« PreviousContinue »
After the period of the exchange with Sir Thomas Inglis, Branksome became the principal seat of the Buccleuch family. The castle was enlarged and strengthened by Sir David Scott, the grandson of Sir William, its first possessor. But, in 1570-1, the vengeance of Elizabeth, provoked by the inroads of Buccleuch, and his attachment to the cause of Queen Mary, destroyed the castle, and laid waste the lands of Branksome. In the same year the castle was repaired and enlarged by Sir Walter Scott, its brave possessor; but the work was not completed until after his death, in 1574, when the widow finished the building. This appears from the following inscriptions. Around a stone, bearing the arms of Scott of Buccleuch, appears the following legend: "©it OX. ©cott, of TBranrtetot ftngt jf oe of ©it William ©cott of EUtttutB Btngt tcgtn g» tomtit upon ge 24 of spatcfje 1571 ?ett guja nepatttt at (EoS's pletfout ge 17 3pril 1574." On a similar copartment are sculptured the arms of Douglas, with this inscription," Dame Margaret Douglas His Spous Completit The Forsaid Work In OcTober 1576." Over an arched door is inscribed the following moral verse:—
3In, tmtlo. is. nocjt. nature. Jest. DrougSt. gat. sal. lest, ag, tjatfbte, setbe. CJoo. ietp. betl. ge. too, tjg. fame, sal, notjt. j oefcag.
©it tHaltet©cotofQBtanr$olnt Might, spargatet Douglas, 1571.
Branksome Castle continued to be the principal seat of the Buccleuch family, while security was any object in their choice of a mansion. It has since been the residence of the Commissioners, or Chamberlains, of the family. From the various alterations which the building has undergone, it is not only greatly restricted in its dimensions, but retains little of the castellated form, if we except one square tower of massy thickness, the only part of the original building which now remains. The whole forms a handsome modern residence, lately inhabited by my deceased friend, Adam Ogilvy, Esq. of Hartwoodmyres, Commissioner of his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch.
The extent of the ancient edifice can still be traced by some vestiges of its foundation, and its strength is obvious from the situation, on a deep bank surrounded by the Teviot, and flanked by a deep ravine, formed by a precipitous brook. It was anciently surrounded by wood, as appears from the survey of Roxburghshire, made for Pont's Atlas, and preserved in the Advocates'Library. This wood was cut about fifty years ago, but is now replaced by the thriving plantations which have been formed by the noble proprietor, for miles around the ancient mansion of his forefathers. Note H. Nine-and-twenty knights of fame Hung their shields in Branksome Hall.—P. 18. The ancient barons of Buccleuch, both from feudal splendour, and from their frontier situation, retained in their houses hold, at Branksome, a number of gentlemen of their own name, who held lands from their chief, for the military service of watching and warding his castle. Satchells tells us, in his doggrel poetry,
No baron was better served in Britain;
The barons of Bucklengh they kept their call,
Four and twenty gentlemen in their hall,
All being of his name and kin;
Each two had a servant to wait upon them;
Before supper and dinner, most renowned,
The bells rung and the trumpets sowned;
And more than that, I do confess.
They kept four and twenty pensioners.
Think not I lie, nor do me blame,
For the pensioners I can all name:
There's men alive, elder than I,
They know if I speak truth, or lie;
Every pensioner a room * did gain,
For service done and to be done;
This I'll let the reader understand,
The name both of the men and land,
Which they possessed, it is of truth,
Both from the lairds and lords of Buckleugh.
Accordingly, dismounting from his Pegasus, Satchells gives us, in prose, the names of twenty-four gentlemen, younger brothers of ancient families, who were pensioners to the house of Buccleuch, and describes the lands which each possessed for his Border service. In time of war with England, the garrison wan
* Room, portion of land.
doubtless augmented. Satchells adds, "These twenty-three pensioners, all of his own name of Scott, and Walter Gladstones of Whitelaw, a near cousin of my Lord's, as aforesaid, were ready on all occasions, when his honour pleased cause to advertise them. It is known to many of the country better than it is to me, that the rent of these lands, which the lairds and lords of Buccleuch did freely bestow upon their friends, will amount to above twelve or fourteen thousand merks a-year."—History of the name of Scott, p. 45. An immense sum in those times.
And with Jedwood-axe at saddle-bow.—P. 19. "Of a truth," says Froissart," the Scottish cannot boast great skill with the bow, but rather bear axes, with which, in time of need, they give heavy strokes." The Jedwood axe was a sort of partizan, used by horsemen, as appears from the arms of Jedburgh, which bear a cavalier mounted, and armed with this weapon. It is also called a Jedwood or Jeddart staff.
Note IV. They watch against Southern force and guile, Lest Scroope, or Howard, or Percys powers, Threaten Branksome's lordly towers, From Warkworth, or Naworth, or merry Carlisle.—P. 20. Branksome Castle was continually exposed to the attacks of the English, both from its situation and the restless military disposition of its inhabitants, who were seldom on good terms with their neighbours. The following letter from the Earl of Northumberland to Henry VIII. in 1533, gives an account of a successful inroad of the English, in which the country was plundered up to the gates of the castle, although the invaders failed in their principal object, which was, to kill, or make prisoner, the laird of Buccleuch. It occurs in the Cotton MS.
Cuiig. B. vni. f. 222.
"Pleaseth yt your most gracious highnes to be aduertised, that my comptroller, with Raynald Carnaby, desyred licence of me to invade the realme of Scotland, for the annoysaunce of your highnes enemys, where they thought best exploit by theyme might be done, and to haue to concur withe theyme the inhabitants of Northumberland, suche as was towards me according to theyre assembly, and as by theyre discrecions vppone the same they shulde thinke most convenient; and soo they dyde mete vppon Monday, before nyght, being the iii day of this instant monethe, at Wawhope, uppon northe Tyne water, above Tyndaill, where they were to the number of xv c men, and soo invadet Scotland, at the hour of viii of the clok at nyght, at a place called Whele Causay; and before xi of the clok dyd send forth a forrey of Tyndaill and Ryddisdail, and laide all the resydewe in a bushment, and actyvely dyd set vpon a towne called Branxholm, where the lord of Buclough dwellythe, and purpesed theymeselves with a trayne for hym lyke to his accustomed manner, in rysynge to all frayes; albeit, that knyght he was not at home, and soo they brynt