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he enjoyed the barony of Eekford, by a grant from Ro- . bert II. to his ancestor, Walter Scott of Kirkurd, for the apprehending of Gilbert Ridderford, confirmed by Robert III. 3d May, 1424. Tradition imputes the exchange betwixt Scott and Inglis to a conversation, in which the latter, a man, it would appear, of a mild and forbearing nature, complained much of the injuries which he was exposed to from the English Borderers, who frequently plundered his lands of Branksome. Sir William Scott instantly offered him the estate of Murdiestone, in exchange for that which was subject to such egregious inconvenience. When the bargain was completed, he drily remarked, that the cattle in Cumberland were as good as those of Teviotdale; and proceeded to commence a system of reprisals upon the English, which was regularly pursued by his successors. In the next reign. James II. granted to Sir Walter Scott of Branksome, and to Sir David, his son, the remaining half of the barony of Branksome, to be held in blanche for the payment of a red rose. The cause assigned for the grant is, their brave and faithful exertions in favour of the king against the house of Douglas, with whom James had been recently tugging for the throne of Scotland. This charter is dated the 2d February, 1443; and, in the same month, part of the barony of Langholm, and many lands in Lanarkshire, were conferred apon Sir Walter and his son by the same monarch. After the period of the exchange with Sir Thomas Inglis, Branksome became the principal seat of the Buccleuch family. The castle was enlarged and strengthened by Sir David Scott, the grandson of Sir William, its first possessor. But, in 1570-1, the vengeance of Elizabeth, provoked by the inroads of Buceleuch, and his attachment to the cause of Queen Mary, destroyed the castle, and laid waste the lands of Branksom. In the same year the castle was repaired and enlarged by Sir Walter Scott, its brave possessor; but the work was not completed until after his death, in 1574, when the widow finished the building. This appears from the following inscriptions. Around a stone,
bearing the arms of Scott of Buccleuch, appears the following legend: “Sir W. Scott, of Branaheim Knyt roe of Sir William Scott of Kirkurd Knyt began ye work upon ye 24 of Marche, 1571, zeir quha departit at God's pleisour ye 17 April, 1574.” On a similar copartment are sculptured the arms of Douglas, with this inscription, “Dame Margaret Douglas his spous completit the foresaid work in October 1576.” Over an arched door is inscribed the following moral verse:– In varld is nocht nature hes wrought yat sal lest ay, tharfore serve God, keip veil ye rod, thy same sal nocht
dekay. Sir Walter Scot of Bronzholm Knight, Margaret Douglas, 1571.
Branksome Castle continued to be the principal seat of the Buccleuch family, while security was any object in the choice of a mansion. It has since been the residence of the Commissioners, or Chamberlains, of the family. From the various alterations which the building has undergone, it is not only greatly restricted in its dimensions, but retains little of the castellated form, if we except one square tower of massy thickness, the only part of the original building which now remains. The whole forms a handsome modern residence, lately inhabited by my deceased friend, Adam Ogilvy, Esq. of Hartwoodmyres, Commission, r of his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch.
The extent of the ancient edifice can still be traced by some vestiges of its foundation, and its strength is obvious from the situation, on a deep bank surrounded by the Teviot, and flanked by a deep ravine, formed by a precipitous brook. It was anciently surrounded by wood, as appears from the survey of Roxburgshire, made for Pont's Atlas, and preserved in the advocates' Library. This wood was cut about fifty years ago, but is now replaced by the thriving plantations which have been formed by the noble proprietor, for miles around the ancient mansion of his forefathers.
