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Hume Castle

The ruined remains of Hume Castle occupy a prominent position dominating the Tweed Valley 3 miles (5 km) south of the settlement of Greenlaw in the Scottish Borders. Built in 1214 as courtyard castle - probably on the site of an Iron-Age hill fort - and strengthened in the 1540s, this was the property of the Lords Home. With some difficulty, it was captured by the English in 1547 but re-taken by the family in 1549 when the killed the entire garrison. Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87), visited in 1566 but the castle was once again taken by the English in 1569 and held for three years.

Having been demolished by the invading army of Oliver Cromwell in 1651, the curtain-wall was rebuilt as a folly by the Earl of Marchmont in 1794. To the modern eye, the structure has the appearance of a peculiar toy fort. This served as a beacon station during the Napoleonic Wars and, on the night of 31st January 1804 the sergeant on duty mistakenly lit the beacon, causing alarm to be raised across southern Scotland and 3000 volunteers to be assembled to repel a French invasion.

It came into the care of the state in 1929 and was equipped to form a secret resistance headquarters during World War II. The castle was found to be unsafe in 1980 and repairs were carried out by the Berwickshire Civic Society. It reopened to visitors in 1993 and passed to the Hume Castle Preservation Trust in 2005.

To the south of the castle the remains of a major mediaeval settlement can be seen.


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