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5 Haunted Places in the Scottish Borders

| On 18, Jul 2014

Hermitage Castle, Newcastleton

The Hermitage Castle looks like a fortress from Lord of the Rings…

It’s quite an imposing building, even in its semi-ruinous state!

The Norman Motte and Bailey castle was said to have been built by Nicholas de Soulis in 1240.

It’s believed its name Hermitage comes from the old French l’armitage which means guardhouse.

Over the centuries, the ownership of the castle went from the Soulis family to the Douglas, Hepburns and finally the Scotts.

After the Union of the Crowns in 1603 the castle fell into disrepair slowly becoming a ruin.

Today, I’m happy to tell you that the castle is run by Historic Scotland.

If you fancy having a look around it, it’s opened to the public in the summer months.

Now, to the ghosts…

The most famous ghost said to haunt the castle is that of Mary, Queen of Scots herself.

Terrified witnesses have seen a ghostly apparition of a young woman in a white dress wandering around the outside of the castle.

Many say that this young woman is Mary and she’s looking for James Hepburn her third husband.

On a quiet night it’s said that you can hear the mad laughter of Bad Lord Soulis.

He’s ghostly apparition has been witnesses by visitors to the castle on many occasions.

It’s also said that the eerie sound of his victims weeping have been heard coming from inside the building.

The ghost of the imprisoned and starved Sir Alexander Ramsey is said to be another poor lost soul who has been heard within the castle screaming and crying for help…

In the 1800s, a sealed up dungeon was uncovered and a skeleton of a man with a rusty sword was discovered.

Was this Sir Alexander Ramsey?


Buckholm Tower, Galashiels

Back in 1582, the Pringle family built Buckholm Tower at the foot of Buckholm Hill near the border town of Galashiels.

Buckholm Tower is an excellent example of a Border Tower House but recently it sadly has quickly fallen into a ruinous state.

Now the tower is said to be haunted by the evil Laird Pringle who lived there in the 18th century…

Apparently he wasn’t a very nice man, so much so that both his wife and son left him because of the abuse he dealt out to them.

One day he was called upon by the local Dragoons to assist them to break-up an unlawful assembly of covenanters on nearby Ladhope Moor.

Pringle jumped at the chance and fetched his hounds.

On their search they came across two well-known covenanters Geordie Elliott and his son William.

Geordie had been thrown from his horse and was badly hurt.

Pringle wanted to kill them then and there but the captain of the Dragoons thought they would be more use to them alive.

He ordered Pringle to lock them up in his dungeon at Buckholm Tower until an escort could be organised to collect them.

Well Pringle wasn’t too happy with this order and when the Dragoons left he started to get very drunk.

Later that night, William started to cry out for help as his father Geordie’s health was getting worse.

Pringle flew into the dungeon in a drunken rage and desperate screams were heard by his shocked servants.

Shortly afterwards, Geordie’s wife turned up at the door demanding to see her husband and son…

Pringle obliged by dragging the old woman down to the dungeon.

What she saw was truly shocking, the bodies of her dead husband and son hung up on some rusty hooks like slabs of meat!

At that moment she broke down and cursed the Laird for the evil he had done her family.

Apparently, from that day on he was convinced that he was being attacked by phantom hounds which no-one else could see.

Today on the anniversary of Pringle’s death, it’s said that his tormented spirit is heard crying out for help from the cellar of Buckholm Tower.


Jedburgh Castle Jail, Jedburgh

If you’re a Most Haunted fan then you’ll probably remember that back in 2008 the team investigated Jedburgh Castle Jail as it’s said to be very haunted.

The jail was built in 1823 on the former site of the 12th century Jedburgh Castle.

The castle was demolished by the Scots commanded Sir James Douglas in 1409 to prevent it from falling into the hands of the English.

The jail was mostly used as a debtor’s prison and it imprisoned men, women and even children.

Jedburgh Castle Jail was infamous in Scotland for its terrible conditions and the cruelty it dealt out to its poor prisoners.

The jail also had a set of gallows and was often used for executions of criminals.

It was finally closed in 1886 but they say that some of the inmates have never really left.

With such a dark history, it’s no surprise that the jail is said to be haunted by many ghosts.

Paranormal activity such as cell doors banging, eerie whistling and phantom footsteps walking along the corridors have been reported by terrified visitors to the jail.

Scared witnesses have also seen the ghostly apparition of a piper standing on the battlements of the jail.

If you fancy having a look around the old jail you’ll be please to discover that it’s opened to the public.


Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, Dryburgh

Dryburgh Abbey Hotel is a baronial country house hotel located next to the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey on the banks of the River Tweed.

The building dates back to 1845 when it was first built as a home for Lady Griselle Baillie.

The Scottish Motor Traction Company bought the house in 1929 and converted it into a hotel in 1932.

The ruins of Dryburgh Abbey next to the hotel are said to be haunted by chanting monks.

But, the major haunting at the hotel and a nearby bridge is that of a Grey Lady.

The ghost of the Grey Lady is believed to be a young woman from the 16th century who lived at the old house before the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel.

Local legend says she fell head over heels in love with a monk.

Unfortunately, their love affair was discovered by his peers and the poor monk was hung for his sins.

The young woman was heartbroken.

Shortly afterwards she committed suicide by jumping into the River Tweed from a local bridge!


Melrose Abbey, Melrose

The Gothic style St Mary’s Abbey at Melrose is a semi-ruinous monastery.

Back in 1136 it was founded by Cistercian monks on the request of King David I of Scotland.

Many Scottish kings are buried at the abbey.

And it’s even said that the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce is buried somewhere in the abbey’s grounds.

Now, the abbey and its grounds are said to be very haunted.

Scared witnesses have seen the ghostly apparitions of monks wandering around the grounds of the abbey.

In 1812, the stone coffin of the philosopher Michael Scott was discovered in the aisle of the south chancel.

It’s been said that his ghost haunts the area around his grave at Melrose Abbey.

Now there’s a weird story from the abbey concerning a vampire monk!

It’s said that in the past one of the abbey’s monks was a very nasty character in life and after his death he returned as a vampire.

On certain nights he would rise from the dead and go and feast on the nuns at the nearby nunnery.

One brave monk went and staked out his grave…

Then one night the vampire monk again rose from the dead.

This was his last rising, as the brave monk quickly chopped his head off with an axe.

As you can imagine, this did the job and the vampire monk was killed.

But, it’s still said that his evil presents lurks in certain parts of the abbey grounds!