England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Order of Saint John (chartered 1888)
The Order of St John, formally the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and known as St John International, is a British royal order of chivalry first constituted in 1888 by royal charter from Queen Victoria. The Order traces its origins back to the Knights Hospitaller in the Middle Ages, known as the Order of Malta. A faction of them emerged in France in the 1820s and moved to Britain in the early 1830s, after operating under a succession of grand priors and different names, it became associated with the founding in 1882 of the St John Ophthalmic Hospital near the old city of Jerusalem and the St John Ambulance Brigade in 1887; the order is found throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, Hong Kong, the Republic of Ireland, the United States of America, with the worldwide mission "to prevent and relieve sickness and injury, to act to enhance the health and well-being of people anywhere in the world." The order's 25,000 members, known as confrères, are of the Protestant faith, though those of other Christian denominations or other religions are accepted into the order.
Except via appointment to certain government or ecclesiastical offices in some realms, membership is by invitation only and individuals may not petition for admission. The Order of St John is best known for the health organisations it founded and continues to run, including St John Ambulance and St John Eye Hospital Group; as with the Order, the memberships and work of these organizations are not constricted by denomination or religion. The Order is a constituent member of the Alliance of the Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem, its headquarters are in London and it is a registered charity under English law. In 1823, the Council of the French Langues—a French state-backed and hosted faction of the Order of Malta —sought to raise through private subscription sufficient money to restore a territorial base for the Order of Malta and aid the Greek War of Independence; this was to be achieved by issuing bonds in London to form a mercenary army of demobilized British soldiers using available, cheap war surplus.
A deal transferring various islands to the Order of Malta, including Rhodes when captured, was struck with the Greek rebels, but the attempt to raise money failed when details leaked to the press, the French monarchy withdrew its backing of the council, the bankers refused the loan. The council was reorganised and the Marquis de Sainte-Croix du Molay became its head. In June 1826, a second attempt was made to raise money to restore a Mediterranean homeland for the order when Philippe de Castellane, a French Knight of Malta, was appointed by the council to negotiate with supportive persons in Britain. Scotsman Donald Currie was in 1827 given the authority to raise £240,000. Anyone who subscribed to the project and all commissioned officers of the mercenary army were offered the opportunity of being appointed knights of the order. Few donations were attracted and the Greek War of Independence was won without the help of the knights of the Council of the French Langues. De Castellane and Currie were allowed by the French Council to form the Council of the English Langue, inaugurated on 12 January 1831, under the executive control of Alejandro, conde de Mortara, a Spanish aristocrat.
It was headquartered at what Mortara called the "Auberge of St John", Clerkenwell. This was the Old Jerusalem Tavern, a public house occupying what had once been a gatehouse to the ancient Clerkenwell Priory, the medieval Grand Priory of the Knights Hospitaller, otherwise known as the Knights of Saint John; the creation of the langue has been regarded either as a revival of the Knights Hospitaller or the establishment of a new order. The Reverend Sir Robert Peat, the absentee perpetual curate of St Lawrence, Brentford, in Middlesex, one of the many former chaplains to Prince George, had been recruited by the council as a member of the society in 1830. On 29 January 1831, in the presence of Philip de Castellane and the Agent-General of the French Langues, Peat was elected Prior ad interim, he and other British members of the organisation, with the backing of the Council of the French Langues on the grounds that he had been selling knighthoods, expelled Mortara, leading to two competing English chivalric groups between early 1832 and Mortara's disappearance in 1837.
On 24 February 1834, three years after becoming prior ad interim, in order to publicly reaffirm his claim to the office of prior and in the hope of reviving a charter of Queen Mary I dealing with the original English branch of the Order of Malta, took the oath de fideli administratione in the Court of the King's Bench, before the Lord Chief Justice. Peat was thus credited as being the first grand prior of the association, however, "W. B. H." wrote in January 1919 to the journal Notes & Queries: "His name is not in the knights' lists, he was never'Prior in the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem': he became an ordinary member of that Order on Nov. 11, 1830." Sir Robert Peat died in April 1837 and Sir Henry Dymoke was appointed grand prior and re-established contact with the knights in France and Germany, into which the group had by that time expanded. However, until the late 1830s, the British arm of the organisation had only considered itself to be a grand priory and langue of the Order of St John, having never been recognized as such by the established order.
