Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Dromelzeare, Dunmellar, Dunmeller

Drumelzier is a small village located in the Upper Tweeddale area of the Scottish Borders, Scotland. It is situated along the River Tweed.

According to legend, Merlin had a vision of his own death. In response to this vision, Merlin decided to retreat from the world and sought solitude in the remote area of Drumelzier. The story goes that Merlin, feeling his end was near, sought the peaceful and secluded surroundings of Drumelzier, where he lived in a cave or grove of trees. The area’s tranquil beauty and natural features were believed to have been a source of solace for the legendary wizard in his final days.

Another legend has it that Merlin organised a pagan army to fight against the Christians of Strathclyde, and that his army was defeated, almost all totally slaughtered. As it was, Merlin who had incited the men to fight, it was said that he was condemned to wander the forests until his own death because he carried their blood guilt on his head.

Merlin eventually died when he was chased by a group of angry shepherds and tried to jump across the River Tweed but fell only to impale himself on wooden stakes that were holding up the salmon nets of local fishermen. He was buried near the river.

Drumelzier | 0 to the 9th century AD

Prehistoric and Roman Periods
Like many areas in Britain, Drumelzier and its surroundings would have been inhabited during prehistoric times. The region may have seen human activity during the Bronze Age and Iron Age. During the Roman occupation of Britain (first to fourth centuries), the region fell within the territory of the ancient Celtic people, and there may have been interactions with Roman forces.

Celtic and Early Medieval Periods | 5th to 9th centuries
The transition from Roman Britain to the early medieval period saw the emergence of Celtic kingdoms and a blending of Celtic and Christian traditions. The area around Drumelzier is known for its connections to Celtic saints and early Christian communities. St. Cuthbert, an important figure in early medieval Christianity, is associated with the region, and there are mentions of St. Cuthbert’s Church in Drumelzier.

Drumelzier Castle
While Drumelzier Castle, located in the area, is now in a state of ruin, it likely has a history dating back to the medieval period. Castles in Scotland often served defensive and administrative functions.

The name “Drumelzier” has elements that suggest a Scottish Gaelic influence. In Gaelic, the term derm typically refers to a ridge or a rounded hill. The suffix elzier is less clear in its origin, and names can undergo changes and variations over time. The name’s Celtic elements align with the historical and cultural heritage of the region. The Scottish Borders have a strong historical connection to both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon influence.

The name Drumelzier has likely evolved over centuries, influenced by the languages and cultures that have shaped the region. It may have been influenced by Old Gaelic, Middle English, or other linguistic elements that were prevalent in the area. Over the centuries, Drumelzier has been spelled Dromelzeare (medieval period), Dramalzier (sixteenth century), Drumalzier (eighteenth century), Drumelsher (seventeenth century), Dromelzier (nineteenth century), and today, as Drumelzier.