Clan Armstrong People & Places

Clan Armstrong People

Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Neil Armstrong

The first man on the moon, it is said he took a swatch of Armstrong tartan with him. At the time of the moon landing, the town clerk of Langholm was Eddie Armstrong. Eddie issued the invitation for Neil Armstrong to become the town’s first and only Freeman.

In 1972 Neil Armstrong with his wife came to Langholm to accept the honour. Men, women and children lined the streets to cheer and wave in welcome. At the ceremony address he told the audience, “The most difficult place to be recognised is in one’s own home town, I consider this, now, my home town.”

Armstrong died on 25 August 2012, aged 82, as a result of complications following bypass surgery to relieve blocked coronary arteries. Within days of his death, Langholm representatives began to make requests to the Scottish council to commemorate his life.

Edwin Howard Armstrong (1890-1954)

Edwin Armstrong

US Electrical Engineer, inventor of the FM radio.

Gary Armstrong (born 1966 in Edinburgh)

Scottish rugby

Gary equalled Roy Laidlaw’s then record as Scotland’s most capped scrum-half when he won his 47th cap against Romania in August 1999. He then joined the 50-cap club when he led Scotland to victory in the World Cup play-off match against Samoa that October.

He retired from international rugby after Scotland’s 18-30 defeat by New Zealand in the 1999 Rugby World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand.

Gary Armstrong led Scotland to the 1999 Five Nations Championship, playing his eighth Test as captain as Scotland grasped pole position with their stunning 36-22 victory against France.

Clan Armstrong Places

Langholm Castle


Langholm Castle sits in the fields across from here. It is owned by the Scotts of Buccleuch, but is cared for by the Clan Armstrong Trust.

It was probably built by an Armstrong laird and it played a strategic role in keeping order in Eskdale. To their enemies, the Reivers were robbers and raiders; to local rulers, they were often invaluable law enforcers.

In 1544 Langholm castle was occupied by the English during the ‘Rough Wooing’, when Henry VIII of England tried to force a marriage between his son and Mary Queen of Scots. It was later retaken by the Scots after the firing of just seven shots.

‘On the border was the Armestronges – able men, somewhat unruly, and very ill tae tame!’

Gilnockie Tower


Gilnokie Tower is a 16th Century Peel Tower, Built almost 500 years ago, in the hamlet of Hollows, just over 2km north of Canonbie, in Dumfries and Galloway.

This was built by and lived in by Johnnie Armstrong of Gilnockie, a notorious Border Reiver. It was built around 1520.

In 1530 this powerful chieftain was hanged by a Scottish king, and his story romanticised by Walter Scott. Two years earlier in 1528, the tower was burned by Sir Christopher Dacre, English Warden of the Western Marches.

The tower was rebuilt, but was damaged again by English raids in the 1540s, only to be rebuilt again with a new parapet walk, and a beacon stance on the gable.

Sadly the tower in no longer open for visitors.