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The Tweed and some of its
ruined castles, reminding us of the
warring past when each baron's hand was against his neighbour, but occasionally we come upon some antique and venerable pile with associations of a more peaceful character. What is by far the oldest dwelling on the Tweed, and declared to be the oldest inhabited house in Scotland, is Traquair. Magic memories are in its name. Very much is bound up in the history of this old Border barony. Romance and song have treasured its brilliant past. Robert Crawford sang of its “bonnie bush” in old-world strains, that have found a rival in Shairp's immortal lyric --perhaps the grandest in the Scottish dialect. The Principal confessed to a friend that after penning this unsurpassed production he felt “he had lived after all."
“Will ye gang wi' me and fare
To the bush aboon Traquair?
This bonny summer noon,
While the sun shines fair aboon.
Traquair the prototype of his Tully V'eolan in Waverley.
Innerleithen, a busy manufacturing town is best known to fame as the scene of St. Ronan's Well. A natural spring of certain mineral properties attained no small celebrity during last century, but having diminished somewhat in popularity, an attempt is presently being made to revive its ancient glory. Ashestiel is a name sacred in Scottish literary history. Bowered in woods of birch, and rowan, and oak, the lineal descendants of the old Forest, it looks a trig and snug abode. Here Sir Walter Scott had his first Border home. From 1804 to 1811 has been described as his happiest years. He was Sheriff of Selkirkshire, and the law of Scotland required residence for a certain number of months within bis jurisdiction. Ashestiel was the property of his cousin, General Russell, but he being absent on foreign service, gave a generous and free hand to the young “ Shirra.” At Ashestiel nearly all his poetical productions were written. On a knoll, still known as the “Shirra's Knowe” where you catch a glimpse of the most delightful Tweedside scenery, Scott had erected a turf seat, and much of Marmion gathered its inspiration as he sat and gazed and meditated on the romantic land lying all around. Ashestiel house has changed considerably, and been enlarged since Scott found in it bis Paradise, but the place is yet full of fadeless memories. A melancholy relic in the shape of a large easy chair is seen in what used to be the study. Scott had given it to his invalid cousin, Jane Russell, but when the peerless romancist was brought home to die, the chair was returned to Abbotsford. For a week previous to his death, he sat in it for an hour or two each day, and after his eyes had been sealed in their last long sleep, the chair again found its restingplace beneath that roof where so many of his truest joys had been known. It has been said that had Sir Walter been able to purchase Ashestiel, Abbotsford would never have arisen from the swamps of “Clarty Hole,” and it is just possible that much of the misfortune which crowded into the life of this prince of Scottish writers might never have burdened and chilled his last sad days.
Further down near Ashestiel stand the old Border demesnes of Yair and Fairnilee. At the latter place Eliza Rutherford, afterwards Mrs. Patrick Cockburn, penned her version of the most winsɔme and pathetic lyric, “The Flowers of the Forest”— " I've seen the smiling of fortune beguiling,
I've felt all its favours and found its decay ;
B.it now it is filed-Hed far away!"
