Austere and imposing, Hermitage Castle now seems isolated and remote but at its height was much fought over as the key to controlling the Scottish Middle March.
Earthworks are all that remain of the original castle built by Lord de Soules around 1240. The present building was begun by Sir Hugh de Dacre, around 1360 and transformed by his successor, William, 1st Earl of Douglas.
The most distinctive feature of the castle are two flying arches on the east and west sides that were used to support a fighting platform (hoarding) between the corner towers. What appear to be a row of windows around the top of the castle where in fact doors that gave access to the platform.
In the 16th century Hermitage was adapted to counter the threat of artillery with gunholes punched through its thick walls and a massive gun defence built outside.
Hermitage lost its strategic importance with the union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603. It was abandoned and left to decay.
- Off the B6399 16 miles south of Hawick in the Scottish Borders
- Hermitage Castle, Newcastleton, Hawick, Roxburghshire TD9 0LU
- Historic Scotland. Open to the public. Admission fee.
- For further information visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk