*LORD SOULIS of Hermitage Castle

Note; some literary license was taken. Because, Soulis and Branxholm did not live at the same time. Story mentions Goranberry, and Goranberry Tower, and the Hermitage Castle, showing importance in history.

The pictorial book of ancient ballad poetry of Great Britain, historical, traditional and romantic: to which are added, a selection of modern imitations and some translations (1853)

Author: Moore, Joseph S
Subject: Ballads, English
Publisher: London, H. Washbourne & co.
Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT
Language: English
Call number: nrlf_ucb:GLAD-50369083

By Dr.Leyden, and first published in * Minstrelsy of the Scottish 
Border.' The hero, according to Sir Walter Scott, was 
William, Lord Soulis, a powerful baron, descended from 
Alexander II. Local tradition represents him ' as a cruel 
tyrant and sorcerer ; constantly employed in oppressing 
his vassals, harassing his neighbours, and fortifying his 
castle of Hermitage against the King of Scotland, for which 
purpose he employed all means, human and infernal ; 
invoking the fiends, by his incantations, and forcing his 
vassals to drag materials, like beasts of burden. Tradition 
proceeds to relate, that the Scottish king, irritated by 
reiterated complaints, peevishly exclaimed to the peti- 
tioners, ' Boil him, if you please, but let me hear no more 
of him.' Satisfied with this answer, they proceeded with 
the utmost haste to execute the commission ; which they 
accomplished, by boiling him alive on the Nine-stane Rig, 
in a cauldron, said to have been long preserved at Skelf- 
hill, a hamlet betwixt Hawick and the Hermitage. 
Messengers, it is said, were immediately despatched by the 
king, to prevent the effects of such a hasty declaration, 
but they only arrived in time to witness the conclusion of 
the ceremony. The Nine-stane Rig is a declivity about 
one mile in breadth, and four in length, descending upon 
the Water of Hermitage from the range of hills which 
separate Liddesdale and Teviotdale. It derives its name 
from one of those circles of large stones, which are termed 
Druidical, nine of which remained till a late period. Five 
of these stones are still visible, and two are particularly 
pointed out, as those which supported the iron bar, upon 
which the fatal cauldron was suspended. Redcap is a 
popular appellation of that class of spirits which haunt old 
castles Every ruined tower in the south of Scotland is 
supposed to have an inhabitant of this species.'] 

LORD SOULIS he sat in Hermitage castle, 
And beside him Old Redcap sly; 

' Now, tell me, thou sprite who art meikle 

of might, 
The death that I must die?' 

* While thou shalt bear a charmed life, 

And hold that life of me, 
'Gainst lance and arrow, sword and knife, 
I shall thy warrant be. 

Nor forged steel, nor hempen band, 

Shall e'er thy limbs confine, 
Till threefold ropes of sifted sand 

Around thy body twine. 

If danger press fast, knock thrice on the chest, 

With rusty padlocks bound; 
Turn away your eyes, when the lid shall rise, 

And listen to the sound.' 

Lord Soulis he sat in Hermitage castle, 

And Redcap was not by; 
And he called in a page, who was witty and sage, 

To go to the barmkin high. 

* And look thou east, and look thou west, 

And quickly come tell to me, 
What troopers haste along the waste, 
And what may their livery be.' 

He looked o'er fell, and he looked o'er flat, 

But nothing, I wist, he saw, 
Save a pyot on a turret that sat 

Beside a corby craw. 

The page he lookt at the skrieh of day, 

But nothing, I wist, he saw, 
Till a horseman gay, in the royal array, 

Rode down the Hazel-shaw. 

* Say, why do you cross o'er muir and moss?* 

So loudly cried the page: 

* I tidings bring, from Scotland's king, 

To Soulis of Hermitage. 

He bids me tell that bloody warden, 

Oppressor of low and high, 
If ever again his lieges complain, 

The cruel Soulis shall die.' 

By traitorous sleight they seized the knight, 

Before he rode or ran, 
And through the key-stone of the vault 

They plunged him, horse and man. 

May she came, and May she gaed, 

By Goranberry green; 
And May she was the fairest maid 

That ever yet was seen. 

O May she came, and May she gaed, 

By Goranberry tower; 
And who was it but cruel Lord Soulis, 

That carried her from her bower. 

He brought her to his castle gray, 

By Hermitage's side; 
Says, ' Be content, my lovely May, 

For thou shalt be my bride.' 

With her yellow hair, that glittered fair, 

She dried the trickling tear; 
She sighed the name of Branxholme's heir, 

The youth that loved her dear. 

* Now, be content, my bonnie May, 

And take it for your hame; 
Or ever and aye shall ye rue the day, 

You heard young Branxholme's name. 

O'er Branxholme tower, ere the morring hour, 
When the lift is like lead so blue, 

The smoke shall roll white on the weary night, 
And the flame shine dimly through.' 

Syne he's ca'd on him Ringan Red, 

A sturdy kemp was he; 
From friend or foe, in border feid. 

Who never a foot would flee. 

