Saturday, 19 April 2014

Q for Queen of Scots & Queen of Elfland

Welcome to a Look Around 

 "My Scottish Borders"

Q is for: 
QUEEN OF SCOTS and 
QUEEN OF ELFLAND 




in 1566, Mary Queen of Scots  went to Jedburgh,  staying  in a bastel (fortified) house belonging to the local Kerr family.  Hearing that Lord Bothwell (later her third husband)  lay wounded at Hermitage Castle, Mary set out on an arduous return journey of 80 miles to visit him. She arrived back from a dreich moorland ride, ill and close to death and is later said to have remarked "Would that I had died in Jethart", as her troubles crowded upon her.
Mary Queen of Scots House, Jedburgh 






QUEEN OF ELFLAND 


Elf Queen
The Queen of Elfland
 Legend tells that the Queen of Elfland met Borders poet Thomas the Rhymer (c.1210-c.1290) and transported him to her kingdom in the nearby Eildon Hills. Thomas served the Queen for seven years before he returned to his own land with the gift of prophecy

TRUE THOMAS lay oer yond grassy bank,
  And he beheld a ladie gay,
A ladie that was brisk and bold,
 Come riding oer the fernie brae. 

Her skirt was of the grass-green silk,
  Her mantel of the velvet fine,
At ilka tett 2 of her horse’s mane
  Hung fifty silver bells and nine.

True Thomas he took off his hat,
  And bowed him low down till his knee:
“All hail, thou mighty Queen of Heaven!
  For your peer on earth I never did see.”

“O no, O no, True Thomas,” she says,
  “That name does not belong to me;
I am but the Queen of fair Elfland,
  And I’m come here for to visit thee

Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

Follow the next stage of this 
A-Z journey 
through the Scottish Borders

R is for:
Rugby, Rivers and Rumbldethumps



Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders"



A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest 
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie 
A-Z Challenge J -Jedburgh, Jethart Justice and Jethart Snails  
A-Z Challenge K - Kaleidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose  
A-Z Challenge N - Newark Castle and Nature  
A=Z Challenge O - Oxford Connections - Sir James Murray & Mary Somerville 
A-Z Challenge P - Pele Towers and Princely Connections  




Friday, 18 April 2014

P is for Pele Towers & Princely Connections

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

P is for: 
PELE TOWERS and 
PRINCELY CONNECTIONS




PELE TOWERS  were a distinctive feature of the Scottish Borders and Northumberland landscape. Sometimes called Bastel Houses or Tower Houses, they were small fortified keeps, built for defensive purposes, where beacons could be lit to warn of impending danger.  Walls were thick.  windows like slits and the ground floor  provided space for livestock to be kept safe, whilst the  family  living quarters were above. 

The term "Pele" is said to derive from the old French  "piel" meaning  a fence made of stakes.


 The 65 foot high Smailholm Tower is a prominent landmark, west of Kelso. The Pringles, built the tower in the first half of the 15th century,  and it suffered repeatedly at the hands of English raiders.   It later passed to the Scott family and the grandfather of writer Sir Walter Scott, who found inspiration there for his "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders"

These crags, that mountain tower,
Which charmed my fancy's wakening hours

Methought grim features, seamed with scars, 

Glared through the window's rusty bars

 And still I thought that shatter’d tower
The mightiest work of human power.

                                                         
Known as "the Young Pretender", PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD STUART  (Bonnie Prince Charlie)  marched through the Borders in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745  on his advance into England to claim the throne from the Hanoverian  King George.   

The Prince stayed at Traquair House, Peeblesshire,  reputed to the oldest inhabited house in Scotland.  The Bear Gates, built in 1739 were closed in 1745 with the Earl of Traquair promising they would never be opened again until the Stuart's returned to the throne - so they have remained closed ever since! 


Charles stayed in various town in the Borders including Kelso and Jedburgh before marching into England. Town Council records have survived and comment on the movement of Jacobite troops through the Borders. Support, however, was very limited and towns pledged support for King George. 

The 1745 advance was halted at Derby , followed by a retreat back to Scotland, culminating in the Battle of Culloden, and the rout of the Jacobite army - the last major battle on British soil.  



PAXTON HOUSE, overlooking the river Tweed near Berwick upon Tweed, was built for a PRINCESS. 