They were blest beyond compare,
When they held their trysting there,
And then they wan a rest,
The lownest and the best,
Now the birks to dust may rot,
Names o’luvers be forgot,
But the blithe lilt o'yon air,
Keeps the bush aboon Traquair, And the luve that ance was there, aye fresh and green.“ James Nicoll, once minister of Traquair, sang winsomely of “Quair sweet amang the flowers." William Laidlaw, Scott's trusted friend and amanuensis, celebrated its charms in one of the tenderest pastorals, “ Lucy's Flittin'." James Hogg, the shepherd-poet of the Ettrick hills,
epherd-poet of the Ettrick hills. founded his inimitable “Kilmeny” from a legend gathered near the old house of Traquair. Here Queen Mary rested, in 1566, during one of her Border pilgrimages, and Montrose, defeated at Philipbaugh on the other side of the valley, rode across dark Minchmuir to find a brief shelter under its friendly roof. Legends many crowd around Traquair. The main gateway, flanked by figures of two huge Bradwardine bears, has remained unopened since the '45, for the Stuarts were, as their name implies, ardent Jacobites. Scott is understood to have made
The fair river now takes a circuitous bend, and that to him was dearest in the land he loved so after meeting the waters of the Ettrick, which well. Verily, Abbotsford is among the most already have been joined by the mournful sacred of Scottish shrines. For no man has Yarrow, it is now speeding along past the turrets proved himself a worthier patriot, no man has of Abbotsford, that romance, if not tragedy, in accomplished so much for his country's lasting stone and lime. Before it became in 1811 the renown. property of Sir Walter Scott, a small farm called Close at hand is Melrose and Saint David's by the not very attractive name of Cartley ruined pile, with its memoirs of many a monkish Hole—locally styled Clarty Hole-occupied its revel. Fancy may yet picture the memorable site. This its new owner transformed to the midnight ride of the Knight of Deloraine, and more euphonious Abbotsford, near the ford bring us to the grave of Michael Scott, where by which the monks of Melrose crossed the lay the seer folding c'ose his Book of Might. river he has rendered so classic. A small villa, Here, too, reposes the heart of the Kingly Bruce, which is now the western wing of the mansion, while the good Sir James, Liddesdale's dark was first built, and between the years 1817 24 Knight, the gallant Percy of Otterburne, and
ASHESTIEL. Ilustration kindly lent by Secretary, Innerleithen Alpine Club. the remaining portions were gradually added on many others of patriot fame bave found their no set plan, but with the desire to make them last resting-place under its sacred and historic resemble as closely as possible some of the shade. A few miles downward, passing many a features of ancient Scottish architecture. Here spot famous in Border story—the fairy-haunted he gathered a marvellously miscellaneous collec- Eildon, where Thomas the Rhymer met with tion of his country's relics, relating to almost the Elfin Queen ; Old Melrose by the beautiful every chapter of its history. Here he loved to bend of Tweed, Scott's favourite view, where on spend the long warm days of summer, roaming the rounded promontory the wattled fane of by hill side and river bank attended by his Melrose first arose to be sanctified by the favourite dogs and his mind filled with favourite memory of its pious prior, Cuthbert of Durham ; themes. Here he wrote those matchless Bemersyde, the seat of the ancient family of romances that have made him easily the first of Haig, of whom it was said by the sage of ErcilScottish immortals ; and here, within sound of doune as early as the thirteenth century-the gentle ripple of Tweed, over its pebbly bed,
“ Tyde, tyde, what may betyde, the “wondrous wizard" closed his eyes on all
llaig shall be Haig of Bemersyde,"
so that at this day there is a Haig still in To sum up, then, in a single paragraph. The possession and then our river winds its way Tweed has associations entwined around it that around Dryburgh, most hallowed of all, where are second to none in the Kingdom. History, rests the Mighty Minstrel in his dreamless sleep. romance, poetry, dwell by its banks. The name Sir Walter's life was practically passed by Tweed- of Walter Scott lives in every wavelet. Thousands side. Though born in the Scottish Capital he of genius-honouring and pleasure-loving pilgrims, went early to Sandyknowe where his boyhood yearly pay their devotions at the shrines of years were. spent. There he was within easy Tweedside, attracted thither by the magic spell distance of the Tweed. At Kelso his school days of the mighty romancist. While Tweed bends were begun. In the queenly Border town he its silver way through its hundred miles of imbibed much of that spirit of romance which Borderland, never shall the history that ensolds afterwards characterised the whole of his life. it be forgotten, but in the years to come ever Its venerable Abbey had many attractions for shall still be gazing at its quiet upland origin, the youthful antiquary, and from ruined Roxburgh and still tracing, with as much delight and betwixt Tweed and Teviot's flow he gathered enthusiasm as their forefathers, its rich, glorious many of the old-world traditions which helped to sweep to the world encircling sea. make him so good and true a Scot. Coldstream, which lies in sylvan loveliness on the left bank
Border Battles and Battlefields. -the Scottish side-of the noble river, has been
BY JAMES ROBSON, the scene of many an armed gathering when Author of "Churches and Churchyards of Teviotdale," etc. Scottish and English crossed the Tweed to
BATTLE OF FLODDEN : invade each other's territory. So near the
Fought 9th September, 1513. Border, the place had at one time considerable
" Where shivered was fair Scotland's spear, notoriety for its runaway marriages, among the
And broken was her shield.” most notable of which was that of Lord Brougham NE naturally expects that an event so in 1819. Not far from Coldstream are Wark. momentous as that of Flodden must Castle where Edward III, instituted the order
have a casus belli such as, if not altogether of the Garter ; Ford Castle where King James sufficient to justify it, will at all events bear dallied with the Lady Heron to the ultimate some proportion to the nature and extent of destruction of his army ; Twizel Bridge cleverly the quarrel and the issues involved. One of crossed by the English general and his men; the very saddest things we have to face in the and Flodden Hill so disastrous to the Scots, consideration of these Border conflicts, is the "Where shivered was fair Scotland's spear,
fact that thousands of precious human lives And broken was her shield."
