Only a few of the mighty Clans, such as Clan
Douglas, had large Castles. The head of the
larger Clans normaly worked for the King, and
related to the King through Marriage.
Along the Borders, most of the fighting was
with families across the Border in England,
although some with other Scots Clans as well,
even between different factions of the same
Clans. The English Fortified Houses were
referred to as Bastilles. Raiding Parties along
the Border were known as Border
Clans from Scotland and Families from
England, would often cross the Border to steal
Cattle and Valuables, Murdering anyone that got
in the way.
1543, 1544 and 1546 - Smailholm Tower was
attacked by English forces at a time King Henry
VIII of England was sending Troops into
Scotland in an attempt to preasure the Scots to
have the Infant Mary Queen of Scots mary his
young Son, a time known as the Rough
1603 - King James VI of Scotland became King
of England. With James then King of Scotland
and England, he put an end to the Raiders along
the Border by prosecuting offenders, and taking
land off Clans and Families that continued to
Break the Law.
1645 - Smailholm Tower was sold to William
Scott, ancestor of the famous novelist Sir
1700s - the Scott's move into nearby
Sandyknow Farm, leading to the Tower falling
1771 - Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh,
Walter Scott. He had a bout of Polio in 1773, leading
to him often being sent to live with his
Grandparents at Sandyknow Farm, in an attempt
to help his Illness. The young Scott played at
1800 - the first of Walter Scott's Ballads
was published, with one of the earliest,
The Eve of St
John, about Smailholm Tower.
1800? - inspired by the success of Walter
Scott's ballads, the Scott's of Sandyknow
carried out work to make the ruins of Smailholm
1831 - the famous artist William Turner
visited Walter Scott and Smailholm Tower, where
he made a number of Sketches. Some of these
Sketches, and Watercolours from the Sketches,
are now in Art Galleries around the world.
1950- the last owner, Earl of Ellesmere,
gifted the Tower to the State to be restored as
a Tourist Attraction.
1980s - Smailholm Tower was Restored to
operate as a Museum for Historic Environment
Scotland, now displaying model people showing
the History of the Tower, and information on
Sir Walter Scott.
The top third floor has a stone vault,
supporting a stone flag roof. Turf was laid on
top of the roof in 2011.
Parapet walks run along the north and south
sides of the Tower with great views around, and
down to the car park.
The Tower is surrounded by the remains of a
stone wall, within the wall can be seen the
ruins of outbuildings and a small Chapel.