Sunday, 2 November 2014

Old post time - Greenknowe Tower.

2nd November 2014. Over the last couple of months I've been busy applying myself to reading, writing essays, attending interviews, and it has finally paid off.  I've started a course that will hopefully push my job back into being a career. Meantime, I still have to work full time to satisfy my current contractual obligations...., and pay the bills. So apologies for the lack of posts. I hope that I'll get back to some cycling in the next couple of weeks.

I've still been out and about when I have the time, so here is an old post that I have never got around to publishing.

12 October 2014.
I've caught a cold and just wasn't up to cycling today so instead I took El and Fly for a day out around the borders. We stopped at Greenknowe Tower near Gordon to let Fly out for a wander.

This is a cracking ruin of a 16th Century tower house. It is one of the later ones in the Borders and is probably a better example of a residence rather than a defensive tower. It was built by James Seton in 1581. 

The Setons had acquired land after marrying into the Gordon family who had in turn the been awarded the land by King Malcolm way back in 1018 after the Battle of Carham. This battle was the deciding factor in the Lothians becoming Scottish rather than staying with Northumbria in England. The main protagonists included the wonderfully named 'Owain the Bald' and 'Huctred, son of Waldef'. The border country is full of these obscure places with names that could be straight from Beowulf.

Back at the tower and the names are a little less prosaic and the sentiment a lot more pleasant. The carving above the door commemorates the marriage of the original owner, James Seton, and his wife Janet Edmonstone.

Their ground floor has a huge vaulted kitchen and store area. If you look carefully there is still a meat hook in the ceiling at the window.

 Then up the little staircase to the main hall where Fly volunteered to give an idea of scale of the fireplace. It must have been a full time job cutting fuel to keep these houses running. The walls would have been plastered and decorated with woven hangings and tapestry. The shape of the windows of the hall and bedrooms suggests that they would have likely have had glass in them. The glass was incredibly expensive and very crude. If there wasn't glass, they had wooden sliding shutters. 

The humans have all gone now but it looks like there is an owl living in the tower somewhere.


I continued up the little staircase to the roof, or at least where the roof should have been. Fly did her best to follow but became a bit nervous and crawled back down.

A wonderful tower house, full of history and totally deserted. Great.



  1. Mighty good to hear from you again, Peter! Best wishes on your new pursuits.

    Thanks for another historical post, and the old home tour. It was mind boggling to think of the years that place has experienced.

    1. Thanks Chris, I need to get some regular cycling again. I can't have my brain getting all the exercise.