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Battle of Skirmish Hill







Turn again stone
Despite the folklore generally agreed to be associated with this stone, it is possible that the stone pre-dates the Battle of Melrose in 1526 as it stands along side an old trackway that may have led to the crossing point or ford over the River Tweed at Abbotsford.
The Turn Again Stone is believed to have been set up around 1526 at the time of the Battle of Melrose on nearby Skirmish Hill. The Scott family and others, who were fighting for the release of James V, were defeated by forces led by Ker of Cessford. Ker led the following pursuit but at the site of stone, Elliot turned and speared Ker to death. The stone marks this spot.


On 25 July, 1526, in a field near Darnick, the Earl of Angus, Archibald Douglas, led a young King James V towards Edinburgh with around 1000 men. James was in his custody and influence, though neither James or his local supporters felt this was good for the Kindom of Scotland. Walter Scott of Buccleugh led 600 Borderers on horse to Darnick to challenge Douglas and hoped to free the young king. A skirmish ensued and many supporters of both Buccleugh and Douglas lost their lives. James was not involved in the action, but is said to have watched it from the battlements of Darnick Tower. Ultimately, the challenge failed, and the king remained under the watchful gaze of Douglas for several years to come.

To commemorate this little known, but momentous, battle, the Melrose Historical Association, with support from Scottish Borders Council and the Battlefield Trust, have erected an information board on the corner of the field where it is said the forces of Douglas and Buccleugh first locked swords.

The board can be seen on the Southern Upland Way as it passes to the north of the Waverley Castle Hotel, Darnick.





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Last modified: Tuesday, 01 February 2022