Borders castle research project given £33,000 boost

Fallago Environment Fund chairman Gareth Baird, left, giving �32,890 to the Hume Castle Preservation Trust's Douglas Tweedie.
Fallago Environment Fund chairman Gareth Baird, left, giving �32,890 to the Hume Castle Preservation Trust's Douglas Tweedie.

A bid to find out more about the history of a Borders castle has been boosted by a grant of almost £33,000.

That £32,890 handout, for research on Hume Castle, accounts for more than a third of the latest £89,890 round of payouts from the Fallago Environment Fund.

The Waterloo monument at Peniel Heugh, near Jedburgh.

The Waterloo monument at Peniel Heugh, near Jedburgh.

The Hume Castle Preservation Trust will spend it on researching the history of the stronghold, built around the turn of the 14th century and rebuilt in the late 18th century after being destroyed in 1651 by Oliver Cromwell’s forces during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

Recent aerial photographs revealed medieval landscape lying beneath grass around the castle site, and it will now be investigated by archaeologists.

Building and landscape surveys will also be carried out, and new display and interpretation boards will be produced.

Locals are being offered the chance to get involved in the project after being trained in technical drawing, photography and archaeological recording and excavation.

Part of the toy collection at Thirlestane Castle at Lauder.

Part of the toy collection at Thirlestane Castle at Lauder.

Other beneficiaries of the fund’s latest payouts include Stobo Village Hall, given £20,000 towards upgrading its facilities; Thirlestane Castle in Lauder, awarded £15,000 to help pay for the restoration of a room to house its Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian toy collections; and the Battle of Waterloo monument at Peniel Heugh, near Ancrum, being paid £12,500 for repairs to its viewing platform.

Keith House, a listed building in Coldstream, has also been given £8,000 to go towards its restoration for use for social housing, and Kelso Folk Festival has been given £1,500 to help with its running costs.

Fund chairman Gareth Baird said: “Our overall aim is to enhance and protect the rich natural, built and cultural heritage of the Borders for everyone who lives here.

“These latest grants have been awarded to six extremely worthwhile projects that we hope will encourage a mix of learning, tourism, social interaction and a better quality of life.

“We’re delighted that wind-farm-generated funds are being used in such a positive way.”

Castle preservation trust chairman Gospatric Home added: “Hume Castle has a beautiful and dramatic location and can be seen for miles, but while it is a familiar and imposing sight, an in-depth understanding of the castle and its landscape has been sadly lacking.

“We now know that there is the potential to uncover much about its medieval past and to use this to educate and engage both the local community and visitors from further afield.

“We’re extremely excited about the discoveries that may lie ahead and are grateful to the Fallago Environment Fund for helping us with a project that will provide a better understanding of the region’s past and the influence of the Homes on the local landscape.”

The environment fund has now handed out almost £820,000 since it was set up by Roxburghe Estates, EDF Energy Renewables and Hermes Investment Management in 2012 to use part of the money generated by Fallago wind farm, north of Lauder, to benefit worthy causes nearby.