Saturday, September 20, 2014

A trip to the Scottish Borders...

The Scottish Borders is one of the 32 council areas (counties) of Scotland and is the area south of Edinburgh extending down to the border between Scotland and England. 

Historically, the name Scottish Borders designated the entire border region of southern Scotland together with neighbouring areas of England and was part of the historical Borders region.  Roxburghshire and Berwickshire historically bore the brunt of the conflicts with England, both during declared wars such as the Wars of Scottish Independence and many armed raids. Thus, across the region are to be seen the ruins of many castles and abbeys.

The Battle of Flodden or Flodden Field was a conflict between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. The battle was fought in the county of Northumberland in northern England on 9 September 1513, between an invading Scots army under King James IV and an English army commanded by the Earl of Surrey.  It was an English victory.  In terms of troop numbers, it was the largest battle fought between the two Kingdoms.  James IV was killed in the battle and his 17 month old son, James V was soon crowned at Stirling Castle...but that is another story for another day.  

Near to where the Battle of Flodden was fought is the Floors Castle.  This is one of the castles of Scotland that is still occupied by the family and is the largest of this type.   

Since the castle is the current home of the Roxbourghe family we were not able to take pictures inside the building.  I have scanned some photos (like this one) from the brochure that tells about the estate.
The original home (the very center part of what you see above) was built in 1721 for the 1st Duke of Roxbourghe.  What one sees today is the evolving story of a house (castle) with impressions left by succeeding generations.

Extensive additions were made to castle between 1837 and 1847.  The architect drew inspiration for Floors from the Heriot’s Hospital in Edinburgh.  Some of the rooms on the ground floor of the centre portion of the house (the oldest part) are open to the public.  The family lives in the wing on the right and the estate business operation is housed in the left wing.  There are over 150 rooms in total.

In the early part of the 20th century, the 8th Duke married May Goelet, a young American heiress who brought her outstanding collection of fine art to the home and made substantial changes to the interior of the Drawing Room and Ballroom to display an amazing set of tapestries.

 When the family entertains today they occassionally will use some of the rooms in the oldest part of the home...for example this drawing room and also the dining room.

 The tapestries were incredible and filled the walls of two rooms.

The Roxbourghe estate surrounds the castle grounds with a total of 56,000 acres.  This extends to a 20 mile radius around the castle and the town of Kelso.    The estate is made up of 45 tenanted farms.  The businesses operated by the Estate include salmon fishing, farming, sheep, timber, and breeding thoroughbred horses.  The estate employs 150 full time staff and 70 part time staff. 

On our way back to Edinburgh we stopped at Scott’s View.  This was the favourite spot of Sir Walter Scott.  

 There is a plaque at the site which states:  Sir Walter Scott love the border’s landscape, history and people with a passion.  He was the most popular writer of his age.  When he died his funeral procession was over a mile long.  It took his body from his home at Abbotsford to his tomb in Drybourgh Abbey, down the hill to the left.  Tradition tells how his horses stopped here on the way, just as they had done when their master was alive so he could enjoy his favourite view.”

This is the ruins of the Drybourgh Abbey.  Inside this structure on the left is Scott's tomb.

This is Sir Walter Scott's tomb

No comments:

Post a Comment