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The feast was over in Branksome tower. P. 41.
In the reign of James I., Sir William Scott of Buccleugh chief of the clan bearing that name, exchanged, with Sir Thomas Inglis of Manor, the estate of Murdiestone, in Lanarkshire, for one-half of the barony of Branksome, or Brankholm,' lying upon the Teviot, about three miles above Hawick. He was probably induced to this transaction from the vicinity of Branksome to the extensive domain which he possessed in Ettrick Forest and in Teviotdale. In the former district he held by occupancy the estate of Buccleuch, and much of the forest land on the river Ettrick. In Teviotdale, he enjoyed the barony of Eckford, by a grant from Robert II. to his ancestor, Walter Scott of Kirkurd, for the apprehending of Gilbert Ridderford, confirmed by Robert III., 3d May, 1424. Tradition imputes the exchange betwixt Scott and Inglis to a conversation, in which the latter, a man, it would appear, of a mild and forbearing nature, complained much of the injuries which he was exposed to from the English Borderers, who frequently plundered his lands of Branksome. Sir William Scott instantly offered him the estate of Murdiestone, in exchange for that which was subject to such egregious inconvenience. When
1 Branxholm is the proper name of the barony; bit Branksome has been a lopted, as suitable to the pronunciation, and more proper for poetry.
2 There are no vestiges of any building at Buccleuch, except the site of a chapel, where, according to a tradition current in the time of Scott of Satchells, many of the ancient barons of Buccleuch lie buried. There is also said to have been a mill near this solitary spot; an extraordinary circumstance, as little or no corn grows within several miles of Buccleuch. Satchells says it was used to grind corn for the hounds of the chieftain.
the bargain was completed, he dryly remarked, that the cattle in Cumberland were as good as those of Teviotdale; and proceeded to commence a system of reprisals upon the English, which was regularly pursued by his successors. In the next reign, James JI. granted to Sir Walter Scott of Branksome, and to Sir David, his son, the remaining half of the barony of Branksome, to be held in blanche for the payment of a red rose. The cause assigned for the grant is, their brave and faithful exertions in favour of the King against the house of Douglas, with whom James had been recently tugging for the throne of Scotland. This charter is dated the 2d February, 1443; and, in the same month, part of the barony of Langholm, and many lands in Lanarkshire, were conferred upon Sir Walter and his son by the same monarch.
After the period of the exchange with Sir Thomas Inglis, Branksome became the principal seat of the Buccleuch family. The castle was enlarged and strengthened by Sir David Scott, the grandson of Sir William, its first possessor. But, in 1570–1, the vengeance of Elizabeth, provoked by the inroads of Buccleuch, and his attachment to the cause of Queen Mary, destroyed the castle, and laid waste the lands of Branksome. In the same year the castle was repaired and enlarged by Sir Walter Scott, its brave possessor; but the work was not completed until after his death, in 1574, when the widow finished the building. This appears from the following inscriptions. Around a stone, bearing the arms of Scott of Buccleuch, appears the following legend: "Sir W. Scott of Branxheim Knyt oe of Sir William Scott of Birkurd Knyt began ye work upon ye 24 of Marche 1571 zier quha departit at God's pleisour ye 17 April 1574." On a similar copartment are sculptured the arms of Douglas, with this inscription, "DAME MARGARET DOUGLAS HIS SPOUS COMPLETIT THE FORSAID WORK IN OCTOBER 1576." Over an arched door is inscribed the following moral verse :
En. barld. is. nocht. nature. hes. brought. yat. sal. lest. ay. Tharefore. serve. God. keip. veil. ye. rod. thy. fame. sal. necht. dekay.
Sir Walter Scot of Branxholm Knight. Margaret Bouglas. 1571.
Branksome Castle continued to be the principal seat of the
Buccleuch family, while security was any object in their choice of a mansion. It has since been the residence of the Commissioners, or Chamberlains, of the family. From the various alterations which the building has undergone, it is not only greatly restricted in its dimensions, but retains little of the castellated form, if we except one square tower of massy thickness, the only part of the original building which now remains. The whole forms a handsome modern residence, lately inhabited by my deceased friend, Adam Ogilvy, Esq. of Hartwoodmyres, Commissioner of his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch.
The extent of the ancient edifice can still be traced by some vestiges of its foundation, and its strength is obvious from the situation, on a deep bank surrounded by the Teviot and flanked by a deep ravine, formed by a precipitous brook. It was anciently surrounded by wood, as appears from the survey of Roxburghshire, made for Pont's Atlas, and preserved in the Advocates' Library. This wood was cut about fifty years ago, but is now replaced by the thriving plantations, which have been formed by the noble proprietor, for miles around the ancient mansion of his forefathers.
Nine-and-twenty knights of fame
Hung their shields in Branksome-Hull. — P. 42.
The ancient Barons of Buccleuch, both from feudal splendour, and from their frontier situation, retained in their household, at Branksome, a number of gentlemen of their own name, who held lands from their chief, for the military service of watching and warding his castle. Satchells tells us, in his doggrel poetry,
No baron was better served in Britain;
Each two had a servant to wait upon them;
'They kept four and twenty pensioners. VOL. I.