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Peebles and Selkirk
The Chief Towns and Villages

(The figures in brackets after each name give the population in 1911)


Broughton (pa. 668), situated where the Tweed flowing north from Tweedsmuir turns eastward. There are many British forts in the neighbourhood and relics of the bronze period have been frequently found.

Cardrona, a small hamlet in the parish of Traquair midway between Peebles and Innerleithen.

Carlops, in West Linton parish three miles N.E. of West Linton. Its old name was Carlynlippis and it was from 1334 to 1357 one of the landmarks of the northern boundary of England, which at that time included part of Peeblesshire. "Habbie’s Howe" near Carlops in the valley of the Esk is the scene of Allan Ramsay’s Gentle Shepherd.

Drummelzier (pa. 164), three miles S.E. of Broughton Station, has a pre-Reformation parish church. A thornbush near the churchyard marks the traditional burial-place of Merlin the Wizard.

Eddleston (pa. 589) is a village 4½ miles N. of Peebles. In the neighbourhood is the beautiful cascade of Cowie’s Lynn. West of the village stands Darnhall, the seat of the Murrays— called formerly Halton, and afterwards Blackbarony.

Innerleithen (2547), near the mouth of the Leithen Water, has large woollen mills. Long famous as a summer resort, it had, in the early part of last century, some renown as a watering-place. In early times the church of Innerleithen was dedicated to St Kentigern. Malcolm II bestowed upon it the right of sanctuary because the dead body of his son, who had been accidentally drowned in Tweed, had lain there one night before burial. The Carnegie Free Library is a building of Elizabethan design.

Kirkurd (pa. 253), a village about nine miles N.W. of Peebles.

Lyne (pa. 125), a hamlet on the left bank of Lyne Water beneath the southern slope of the plateau on which Lyne camp is situated. The neighbourhood is noted for its British forts, pre-historic remains, and the church built in 1644. The pulpit, presented by Lady Yester, is a highly finished piece of woodwork from Holland.

Lamancha, a small village in the parish of Newlands, used to be the seat of the Earls of Dundonald.

Manor (pa. 261) is a scattered hamlet in the valley of Manor Water. In the churchyard is the grave of the Black Dwarf, who lived in a cottage erected by himself near Wood-house farm. Posso near the south end of the valley is famous for its falcons. Hill forts are numerous. One, Macbeth’s Castle, occupies a roche moutonnée in the middle of the valley. South of Posso Craig stood the parish church, known as St Gordian’s Kirk, till about the year1650. In 1874 a cross was erected by Sir James Naesmyth of Posso to mark the spot. Between St Gordian’s Cross and Manorhead, a monumental cairn has been erected to the memory of Professor John Veitch "in his favourite valley."

Newlands (pa. 590), a hamlet between West Linton and Eddleston.

Peebles (5554), the county town and an ancient royal burgh, was in existence before 1195. The old town lay north of the Tweed and west of Eddleston Water. The only part now remaining stretches from Bigglesknowe to St Andrew’s Tower. The old town was more than once burned by the English, and in the sixteenth century a new town sprang up along the high ridge extending from the site of the parish church to the East-gate. The new town was surrounded by a wall, a portion of which may still be seen on Venlaw Road. Peebles was a famous ecclesiastical centre till the Reformation, and a favourite residence of the Scottish Kings. David II granted it a charter in 1337, and probably David I had done the same. Bruce, having recovered it from the English, demolished its Castle. After the Reformation a number of the nobility and gentry took up their residence in Peebles; but after the Union they left it for London. By the middle of the eighteenth century the spirit of commercial enterprise had awakened in the place, and since the introduction of the Tweed manufacture the town has steadily developed.