Patrick Home,  who had been educated at Leipzig University in Germany,  spent time at the court of Frederick the Great of Prussia.  In an unsuccessful attempt to woo Sophie de Brandt,   Patrick had the house built c.1758 to create one of the finest examples of neo Palladian architecture in Scotland, with interiors by Robert Adam and furniture by Thomas Chippendale.  But the marriage was thwarted by the couple's families and never took place. 

Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Borders
Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey 
through the Scottish Borders

Q is for:
Mary Queen of Scots
and the Queen of Elfland

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders





A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick  
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg & Will Ogilvie
A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice & Jethart Snails 
A-Z Challenge K - Kalaidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie   
A-Z Challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose 
A-Z Challenge N - Newark Castle and Nature  
A=Z Challenge O - Oxford Connections - Sir James Murray & Mary Somerville 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

O for Oxford-Borders Connections in "My Scottish Borders"

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"


O is for:
OXFORD-BORDER CONNECTIONS


James-Murray.jpg
Sir James Murray




The Oxford English Dictionary was first compiled by a Bprderer, Sir James Murray. (1837-1915).  He was born in the village of Denholm, near Hawick, Roxburghshire, the son of a tailor.  He left school at 14 and became a teacher and founder member of the Hawick Archaeological Society  which is still flourishes today as the local history organisation.

Like so many Victorians, James Murray pursued  activities focusing on self educaiton. Following a move to London,  he developed an interest in languages and etymology  and wrote "A Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland" - the first scientific study of dialect.  

In 1879 he took on the role of the principal  editor of the proposed Oxford English Dictionary, with the task of capturing  all the words then extant in the English speaking world in all their various shades of meaning -  a massive project.    He was knighted in 1908 and  was awarded honorary doctoral degrees by nine universities.

He died before the Dictionary itself was completed, but he left a legacy of work and inspiration for those compiling it.  In fact, when the final results were published in 1928, it ran to twelve volumes, with 414,825 words defined and 1,827,306 citations employed to illustrate their meanings.  It quickly became established as the standard for the English language.  A tribute to Sir John Murray noted: 

"When the remaining part of the last volume is finished, the Oxford English Dictionary will stand unrivalled in its completeness as a record of the history of the vocabulary of a living language, and it is to Murray far more than to any other man that the honour of this great achievement will belong".



Thomas Phillips - Mary Fairfax, Mrs William Somerville, 1780 - 1872. Writer on science - Google Art Project.jpg
Mary Somerville
The Oxford College of Somerville  was named after another  Borderer - Mary Somerville, nee Fairfax (1780-1872)  who was born in the abbey town of Jedburgh, Roxburghshire.  

She quickly developed her intellectual interests, notably in mathematics and science.  Following her marriage she moved to London and there  in 1831 published her first book, The Mechanism of the Heavens.   In 1835 she became one of the first women members of the Royal Astronomical Society, and in 1869, she was awarded the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society - remarkable achievements  in a time when women in science were almost unknown.

Having little formal schooling herself, she was a firm advocate of education for women,   and in 1868 she was the first person to sign John Stuart Mill’s petition to Parliament in support of women’s suffrage - sixty years before this became a reality! 

So it was perhaps not surprising that in 1879 the founders of a new college at Oxford for women students chose the name of Somerville in recognition of her example.

Mary Fairfax Somerville died at the age of 92, and an obituary notice in London's Morning Post in 1872 described  as the "Queen of Nineteenth Century Science."





[With acknowledgement to Wikipedia].

Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Borders








Follow the next stage of this 
A-Z Journey 
through the Scottish Borders

P is for:
Pele Towers & Princely Connections


Do take a look at earlier  posts in
 "My Scottish Borders"







A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail 
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick  
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie 
A-Z Challenge J -Jedburgh, Jethart Justice and Jethart Snails  
A-Z Challenge K - Kaleidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie  
A-Z Challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose 
A-Z Challenge N - Newark Castle and Nature  

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

N for Newark Castle & Nature in "My Scottish Borders"

                             Welcome to a Look Around 

"My Scottish Borders"


  N is for:
NEWARK CASTLE and NATURE 








Newark Castle high above the Yarrow Water, south of Selkirk was also the setting for Sir Walter Scott's  ""Lay of the Last Minstrel"  with the lovely description:

"He passed where Newark's stately tower
Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower". 

Thought to be a royal hunting lodge, Newark was referred to in a charter granted to Archibald,  Earl of Douglas in 1423.  It later fell into the hands of the Scotts of Buccleuch.  Last to live there was the Scott heiress Ann who married  the ill fated Duke of Monmouth, the illegitimate son of Charles ll,  beheaded in 1685 for treason. 


