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Lintalee (lin-tu-lee) n. house about a mile south of Jedburgh on the banks of the Jed Water and formerly in the Jed Forest. It was residence of Sir James Douglas from around 1316 when he was Warden of the Marches.

It is also the site of a battle where Douglas’ men defeated those of the Earl of Arundel in the Spring of 1317. Some were ambushed using intertwined birch branches in a narrow pass, perhaps at the Willowford Burn, where Sir Thomas of Richmont was killed. Another English group under a priest named Ellis was discovered feasting near Lintalee itself and also defeated. The Englishmen who escaped with tales of defeat convinced Arundel to turn his huge army South again. The manor house there continued to be used by the Lords of Jedforest into the 15th century. In 1457 it was given for the use of Andrew Ker of Cessford, Bailie of the Lordship.

It was owned by the Marquis of Douglas in 1643 and 1678, when valued at £160. In 1694 it ‘Mr Thomas Sheill’ was taxed for having 10 hearths at the house there; this seems likely to have been the same man who was minister at Roberton Kirk.

John Turner paid tax for 21 windows there in 1748. Archibald Douglas of Douglas(1) was recorded as owner in 1788 (also known as ‘Linthaughlee’, it is ‘Lintole’ in 1457, ‘Lyntounlee’ in 1493, ‘Lintole’ in 1517 and ‘Lintlauglie’ and ‘linthaughlie’

in 1694; it is ‘Lyntaly’ on Blaeu’s 1654 map; the origin of the name is probably just ‘the clearing where flax grows’).

Mediaeval Earthwork, Lintalee. In the summer of 1317 Sir James Douglas built a 'fair manner' for himself at 'Lyntoun-le', and from there, as Barbour tells us, (The Bruce (STS) he ambushed the English forces under Edmund, Earl of Arundel, defeating them with great slaughter. The earthwork within which the modern mansion of Lintalee stands (RCAHMS 1956 Fig.283), although a simple enough construction, is thus of importance since it is seldom that a mediaeval construction of this nature can be actually dated to a year. We are told that the enclosure contained houses, obviously of wood, since they were constructed by skilful wrights. The site has great natural strength, as it consists of a level promontory jutting N with its NW side formed by the cliff of Lintalee Glen and its NE side rising almost as steeply about 100 ft. above Linthaugh, which is bordered by Jed Water. Only from the S is access possible, and there the way is barred by defences running from one declivity to the other and shutting off a quadrilateral area a little under 2 acres in extent. The NE end of these works, in which the entrance was presumably situated, has been destroyed by the formation of the drive leading to the modern house, while the SW end, which formerly rested on the edge of the cliff, has been cut back to a lesser extent in the construction of a road and footpath. Otherwise the defences, which consist of two earthen ramparts and an outer ditch, are in a good state of preservation and are particularly impressive at the SW end. The ditch, 23 ft to 26 ft wide and 3 ft deep, is separated by a wide berm from the outer rampart, which averages 30 ft in thickness at the base, 5 ft in height on its outer face, and 1 ft 6 in. on its inner face. There is no sign of a ditch between the two ramparts, but the surface is slightly hollowed and appears to have been skinned to provide material for the inner rampart. At its SW end this rampart, which is 50 ft thick, measures 18 ft high externally and 13 ft high internally; elsewhere the external height averages 10 ft and the internal height 7 ft. This rampart no doubt bore a palisade which was probably continued on top of a slighter bank round the other three sides of the promontory. Traces of this bank are visible along the cliff edge between the SW end of the inner rampart and the house.

Lintalee Cave, in the steep bank of the Jed, once used as a place of refuge, disappeared through a landslip in 1866.

1 Archibald Douglas of Douglas is probably the nephew of the Duke of Douglas, whose lands he inherited, giving rise to the Douglas Cause court case.



Sources for this article include:
  • A Hawick Word Book - Douglas Scott
  • Canmore

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    Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024