Clan Armstrong Crest.

This afternoon, I am posting information on key sites to be visited in context of a one day Clan Armstrong themed tour, in the region of Langholm and Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders region. Driving time from Edinburgh is about two hours, allowing for one stop en-route.

Carlenrig, This the site where King James V ( 1512-1542) had Johnnie Armstrong and fifty followers executed by hanging in 1530 in context of an initiative to control the unruly Borders region.

Johnnie Armstrong Memorial at Carlenrig.

John Armstrong Memorial in wall of burial ground next to Carlenrig

Next to the small town of Langholm where is a ruined castle. This building has long associations with the Armstrongs and Maxwells but was demolished around 1726. It remains under guardianship of the Clan Armstrong Trust.

NB: In 2012 Astronaut, Neil Armstrong was granted the Freedom (Key) of the Burgh of Langholm in recognition of his achievements and the fact his ancestors came from the Langholm region.

Artist’s impression of Langholm Castle.

Ruins of Langholm Castle today.

Next Gilnockie Tower, Canonbie . This 16th century tower is the only survivor from around 60-80 stone or wooden towers in the region of Eskdale. Ewesdale and Liddesdale. It is under care of Clan Armstrong due to historic Armstrong connection. An enthusiastic and well-informed local tour guide usually provides access and information.

Gilnockie Tower, Canonbie.

Inside Gilnockie Tower.

River Esk at Gilnockie Tower.

Next, back to  Langholm and the Eskdale Hotel where is a Clan Armstrong Exhibition together with information on the Border Reivers. Refreshments are available here.

Eskdale Hotel, Langholm

Clan Armstrong exhibition at Eskdale Hotel

Next to the village of Rowanburn: Here is the prominent sandstone sculpture of Lang Sandy, an Armstrong who was executed in 1606 because of his involvement in the murder of Sir John Carmichael, Scottish West March Warden, (a Government official) in 1600.

Lang Sandy effigy at Rowanburn

Next to Tourneyholm, on the Scotland-England border. During the reiving period this was a neutral zone for settling disputes via combat and/or negotiation. Prisoner exchanges also took place here.

Tourneyholm (on site of defunct railway line).

River Liddel at Tourneyholm.

English Border at Tourneyholm.

Next to Ettleton Cemetery and Milnholm Cross These sites are just south of Newcastleton.The cemetery includes a wall where a collection of rescued headstones has been assembled many of which are believed to have Armstrong provenance. The Milnholm Cross was erected to the memory of Alexander, the 2nd Chief of the Armstrong Clan. There is speculation that Alexander was buried under the Cross in 1320.

Armstrong Wall at Ettleton Cemetery.

Armstrong of Sorbytrees Memorial at Ettleton Cemetery.

View from Ettleton Cemetery.

Milnholm Cross, Newcastleton. 

Next to Mangerton Tower. This was residence of the Armstrong chiefs throughout the 16th century. The Tower measures 10.4m from NE to SW by 7.7m transversely over a wall 1.55m thick. The interior is filled with rubble. An armorial panel bears the date 1563 below which is a shield displaying a chevron over a lozenge and a sword flanked by the initials SA and EF. Access is via a farm track close to a holiday park.

Mangerton Tower.

Final site visit in region is Hermitage Castle which has only indirect connections with the Armstrongs. This ruin dates from the 14th and 15th centuries and is associated with the de Soulis, the Douglases and Mary Queen of Scots.

Hermitage Castle