Dymoke sought to rectify this by seeking acknowledgement fro
Eton College is an English 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor, as a sister institution to King's College, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school. Eton is one of the original nine public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868; the others are Harrow, Rugby, Westminster, Merchant Taylors' and St Paul's. Following the public school tradition, Eton is a full boarding school, which means pupils live at the school seven days a week, it is one of only five such remaining single-sex boys' public schools in the United Kingdom; the remainder have since become co-educational: Rugby, Charterhouse and Shrewsbury and Merchant Taylors', now a day school. Eton has educated 19 British prime ministers and generations of the aristocracy and has been referred to as "the chief nurse of England's statesmen".
Eton charges up to £12,910 per term, with three terms per academic year, in 2017/18. Eton was noted as being the sixth most expensive HMC boarding school in the UK in 2013/14, however the school admits some boys with modest parental income: in 2011 it was reported that around 250 boys received "significant" financial help from the school, with the figure rising to 263 pupils in 2014, receiving the equivalent of around 60% of school fee assistance, whilst a further 63 received their education free of charge. Eton has announced plans to increase the figure to around 320 pupils, with 70 educated free of charge, with the intention that the number of pupils receiving financial assistance from the school continues to increase. Eton College was founded by King Henry VI as a charity school to provide free education to 70 poor boys who would go on to King's College, founded by the same King in 1441. Henry took Winchester College as his model, visiting on many occasions, borrowing its statutes and removing its headmaster and some of the scholars to start his new school.
When Henry VI founded the school, he granted it a large number of endowments, including much valuable land. The group of feoffees appointed by the king to receive forfeited lands of the Alien Priories for the endowment of Eton were as follows: Archbishop Chichele Bishop Stafford Bishop Lowe Bishop Ayscough William de la Pole, 1st Marquess of Suffolk John Somerset, Chancellor of the Exchequer and the king's doctor Thomas Beckington, Archdeacon of Buckingham, the king's secretary and Keeper of the Privy Seal Richard Andrew, first Warden of All Souls College, Oxford the king's secretary Adam Moleyns, Clerk of the Council John Hampton of Kniver, Staffordshire, an Esquire of the Body James Fiennes, another member of the Royal Household William Tresham, another member of the Royal HouseholdIt was intended to have formidable buildings and several religious relics including a part of the True Cross and the Crown of Thorns, he persuaded the Pope, Eugene IV, to grant him a privilege unparalleled anywhere in England: the right to grant indulgences to penitents on the Feast of the Assumption.
The college came into possession of one of England's Apocalypse manuscripts. However, when Henry was deposed by King Edward IV in 1461, the new King annulled all grants to the school and removed most of its assets and treasures to St George's Chapel, Windsor, on the other side of the River Thames. Legend has it that Jane Shore, intervened on the school's behalf, she was able to save a good part of the school, although the royal bequest and the number of staff were much reduced. Construction of the chapel intended to be over twice as long, with 18, or 17, bays was stopped when Henry VI was deposed. Only the Quire of the intended building was completed. Eton's first Headmaster, William Waynflete, founder of Magdalen College and Head Master of Winchester College, built the ante-chapel that completed the chapel; the important wall paintings in the chapel and the brick north range of the present School Yard date from the 1480s. As the school suffered reduced income while still under construction, the completion and further development of the school has since depended to some extent on wealthy benefactors.
