with a reputation for cross-border raiding, a predisposition that finally brought the Mouswald branch of the family to an end when Simon Carruthers was killed in action in 1548.


There are fragments of the Curruthers’ fifteenth-century castle within the grounds of the house known as Mouswald Place.


An earlier occupation of the area, in the ninth century or thereabouts, was Scandinavian. We know that from the origin of the name in Danish mosi vollr, ‘mossy field’. The modern pronunciation foxes the stranger: it is ‘mowzle’.

The present kirk was built in 1816 but radically altered in 1929. But there had been worship on this spot from the thirteenth century.

Rev John Gillespie was the kirk’s outstanding minister (hence the Gillespie Memorial Hall). His service to the parish was long, from 1865 until 1912. In 1903 he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly (two other pupils from his boyhood school at Newton Wamphray also became Moderator). Gillespie’s great interest was in farming, about which he was so knowledgeable that he was dubbed Scotland’s ‘Minister of Agriculture’. The cup awarded at the Royal Highland Show for Galloway cattle is a Gillespie endowment.


At Mount Kedar, to the south-east, there is a monument commemorating Rev Henry Duncan of Ruthwell, the savings bank pioneer. When Duncan opted for the secessionist Free Kirk in the 1840s, it was in the neighbouring Mouswald parish that he set up his new kirk and Mount Kedar was the manse.


Mouswald Grange, to the north-west, has a striking tower that was once part of a windmill, built in the late eighteenth century. It processed oatmeal.


It must have been fun to live here at one time, if a local rhyme is to be believed:

Rivel [Ruthwell] bucks and Dawton [Dalton] belles,
They’re a’ sic senseless asses, o!
But there’s nane sae free when at a spree
As the Mouswald lads and lasses, o!
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Carruthers right to a Tartan

To understand and appreciate our ability to have a definitive tartan of our own we must first understand its use by families in the borders of Scotland. The history of the use of a clan tartan by Graynes (Reiver families) is definitely not strong. The evidence suggests that if plaid was worn, it was most certainly of a regional pattern rather than specific to a particular family. It is also fair to suggest that kilts would not have been worn, but rather trews (trousers) would have been the order of the day for the reasons alluded to before and of course, because they were widely available as the mode of dress on the borders at the time.

Kilts as we know, were worn in Scotland but were evolved as a highland concept, being taken from the earlier ‘brat’ or woollen cloak (also known as a plaid), which was worn over a tunic. This earlier cloak or brat may have been plain in colour or in various check or tartan designs, depending on the wealth of the wearer; the earlier fashion of clothing had not changed significantly from that in the highlands since Roman times. This lead to the Breacan an Fhéilidh (belted plaid) or Feileadh Mòr (great plaid) as normally depicted in ancient highland dress. From around the 17th or early 18th century the fèileadh beag (the small kilt), or filibeg, or philabeg, using a single width of cloth worn hanging down below the belt came into use. It become popular throughout the Highlands and northern Lowlands by around mid 1700’s, although the great kilt or belted plaid continued to be worn by the highland clans. In a modern world most Scottish clans/families enjoy wearing the kilt, irrelevant of their region of birth and there is no reason why they shouldn’t. It gives a feeling of national pride and anchorage in the customs and traditions of all things Scottish, where the heritage of our homeland remains important us all, wherever they hail. Clan Carruthers should be of no exception.

Saying all this, here are two pieces from the (STA) Scottish Tartan Authority’s website for your deliberation:
It has to be remembered that, in the present context, tartan is Highland and that the Lowlands did not adopt it in the ‘family’ sense, to any large extent, until the mid-eighteenth century, when the Lowland tartan industry had begun to grow up as a result of the 1747 Act which sought to abolish tartan altogether. My recent research into military tartans suggests strongly that the blue, black and green tartans owe their existence to military fashion or even War Department ruling: this is not to say that all such tartans are military ones but that the army started the idea. The other class of dark tartans, those known as ‘hunting’, almost certainly derive jointly from a rather obscure statement by George Buchanan (see the right hand column) and the strident colours of the early synthetic dyes. A third class, many-hued, comprises the Sobieski confections, which are either inventions or minor modifications of established tartans of their time.
http://www.tartansauthority.com/tartan/the-growth-of-tartan/the-origin-of-clan-tartan
s/

Link: http://www.tartansauthority.com/tartan/the-growth-of-tartan/the-origin-of-clan-tartans/

It is perfectly possible that individual Lowland families were adopting favourite patterns which became identified with them, later to become their “clan tartans”. Is it reasonable to expect those clan tartans to be identical to the ones of the same names which we know today?
http://www.tartansauthority.com/tartan/the-growth-of-tartan/the-origin-of-clan-tartans/a-case-for-clan-tartans/
Link: http://www.tartansauthority.com/tartan/the-growth-of-tartan/the-origin-of-clan-tartans/a-case-for-clan-tartans/

Therefore with the resurgence in all things Scottish and Scottish families redefining and registering themselves as Clans and with their Chiefs being accepted onto the Standing Council of Chiefs, a tartan of our own seemed the next logical and identifiable step along the road to an international Carruthers Clan Society, which was set up in 2017. It is fair to say, that any clan is defined, in the eyes of the public by the three ; they are its distinct tartan, its clan arms and badge and its history. As a family entity we now have all three from which to progress to clan status if we so chose.

Although we would still retain the right to wear Bruce, in 2017, Dr George Carruthers, a Fifer by birth registered a Carruthers tartan, designed by Brian Wilton, with the Scottish Tartan Register. The tartan followed the Bruce sett (pattern) and thread count with variations in the thread colours and subtle changes in the sett itself in order to differentiate it and allow the design to be accepted as unique to the ancients, honourable and distinct Clan Carruthers, wherever they may hail.

Carruthers Dress

 

SRT No. 11700. Designer: Wilton, Brian Tartan date: 01/12/2016 Registration date: 25 January 2017 Category: Name Restrictions: Registration notes: A dress version of the George Carruthers (Personal) tartan (STR ref. 11699). This tartan can be used by others bearing the Carruthers surname.

 

Another Carruthers Tartan was registered at the same time, but is for private use by the family of Dr G. Carruthers.

Picture

Carruthers Private

 

SRT No. 11699. Designer: Wilton, Brian Tartan date: 01/12/2016 Registration date: 25 January 2017 Category: Name Restrictions: Yes. For the sole use of the copyright holder and those authorised by him. This tartan cannot be offered for sale or woven without the express permission of the copyright holder. Registration notes: A personal and private tartan for Dr George Carruthers and his family based on the Bruce clan tartan.

Picture

 

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Carruthers and the History of Cumberland University TN. Part 1

CLAN CARRUTHERS

Let me set the stage for one of the most prominent Carruthers family in Cumberland Tennessee. I have put this little story together to let you know just how much our Carruthers Family has and continues to do for the United States of America.

Related image

Captain Charles Campbell, and a number of hunters, made an exploring tour upon the western waters. Passing Powell’s Valley, he gave the name ‘Cumberland’ to the lofty
range of mountains on the west. Tracing this range in a southwestern direction, he came to a remarkable depression in the chain through this he passed, calling it ‘Cumberland Gap.’ Indians used Cumberland Gap as a gateway through the mountains long before the arrival of the white man. Those crossing the Ohio at the mouth of the Scioto River found a well-beaten trail known as the Warrior’s’ Path, leading directly to the Gap. Often they ventured beyond and into…

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