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Drumlanrig's Tower

 

 

Drumlanrig's Tower is Hawick's oldest building and is one of the more important pieces of military and architectural history in the area. It was originally a 16th century stone L-plan tower house, founded by the Douglases of Drumlanrig. For many centuries the border land between England and Scotland was almost constantly a place where the two sides fought and contested their rights to own it. This tower played a significant role as a lookout and point of defence and has a rich history. Of three storeys and a garret, the basement in the main block was vaulted and the hall stood on the first floor. Standing inside a late 12th or early 13th century ditch, at least two splayed gun-loops guarded the entrance in the re-entrant angle.

When the Earl of Surrey, Thomas Howard, invaded in 1570 his army laid waste to the town and the wider region, as they advanced through the Teviot Valley. To prevent the towns occupation by the English, the inhabitants themselves removed everything of worth and set fire to their thatch in the street. The entire town was consumed by flame, with the sole exception of the "Black Tower" as it was after called.

In 1701-2 the Queensberry family extended and reconstructed the tower, when they infilled the angle to square off the block but much of the original L-plan layout still survives. Anne, first First Duchess of Buccleuch, wife of the executed Duke of Monmouth, took up residence in the Castle and had the central courtyard filled in to make a square plan.

In 1769, the castle was renovated once more and became a popular Coaching Inn on busy Edinburgh to Carlisle road. The Edinburgh to Carlisle stagecoach changed horses at Hawick, and the stables were located through the arch just visible in extreme left of photo. The stagecoach service was operated by the firm of Croalls, with John Croall becoming one of the largest and last stage coach operators in Scotland, prior to his death in 1873, when the final express stagecoach services in Scotland ended. The firm of Croall Bryson continued to operate a garage from the old stables until the nineteen eighties, while the hotel became part of the North British Hotels chain. It remained the Tower Hotel for over 200 years until 1985 when it was bought by Roxburgh District Council.

Now a large comfortable town house, owned by Scottish Borders Council, the floors in the wing match those in the main block and both are reached via a corridor from the spiral stair, Drumlanrig's Tower is a beautifully restored building which uses period rooms, figures and audiovisuals to explain the turbulent past of the town and the tower. Drumlanrig's Tower houses the local Tourist Information centre, as well as exhibits on on the town, its History, and the Knitwear Industry, with a new exhibit showcasing the best of the work of the Towns Mills. After being renovated during the £10 million Heart of Hawick regeneration project, It has been renamed the "Border Textile Towerhouse" and tells the story behind some of the worlds most famous fashions as well as hosting events and supporting many projects incorporating fashion and textiles. The tower is open all year round and admission is free.

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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017