Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sun 13th May at a Tower House

Sunday morning and the sun had disappeared. Yesterday's wind had increased overnight gusting to 50+mph so it wasn't going to be a day for sailing. I decided to head down the coast with Fly. 

Pease Dean has a path through the east side which is part of the Southern Upland Way. As a result the west side of the dean is hardly visited which suits me fine. It also has some great history around Cockburnspath Tower house.

I could smell the wild garlic as we walked down to the old bridge.

 It tasted good too!

Under the trailing ivy you can see the bridge over the ravine. This is one of the only suitable crossings and so a strong place to defend. The bridge would originaly have been wooden so it could be drawn up in times of trouble, which in the Borders meant just about all the time. The tower house is 15th century and  may have been a rebuilding of a 14th century fortress established by the Dunbar family as part of their seven castles.   

The tower is an imposing building but unfortunately has had a further collapse in the last year or so.

After the Dunbar family, the tower was held by the Douglasses against the infernal English. It would also have seen a lot of fighting with the Home family who were great rivals of the Douglasses. James VI took the tower in 1594 and granted it to the Earl of Lennox. The Douglasses took it back in 1602 which must have upset the monarch. 

Windows like this don't let much light in but they are great for firing arrows at your neighbours which was a popular pastime in the 16th century Borders. Still is in some parts.

Carved door lintel at the base of the tower. By the 17th Century the tower had lost its military significance and fell into disrepair. As with many fortified houses it became a quarry for other local building projects. Its a shame to see it slowly collapsing but in some ways I like seeing nature take its course instead of scaffolding and 'keep out' signs.

Fly in a glade of garlic. No worries about vampires in our house tonight.

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