Bonkyl

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Bonkyl Castle

Bonkyl is a deserted village site in Berwickshire, near Preston in that shire.

The village is drawn in some detail on Roy's 1747–55 Military Survey of Scotland, as Buncle. On Armstrong's Map of the County of Berwick of 1777, it is shown as a small settlement but, by the publication of Sharp, Greenwood and Fowler's 1826 Map of Berwickshire, only the manse, the church and the ruins of the 12th century castle are depicted and the village no longer appears to exist.

An archaeological investigation of the deserted village of Bonkyl has been launched, supported by the Berwickshire Civic Society.

Bonkyl Castle

Main article: Bonkyll Castle

Bonkyll Castle a mediæval castle also variously spelled Bonkyl, Boncle, Buncle, Bunkle or Bonkill, stood at Bonkyl, and very little remains today. The site is protected as a scheduled monument.

Excepting the motte on which it stood, and a small section of curtain wall there is little left of the structure of what was once a very powerful Castle of Enceinte.

This was the caput of the wealthy honour of Bonkyll, the castle originally belonged to the eponymous Bonkyl family, passing by marriage in the late 13th century to Sir John Stewart, son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland. Sir John's grandson, also Sir John Stewart, married Margaret de Abernethy, the heiress of the Lordship of Abernethy in 1328 and the following year he was created Earl of Angus, thus combining broad territories in Berwickshire, Angus, and Kinross-shire. Sir John's granddaughter, Margaret Stewart, being his sole heiress inherited the Earldom of Angus and Lordship of Abernethy, and the honour of Bunkle. She had an illicit affair with William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas, of which liaison, a child was produced, George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus. From the Countess Margaret's death in 1417 Bunkle remained under the ownership of the Douglas Earls of Angus until the late 18th century when it passed to the Earls of Home of Hume Castle in Berwickshire.

A popular Berwickshire rhyme refers to the medieval strengths of Bonkyll and the nearby fortresses of Billie Castle, and Blanerne Castle referring to their construction in the time of King David I and their destruction following the Rough Wooing:

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

References