Bemersyde House

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Bemersyde House
Bermeyside House.jpg
Bemerside House
Grid reference: NT592333
Location: 55°35’30"N, 2°38’56"W
Village: Bemersyde
Country house
Owned by: The Earl Haig

Bemersyde House is a historic house at Bemersyde in Berwickshire. The house dates back to 1535 as a peel tower, and it was long the seat of the Haig family, as it remains today though with twists and turns in the succession to ownership.


The tower house at Bemersyde was built around 1535, but incorporates the fabric of an earlier castle.

In 1544 Robert Haig, the 14th laird of Bemersyde, captured a wounded English commander, Lord Evers, at the Battle of Ancrum Moor and brought him back to Bemersyde, where he died after a few days and was buried at Melrose Abbey. The following year Bemersyde was burnt by the Earl of Hertford. It was repaired and re-fashioned in 1581

The sixteenth and seventeenthe centuries saw the house transferred within the family as debts took their toll. In 1657, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Anthony Haig became a Quaker and at the Restoration was imprisoned in Edinburgh 1663 for his religious affiliation, being finally released after four years in December 1667. he is was who paid off the family debts and took to remodeling Bemersyde.

Sir Walter Scott, who came to live at nearby Abbotsford, was a friend of the Haig family.

In 1866, the male line having failed, the sisters of the family transferred the estate to a distant cousin, Colonel Arthur Balfour Haig, from the Clackmannan branch of the family. Nevertheless, Colonel Haig put the estate up for sale after the Great War. In 1921, Bemersyde was bought by the Government in 1921, with funds raised by public subscription, and presented to Field Marshal The 1st Earl Haig, the British Commander in First World War, as thanks from a grateful nation. It was Field Marshall Haig who laid out the gardens as they are seen today.

The family motto of the Earls Haig is "Tyde what may", which refers to a 13th-century poem by Thomas the Rhymer which predicted that there would always be a Haig in Bemersyde:

'Tyde what may betyde
Haig shall be Haig of Bemersyde'.

The House has since then remained the seat of the head of Haig family, currently the Rt Hon. Alexander Douglas Derrick Haig, 3rd Earl Haig.

The nearest towns are Newtown St Boswells, Melrose, and Dryburgh. The William Wallace Statue, Bemersyde is on the Bemersyde Estate.

See also

Outside links