Red Ringan sped, and the spearmen led, 

Up Goranberry Slack; 
Aye, many a wight, unmatcht in fight, 

Who never more came back. 

And bloody set the westering sun, 

And bloody rose he up; 
But little thought young Branxholme's ucii 

Where he that night should sup. 

He shot the roe-buck on the lee, 

The dun deer on the law; 
The glamour sure was in his ee, 
When Ringan nigh did draw. 

O'er heathy edge, through rustling sedge, 

He sped till day was set; 
And he thought it was his merry men true, 

When he the spearmen met. 

Far from relief, they seized the chief; 

His men were far away; 
Through Hermitage Slack they sent him back 

To Soulis' castle gray; 
Syne onward fine for Branxholme tower, 

Where all his merry men lay. 

* Now, welcome, noble Branxholme's heir! 

Thrice welcome,' quoth Soulis, ' to me! 
Say, dost thou repair to my castle fair, 

My wedding guest to be? 
And lovely May deserves, per &y, 

A brideman such as thee!' 

And broad and bloody rose the sun, 

And on the barmkin shone; 
When the page was aware of Red Ringan there, 

Who came riding all alone. 

To the gate cf the tower Lord Soulis he speeds, 

As he lighted at the wall, 
Says, ' Where did ye stable my stalwart steeds, 

And where do they tarry all?' 

* We stabled them sure on the Tarras Muir; 

We stabled them sure,' quoth he: 
4 Before we could cross that quaking moss, 
They all were lost but me.' 

He clencht his fist, and he knockt on the chest, 

And he heard a stifled groan; 
And, at the third knock, each rusty lock 

Did open one by one. 

He turnd away his eyes, as the lid did rise, 

And he listend silentlie; 
And he heard, breathed slow, in murmurs low, 

' Beware of a coming tree!' 

In muttering sound the rest was drownd; 

No other word heard he; 
But slow as it rose, the lid did close, 

With the rusty padlocks three. 

Now rose with Branxholme's ae brother, 

The Teviot, high and low: 
Bauld Walter by name, of meikle fame, 

For none could bend his bow. 

O'er glen and glade, to Soulis there sped 

The fame of his array, 
And that Teviotdale would soon assail 

His towers and castle gray. 

With clenched fist he knockt on the chest 

And again he heard a groan; 
And he raised his eyes as the lid did rise, 

But answer heard he none. 

The charm was broke, when the spirit spoke 

And it murmurd sullenlie; 
* Shut fast the door, and for evermore, 

Commit to me the key. 

Alas! that ever thou raisedst thine eyes, 

Thine eyes to look on me! 
Till seven years are o'er, return no more, 

For here thou must not be.' 

Think not but Soulis was wae to yield 

His warlock chamber o'er; 
He took the keys from the rusty lock, 

That never was ta'en before. 

He threw them over his left shoulder, 

With meikle care and pain; 
And he bade it keep them fathoms deep ; 

Till he returnd again. 

And still when seven years are o'er, 

Is heard the jarring sound; 
When slowly opes the charmed dooi 

Of the chamber underground. 

And some within the chamber door 

Have cast a curious eye; 
But none dare tell, for the spirits in hell, 

The fearful sights they spy. 

When Soulis thought on his merry men now, 

A woeful wight was he; 

Says,' Vengeance is mine, and I will not repine! 
But Branxholme's heir shall die.' 

gays * What would you do, young Branxholme, 
Gin ye had me, as I have thee?' 

I would take you to the good greenwood, 

And gar your ain hand wale the tree.' 

1 Now shall thine ain hand wale the tree, 

For all thy mirth and meikle pride; 
And May shall chuse, if my love she refuse, 

A scrog bush thee beside.' 

They carried him to the good greenwood, 

Where the green pines grew in a row; 
And they heard the cry, from the branches high, 

Of the hungry carrion crow. 

They carried him on from tree to tree, 

The spiry boughs below: 
' Say, shall it be thine, on the tapering pine, 

To feed the hooded crow?' 

The fir-tops fall by Branxholme wall, 

When the night blast stirs the tree, 
And it shall not be mine to die on the pine 
I loved in infancie.' 

Young Branxholme turnd him, and oft lookt back, 

And aye he past from tree to tree; 
Young Branxholme peept, and puirly spake, 

' O sic a death is no for me!' 

And next they past the aspen gray, 

Its leaves were rustling mournfullie; 
1 Now, chuse thee, chuse thee, Branxholme gay, 

Say, wilt thou never chuse the tree?' 

1 More dear to me is the aspen gray, 

More dear than any other tree; 
For beneath the shade that its branches made, 

Have past the vows of my love and me.' 

Young Branxholme peept, and puirly spake, 

Until he did his ain men see, 
With witches hazel in each steel cap, 

In scorn of Soulis' grammarye; 
Then shoulder height for glee he lap, 

4 Methinks I spy a coming tree!' 

Aye, many, many come, but few return,' 

Quo' Soulis, the lord of grammarye; 637 


' No warrior's hand in fair Scotland 
Shall ever dint a wound on me.' 

