Mains House (possible) (site of)
According to Margaret Warrender writing in “Marchmont and the Humes of Polwarth”, the Hume family lived in a property called Mains House, possibly in the 16th century. This may have been a castle, but as yet I haven’t found any other references to it.
The Humes of Polwarth lived at Polwarth Castle from 1451, upon the marriage of Patrick Hume to Margaret Sinclair, daughter of John Sinclair of Herdmanston, Polwarth and Kimmerghame.
Following the destruction of Polwarth Castle during the Rough Wooing of the 1540s, the Humes are said to have first moved to Mains House, before later moving to Redbraes Castle.
While Polwarth Castle and Redbraes Castle both appear on early maps of Scotland, I haven’t been able to find Mains House, unless it went by another name.
In Joan Blaeu’s Atlas of Scotland, published in 1654 but based in part on Timothy Pont’s maps of the late 16th to early 17th century, Redbraes Castle appears as Ridelbraes. Interestingly it is shown as two castles side by side, each within their own enclosure.
One appears to be in the known position of Redbraes, while the other appears to be further to the east, standing closer to a river – possibly the Howe Burn. It’s tempting to identify the second castle as Mains House.
Warrender describes the location of Mains House as being “near the eastern end of the great avenue”. Interestingly towards the eastern end of the Great Avenue is a defined terrace above a bend in the Howe Burn, so for now I have placed the location of Mains House here.
Where is Mains House?
Mains House is in the parish of Polwarth and the county of Berwickshire.
Grid reference:NT 7542 4931
Lat / long:55.736522,-2.393067