Hume Castle, a once an important Borders fortress, now lies ruinous south of the town of Greenlaw.
The first stone fortification is believed to have been built here in the early 1200s by William de Home, who took his surname from the Home estate after he acquired the lands.
The castle briefly acted as a royal garrison for James II who stayed at Home in 1460 on his way to Roxburgh Castle, the last Scottish castle held by the English after the Wars of Independence. Incidentally, James was killed during the siege of Roxburgh Castle when a cannon he was beside exploded.
The family were made Lords Home in 1473, and the 3rd Lord, Alexander Home, led his men at the disastrous Battle of Flodden in 1513, though he managed to make it back alive unlike so many others fighting on the Scottish side, including the king, James IV. It has been suggested that it was shortly after Flodden that the castle name changed from Home to Hume.
The George, 4th Lord Home, died in 1547, just before the Battle of Pinkie, which saw another English victory. Afterwards the English held the Homes’ lands, though had to overcome the strong resistance put up by Hume Castle. The lands were taken back by the 5th Lord, Alexander, in the December of 1548 during a night assault. A small group of seven men, including Alexander’s brother, Andrew the Commendator, were let into the fortress by an inside man and slaughtered the English garrison.
In 1569 Hume Castle was under siege again from the English, this time the Earl of Sussex. It only took twelve hours before the castle surrendered due Sussex’s vastly superior guns and men. The castle eventually went back to the Homes.
The 6th Lord Home, Alexander, was a favourite of James VI, and he was made Earl of Home in 1605.
The downfall of Hume Castle came in 1650 during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. James, 3rd Earl of Home, was a Royalist and prominent member of the Kirk Party; a radical Presbyterian faction of the Covenanters. After Oliver Cromwell took Edinburgh Castle during the aftermath of the Battle of Dunbar, he sent Colonel Fenwick to take the Earl’s castle. The Royalist governor of Hume Castle, Colonel John Cockburn, refused the surrender the castle to the Fenwick, and even engaged in a witty back-and-forth with the Roundheads, however, as soon as the bombardment began, Cockburn realised that he would not be able to holdout. Cockburn surrendered, and Fenwick’s troops took and destroyed Hume Castle.
The remains of the castle passed to the Home Earls of Marchmont in the eighteenth century, a wealthier branch than the main line of the family. At this time the castle was practically levelled to the ground, and in 1794 it was rebuilt as a folly with the remains from the castle’s originally destruction.