Building resumed when Roger Lupton was Provost, around 1517. His name is borne by the big gatehouse in the west range of the cloisters, fronting School Yard the most famous image of the school; this range includes the important interiors of the Parlour, Election Hall, Election Chamber, where most of the 18th century "leaving portraits" are kept. "After Lupton's time nothing important was built until about 1670, when Provost Allestree gave a range to close the west side of School Yard between Lower School and Chapel". This was remodelled and completed in 1694 by Matthew Bankes, Master Carpenter of the Royal Works; the last important addition to the central college buildings was the College Library, in the south range of the cloister, 1725–29, by Thomas Rowland. It has a important collection of books and manuscripts. In the 19th century, the architect John Shaw Jr became surveyor to Eton, he designed New Buildings, Provost Francis Hodgson's addition to provide better accommodation for collegers, who until had lived in Long Chamber, a long f
Ian Richard Peregrine Liddell-Grainger is a Conservative Party politician and former property developer. He was the Member of Parliament for Bridgwater between the 2001 general election and 2010 and has been the MP for the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency since 2010, he is a great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria. Liddell-Grainger was born on 23 February 1959 in Edinburgh to David Liddell-Grainger and Anne Liddell-Grainger, he was educated at Wellesley House School in the coastal town of Broadstairs in Kent and Millfield School in the town of Street in Somerset, before gaining a National Certificate of Agriculture at the South Scotland Agricultural College in Edinburgh. Before entering Parliament he ran a 250-acre farm in the Scottish Borders from 1980-85 before becoming the managing director of his family's property management and development company, he was commissioned as a Major in the Territorial Army with the 6th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, commanding the machine-gun Platoon and X Company of the Battalion in Newcastle upon Tyne.
He was elected for the Conservative Party as a District Councillor on Tynedale District Council in Northumberland, for the East Tynedale ward, in 1991 - serving until 1995 when the Labour Party candidate took the seat. Liddell-Grainger unsuccessfully contested the seat of Torridge and West Devon for the Conservative party at the 1997 general election, coming second to the Liberal Democrat candidate John Burnett. However, he was elected to parliament at the 2001 general election for the safe Conservative seat of Bridgwater in Somerset, succeeding former cabinet minister Tom King, he held the seat at the 2005 general election before boundary changes created the new seat of Bridgwater and West Somerset which he retained with a nominally reduced share of the vote at the 2010 general election. He was re-elected at 2017 general election; the cancellation of plans to build new school buildings in Bridgwater in 2010 led Liddell-Grainger to threaten to "march" on Downing Street in protest. The cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future projects was one of the first acts by the newly elected coalition government's Minister for Education Michael Gove.
Liddell-Grainger claimed that Bridgwater's schools were in need of rebuilding and that the plans, which had cancelled projects in three of the town's six schools, were all under one project heading and had been working effectively. Gove was forced to apologise for a number of errors in the cancellation of the project nationally and the Bridgwater project was reconsidered by the government after Liddell-Grainger met Gove and it became apparent that Gove "wasn't aware of all the facts to do with the Bridgwater scheme". Liddell-Grainger is a member of the 18-strong British delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, heads one of the five political groups in the Assembly, the European Conservatives Group, he supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum. Liddell-Grainger chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Energy Studies, the All-Party Pharmaceuticals group, the All-Party Dyslexia group, the All-Party Tax group, is a member of the All Parliamentary Armed Forces Scheme with the Royal Air Force and the all Parliamentary Radio Group.
In the House of Commons he sits on the Business and Industrial Strategy Committee and has sat on the Public Administration Committee, the Environmental Audit Committee, the DEFRA select committee, the Statutory Instruments, the Scottish Committee as well as the Crossrail Bill Committee. Liddell-Grainger is regarded as being on the right wing of the Conservative Party, is a member of the conservative Cornerstone Group – a ginger group within the Conservative Party, his interests include the economy, treatment for dyslexia, constitutional affairs, rural matters and he has spoken out in favour of making Herceptin available for early-stage breast cancer sufferers. The Hinkley Point nuclear power stations are located in Liddell-Grainger's constituency, he considers that "the nuclear power industry has embraced the energy future of our country", that "nuclear energy plays an important role in my constituency and is behind the creation of numerous jobs and training opportunities". He supported the decision in March 2013 to allow planning permission to build a third nuclear power station at the site.