were sacrificed to gratify, in most cases, an Next we come to Norham the great fortress of idle whim on the part of a monarch or the Borders, set down, as it were, to overawe a chief. That James, in the present instance, kingdom. From its strong “castled steep” a had no higher or nobler aim than that of commanding view is obtained of an extensive weakening the power and crippling the resources tract of country on both sides of the Border of England in the approaching war between the Nothing can equal Scott's description of Norham latter and France, is a fact which, at the very in Marmion, and the old castle becomes to the outset, it is well to understand. sympathetic visitor all the more interesting from Of his wisdom and prudence in plunging the entrancing charms which his imagination the two nations into a war involving such has cast around it.
tremendous issues we can only speak in terms Last of all we reach Berwick where Tweed of strongest censure. And yet we must rememempties itself into the sounding sea. The e are ber that wisdom and prudence were qualities of few towns richer in historic associations than minor significance in the days when “might this quaint Border borough by the banks of the was right.” On the other hand, his courage Border river and the moaning ocean. Much of in the face of danger, his chivalric bearing, Berwick's history is the history of the two personal sacrifice, even his honour, we dare Kingdoms. Her old Border Bridge has many not impugn. a time been a Bridge of Sighs for both nations; It must be confessed that, apart from the but now as it joins infirmer bonds the lands king, it required but little in these days to that long centuries alienated, may the union for arouse the people to a state of military enboth countries become increasingly strong, thusiasm. True, for over a century there had sincere, and flourishing, a mighty source of been no pitched battle between the two countries. happiness to all who are privileged to live under The spirit of war, however, was only dormant, and its peaceful and smiling sway!
but a very small spark sufficed to kindle the flame. James IV. of Scotland had married Margaret, The news soon spread throughout Scotland. the eldest sister of Henry VIII. From such Active preparations were at once made for the an alliance we might have expected peace speedy equipment of a force sufficient to cope between the two kingdoms. James, however, with that which Surrey was able to bring into entertained a strong partiality towards the King the field. Great excitement prevailed amongst of France, and when Henry proclaimed war all classes. The King's summons for all against that country, it was the sinal for a men capable of bearing arms to meet him strong protest on the part of the Scottish mon- in the course of three weeks was obeyed arch. Before proceeding with his French in with alacrity. Swords and spears, which for a vasion, Henry took the precaution of appointing generation, had lain untouched, were brought Thomas, Earl of Surrey, Lieutenant-General of forth, burnished and sharpened for the combat. the Northern counties, with instructions to keep Within that short space of time, 100,000 men a diligent watch over these parts, and neglect met on the Borough Moor near Edinburgh, nothing that would tend to the safety and welfare equipped and provisioned for 40 days, ready
of his kingdom. Henry entertained strong suspicions that James was secretly preparing an army either to aid France or invade England during his absence ; and the development of events shows that he was not mistaken. James, it is true, had exerted himself with commendable zeal to persuade Henry not to enter into a conflict with France ; but in this he was entirely unsuccessful ; and Henry, mindful only of his own glory and renown, pushed forward with all possible haste his arrangements. for the projected invasion. James at once proclaimed war against England with the ostensible purpose of weakening the power of Henry, and thus indirectly aiding France, the ancient friend and ally of Scotland.
nay, eager to follow their king wherever, and to whatever, fate he chose to lead them. Border men especially were burning with a desire to grapple with their enemies. This led to several raids on either side the Border as a prelude to the great conflict at Flodden. In this way much blood was spilt, especially on the part of the Scots.
It was thus that, in the early part of August, 1513, Scotland was in a fever of excitement. The memory of Bannockburn, though 200 years old, fired the soul of every man as he buckled on his armour and stepped into the ranks.
