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How did Fatlips Castle get its name?

At just 6 miles from Tiny Home, you will not want to miss a visit to one of the most iconic Scottish Borders Pele Tower’s nor the views from the top which are quite spectacular.


The magnificent Fatlips Castle was once a stronghold of Border Reivers and built by the Turnbull family of Reivers in the 1500’s but how did it get its unusual name?


Fatlips Castle is a truly iconic Scottish Borders pele tower which sits perched atop the Minto Crags looking out over Teviotdale, past Denholm and Bedrule, onto Ruberslaw and beyond, towards the English border. This Borders Pele Tower has been known through the centuries as Mantoncrake Castle, Catslick Castle, Minto Castle, and most affectionately as Fatlips Castle.

Fatlips Castle was the stronghold of the noted Border Reiver, Turnbull of Barnhill. The Minto Crags Borders pele tower was burnt in Hertford's raid on the Scottish Borders in 1545. Following the Turnbulls, the tower was renovated by Robert Lorimer in the 1890's and it became a Shooting Lodge and Gallery. The tower was owned by Sir Gilbert Elliot who's descendants became Earls of Minto and who own the property to this day. The tower was beautifully restored in 2013.


The rectangular tower is 56 feet (17m) tall, 26 feet 9 inches (8.15 m) from north to south, and 32 feet 3 inches (9.83 m) from east to west. When the interior was complete it comprised four storeys plus an attic surrounded by a parapet walk.


There are a number of possible origins for why the name "Fatlips Castle" was given to the Minto Crags Borders pele tower.


There was once a goat nicknamed Fatlips on the dunion which warned of the approaching English by bleating loudly.


It is said that one of the pleasures of a visit to Fatlips used to be that "every gentleman, by indefeasible privilege, kisses one of the ladies on entering the ruin.” (Chambers, Robert (1828).

Fatlips is the name given to a legendary spirit dwelling in Dryburgh Abbey by a hermit woman who took up residence in the ruins of the abbey. She claimed that Fatlips stamped the moisture away from the ground where she slept with his heavy iron boots. This gave rise to the notion that Fatlips lived in medieval ruins.


Whatever the origin of the name, being unusual, Fatlips certainly adds an aura of mystery but the reason for the name Fatlips also remains a mystery. We will let you choose your own favourite reason! Key to the tower

The door to the tower is kept locked but the key is available from Thos. B. Oliver Garage in Denholm. There is a £10 deposit for the key £5 of which is returnable with £5 going towards the upkeep of the castle.


Currently the key is not available however, the views are well worth the walk. For regular updates see https://www.facebook.com/FatlipsCastle

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