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Pringle of Whytbank
Pringle of Whytbank


The Hop Pringles of Teviotdale may descend from the son of a pilgrim to the Holy Land, perhaps a crusading knight.

The Hop Pringles of that Ilk held substantial lands around Galashiels. The Lairds of Whitsome were allies of the great house of Douglas, and Robert Pringle was squire to James, Earl of Douglas, at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388.

David Pringle, Laird from 1495 to 1535, built the tower of Smailholm which is perched on the rocky hills at Sandyknowe, situated six miles west of Kelso and still stands today. The tower was well known to Sir Walter Scott, whose grandfather owned the farm at Sandyknowe.

Sir James Pringle of Smailholme was sheriff principal of Ettrick Forest in 1622. He is said to have sold off a considerable portion of his estates to pay debts incurred by living extravagantly at the court of James VI. The Pringles of Stitchill were raised to the rank of baronet in 1682.

Another prominent family descended from the Pringles of Smailholm are the Lairds of Torwoodlee. This family suffered much during the persecution of the Covenanters when their house near Selkirk frequently offered sanctuary to those forced into hiding for their adherence to the Covenant.

Other cadets include the Pringles of Haining, Newhall and Lochton. Thomas Pringle, the Border poet and writer, was born in Teviotdale in 1789. He became Secretary to the Society for the Abolition of Slavery in 1834.

The arms of this ancient family bear three scallop shells, the scallop being the traditional badge of those on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

In 1950 the tower of Smailholm was entrusted to the guardianship of the then Ministry of Works (now Secretary of State for Scotland) by the owner, the Earl of Ellesmere.

Other towers associated with this family include towers in the Kelso, Melrose and Galashiels area: Greenknowe, Whytburn, Blindlee, Muirhouse, Torwoodlee and Buckh??



See also: Pringle of Whitsome





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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024