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CastleUK Blog
November 2010
The blog page, a place where I can record and then archive my monthly updates and what's new in our hunt for castles UK.

This months Scottish castles, towers, abbey and friary, are all from Roxburghshire.

In October I managed to get the castles in map 80 plus the abbey and friary in Jedburgh online.
Also a first for CastleUK, was my live changing of my March 2010 blog page, after watching the
Team Time episode about the misty Welsh castle called Tregruk. I worked out from the map shown in the program and my Castellarium Anglicanum vol. 1 by D.J. Cathcart King book, that Llangibby Castle OS 171/ST 364-974 was the name of the site. Going online I found that people were clicking on my March blog page because I'd written about Tregruk back then, so to help and for a bit of fun, I updated the page to give its location. I also want to thank all the people who mailed me the name of the castle, a couple were before the episode was televised but I didn't look at my emails until later.
Later in the month we had a break and got some sun, which it gave me a chance to read my Culloden: The History and Archaeology of the Last Clan Battle book. I've been doing a lot of thinking about the battle and the book is a big help in working it all out but we will have to read about and visit the battle sites of Prestonpans and Falkirk to get a clearer picture.
Our next castle hunt will be based in Hastings, so soon I'll have to get my nose into my books and get that planned, it's great that it never ends, unlike this blog.
Click on the pictures, for more information.

Culzean Castle Wallpaper
Culzean Castle, OS 70/NS 233-103 Ayrshire Scotland, is this months wallpaper.
The picture was taken in October 2007 on our Ayrshire castle hunt and the view is looking west across the steep valley that defends the landward side.
With Armistice Day falling in November, I try to have a picture that will remind us to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war. In 1945, before the Kennedy Family donated their home to The National Trust for Scotland, they gifted a six-bedroom apartment on the top floor of the castle to General Eisenhower. It was a 'thank you' to the wartime hero from the Scottish nation and during his retirement, Dwight David 'Ike' Eisenhower spent time painting and walking in the castle grounds.
Bedrule Castle
Bedrule Castle, OS 80/NT 598-180 Roxburghshire Scotland.
Is a large late 13th century stone oval enclosure fortress, founded by the Comyns. Its curtain wall, with five large round towers and a gatehouse, stands on a bluff on the east bank of Rule Water. In 1298, during the Wars of Independence King Edward I visited the castle and following the death of Sir John Comyn, in the early 14th century it was granted by King Robert I to Sir James of Douglas.
The site is freely accessible in daylight hours and this is how you get there. In the large field to the north of the church, is a low wall on the far side, in this wall is a small wooden gate, which gives access to the castle. We love to hunt this sort of site, where you can kick the humps in the ground and find stone and it's in a lovely spot by the side of a steep bluff, a castle hunters dream.
Dykeraw Tower
Dykeraw Tower, OS 80/NT 628-090 Roxburghshire Scotland.
Is possibly a 15th century rectangular stone tower house, held by the Oliver family. Constructed of large roughly coursed stones, the tower of 'Dyker' was burned by English troops under Sir John Ratclif in 1513. Only a part of the south-west gable stands to any height and there are no features in the remains to indicate its date.
The site is visible from the road, for me this is a bastle but it's too far from the road to see its plan. Next time I'm in the area, I'll smart up the farm road to get a closer look.
Fast Castle
Fast Castle, OS 80/NT 595-182 Roxburghshire Scotland.
Is a late 12th century earthwork motte, possibly founded by the de Rule family. Standing on the west bank of Rule Water, the mound is partly natural with only the top being artificial. It was probably approach from a northern ford, here its slope is reduced and access to the top was defended by a cross-ditch, which is now only a terrace.
The site is visible from the road, this is the castle in Bedrule you can't miss, it's a big old motte. Seeing the owner going to open her gate was a lucky break, so I asked and got to walk the mound which is always a bonus.
Fulton Tower
Fulton Tower, OS 80/NT 605-158 Roxburghshire Scotland.
Is a small 16th century stone rectangular L-plan tower house, founded by Hume of Cowdenknowes. It was possibly one of fortress destroyed by English troops under the Earl of Hereford, during the 1545 'Rough Wooing' invasion. A circular stair-tower flanked the eastern angle but most of this stair-tower and south-east wall have been demolished. The two surviving unvaulted storeys are fragmentary, with traces of fireplaces and a window but there is no indication of an entrance.
The site is visible from the road, nice small ruined tower here and again it's in a lovely spot. Luck was with us again here because the owner of the field was mending fences nearby so we got to walk this site, nice.
Jedburgh Abbey
Jedburgh Abbey, OS 74/NT 650-204 Roxburghshire Scotland.
Is a mid 12th century stone Augustinian Abbey of St. Mary, founded by King David I. The site has been occupied by a church from the 9th century and was a frequent target for invading border armies. During the Wars of Independence the abbey was wrecked and plundered by the English troops under Sir Richard Hastings and in 1523 the abbey was torched by troops under the Earl of Surrey. In 1544 and 1545, it was burnt again during the 'Rough Wooing' invasion, by troops under Sir Ralph Ewer and the Earl of Hertford.
The site is owned by Historic Scotland and is open daily, April to September 9:30-5:30pm, October to March 9:30-4:30pm. The west front is a magnificent example of late 12th-century Gothic architecture but its been wrecked and plundered by the English troops, a big 7 times, so it must have been defensible. In Jedburgh you can't miss the abbey, by the river it a looker but we've never been in, we are always on our way somewhere else, next time we'll have to make time to stop.
Jedburgh Friary
Jedburgh Friary, OS 74/NT 650-208 Roxburghshire Scotland.
Is a late 15th or early 16th century stone Observant Franciscan Friary, founded by Sir Andrew Ker of Ferniehirst. It was the last monastery built in Scotland but after the 1560 Protestant Reformation it was closed down along with all the other Scottish monastic houses. During its short life the English torched the friary on three occasions, first by troops under the Earl of Surrey in 1523. Then again in 1544 and 1545 during the 'Rough Wooing' invasion, by troops under Sir Ralph Ewer and the Earl of Hertford.
The site stands in the car park and the garden of Kilmun Court and is freely accessible in daylight hours. Discovered in 1982, this late friary only lasted 60 years but the English still managed to torched it three times. Excavations found English cannon balls, so again it must have been defensible, there's only meagre foundations here but its been very well done.
Kilnsike Tower
Kilnsike Tower, OS 80/NT 634-130 Roxburghshire Scotland.
Is a 16th century stone rectangular two storey defensible farmhouse. The bastle is constructed of massive masonry, laid in clay mortar and its south-east wall stands to the height of the original first floor entrance, with the gables a little higher. The north-west wall has been completely demolished and there are no narrow slit lights visible in any of the remaining walls and half of the basement, is now below ground level.
The site is visible from the road, bastles we just love bastles and if you see one you've just got to touch it, it's sad but true. This is a nice one, that looks great from the road and even better close too.

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