He has voiced opposition to wind power schemes in his constituency, including plans to build two wind turbines at Wiveliscombe in 2012. According to the former minister Richard Benyon, Liddell-Grainger opposes bodies such as Natural England as a "default position". In 2010, Liddell-Grainger criticised plans by the Environment Agency and Natural England to create a wetland habitat at Steart on the Severn estuary as part of a realignment of coastal flood defences; the project, which he said the nation "should not and must not afford", went ahead in 2012. Liddell-Grainger has been accused of abusive and bullying behaviour towards local councillors and council staff within his constituency. In 2010, he was reprimanded by the Conservative Party Leader and Chief Whip over his behaviour towards the former Chief Executive of Somerset County Council, whilst in 2015 the majority of Conservative West Somerset councillors backed calls for him to be deselected for "divisive" and "unsupportive" behaviour.
In March 2015, West Somerset Council Leader Tim Taylor compiled a dossier of complaints, sent to the Conservative Party chairman and chief whip. Taylor described Mr Liddell-Grainger as a "disgrace to the Conservative Party". Liddell-Grainger was re-selected for the following general election in May 2015 by the Conservative Associati
University of London
The University of London is a collegiate federal research university located in London, England. As of October 2018, the university contains 18 member institutions, central academic bodies and research institutes; the university has over 52,000 distance learning external students and 161,270 campus-based internal students, making it the largest university by number of students in the United Kingdom. The university was established by royal charter in 1836, as a degree-awarding examination board for students holding certificates from University College London and King's College London and "other such other Institutions, corporate or unincorporated, as shall be established for the purpose of Education, whether within the Metropolis or elsewhere within our United Kingdom", allowing it to be one of three institutions to claim the title of the third-oldest university in England, moved to a federal structure in 1900, it is now incorporated by its fourth royal charter and governed by the University of London Act 1994.
It was the first university in the United Kingdom to introduce examinations for women in 1869 and, a decade the first to admit women to degrees. In 1948 it became the first British university to appoint a woman as its vice chancellor; the university's colleges house the oldest teaching hospitals in England. For most practical purposes, ranging from admissions to funding, the constituent colleges operate on an independent basis, with many awarding their own degrees whilst remaining in the federal university; the largest colleges by enrolment as of 2016/17 are UCL, King's College London, Queen Mary, the London School of Economics, Royal Holloway, Goldsmiths, each of which has over 9,000 students. Smaller, more specialist, colleges are the School of Oriental and African Studies, St George's, the Royal Veterinary College, London Business School, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, the Royal Academy of Music, the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Institute of Cancer Research.
Imperial College London was a member from 1907 before it became an independent university in 2007, Heythrop College was a member from 1970 until its closure in 2018. City is the most recent constituent college, having joined on 1 September 2016; as of 2015, there are around 2 million University of London alumni across the world, including 12 monarchs or royalty, 52 presidents or prime ministers, 84 Nobel laureates, 6 Grammy winners, 2 Oscar winners, 3 Olympic gold medalists and the "Father of the Nation" of several countries. University College London was founded under the name “London University” in 1826 as a secular alternative to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which limited their degrees to members of the established Church of England; as a result of the controversy surrounding UCL's establishment, King's College London was founded as an Anglican college by royal charter in 1829. In 1830, UCL applied for a royal charter as a university; this was rejected, but renewed in 1834. In response to this, opposition to "exclusive" rights grew among the London medical schools.
