Bedrule Castle

Point/Elder name : Bedrowle

Grid Reference : NT 59820 18060

1545 : X

Remains : Some footings & earthworks

Access : Field access

Archaeology? : Probable

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Bedrule Castle

In 1858 the OS described it as ‘8 Chains West of Bedrule village. The Site of Bedrule Castle on the east Side of Rule Water, The Castle was occupied by the family of Turnbulls, and was occupied about two Centuries ago’. The castle was believed to have been built in the late 13th C, by the Comyns. The layout which can just be discerned, indicates an early stone-built castle of the 12th C, of a circular type called ‘enceinte’. This was a common type in Scotland, where circle of masonry enclosed a domestic and operational space. Depending on situation and resources, sometimes towers were added. The site now consists of largely grassed over remains, all walls have been robbed out, leaving indeterminate trenches, but interpretation from the Inventory plan suggests a gatehouse on the NW and two small towers on the south west side. King Edward 1st of England stayed here during a visit in 1298. After the fall of the Comyns, the Douglas’s were in occupation, but by the early 15th C Turnbulls, promoted following the turning of the Bull, were granted the Barony and for two centuries were pre-eminent in Rulewater. They held lands of Hallrule, Bonchester, Fulton, Blindhaugh, Newton, Clarelaw, Firth, Beulie, Apotside, Hoppisburne, Wauchope, Stanledge, Whitehope, Belses and others. The castle was a focus for raids, one record describes an attack on the town or village:

Sir Raff Evere's Lettres of the 19th July, 1544.

Tyndal and Riddisdale with Mr. Clefforth and his Garrison, &c. have burned a Town called Bedroul with 15 or 16 other Steds, whereby they have gotten 300 Nolt, 600 Shepe, with very moche insight; and in ther comming home fought with the Lord Farnyhurst and his Company, and toke him and his Sone John Carr Prisonners, and brought 300 Nolt, 600 Shepe and moche insight Geare, with 3 Basses whiche the Lord Farnyhurst brought to the Feld with him also recorded as having been burnt in the raid of 1545. Tancred records that by 1591 ‘the old castle was a ruin’, the Turnbulls power was now waning. On the death of Walter Turnbull in the late 17th C Thomas Kerr of Cavers took possession of the ‘ruinous castle, fortalice and most of the lands of Bedrule’. The Barony associated with Bedrule Castle was bought by a Wallace Rutherford Turnbull from the United States in 2015, who with this Barony has assumed the role of Clan Chief.