Nine-and-twenty knights of fame
The ancient barons of Buccleuch, both from feudal splendour, and from their frontier situation, retained in their household, at Branksome, a number of Gentlemen of their own name, who held lands from their chief, for the military service of watching and warding his eastle. Satchells tells us, in his doggrel poetry, No baron was better served in Britain ; The barons of Buckleugh they kept their call, Four and twenty gentlemen in their hall, All being of his name and kin; Each two had a servant to wait upon them; Before supper and dinner, most renowned, The bells rung and the trumpets sowned ; And more than that, I do confess, They kept four and twenty pensioners. Think not I lie, nor do me blame, For the pensioners I can all name: There's men alive, elder than I, They know if I speak truth, &r lie; Every pensioner a room" did gain, For service done and to be done; This I'll let the reader understand, The name both of the men and land, Which they possessed, it is of truth, - Both from the lairds and lords of Buckleugh. Accordingly, dismounting from his Pegasus, Satchells gives us, in prose, the names of twenty-four gentlenen, younger brothers of ancient families, who were pensioners to the house of Buccleuch, and describes the lands which each possessed for his Border service. In time of war with England, the garrison was doubtless augmented. Satchells adds, “These twenty-three penSioners, all of his own name of Scott, and walter Glad
* Room, portion of land.
stanes of Whitelaw, a near cousin of my Lord's, as aforesaid, were ready on all occasions, when his honour pleased cause to advertise them. It is known to many of the country better than, it is to me, that the rent of these lands, which the lairds and lords of Bucclench did freely bestow upon their friends, will amount to above twelve or fourteen thousand merks a-year.”History of the name of Scott, p. 45. An immense sum in those times.
“Of a truth,” says Froissart, “the Scottish cannot boast great skill with the bow, but rather bear axes, with which, in time of need, they give heavy strokes.” The Jedwood axe was a sort of partizan, used by horsemen, as appears from the arms of Jedburgh, which bear a cavalier mounted, and armed with this weapon. It is also called a Jedwood or Jeddart staff.
They watch against Southern force and guile,
Branksome Castle was continually exposed to the attacks of the English, both from its situation and the restless military disposition of its inhabitants, who were seldom on good terms with their neighbours. The following letter from the Earl of Northumberland to Henry VIII. in 1533, gives an account of a successful inroad of the English, in which the country was plundered up to the gates of the castle, although the invaders failed in their principal object, which was, to kill, or make prisoner, the laird of Buccleuch. It occurs in the Cotton MS. Calig. B. VIII. f. 222.
* Pleaseth yt your most gracious highnes to be aduértised, that my comptroller, with Raynald Carnaby, de
syred licenee of me to invade the realme of Scotland, for the annoysaunce of your highnes enemys, where they thought best exploit by theyme might be done, and to haue to concur withe they me the inhabitants of Northumberland, suche as was towards me according to theyre assembly, and as by theyre discrecions vppone the same they shulde thinke most convenient ; and soo they dyde meet vppon Monday, before myght, being the iii day of this instant monethe, at Waw.hope, uppon northe Tyne water, above Tyndaill, where they were to the number of xv e men, and so invadet Scotland, at the hour of viii of the clok at nyght, at a place called Whele Causay; and befor: xi of the clok dyd send forth a forrey of Tyndaill and Ryddisdail and laide all the resydewe in a bushment, and actyvely dyd set vpon a towne called Branxholm, where the lord of Buclough dwellythe, and purpesed they meselves with a trayne for hym lyke to his accustomed manner, inrysynge to all frayes; albeit, that knyght he was not at home, and soo they brynt the said Branxholm, and other townes, as to say Whichestre, Whichestre-helme, and Whelley, and laid ordered they meself, soo that sundry of the said Lord Buclough's servants, who dyd issue fourthe of his gates was takyn prisoners. They dyd not leve one house, one stak of corne nor one shyef, without the gate of the said Lord Buclough vnbrynt; and thus scrymaged and frayed, supposing the Lord of Buclough to be within iii or iiii myles to have trayned him to the bushment; and soo in the breyking of the day dyd the forrey and the bushment mete, and reculed homeward, making theyr way westward from theyre invasion to be over Lyddersdaillas intending yf the fray frome theyre furst entry by the Scotts waiches, or otherwyse by warmyngshulde haue bene gyven to Gedworth and the countrey of Scotland they reabouts of theyre invasion; whiche Gedworth is from the Wheles Causay vi myles, that thereby the Scots shulde have comen further vnto they me, and more owte of ordre ; and soo upon sundry good consideracons, before they entered Lyddersdaill, as well accompting the inhabitants of the same to be to