The idea of a general degree awarding body for the schools was discussed in the medical press. And in evidence taken by the Select Committee on Medical Education. However, the blocking of a bill to open up Oxford and Cambridge degrees to dissenters led to renewed pressure on the Government to grant degree awarding powers to an institution that would not apply religious tests as the degrees of the new University of Durham were to be closed to non-Anglicans. In 1835, the government announced the response to UCL's petition for a charter. Two charters would be issued, one to UCL incorporating it as a college rather than a university, without degree awarding powers, a second "establishing a Metropolitan University, with power to grant academical degrees to those who should study at the London University College, or at any similar institution which his Majesty might please hereafter to name". Following the issuing of its charter on 28 November 1836, the new University of London started drawing up regulations for degrees in March 1837.
The death of William IV in June, resulted in a problem – the charter had been granted "during our Royal will and pleasure", meaning it was annulled by the king's death. Queen Victoria issued a second charter on 5 December 1837; the university awarded its first degrees in 1839, all to King's College. The university established by the charters of 1836 and 1837 was an examining board with the right to award degrees in arts and medicine. However, the university did not have the authority to grant degrees in theology, considered the senior faculty in the other three English universities. In medicine, the university was given the right to determine which medical schools provided sufficient medical training. In arts and law, by contrast, it would examine students from UCL, King's College, or any other school or college granted a royal warrant giving the government control of which colleges could affiliate to the university. Beyond the right to submit students for examination, there was no other connection between the affiliated colleges and the university.
In 1849 the university held its first graduation ceremony at Somerset House following a petition to the senate from the graduates, who had received their degrees without any ceremony. About 250 students graduated at this ceremony; the London academic robes of this period were distinguished by their "rich velvet facings". The list of affiliated colleges g
A royal family is the immediate family of a king or queen regnant, sometimes his or her extended family. The term imperial family appropriately describes the family of an emperor or empress, the term papal family describes the family of a pope, while the terms baronial family, comital family, ducal family, archducal family, grand ducal family, or princely family are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning baron, duke, grand duke, or prince. However, in common parlance members of any family which reigns by hereditary right are referred to as royalty or "royals." It is customary in some circles to refer to the extended relations of a deposed monarch and his or her descendants as a royal family. A dynasty is sometimes referred to as "the House of...". As of July 2013, there are 26 active sovereign monarchies in the world who rule or reign over 43 countries in all. A royal family includes the spouse of the reigning monarch, surviving spouses of a deceased monarch, the children, brothers and paternal cousins of the reigning monarch, as well as their spouses.
In some cases, royal family membership may extend to great grandchildren and more distant descendants of a monarch. In certain monarchies where voluntary abdication is the norm, such as the Netherlands, a royal family may include one or more former monarchs. In certain instances, such as in Canada, the royal family is defined by who holds the styles Majesty and Royal Highness. There is a distinction between persons of the blood royal and those that marry into the royal family. Under most systems, only persons in the first category are dynasts, that is, potential successors to the throne; this is not always observed. In addition, certain relatives of the monarch possess special privileges and are subject to certain statutes, conventions, or special common law; the precise functions of a royal family vary depending on whether the polity in question is an absolute monarchy, a constitutional monarchy, or somewhere in between. In certain monarchies, such as that found in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, or in political systems where the monarch exercises executive power, such as in Jordan, it is not uncommon for the members of a royal family to hold important government posts or military commands.
In most constitutional monarchies, members of a royal family perform certain public, social, or ceremonial functions, but refrain from any involvement in electoral politics or the actual governance of the country. The specific composition of royal families varies from country to country, as do the titles and royal and noble styles held by members of the family; the composition of the royal family may be regulated by statute enacted by the legislature, the sovereign's prerogative and common law tradition, or a private house law. Public statutes, constitutional provisions, or conventions may regulate the marriages and personal titles of royal family members; the members of a royal family may not have a surname or dynastic name. In a constitutional monarchy, when the monarch dies, there is always a law or tradition of succession to the throne that either specifies a formula for identifying the precise order of succession among family members in line to the throne or specifies a process by which a family member is chosen to inherit the crown.
