Castles and Towers
The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were turbulent times for the Scottish Borders when reiving and mayhem were rife. Peels, towers and castles were necessities to protect life and property. Four examples of these keeps survive in a ruinous state around Innerleithen and Traquair. The walls themselves cannot speak so I have turned to Innerleithen &Traquair, Past and Present, with an Angler’s Guide to the Tweed and its Tributaries (Second Edition – 1867), commonly called Smail’s Guide as it was published by Innerleithen printer Robert Smail.
Elibank Castle c.1900
“About a mile east of Bold is Juniper Bank, near which – a considerable way up the hill – is the ruin of Elibank Tower, the ancient seat of the Murrays of Elibank, and famous for the story of Muckle-mouthed Meg, in which young Scott of Harden figured so conspicuously.” (Smail’s Guide, p. 96)
Cardrona Peel Tower 2006
“. . . Cardrona was for many ages . . . the property of a family of the name of Govan, chiefs of the name, one of whom, Laurence of Govan, was Sheriff of Traquair in 1358. They resided in the old Tower on the hill, which is now in ruins. The Govans continued in possession of Cardrona until the latter end of the seventeenth century, when it was purchased by Mr Williamson, writer in Peebles, and Town Clerk of that burgh.” (Smail’s Guide, pp. 104 – 105)
Horsburgh Castle c.1960
Nether Horsburgh Castle - 2008
Nether Horsburgh Castle
Smail’s Guide is a treasure trove of local history but long out of print and very rare. An electronic copy can, however, be purchased online.