Castle site since 1296
There has been a castle on this site in 1296, and some fragments of the fabric near the centre of the present one may relate to this earlier building. Excluding this, four building periods can be discerned, plus an extensive early 19th century restoration.
Originally a small Tower
The first of these was a smallish tower with an oblong central court enclosed by a cross wing and screen walls. The second phase was a large tower occupying the same area, in the third period, small square towers were added at the corners of the main tower, and the Castle began to assume its present form. In the fourth stage an oblong wing was incorporated and a continuous wooden hoarding ran beneath the parapet.
Romantic Association with Mary Queen of Scots
The Castle, founded by the Comyns, passed to the Grahams and from them to the Douglasses, passing by marriage to the Dacres and back to the Douglasses, who exchanged it in 1492 with the Earls of Bothwell; it played a large part in the Borders Wars, and is chiefly known for its romantic association with Mary Queen of Scots, who in 1566 galloped from Jedburgh to visit the wounded Bothwell at Hermitage. From the Bothwells it passed to the Scotts of Buccleuch.