Talk about history! When it comes to a rich and varied history very few castles parallel that of Hermitage. This is the castle to which Mary Queen of Scots rode to meet her future husband, namely, Lord Darnley. This is probably one of the eeriest castles you will ever visit and not just for its atmosphere. One of the bloodiest battles in the history of Scotland happened here and I won’t spoil the story for you, so you’ll have to check it out for yourself! Hermitage is located at Liddesdale, five and half miles northeast of Newcastleton near the Scottish/English border. You can see a photo of it below. Just click on it to get the large view! The photo doesn’t do it enough justice, but since photos of it are hard to come by, you’ll have to content yourself with it until you can actually visit the castle. I’ll have a comprehensive set of albums for Scottish Castles by 2008 after my England and Wales book is done and out on the shelves!
The layout of the castle itself is strange. There is an inner court to it which has four square wing towers which vary vastly in size. It was built originally by Walter Comyn in the thirteenth century (he was the Earl of Menteith).
This castle eventually passed into the hands of the Earls of Angus and its enlargement is due mainly to them (around the fifteenth century.) In 1492 (yeah, 1492!), Archibald, the sixth Earl of Angus, exchanged Hermitage and Liddesdale for Bothwell Castle, which had belonged to Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. When Lord Darnley, who was THE Earl of Bothwell, was felled by a desparate freebooter, he sent for Mary (Queen of Scots) and she made the journey to Hermitage and back to Jedburgh in one day. (This was forty-eight miles in barren, roadless lands in a torrential rain. She nearly died herself because of it.)
There are many more stories about this castle which will keep you interested but nothing will replace an actual visit to this massive and downright perplexing floorplan of a castle. If, indeed, there was a plan.
You can see other views of Hermitage in the Scottish photo album.
Kisses and hugs always!