Jedburgh inn on market

ONE of Scotland’s oldest licensed hotels, the Spread Eagle in Jedburgh, has gone on the market.

Owners for the last eight years, John Campbell and Dr Lorna Noble, hope to move on to a smaller establishment outwith the Borders.

The former coaching inn, which has been a hotel continuously since the 16th century, has an illustrious history which includes Mary Queen of Scots, Sir Walter Scott – and, according to one source, the Rolling Stones – as visitors.

The Spread, along with the Crook Inn in Tweedsmuir, were among the first Scottish inns to be licensed in 1604.

Mr Campbell, who has extensively refurbished the eight-bedroom hotel, said: “You can see parts of it are very old and the builders reckon bits of the fireplace came from the abbey.”

In 1566 Mary Queen of Scots was reportedly going to stay as she presided over the court in the Royal Burgh, but fire forced her to move to the room in what is now known as Mary Queen of Scot’s House where she stayed to recuperate after becoming ill when she famously rode 50 miles to Hermitage Castle and back to visit the injured Bothwell.

Jedburgh’s Billy Gillies, who leads historic walks around the town on Friday evenings, said the Spread had always been associated with judges. For in earlier centuries the judiciary would come from Edinburgh on the court circuit to Jedburgh and have to be escorted to and from towns for their safety. They would then parade from the hotel up the street to the court carrying the mace .

“They’d get their robes and finery on and the provost would be in his chain to escort them up to the courts. In the 1800s they were still doing it,” said Mr Gillies.

The venerable old inn, which used to have stables behind it, is also associated with the Gentlemen’s Club, now open to allcomers, but which was started in the 1700s by the Duke of Buccleuch, the Marquis of Lothian and other lairds, who later built an extension to the inn so they could hold functions.

One of a series of characterful owners, Robert Breustedt, who sold it in 1971, blew a bugle down the High Street to attract custom on a Sunday. “He did it a couple of times then he was warned, “ said Mr Gillies, adding: “John’s done the biggest changes to it and what a great job he’s done.”

The business is advertised online for £150,000.