In the former case the exact line of hereditary succession among royal individuals may be identified at any given moment during prior reigns whereas in the latter case the next sovereign may be selected only during the reign or shortly after the demise of the preceding monarch. Some monarchies employ a mix of these selection processes, providing for both an identifiable line of succession as well as authority for the monarch, dynasty or other institution to alter the line in specific instances without changing the general law of succession; some countries have abolished royalty altogether, as in post-revolutionary Russia. Whilst mediatization occurred in other countries such as France and Russia, only the certain houses within the former Holy Roman Empire are collectively called the Mediatized Houses. Arenberg ducal family Fürstenberg princely family Ligne princely family Merode princely family Schwarzenberg princely family Thurn und Taxis princely family Media related to Royal families at Wikimedia Commons
Ayton Castle, Scottish Borders
Ayton Castle is located to the east of Ayton in the Scottish Borders. It is 9 kilometres north-west of Berwick-upon-Tweed, in the former county of Berwickshire. Built around a medieval tower house, the present castle dates from the 19th century. Ayton Castle is the caput of the feudal barony of Ayton; the castle is protected as a category A listed building, the grounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland, the national listing of significant parks and gardens. The original castle, a peel tower, had once been a stronghold of the Home family; this castle was captured by the English in 1497, the nearby church was the scene of the subsequent negotiation of the treaty of Ayton, signed on 30 September 1497. The tower was replaced by a classical mansion, which burnt down in 1834; the estate was subsequently purchased by William Mitchell of Parsonsgreen, born at Belhelvie, Aberdeenshire, in 1778. William Mitchell was Chief Cashier of the Royal Bank of Scotland from 1808 to 1827.
After inheriting the Parsonsgreen estate, he was an extraordinary director of the bank, 1840–1841. After further inheriting the Stow estates from a distant cousin, he hyphenated his surname and is found as William Mitchell-Innes of Parsonsgreen, an ordinary director of the bank, 1841-1853. Between these latter dates he acquired the Ayton estate, he is recorded as William Mitchell-Innes of Ayton Castle, an ordinary director 1853-1859. In 1851 William Mitchell-Innes commissioned James Gillespie Graham to build a new castle at Ayton in the Scottish Baronial style in red sandstone. In 1860 architect David Bryce extended the drawing room and added a billiard room, with further additions in 1864-7 by James Maitland Wardrop. Extensive interior redecoration was carried out in 1875 by Bonnar & Carfrae, still extant, with stencilled imitation silk damask. In addition to the elaborate offices and stables block, all in red sandstone, Ayton Castle boasts a beehive type sixteenth century dovecote, restored in 1745 and 2015, a magnificent South Lodge in Scots Baronial with archway and screen walls in red sandstone.
Mention must be made of the visit to the castle in 1873 by Mark Twain who insisted upon buying the Dining Room fireplace mantel. The present castle fireplace dates from that occurrence. Following William Mitchell-Innes's death at the castle in January 1860, it passed to his eldest son and heir, Alexander Mitchell-Innes of Ayton and Whitehall, a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for Berwickshire, he continued the family's building works at Ayton by commissioning James Maitland Wardrop to build a new parish church with a 36-metre spire, stained glass windows by Ballantine & Sons. Alexander Mitchell-Innes married Charlotte, daughter of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder of Fountainhall, 7th Bt, she died in childbirth having their sixth child. He remarried Fanny Augusta daughter of James Vine, in Isle of Wight, they had a further nine children. There were inheritance disputes. Strangely, Alexander Harold Mitchell-Innes of Ayton & Whitehall was served heir of entail to his grandfather, Alexander Mitchell-Innes of Ayton & Whitehall, on 21 November 1892.
In 1895 he sold the barony of Ayton, its castle and lands, for £90,000 to Henry Liddell-Grainger of Middleton Hall, Northumberland. Alexander Mitchell-Innes had shared his entire estate with his large family and they were accordingly all paid out following the sale of Ayton Castle; the family retained Millbank House and grounds, not far from the castle, as well as the now-derelict Whitehall Manor, near Chirnside. Ayton Castle website