Newark Castle

Newark Castle
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Newark Castle

The ruined yet substantial remains of Newark Castle lies on the banks of the Yarrow Water, within the Bowhill Estate, 3 miles (5 km) west of Selkirk in the Scottish Borders. Dating from the early 15th century, Newark was rebuilt and strengthened in the 16th C. and now comprises a massive five-storey rectangular tower-house contained within a barmkin wall. It was abandoned and the roof removed in the 18th C. and having become ruinous was consolidated in the 19th C.

Nothing remains of earlier castle on the site - the 'auld wark' - which was a stronghold of the Black Douglases. Taken by the Crown in the 1450s, Newark was given to Margaret of Denmark (the wife of King James III) in 1473 and Alexander Home (d.1506), Great Chamberlain of Scotland, was appointed its Keeper. It was besieged by the English in 1547, although not taken and later passed to the Scott family. Followers of the Marquis of Montrose - mostly women - were imprisoned here after their defeat at Philiphaugh in 1645 and subsequently murdered. The estate was acquired by the Murray in 1690 but returned to the Scotts (Duke of Buccleuch) in 1745.

The poet William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850) visited in 1831 in the company of Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832).

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