Melrose, Scotland

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Melrose Festival 1998 - Tour of Ceremonies

Darnick Tower

[Photo: Darnick Tower]
Melrose townsfolk converge at Darnick Tower

Darnick Peel Tower, guarded by two stalwart Border Reivers is the second last ceremonial call for the Melrosian. It is one of the most perfectly preserved specimens of Peel Tower in the Borders, built and still owned by the Heitons and used as a residence today. It was built in 1425 and though destroyed (at least partially) by Hereford in 1545 it was rebuilt in 1569 and appears to have been sufficiently habitable to provide Mary Queen of Scots with a night's lodging on her way to Jedburgh in 1566 according to one tradition.

[Photo: Speech]
Melrose Principals, the 'Lord Abbot' and two Border Reivers

Round Darnick Tower the last clan battle of the Borders took place in 1526 between the followers of Angus and Buccleuch and it is said James V watched the progress of the fight from the battlements of the tower. Close to the tower were two others. Of one there is now no trace and of the other (Fishers Tower), three of the original outer walls remain. After a welcome from a nominee of the Heiton family, the Melrosian receives honey from the roses of the garden and the official party accept refreshments symbolising the mead of long ago. The Lord Abbot, soon to play a role at the Abbey, is offered a gift of wax `to lighten his convent at Melrose.'

June 1998
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