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Buckholm Tower: The Macabre Story That Created The Legend Of The Ghosts Of This Scottish Ruin

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

Buckholm Tower in Scotland, located close to the border town of Galashiels is home to a brutal story of death and murder that paved the way for future reports of ghost sightings and terrifying paranormal encounters.

Buckholme Tower is now just a ruin but the sightings of ghostly apparitions continue
Buckholm Tower is now just a ruin but the sightings of ghostly apparitions continue

Buckholm Tower, now in ruins, stands close to the Border town of Galashiels. Three centuries ago, it was the home of a terrible and tyrannical man, Laird Pringle. He had a violent temper and a sadistic nature. So abusive was he to his wife and son that they were forced to flee from Buckholm, leaving the laird to live alone, apart from the long-suffering servants on whom he vented his spleen with startling regularity.

As well as indulging in his fondness for large quantities of drink, Laird Pringle is said to have spent much of his time hunting. It would seem that blood sports were one way he used to express the cruel side of his nature. One night, however, he was offered the chance to hunt not animals, but humans.

The 1680s were years of much bloodshed in Scotland. It was the time of the Covenanters, strong Presbyterians who wanted to worship as they pleased, contrary to the laws passed by the parliament in England. Forced to meet in secret, they were constantly being hounded by the Redcoat forces, driven out of their hiding places, and punished most cruelly.

Pringle hated the Covenanters, and when he was called upon to assist a band of Redcoats intent on raiding a secret Covenanters' meeting on the moor near his home, he was delighted to help. He called his ferocious hunting hounds to heel and set off on horseback.

The Redcoats were too late. Someone must have warned the Covenanters, for their meeting had broken up and they had fled. The 'hunting' expedition was not entirely fruitless, however, for, in the course of their search, the troops came upon one old man and his son, hiding nearby. The old man had fallen and injured his back and had been unable to escape, so his son stayed by his side. The pair could not deny that they were Covenanters, for to do so was to deny God.

Pringle would have killed the two of them then and there, but the officer in charge of the Redcoat troops prevented him from doing so. The captives were to face a proper trial, he insisted. Besides, they were of more use alive than dead, since with a little 'persuasion' they might be induced to share some useful information with their captors. Pringle was to take them back to Buckholm Tower and hold them there to await further questioning and subsequent trial.

Pringle dragged the two men back to Buckholm and threw them into the cellar. The laird's sadism and thirst for blood was, however, stronger than any respect he might have had for the law. Later that night, his servants heard him lurching drunkenly down to the cellar. They listened with great apprehension.

Sounds of a scuffle could be heard, then crashes, thumps, roars, and screams of agony. Too terrified of their master to take any action, the servants could only listen outside the door and wait. The screaming stopped. The laird stumbled out of the cellar, covered in blood and triumphant.

"Swine should be treated as swine!" he raged, shoving his men aside as he made his way unsteadily upstairs again. When he reached the entrance hall, he was met by a local woman standing at the door. She was the old man's wife and had come home to beg for the release of her husband and son. Laird Pringle dragged her down to the cellar and threw open the door to reveal what was inside. There, suspended on the wall, iron hooks through their jaws just like two slaughtered pigs, were the man and the boy.

Pringle watched with obvious relish as the woman subsided into hysterical sobbing. Then, after a few moments, she composed herself and turned to face the laird. She cursed him for what he had done. Just as his hounds had hunted down the Covenanters, his awful deeds would come back like the hounds of hell and hunt him down for eternity.

For the first time in a long time, Pringle was really frightened. For the remainder of his life, he was tormented by visitors of ghostly hounds, their teeth bared, saliva dripping from their jaws as they moved in for the attack. After his death, people began to hear the strangest sounds at night - the baying of hounds on the hunt and the agonised screams of a man in fear for his life.

Although the rest of Buckholm Tower lies in ruins, the cellar remains. Sometimes at night, it is said, you can still hear the noise of dogs and of the Laird Pringle's tormented screams. The Haunted Ruins Of Warren House: The Dark Story Of What Was Known As "The Lepers House" In Norfolk


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