As part of a broader bid for a Scottish Borders National Park status, a dedicated group aims to highlight the rich cultural heritage of the Rule Valley by creating a trail in the vicinity of Jedburgh incorporating twelve of its ancient towers.
The common theme is Edward Seymour, the Earl of Hertford’s, destructive raid of 1545.
In 1545 Henry VIII’s forces were defeated by the Scots at Ancrum Moor – he wanted revenge.
The Earl of Hertford was ordered north with 12,000 foot and 4,000 horse with instructions to:
Between the 8th and 23rd of September 1545 he dutifully 'brent (burnt), rased and cast downe'.
Towns, villages, churches, abbeys, castles, towers, farms, barns and mills. Cattle were driven off and crops destroyed. Scots were chased from their homes, killed or held to ransom.
Hertford returned to England assured of a job well done.
Henry had demanded to be kept informed and Hertford had obliged with a series of dispatches listing property destroyed and lands wasted – fortunately for historians these survive.
Hertford reported twelve towers destroyed in the Rule Valley and the plan is to link them thus creating The Twelve Towers Trail. This is a tall order as first the twelve towers have to be located!
Hertford’s list of towers destroyed on the Rule Water, near Jedburgh included:
Some of the twelve towers like Bedrowle (Bedrule) and Fetton (Fulton) are still readily identifiable, but others not so.
A recent grant to the group will facilitate their efforts to locate the remaining castles and begin to launch a trail connecting them. The Scottish Castles Association wishes them success.
Article by Scottish Castles Association member Brian McGarrigle.