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Friday, 18 April 2014

P is for Pele Towers & Princely Connections

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

P is for: 

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
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 

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