FOR SAVING THE LIFE of Robert Bruce when he was attacked by a wounded bull, one William of Rule was awarded lands and was thereafter known as Turn-e-bull. The Rule Water territory of the Turnbulls was a baronial possession of the House of Douglas. By 1510, the Turnbulls had become so scornful of the authority of James IV that he decided to make an example of them and 200 members of the family appeared before him wearing linen sheets, swords in hands and halters around their necks. Some were hanged and others imprisoned.
However, the unsettled state of the Borders continued, causing James VI and I to order his wardens to use ‘hostile feud in hostile manner against all male factors’.
Many of the names of Turnbull left the Borders at this time. The chiefly branches of Beadroll and Minto fell into financial difficulties and scattered.
Turnbull castles were Barnshill, near the base of Minto Crags and built in the sixteenth century, and Bedrule, in the Rule Valley, which was destroyed by the English in 1545. They held Fulton Tower which is on the right of the Rule Water, and Minto estates on the River Teviot until these passed through various owners to the Elliots.
The Turnbulls owned Philiphaugh estates in the Ettrick Forest for 300 years. The Murrays acquired part of the lands through marriage, and then all of them after the last of the Turnbull line died in 1572.