In 1535 King James V decreed that “each man with £100 worth of land must build a barman (an enclosing defensive wall) for the safety of humans and stock:. In the Borders, powerful families such as the Elliots, Armstrongs and Kerrs all built towers at the centre of their lands. Many of them are now just grassy mounds: Dryhope is one of the best preserved.
A Safe Haven
Tower houses like Dryhope were economical to build, good for defence and reasonably comfortable for everyday life. The basic pattern was used for royal palaces, and for towers in the farmyard of the local laird – like Dryhope. The tall, stone-built tower would have been a sharp contrast with the lowly houses of the farmworkers.
A Home for the Scott Family
The Scott family, who lived here, are often mentioned in historic records. They were just as active as their neighbours in the raiding expeditions and lively politics of their time.
1581 “Johnne Scott of Dryhoip” charged to appear before the Privy Council and answer for breaking his agreement with the Elliots.
1586 “The Lairds Jock and Dick of Dryupp with their complies” charged by the Musgraves with taking 400 cattle and oxen.
1587 John Scott charged by Rutledge of the Nook with burning his house and corn, and stealing 50 cattle.
1592 Scott of Goldilands (a different family) commissioned to demolish “with all convenient expedition the house and fortalices of Harden who had taken part in treason against the King at Falkland.
Walter Scott of Harden was not a man to stay by his fireside: raiding was in his blood. He is supposed to have lamented that if only haystacks had legs, he could carry them off with the cattle.
At Thornielee Forest, betters Walkerburn and Galashiels, you can find another reviving story about one of Wat’s sons, involving ` “shotgun wedding” with a difference.
The TowerBy the doorway you can find the marriage stone of Phillip and Mary Scott who lived in the tower in the 1590s. Their daughter was known as the Flower of Yarrow, a celebrated beauty of her day.
Tower houses were a vertical arrangement of rooms, with a turnpike or circular stair giving access to the different levels.
The ground floor was used for storage.
Daily life revolved arround the hall, with a large fireplace built into the wall for cooking and heating. The floor would be covered with moor grass, herbs and heather to improve the smell.
Up a spiral staircase is the top floor held private rooms for the laird and his family. Plastered walls and woollen hangings reduced draughts and added colour and warmth.