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A John Scott and Wat English, according to the bard Satchels, had arrived at a gamekeepers/foresters house deep in the Ettrick valley, having been banished from Galloway. They had been sheltered and fed, on account of their skill in “winding the horn” and other such mysteries of the chase. Soon afterwards, the King of Scots, Kenneth III, had come that way hunting and upon reaching the deep glen or 'cleugh' had soon cornered a strong buck deer in the Rankilburn. Having outrun most of the king's following footmen ,the stag had then turned on the now dismounted Kenneth but, before it could attack, had been seized forcefully by its horns and cast upon its back by one John Scott, foremost in the chase and then lain killed at his king's feet.

Buccleuch Name Legend


If the king, having got off his horse to give it the coup -de- grace and slipped on wet leaves, had not had John near, then the stag would surely have gored him. Having so saved the king, and his hounds, from its antlers and demonstrated his strength and prowess in throwing the stag, the king had then rewarded this Galwegian exile by committing the forest and its deer to his charge;

And for the buck though stoutly brought

to us up that steep heugh,

thy designation ever shall be

John Scott of Bucks Cleuch.”

Near this ravine, or cleuch, once stood the two farm steadings of Easter and Wester Buccleuch ,the former standing on the site of the old tower of which there are now no signs. There the Scotts built a manor house and, from their continued residence there, they gradually dropped the designation of Rankilburn and adopted that of Buccleuch. These lands of Rankilburn and Buccleuch, dating their acquisition from the 13th century, are still amongst the oldest territorial possessions of the family.

By the year 1902, when a family named Anderson had moved into the farmhouse of East Buccleuch, upon lifting some floorboards the mouth of a tunnel had been discovered in the foundations. Research later revealed that the farmhouse had been built on the site of a 15th century Scott fortress and the tunnel had once been used as a means of escape into the surrounding hills in the event of an attack. Although the tunnel mouth had been in-filled, it would appear that the rest of it was still intact as, according to Ronnie Brownie, (yes he of Corrie's fame) who resided in West Buccleuch for a number of years, he could hear some 150 yards away across the Rankle Burn his neighbours kitchen door closing, the noise emanating from beneath his own kitchen floor!


The only thing that now remains of the old fortress at Easter Buccleuch is a crest plaque, set into the wall above the door of the farmhouse. This being part of the old Buccleuch family crest, this block of stone contains a star amid two crescent moons (a throwback to the Scotts reiving times, but still incorporated into The Duke of Buccleuch's heraldic arms to this current day).


While the story of the killing of the stag and the saving of the monarch's life crops up elswhere in Scottish legends and is now considered to be a poetic invention of the poet Satchells, it is "none the waur o' that!"

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