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The Middle Ages

Barntalloch Castle

King David I and his successors brought Norman barons and knights into the area, along with the Norman form of feudalism. At Barntalloch Castle, Langholm, (illustrated right) (NY 3525 8776) the impressive mound of the Norman wooden castle remains, but there are few traces of the later round stone castle or the tower house. This castle was probably first built by Geoffrey de Conisburgh around 1150. Beside the castle the burgh of Staplegordon and its church grew up. Here David I granted Annandale to the ancestor of  King Robert the Bruce. By 1285 Sir John Lindsay held Staplegordon.

In the churchyard wall there is a 7th century Christian grave slab.
At Wauchope Castle, Langholm, (NY 3545 8397) a wooden castle was later followed by a stone castle, now gone. Again there was a church beside the castle. Wauchope was held by  the Lindsays from 1285.

The “Bogle Walls” , Westerkirk, (NY 2924 9124), a striking earthwork, may have been the early seat of the barony of Westerker held by the Avenel family.

The controversial site at the end of Gilnockie Bridge, “Gilnockie Castle”, Canonbie, (NY 3862 7821) may have been the centre of the shadowy barony of “Bryntallone” or “Bretalach” until the lands were taken over by the Priory of Liddel or Canonbie. This was founded by Turgot de Rossedal between 1124 and 1153. Too poor to entertain James IV in 1504, it disappeared later in the 16th century, the only remaining possible trace being the “sedilia” in Canonbie Churchyard.

Some of the local landed families had divided loyalties during the Scottish Wars of Independence. King Robert the Bruce rewarded the “Good Sir James” with many local lands, and this led to the ascendancy of the Douglasses in the area.

The Border Reivers >>>

“Langholm As It Was” by John and Robert Hyslop 1912.
“County of Dumfries” R.C.A.H.M.S. Inventory 1920.
“Eastern Dumfriesshire” R.C.A.H.M.S. 1997.
“Explore beyond the Roman Frontier” Archaeosights guide

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