* Now, by my sooth,' quo' bauld Walter, 

' If that be true we soon shall see.' 
His bent bow he drew, and the arrow was true, 
But never a wound or scar had he. 

Then up bespake him true Thomas, 
He was the lord of Ersyltoun: 

* The wizard's spell no steel can quell, 

Till once your lances bear him down.' 

They bore him down with lances bright, 
But never a wound or scar had he; 

With hempen bands they bound him tight, 
Both hands and feet on the Nine-stane lee. 

That wizard accurst, the bands he burst; 

They moulderd at his magic spell; 
And neck and heel, in the forged steel, 

They bound him against the charms of hell. 

That wizard accurst, the bands he burst, 
No forged steel his charms could bide; 

Then up bespake him true Thomas, 
' We'll bind him yet, whatever betide.' 

The black spae-book from his breast he took, 
Impresst with many a warlock spell; 

And the book it was wrote by Michael Scott, 
Who held in awe the fiends of hell. 

They buried it deep, where his bones they sleep, 
That mortal man might never it see; 

But Thomas did save it from the grave, 
When he returned from Faerie. 

The black spae-book from his breast he took, 
And turnd the leaves with curious hand; 

No ropes, did he find, the wizard could bind, 
But threefold ropes of sifted sand. 

They sifted the sand from the Nine-stane burn, 
And shaped the ropes so curiouslie; 

But the ropes would neither twist nor twine, 
For Thomas true and his gramarye. 

The black spae-book from his breast he took, 
And again he turned it with his hand; 


And he bade each lad of Teviot add 
The barley chaff to the sifted sand. 

The barley chaff to the sifted sand 

They added still by handfulls nine; 
But Redcap sly unseen was by, 

And the ropes would neither twist nor twino. 

And still beside the Nine-stane burn, 

Ribbed like the sand at mark of sea, 
The ropes, that would not twist nor turn, 

Shaped of the sifted sand you see. 

The black spae-book true Thomas he took; 

Again its magic leaves he spread; 
And he found that to quell the powerful spell, 

The wizard must be boiled in lead. 

On a circle of stones they placed the pot, 
On a circle of stones but barely nine; 

They heated it red and fiery hot, 

Till the burnisht brass did glimmer and shine. 

They rolld him up in a sheet of lead, 

A sheet of lead for a funeral pall ; 
They plunged him in the cauldron red, 

And melted him, lead, and bones and all. 

At the Skelf-hill, the cauldron still, 

The men of Liddesdale can show; 
And on the spot, where they boild the pot, 

The spreat and the deer-hair ne'er shall grow. 

[' The tradition,' says Sir Walter Scott, ' regarding the death of Lord Soulis, however 
singular, is not without a parallel in the real history of Scotland. The same extraordi- 
nary mode of cookery was actually practised (horresco referent) upon the body of a sheriff 
of the Mearns. This person, whose name was Melville of Glenbervie, bore his faculties 
so harshly, that he became detested by the barons of the country. Reiterated complaints 
of his conduct having been made to James I. (or, as others say, to the Duke of Albany,) 
the monarch answered, in a moment of unguarded impatience, ' Sorrow gin the sheriff 
were sodden, and supped in broo !' The complainers retired, perfectly satisfied. Shortly 
after, the lairds of Arbuthnot, Mather, Laureston, and Pittaraw decoyed Melville to the 
top of the hill of Garvock, above Laurencekirk, under pretence of a grand hunting party. 
Upon this place, still called the Sheriff's Pot, the barons had prepared a fire and a boiling 
cauldron, into which they plunged the unlucky sheriff. After he was sodden (as the king 
termed it) for a sufficient time, the savages, that they might literally observe the royal 
mandate, concluded the scene of abomination by actually partaking of the hell-broth.'] 

Braidley and Goranberry are near each other and;

Lawis Shawis map
Braidley was in Teviotdale

Ellot of Liddesdale

dukes chasing wind farm subsidies1
Maggie Eliiott Chistopher Powell WilkinsChristopher Powell Wilkins  wind director Redheugh NewcastletonNo vote donors
Tell the Elliot Clan Society Braidley needs to be relocated between Gorrenberry and The Hermitage Castle;
Like it has been for over six centuries;
Foresta Ermytag Hermitage


Is it because of the above proposed wind farm that The Elliot Clan Society is not willing to move Braidley to it's proper location on their Elliot Clan map?

Not even the Duke of Wales likes one small wind turbine outside his window in the month of August; correction a week in August, and he seems to have influence to move it. It does not take much to move on a map the locality of Braidley to it's proper locality. 

Prince of Wales opposes wind farms.

Buck (Duke of Buckcleuch/Buckcleuch related to the Branxholm line), is a king is he anything like a Duke?

Being an American, Buck there a just to many dukes and knights for me to deal with in my family/genealogical research. Family fought for King Charles I  and the best we could get from the Puritan Parliamentarian Cromwell; is an indenture ship being like Charles;  Anglican to some Puritans in the Massachusetts Colony.  

Guess that is what one gets when they stand up for some English King.

Mark Elliott    5/5/2014

Hermitage Castle Wind Farm Proposal


MSE 5/7/2014

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