Dryhope Tower has a long and much renowned history, popular knowledge of it bolstered by the success of Ian Landles’ and Alan Brydon’s 2007 musical A Reiver’s Moon, and its recent renovation in 2003 as a visitor’s centre, thanks to the aid of Heritage Lottery funding, which included the addition of a staircase, allowing visitors to enjoy the view from the rooftop.
Dryhope was the property of a branch of the Scott clan for centuries, and was first made famous as the home of Mary Scott, the ‘Flower of Yarrow’, who married Walter ‘Auld Wat’ Scott of Harden. Auld Wat was an infamous Border reiver in the 16th century, raiding into England as well as among neighbouring settlements. Legend states that Mary placed a pair of spurs on his dinner-plate when her stores ran empty, indicating that Walter should ride out and secure greater stock for the Dryhope larder. The tower was razed in 1592 by royal order – a response to Auld Wat’s role in the Falkland Raid, an attempt to capture King James VI at Falkland Palace. Auld Wat also participated in the rescue of Kinmont Willie from Carlisle Castle in 1596. It is possible that the tower was also home at one point to the notorious reiver Richard ‘Dickie of Dryupp’ Armstrong – potentially also one of the leaders of the Kinmont Willie rescue, and an scurrilous bandit of the marches.
The present tower stands on the site of the original, having been rebuilt by the Scotts in 1613, with further renovations made in 1788, and then in 2003.