NATURE

The heron here is a familiar site on the Slitrig Water in Hawick. 


Cowdenknowes Wood, Earlston, Berwickshire


Nature's autumn colours in Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick 
With grateful thanks to Louise for letting me feature this stunning photograph
Copyright © 2012 · Louise Wallace.    All Rights Reserved. 


Sunset over Hawick 


Follow the next stage of this A-Z journey 
through the Scottish Borders

O is for:
OXFORD CONNECTIONS

The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire  
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest 
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie 
A-Z Challenge J -Jedburgh, Jethart Justice and Jethart Snails  
A-Z Challenge K - Kaleidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose  



M for Muckle Mou'ed Meg & Melrose in "My Scottish Borders""

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

M is for: 
 "MUCKLE MOU'ED MEG"& MELROSE





The story of 'Muckle Mou'd Meg' is told in the ballad  "The Fray of Elibank" by Borders poet James Hogg.  

Sir William Scott of Harden  (an ancestor of writer Sir Walter Scott) was captured on a raid  to the Murray stronghold of Elibank Castle above the River Tweed,

Soon weapons were clashing, an’ fire was flashing,
An’ red ran the bluid down the Ashiesteel brae:
The parties were shouting, the kye they were rowting, 
An’ rattling an’ galloping aff frae the fray

 [kye  - cattle] 

William was given the choice of being hanged or marrying the Laird's notoriously plain daughter  Muckle Mou'd Meg' (big mouthed Meg). He decided on marriage!  

Now Meg was but thin, an her nose it was lang,
An’her mou it was muckle as ane could weel be;
Her een they were gray, an her colour was wan
But her nature was generous, gentle, and free. 

 "My Meg, I assure you, is better than bonnie;
I rede you, in choicing let prudence decide;
Then say which ye will; ye are welcome to ony;
See, there is your coffin, or there is your bride.”

He fand the last gleam of his hope was a fadin
The green braes o Harden nae mair he wad see.
The coffin was there, which he soon must be laid in;
His proud heart was humbled,—he fell on his knee

So Willie took Meg to the forest sae fair,
An’ they lived a most happy an’ social life;
The langer he kend her, he lo’ed her the mair,
For a prudent, a virtuous, and honourable wife.


The small town of MELROSE  is noted for its famous abbey, as the home of 19th century writer Sir Walter Scott at nearby Abbotsford, the birthplace of the game of Rugby Sevens,   and a winner of Beautiful Scotland in Bloom. 

Nestling under the triple Eildon Hills, it on the route of several long distance walks - the Border Abbeys Way, St. Cuthbert's Way and the Southern Upland Way.


Melrose Abbey, founded in 1136 by David I, was the first monastery of the Cistercian order established in Scotland. The heart of King Robert the Bruce is  said to be buried there.  The exterior of this  ruin is decorated by unusual sculptures, including hobgoblins, cooks with ladles and a bagpipe playing pig. 



More fascinating facts on the Scottish Borders
  • The only silver staircase in the world you will find  at Manderston, Berwickshire -  an opulent Edwardian country house which epitomizes the "upstairs/downstairs" lifestyle at the time, with extensive kitchens and pantries, a marble dairy and sumptuous stables.  
                            
  •  Mellerstain House in Berwickshire is an 18th century  masterpiece by William and Robert Adam. 

     
  • The small village of Morebattle  on the edge of the Cheviot Hills has a Teapot Street.  The name is thought to be a corruption of "Tip -it  Street" after the midden (rubbish dump) at the end of the road. 
  • The Mill towns of Hawick, Selkirk and Galashiels were the centre of the Scottish Borders knitwear and tweed industry.  By the mid 19th century, over 2000 of Scotland's 2600 knitting frames were located in the Borders, over half in Hawick producing  over a million pairs of stockings a year.  This hosiery trade gave way tothe fine outerwear garments that we know today. 
  • Follow the next stage of this A-Z journey 
    through the Scottish Borders

    N is for:
    NEWARK TOWER AND  NATURE

    The Scottish Borders 
    The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire  
    Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

    Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders
    A-Z Challenge Preview
    A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
    A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
    A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
    A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus & The Douglas Tragedy 
    A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
    A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest 
    A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
    A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick

    A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie 
    A-Z Challenge J -Jedburgh, Jethart Justice and Jethart Snails  
    A-Z Challenge K - Kaleidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie  
    A-Z challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct