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July 2003
The Grahams
Brackenhill Tower
Brackenhill Tower
Builders of Brackenhill Tower and terrors of the borderlands. We take a look at the history of the Graham clans.
SEE ALSO

Brackenhill Tower
What it is and why it's important.
-
Restoration
Information about the project from BBC Cumbria.
-
BBC Restoration
Homepage featuring all the buildings in the series.
-
The Grahams
Original owners of Brackenhill and feared throughout the Borders.
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The Border Reivers
Who they were and what they did.
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Lowther Castle
Cumbria's very own fairytale castle.
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Newland blast furnace
Part of Cumbria's industrial heritage.
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151 Queen Street
A piece of 18th Century luxury in the heart of modern town.

WEB LINKS

The clan Graham association - everything you could want to know about Clan Graham.

Tullie House museum and Art gallery - one of the main archives for the Border Reivers.

FACTS

The motto of the Grahams is "Ne Oublie" or "Never Forget".

The Grahams held thirteen towers, including Brackenhill.

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The Grahams and Brackenhill
Brackenhill is one of the key locations associated with the Graham clan and provides a unique opportunity to interpret reiving history. Brackenhill became the most southerly outpost of the true Border Reivers. It is likely that Fergus Graham of Mote acquired Brackenhill after 1561. He purchased it from Sir Thomas Dacre and settled the property on to his third son, Richard (Ritchie) around 1580's.

The Graham crest
The Graham crest

Brackenhill Tower is four and a half miles east of Longtown and stood perilously between the Debateable lands and the Bewcastle Wastes.

Brackenhill Tower was home to the Graham clan when they first arrived in the border area. The Grahams were banished from Scotland around 1516 due to their various misdemeanours. They were mercenaries, fighting men who earned their living on the battlefield and when they weren't soldiers, would make a living by robbery. The then head of the Graham clan, Lang Will Graham, fled to the English side of the border near Longtown in the early years of the 16th century.

He and his sons began to build a power base, which would become feared and virtually impregnable for almost a century. The Grahams held 13 towers, which were homes for the extended Graham clan family.

The chief seat of the family was Netherby (initially a fortified pele tower, later a grand stately pile was built on the site). One of Lang Will's sons, Fergus Graham of the Moat bought Brackenhill Tower from Sir Thomas Dacre and settled the property on his third son Richard (Richie) Graham who built the main tower house in 1584.

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