Bedrule Castle excavation
20 May 2021
A feasibility study was commissioned in December 2020 by the Campaign to recommend how best to share the 1545 sites and their stories with visitors, and deliver economic and social benefits to local communities. The Twelve Towers of Rule feasibility study was funded by South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE), and this document summarises the report's findings. The study was done by Rob Robinson of Heritage Consulting, with Jo Scott of Jo Scott Heritage. We are delighted to announce the publication of this study.
The report's authors recommend that the project team focuses on securing a long-term partnership with a lead organisation, such as Archaeology Scotland, to help attract core funding of around £280,000 to develop the paths network and visitor destinations at several of the tower sites, and fund a dedicated project officer to steer the project to completion by autumn 2024. Ongoing consultation with local residents and input from a series of public meetings will determine the best and most accessible locations for visitors; existing and new cycle routes to be upgraded, extended or installed; landowners' agreements signed; archaeological research and project timetable drawn up; interpretation and wayfinding tools developed; and an events and activities program that includes school visits and skills development workshops devised.
As Campaign leader Jane Bower says: 'Teviotdale is one of the Borders' hidden gems and lies at the heart of the proposed Scottish Borders National Park. The Rule Valley's story is just one chapter of this area's unique history, and we set out to showcase what could be achieved by making much more of it. The project demonstrates how a Scottish Borders National Park Authority team could coordinate diverse individuals and groups and knit together the many strands of this area's extraordinarily rich - and largely unknown - cultural and natural heritage to benefit as many people as possible
SoSE provided £18,840 towards the 12 Towers of Rule feasibility study. SoSE Chair, Professor Russel Griggs OBE, added: "The feasibility study explored the potential benefits of creating a visitor experience to re-tell a fascinating Borders story to wider audiences. Any individual, community group or businesses looking to discuss an idea they may have which could help bring more visitors to the South of Scotland is encouraged to get in touch with us."
A short summary of the feasibility study is also available.
4 July 2021
The second in a series of workshops held by Archaeology Scotland was held over the weekend. The three-day workshop was fully subscribed on all three days. On Friday, the group did some more surveying at Fulton Tower, to continue the work started in a workshop in November 2020. On Saturday and Sunday, the group moved to Bedrule Castle to survey the remains there.
Exciting new finds were made at Bedrule Castle of structures that had not been recognised before. A lot more work needs to be done at Bedrule Castle and it is hoped to return with another workshop in the near future. In particular, we are looking for the ancient settlement that would have been in the vicinity of Castle and following the usual practice may have been between the Castle and the church at Bedrule.
The castle at Bedrule was an important stronghold in medieval time and is associated with the Turnbull clan. However, but the 17th century it was already in decay and now there is very little to see above ground.
21 November 2020
The first of a two-day workshop was held today by Archaeology Scotland at Fulton Tower in the Rule Valley. The day started out with miserable sleet and rain, with grey overcast skies, but the sun had broken through by mid morning and within a short time it was blue sky all around with brilliant sun.
This workshop is part of the "12 Towers project" initiated by the Campaign to illuminate a small sliver of the history of the "Rough Wooing" in which Henry VIII of England attempted to coerce the Scots into agreeing to the marriage of the infant Mary, Queen of Scots, to his son Edward. An army was sent in 1545 to lay waste to the Merse and in the coarse of that campaign, many of the principal buildings (historically referred to as the "12 Towers") in the Rule valley were put to the torch.
This project seeks to understand what took place on those fateful days in September 1545, what life was like before the raid and how the area recovered after the raid. Fulton Tower was one of the named Towers destroyed that day and the remains of that Tower are being surveyed to better understand how it would have looked at that time.
21 November 2020
In September this year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed up to a pledge to "to protect 30% of the UK's land by 2030". This briefing note by the Scottish Campaign for National Parks explains the background to this pledge and examines its potential implications of this commitment for Scotland.
21 September 2020
The consultation for the Scottish Borders Council (SBC) Main Issues Report (MIR)had two questions in relation to a possible National Park in the area. This consultation took place during 2019 and the consultation responses were duly published. The Campaign have now published an analysis of the responses pertaining to a Scottish Borders National Park, which you can download.
12 March 2020
Our second Newsletter is now out and you can view it online, or you can download it as a pdf. Read about five of the Borders "WOW" spots, what the SBNP's impact on local housing could be, how National Parks can be working places where beauty drives the local economy, and much, much more.