On Saturday the 19th October a large group of us went on a visit to Ancrum. It was a thoroughly miserable day - as you can see from the photos! - but everyone agreed we had a fantastically interesting time. We were met at Harestanes where we were given a background talk about the recent dig at Mantle Walls, on the edge of Ancrum village. It is hard to believe that this is the site of what was once a splendid medieval bishop's palace. The photo above left shows us looking at some of impressive stonework that was rescued by the recent dig. More information - and better photos (taken on a sunny day) - can be found on the Ancrum and District Heritage Society website HERE.
For those interested in finding out more about the recent excavation there will be two talks about the results of the dig on Monday 4th November at Ancrum Village Hall at 3.00 and 6.00pm. If you are interested in attending free tickets can be booked by emailing HERE.
After lunch at Woodside we then visited the site of Ancrum old church, a beautiful spot beside the Ale Water. The photo above right shows us hearing about the fine hogback tombstone that can be found there. It is believed to have been inside the church and was only moved outside when a new kirk was built in the village in the late nineteenth century. Sadly, like the bishop's palace, this has resulted in it deteriorating and it has recently been taken for conservation.
Finally we were taken on a guided tour of the Monteath Mausoleum (below), which stands on a ridge looking out over both the Eildon Hills and Ruberslaw. It is a magnificent situation and structure - but also monstrously egocentric, being built by General Sir Thomas Monteath Douglas (1788 - 1868) to house his mortal remains (which have apparently disappeared). We were given a guided tour of the cavernous interior by one of the friends of Monteath Mausoleum, who have recently restored this monument to its original glory. Many of us have glimpsed the dome while driving along the A68 but it was a revelation to see it at close quarters.