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Grid reference: NT8560
Location: 55°50’24"N, 2°14’24"W
Post town: Duns
Postcode: TD11 3
Dialling code: 01890
Local Government
Council: Scottish Borders
Roxburgh and Selkirk

Auchencrow is a small village in the Lammermuir Hills in Berwickshire, and may be found near Reston.

James Hutton, the founder of modern geology, farmed two miles to the west. A James Hutton Trail was established in 2006.


The origin of the name, 'Auchencrow' is uncertain. Watson (1926, 138) and Nicholaisen (1976, 138) accepted a Gaelic origin, from "achaidh na cra", meaning "field of the tree(s)", but this is apparently contradicted by the 12th-century name-form 'Alden-', also preserved, for example, in four 13th-century Durham charters. The more likely origin then is from Old English in common with most Berwickshire place-names, perhaps from Aldren graf ("Alder Grove").


The modern form Auchencrow is a recently derived spelling, from the much longerrunning ‘Edencraw’ or ‘Auchencrawe’: apparently an evolution from Halden- to Alden- or Eden- to Auchenand from -grove/ -grave to -crawe to -crow.

Billie Mains and Tower

Remains of Billie Tower

South of Auchencrow towards Chirnside, during the war of the Rough Wooing, Billie was burnt in May 1544 during the withdrawal of Lord Hertford's army from Edinburgh.[1] The castle tower, "Byllye tower 9 miles from Berwick on the edge of Lammermore, between Angus's barony of Boncle, and Coldingham" (55°49’48"N, 2°14’24"W) was captured on Candlemass day in January 1548 by the English soldier Thomas Carlile, who overcame the guard with 10 companions dressed "in maner of Skottes." He garrisoned the tower with 50 horsemen.[2]

Billie Castle was mentioned with two other neighbouring strongholds Bonkyll Castle and Blanerne Castle in a rhyme referring to their construction in the time of David I;

Bunkle, Billie and Blanerne
Three castles strong as irne,
Built when Davie was a Bairn,
Theyll all gang doon,
Wi Scotland's Croun
An ilka ane shall be a cairn.

Berwickshire rhymes

Auchencrow and Billie were mentioned in place-name verses recorded in the 19th century:

I stood upon Eyemouth Fort,
And guess ye what I saw,
Ferneyside, and Flemington,
Newhouses, and Cocklaw,
The fairy-folk o' Fosterland,
The witches o' Edencraw,
And the bogle in the Billy-myre.

Among verses referring to witches and warlocks comes:

Bourtrees, Bees, and Bairns,
Are rife in Auchencraw,
Where in the days o' auld lang syne,
The wives were witches a',
And Jamie Bour the auld gley'd carle,
Was warlock in yon raw.[3]

Although the 19th-century editor considered the latter verse of recent origin, he noted "Jamie Bour" as a reference to the servant of Robert Logan of Restalrig and Fast Castle mentioned in the Gowrie Conspiracy trial in 1608, who had property in the village.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Auchencrow)