numerous is indicated by the decree of the Privy Council in 1606 ordering their
destruction in all "houssis and strenthis" in the Borders save those of "answerable
baronis." The reason given was that their presence made it difficult, in case of
trouble, "to wyn and recover the saidis houssis and to apprehend the lymmairis being
thairintill." The "yettis" were accordingly to be removed and "turnit in plew
(plough) irnis or sic other necessar werk." ¹ This measure was part of the general
policy for the establishment of peaceful conditions on the Borders, but the "yetts"
are known as defensive features that were common throughout the country. ² In every
case their manner of construction is similar and apparently peculiar to Scotland:
the bars penetrate mutually and alternatively in alternate compartments.
As suggested by the map (fig.6), most of these ancient structures have been
swept away, mainly, it would appear, within the last hundred years or so. For
example, at the close of the eighteenth century there were still the remains of five
towers in Mouswald parish, ³ where now is but the fragment of one. Even fifty years
later, in the parish of Kirkpatrick-Fleming, there were seven similar towers within
four miles of the one at Woodhouse, ⁴ the solitary and ruinous survivor. A few in
greater or less degree still serve as dwelling-places. Bonshaw (No. 1), Stapleton,
Lochhouse, and Isle have lost little of their original character and are inhabited.
Robgill, Breckonside (No. 475), and Sundaywell (No. 137) have been incorporated
in modern structures; but the chief example in this connection is Hoddom Tower
(No. 90), the central feature of the present mansion. Fourmerkland Tower (No. 280)
was occupied till comparatively lately; two storeys of Bogrie Tower (No. 138) make
a shepherd's house.
On the Borders, indeed, any stone building might have on occasion to serve as a
fortress. The map (fig. 6) of strong places on the West March in the 16th century
thus includes all types from the castles proper of Lochmaben and Caerlaverock
to the humblest of residential towers. Thus, too, Annan Church steeple could attain
the rank of a fortress, and suffer siege (see p. xxxi.); a process reversed in the case
of the later castle proper, which was adapted as a church (see p. xlvi). What probably
was the ordinary type of town house of the poorer sort is described by the traveller
of 1629 already cited. At Langholm he lodged "in a poor thatched house the wall
of it being one course of stones, another of sods of earth, it had a door of wicker rods."
The story of the successful attack upon the steeple at Annan by an English
column in September 1547 illustrates the method of such operations upon the Borders.
"And we having in ordenaunce but a facon, a faconett, and foure quarter facons,
for that ther is no baterie peice at Carlisle, divised that night (i.e. Sunday, September
4) howe we shulde maik warr agaynst the house on the morowe. At viijth of the
clok in the mornying, we laid those sex peices to beit the battailling, and appoyntid
certane archers and hagbutters to maik warre also untill a paveis (i.e. large shield)
of tymbre might be drawn to the sidde of the steplee, under whiche sexe pyoners might
work to have undermyened the sam; and in putting these to effectes, they in the
house maid sharpe warre, and slewe foure of our men and hurt divers others. And
with grett stones from the steple toppe, brooke the paveis after it was sett, and being
in that extrymytie, lakking ordenaunce for that purpose, we caused certane pyoners
cutt the walle of the east end of the quere, overthuart abone the earthe, and caused
the hooll ende to falle, wherwith the rooff and tymbre falling inward, slewe vij Scotes-

1 Reg. P.C. vii. p. 271.
2 Cf. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., xvii. pp. 98 ff.
3 Stat. Acct., vii. p. 298.
4 New Stat. Acct., iv. p. 279.


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