Neidpath Castle and its Lairds – history from a Tweeddale Tower

Steve Dubé

Tuesday, 10th January 2023

Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, 7.30 p.m.

“Probably the earliest and certainly the grandest” of the Scottish Border Tower Houses (says the Pevsner Architectural Guide), Neidpath Castle has been home to four inter-related families in its 900-year history, and each left an indelible mark on the history of Tweeddale and Scotland itself.

Its lairds are all descended from the forgotten patriot Simon Fraser, who commanded the small Scottish army that routed English invaders at Roslin and was the last noble to stand by William Wallace.

They include a casualty of Flodden, a renegade who terrorised Tweeddale, a Chancellor of Scotland, a dissolute lecher pilloried by Burns and Wordsworth and a 20th century conservationist, who led the National Trust in Scotland for 50 years and patched up the castle with elbow grease and lime mortar.

Steve Dubé is an award-winning journalist and author of Welsh history and farming books.

Since moving to Peebles in 2013 he has written about the Cross Kirk and Neidpath Castle.

He is programme organiser for Peebles Civic Society, a Churchill Fellow and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries Scotland (FSA Scot).