« PreviousContinue »
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 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, being the only part of the original building which now remains. The whole forms a handsome modern residence, and is now inhabited by my respected friend, Adam Ogilvy, esq. of Hartwoodmyres, commissioner of bis 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.
Nine and twenty knights of fame Hung their shields in Branksome Hall.—St. III. p. 18. The ancient barons of Buccleuch, both from feudal splendour, and from their frontier situation, retained in their house
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 into Britain;
The barons of Buckleugb they kept their call,
Four and twenty gentlemen in their hall,
All being ofliis name and kin;
Each two bad 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:
'1 here's men alive, elder than I,
They know if I speak truth or lie;
Every pensioner a room t 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 trom the lairds and lords of Buckleugb.
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
t Room, portion of land.
garrison was doubtless augmented. Satchells adds, "These twenty-three pensioners, all of his own name of Scott, and Walter Gladstanes 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 Scot, p. 45. An immense sum in those times.
And with Jedwood-axc at saddle-bow.—St. V. 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.
They watch against Southern force and guile,
St. VI. 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 thoir principal object, which was to kill or make prisoner the laird of Buccleuch. It occurs in the Cotton MS. Calig. B. VIII. f. 222.
"Pleasith 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 theymc the inhabitants of Northumberland, suche as was towards me according to thcyre 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 Branxhom, where the lord of Buclough dwellythe, and purpesed theymeselves with a trayne for hyia lyke to his accustommed manner, in rysynge, to all frayes; albeit, that knyght he" was not at home, and soo they brynt the said Branxhom, and other townes, as to say Whichestre,
Whichestre-helme, and, Whelley, and haid ordered theyuneselfsoo, that sundry of the said Lord Buclough's servants, who dyd issue fourthe of his gates, was takyn prisoners. They dyd not Ieve one house, one stak of come, nor one shyef, without the gate of the said Lord Buclough vnbrynt; and thus scrymaged and frayed, supposing the Lord of Buclough to be within iii or iiii myles to have trayned him to the bushment; and soo in the breyking of the day dyd the forrey and the bushment mete, and reculed homeward, making theyr way westward from theyre invasion to be over Lyddersdaill, as intending yf the fray frome theyre furst entry by the Scotts watches, or otherwyse by warnyng shulde haue bene gyven to Gedworth and the countrey of Scotland theyreabouts of theyre invasion; whiche Gedworthe is from the Wheles Causay, vi myles, that thereby the Scotts shulde have comen further vnto theyme, and more owte of ordre; and soo vppon sundry good consideracons, before they entered Lyddersdaill, as well accompting the inhabitants of the same to be towards your highness, and to enforce theyme the more therby, as alsoo too put an occasion of suspect to the kinge of Scotts and his counsaill, to be takyn anenst theyme, amonges thcymeselves, maid proclamacions commaunding vpon payne of dethe, assurance to be for the said inhabitants of Lyddersdaill, without any prejudice or hurt to be done by any Inglysman vnto theyme, and soo in good ordre abowte the howre of ten of the clok before none, vppone Tewisday, dyd pas through the said Lyddersdaill, when dyd come diverse of the said inhabitants there to my