The Scottish Borderer & Liddesdale

The Border landscape is rich and varied, its history long and turbulent. From the arrival of the Romans in the 1st century, through early Christian warfare, with the invasion of the Normans and the long conflict between English and Scots, the Border was the scene of perpetual strife.

Liddesdale lies at the heart of what was once, a frontier zone and borders the Debatable Land, where raid and counter raid took place and rival factions clashed in hill and dale. The history of the area and the Border Reivers can be found in the ruined towers and castles and ancient monuments, and in the remains of hill-farms and cottages.

Traditions are kept alive through ballad and verse which re-tell stories of spur, spear and snaffle and the famous families of Elliot, Armstrong, Nixon and Crozier.

Today the people are friendly and the welcome is warm.

Newcastleton — a planned village

Named Newcastleton after the parish and old settlement of Castleton. The village is also known as Copshaw Holm or locally ‘The Holm’ after the name of the lands on which it was built. The Village was founded in 1793 by the Duke of Buccluech following a request by the people of the valley to create a centre which would be similar to nearby settlements already established for the weaving trade.

In addition to weavers it became inhabited by trades like farmers, carpenters, tailors, shoe makers and cloggers. The present layout of the village has seen little alteration since it was built. The arrival of the railway in the late 1800s opened up communication and contacts with the outside world, and the development of forestry created new industry. Today stock rearing continues and alternative small industries are encouraged to develop.

Our famous landmark is Hermitage Castle - The seat of the 'Keeper of Liddesdale', the king's local representative.

In 1566 James Hepburn, the Fourth Earl of Bothwell, lay wounded in this remote stronghold after a local skirmish. He was visited by Mary, Queen of Scots, who rode over the wild and dangerous hills from Jedburgh and back in one day, a distance of about 40 miles. Exhausted when she returned, she lay in a fever for some weeks in a house in Jedburgh, now known as Mary, Queen of Scots House, until she recovered.

Annual events such as the local agricultural show and the traditional music festival have taken over from the old hiring fairs once held in Douglas Square. The story of the village and its people is an interesting one and a visit to the local Liddesdale Heritage Centre (open Easter through September from 1.30-4.30, except Tuesdays) and the Armstrong Trust (based in Langholm) will provide further information on the history of the area.

Literature and leaflets are available at the Heritage Centre.

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