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Newark Castle, Selkirkshire facts for kids

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Newark Tower ruins

Newark Tower is a large, ruined tower house standing in the grounds of Bowhill House, in the valley of the Yarrow Water three miles west of Selkirk in the Scottish Borders. In addition to the keep, sections of a gatehouse and wall survive. It has been designated a scheduled monument by Historic Environment Scotland.


Newark Tower was granted to Archibald Douglas, Earl of Wigtown around 1423. It was incomplete at this time and work continued until about 1475. The surrounding barmkin was added around 1550, and the present battlements and two square cap-houses date from about 1600.

After the fall of the Black Douglases the Tower was held by the crown, and in 1473 it was given to Margaret of Denmark, wife of James III. The royal arms are visible on the west gable.

Margaret Tudor, mother of James V, came to Newark in June 1532 to keep the Forest Court of Ettrick, the Ettrick lands being part of her marriage gift. The Laird of Buccleuch refused to give her the keys, until James V who was hunting at Cramalt in Meggotland sent confirmation. Margaret gave the keys to her husband Lord Methven.

Newark was unsuccessfully besieged by an English army in 1547, but was burnt the following year.

In 1645, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, 100 royalist followers of the Marquis of Montrose were shot in the barmkin of Newark after the Battle of Philiphaugh. The Tower is believed to be haunted.

The Tower was altered for Anne Scott, 1st Duchess of Buccleuch at the end of the 17th century. It was visited by Sir Walter Scott and William and Dorothy Wordsworth in 1831.

Walter Scott framed the story of The Lay of the Last Minstrel there.

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