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Hermitage Castle

Places to Visit

The Reiver Trail - Just over 5 miles from Newcastleton in the Liddesdale valley and steeped in history and tales of witchcraft this is one place you must visit.

Before Hermitage Castle was built Liddel castle stood in its place built of wood by the first baron de Soulis, history goes one of his family named Ranulf de Soulis was murdered by the Armstrongs in retaliation for the abduction of a local woman. The story goes that Ranulf de Soulis was put to death at the Nine Stane Rig near Liddel castle by being rolled up in sheet of lead and placed in a boiling pot as they believed he was also practicing witchcraft so this would be the only way to dispose of him properly, melting him, lead, bones and all.

Hermitage castle was built in a typical Norman mote and bailey style again by the powerful Norman family of de Soulis who held the Lordship of Liddesdale in 1243. Being situated only six miles from the border and constructed as a powerful Scottish fortress Hermitage castle was nearly the cause of war between the two countries. It stayed in the family until about the year 1320 when his descendant William de Soulis was forfeited on account of attempted regicide(deliberate killing of a monarch) of the Scottish King Robert the Bruce, William de Soulis was round up and taken to Dumbarton caste where he remained until his death. According to tradition the castle had been granted to the Elliots chief by Robert the Bruce in about 1320.

The Elliots chief at Redheugh often held the appointment of keeper of Hermitage castle and deputy keeper of Liddesdale.

Hermitage Castle Chruch Castle View Castle Entrance
Click here to view more pictures of Hermitage Castle

The castle became obsolete after the Union of the Crowns in 1603 and fell into disrepair although a couple of attempts were made to partially restore it by the Duke of Buccleuch. The Castle stayed with the Scotts until 1930 when it was placed into state care. Due to its sinister past no one dare spend a night within its walls.

The information above is drawn from various sources, you may find other on-line articles that differ quite a lot but after some research this is what I have found.

To learn more about Hermitage visit Newcastleton heritage centre for the history of Newcastleton Scottish Borders. Some of the information is based on legend, if you want to share your views email

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For Tourist Information
013873 25032


Hermitage Castle

Opening Times


Admission Fees 2011 TBC
Adult £3.70
Concession £3.00
Child age 5-15 £1.85
Friends/Explorers FREE

Tel: 013873 76222


Newcastleton Heritage Centre

Opening Times

Daily Except Tuesday
1.30pm - 4.30pm
Until 30th September

Admission Fees 2011
Adults £1.50
Children 50p
Research Information
  • Border Reivers
  • Liddesdale
  • Parish Register
  • Castleton Parish Census
  • Railway Information
  • Church Yard Records
Family History

Armstrong, Nichol, Crozier, Nixon, Elliot, Scott, Murray and others - find your family in castleton parish records!

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