Charles I (1625-49) turner, coinage of 1642, 1644, 1648 and 1650.

Worth two pence Scot, this coin offers an example of copper coinage struck during the reign of Charles I.

The design bears a crowned C R, for King Charles, on the obverse. The reverse consists of a thistle in inner circle.

The Latin inscription is at legend on both sides, with the obverse reading CAR. DG. SCOT. ANG. FRA. ET. HIB. R. This translates as: Charles by the grace of God King of Scotland, England, France and Ireland. On the reverse is the Latin inscription, NEMO ME IMPVNE LACESSET, which means 'no-one shall hurt me with impunity'.

During the Civil Wars years, 1642-60, copper turners were the only coins milled in Scotland. At this time, both the names turner and bodle were in use to indicate a two penny piece. The former is thought to be derived from the French 'tournois'; while the latter is possibly after the Earl of Bothwell. Charles became King in 1625 but his Scottish coronation did not take place until 1633. His reign culminated in civil war and his execution.

Smailholm Tower

Smailholm’s 20m-tall tower house, its walls 2.5m deep, dominates a rocky craig. The Pringles, who built this border stronghold in the first half of the 1400s, were a prominent local family.

As the laird’s residence, the tower housed:

  • cellars on the ground floor
  • a great hall on the first floor
  • a bedchamber on the second floor
  • further chambers at the top

Views from the battlements are impressive: on a good day, you can see mighty Bamburgh Castle, 33 miles away in Northumberland.

The ruined foundations of an outer hall and kitchen block lie in the shadow of the tower. A stout defensive wall encloses the barmkin (courtyard).

Border families and reivers

As squires of the powerful earls of Douglas, the Pringles had the role of warden of the Ettrick Forest – a profitable position. But like everyone else either side of the border, they suffered at the hands of the reivers (cattle raiders).

During two raids in 1544, Northumberland reivers got away with more than 700 cattle and 100 horses. This may have prompted the family to relocate in the later 1500s to Galashiels (their burial vault was in Melrose Abbey).

In 1645, the Scotts of Harden, near Hawick, bought the tower and estate. They already had a fine house, so they leased Smailholm to a kinsman, Walter ‘Beardie’ Scott – better known as Sir Walter Scott’s great-grandfather.

Smailholm and Sir Walter Scott

Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh in 1771, but was sent by his parents to Smailholm as a sickly infant for the good of his health.

Scott was 18 months old when he came to Sandyknowe Farmhouse, the dwelling that replaced Smailholm as the Scott family home. There his grandmother and aunt told him tales of the border countryside.

In his old age, Scott described the powerful effect on his imagination of these border ballads and the sight of his ancestors’ ancient tower, “standing stark and upright like a warden”.

In 1802, Scott published his much acclaimed Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. He paid an emotional visit to Smailholm shortly before his death in 1832.

Find out more about Smailholm Tower

Details

Date Made
1642-1650
Dimensions
dia 19mm (dia 3/4")
Property Information
Smailholm Tower
Object Number
SML120
Access Status
Storage

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