Castle In Kelso, Borders
A ruined castle on the Scottish side of the border built by the 1st Earl of Roxburghe.
Just 8 miles over the Scottish border in the historic county of Roxburghshire lives Cessford Castle. It now sits in a field with sheep for company, but as with most castles along the border, it is steeped in history.
The castle was built around 1450 by Andrew Ker, the 1st Earl of Roxburghe. The Kers were notorious Border Reivers, so Cessford Castle was heavily fortified to help protect themselves from any retaliations.
It is L-shaped, may have incorporated parts of an earlier structure and had up to six storeys with walls 4m thick! That means that the walls would have consumed over half the total width of the keep.
It was also surrounded by a barmekin (love that word) so would have been a formidable place of defence. The six storeys would have comprised a pit prison at the bottom, then guardroom, kitchen, and three levels of family dwelling.
Ten years after his victory at the Battle Of Flodden, the Early Of Surrey besieged the castle in 1523 with 11 cannons. The castle held out successfully against the English artillery until the defenders negotiated its surrender and their safe passage. The Earl remarked, "It might never have been taken had the assailed been able to go on defending".
During this time the castle could accommodate the Ker family and servants in addition to a garrison of up to 60 troops, The majority of these would have been accommodated outside the castle itself, in a courtyard area surrounded by the barmkin wall.
The castle was attacked again by the English in 1545, during Henry VIII's campaign of "rough wooing”, before it was finally abandoned in 1650.
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There are two gates on the west and east side of the field, with the one on the west having an information board.
Find a grass verge on the outskirts of the field to park in. It's in a farming area, so make sure you don't block the road or any gates.
Place contributed by Simon Hawkins
Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue Pele tower up a remote hill or a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.
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