The King held several consultations with his nobles, many of whom were opposed to war, and sought by earnest entreaty to dissuade the
king from his purpose. The queen (sister of proved of great advantage to the English cause. Henry VIII.) was also much opposed to it, and Elaborate and expeditious as the Scots had used all her influence and earnest pleading in that been in their preparations, the English had been direction. Even the necromantic art was brought not a whit behind. Not only had they amassed into requisition, as it was known that James was a large army, but, by consummate skill and naturally superstitious. Nothing. however, could diplomacy, by means of emissaries and spies, shake his determination. Before him stood they had made themselves masters of every perhaps the finest, best equipped, and largest detail concerning tne Scottish army and their army that ever assembled in Scotland. The movements. In the latter end of July, Surrey entire nobility of the kingdom .were there— had only a few hundred men. At Pontefract men of noble lineage, such as the Douglases, Castle he met the English nobles and there, Kers, Homes, Scotts, Morays, whose ancestors deliberating together, they perfected their plans, had won renown in previous wars, and to whom Orders were given that, from all parts of the the present occasion afforded an opportunity country, horse and foot soldiers should assemble of adding fresh lustre and glory to their names. and prepare for immediate action. At New
When everything was in readiness the vast castle, by arrangement, Surrey met Lord Dacre, army left the Borough Moor, headed by the commander of the horse, Sir William Bulmer, king and the Scottish nobles. In all the pride Sir Marmaduke Constable, and many others of and pomp of martial glory they marched to the high rank from the northern provinces. stirring strains of drums and bagpipes. Flags From all parts of England troops poured in and pennons innumerable waved over the heads to strengthen the hands of Surrey. Even from of the vast throng. The subordinate chiefs and France Lord Thomas Howard, High Admiral of men-at-arms were all well mounted, clad in England, was dispatched with a force of 5,000 complete mail. They marched from Edinburgh which probably could be ill spared from the to the banks of the Tweed, arriving at Cold- English army there.. stream on Sunday, the 21st of August, 1513. By the 5th of September, the English tents Here, on the Leeshaugh, they encamped for were pitched at Bolton near Alnwick. The the pight ; alas! the last night on which thou- soldiers, men at-arms and knights, were clad sands were destined to sleep on Scottish soil. much in the same way as the Scots, certainly
Early on the Monday morning the left bank in no way inferior in point of splendour and of the Tweed was thronged with a gay and general military equipment. Surrey despatched excited concourse of men inspired with one a message to James, reproaching him for breaking supreme, all absorbing passion, that of glory and faith with the King of England, and offering conquest. Crossing over to the enemy's territory, him battle on the following Friday, 9th Septemthey laid siege to the castles of Norham, Wark, ber. James promptly accepted the challenge, and Etoll in succession, and these in about a stating that had he been in Edinburgh instead week were captured. Ford Castle proved more of on English soil he would even then gladly formidable. It was occupied by Lady Heron, have hastened to obey the summons. The two with whom James had become seriously en- armies were now comparatively near to each tangled.
other. That of James occupied a commanding “ O'er James's heart, the courtiers say,
position on the eastern end of Flodden Hill, Sir Hugh the Heron's wife held sway.”
from which an excellent view is obtained of that It seems that, under some private arrangement, part of the country to the north and east, over it was agreed that this castle should not be which the English army might be expected to thrown down. Whether by a breach of agree march. The Till, a deep sluggish river, afforded ment on his part or otherwise we are left to protection on the north and east. conjecture, but at all events the place was On the afternoon of Tuesday the 6th, Surrey besieged and considerable damage done to the removed his army from Bolton to Wooler castle. There can be little doubt that this lady Haugh, and there remained until the day preplayed a deceitful part towards James prior to ceding the battle James's strong position on the battle. To her treachery indeed may be Flodden Hill alarmed the English leader not a traced several important circumstances which little. He tried many devices to induce him to led up to the Scots' defeat. While pretending descend and meet the southern host on Milfield to be friendly to the Scottish cause, she was all Plain, but without effect. So far undoubtedly the while conducting a secret correspondence the King's prospects were good. He had chosen with the Earl of Surrey, supplying him with such an impregnable position from which, did he information concerning the movements and choose to remain, it would be almost impossible strength of the Scottish army as must have to dislodge him.