In the year 1624 the building, afterwards known as the Queensberry Lodging, was presented by James VI to Lord Yester, ancestor of the Marquis of Tweeddale; and in 1687 became the property of the Duke of Queensberry. There is a current tradition that "Old Q" was born in the Queensberry Lodging. In 1857 it was acquired by William Chambers, who presented it to his native town. By Chambers the building was entirely reconstructed with the exception of the vaulted ground-floor. Recently, through the munificence of Mr Andrew Carnegie, the Chambers institution was reconstructed and extended. The new buildings, opened in 1912, comprise the Council Chambers, the Town Hall, the Library, the Museum, doubled in size, an Art Gallery and other accommodation. Peebles has also County Buildings, a fine specimen of Tudor design; a High School for Burgh and County; a Hydro; and numerous churches. The old Cross, in High Street, has had an eventful history. There is a golf course, with a fine southern exposure, overlooking town and valley.

The Burgh arms are three salmon naiant counter naiant, with the legend, Contra nando inerementum. It was a common jest in more convivial days, when the saying "Peebles for Pleasure" had its origin, to make them "three tumblers."

Romanno Bridge, a hamlet in the parish of Newlands, has famous terraces; whether made by the Britons, or the Romans, or the monks of Newbattle Abbey, is uncertain. Similar terraces occur on Roger’s Crag, east of Halmyre.

Stobo (pa. 350), a hamlet seven miles west of Peebles. The church, a Plebania or mother church in early times, is mentioned in the Inquisition of David I as having belonged to Kentigem, and in the Peebles Burgh Records as "Saint Mungoy’s Kirk of Stobo." John Reid of Stobo, churchman and notary, is one of the poets whom William Dunbar mourns for in his Lament for the Makaris:

"And he [Death] has now tane, last of aw,
Gud gentill Stobo et Quintyne Schaw,
Of quham all wichtis hes pete:
Timor Mortis conturbat me."

Traquair (pa. 559), a well-known hamlet near the Quair Burn opposite to Innerleithen, is famous for its associations with Traquair House and for the song The Bush aboon Traquair.

Tweedsmuir (pa. 198) is a small hamlet in the upper reaches of the Tweed. The churchyard contains the grave of John Hunter, a martyr for the Covenant. In the neighbourhood is Oliver Castle, built about 1200, the home of the Frasers.

Walkerburn (1331), a village in the parish of Innerleithen, founded in 1855 by Henry Ballantyne, in whose memory the Ballantyne Memorial Institute was erected, 1903. On the face of Purvis Hill near Walkerburn is a range of terraces similar to those at Romanno. Opposite to Walkerburn is the Plora glen, in which Hogg’s "Bonnie Kilmeny" was spirited away by the fairies.

West Linton (pa. 1000) is a favourite summer resort for Edinburgh people, owing to its nearness (sixteen miles) to the capital and its healthy situation, 600 feet above sea-level. The parish church has fine wood-carving. Linton was the first known settlement of the Comyn family in Scotland. West Linton was formerly a burgh of regality, with a baron-bailie and a council of feuars, called the " Linton Lairds." One of these, Laird Gifford, was a noted local sculptor. The finial of the Jubilee clock, representing his wife, is his work. West Linton had become famous for its stone carvers from the time when the builders at Drochil Castle introduced their art to the village.


Ashkirk (pa. 329), a village 5½ miles south of Selkirk.

Caddonfoot (pa. 709), a hamlet four miles south-west of Galashiels, is the scene of the old ballad Katharine Janfarie, which suggested Lochinvar to Scott.

Chapelhope is a small hamlet at the head of the Loch o’ the Lowes. Near at hand is the statue to James Hogg, "the Ettrick Shepherd." Chapelhope was originally the site of Rodono Chapel, and there are traces of a mote on which the Bailies of Rodono dispensed justice on behalf of the Abbots of Melrose.

Clovenfords, a small village in Caddonfoot parish, has memories of Scott, De Quincey, Leyden, and Wordsworth. In 1867 relics were discovered on Meigle Hill of an old military encampment, comprising scrap iron, broken blacksmith’s tongs, and fragments of sheet bronze.

Ettrick (pa. 344), consists of a church, a school, a manse and a churchyard. In the churchyard lie buried Boston Hogg; Hogg’s grandfather; "Will o’ the Phaup," a noted athlete; Tibbie Shiel; and Baron Napier of Ettrick. Hogg’s birthplace, Ettrickhall farm, is near the church.

Galashiels (14,531), a parliamentary burgh, occupies 24-miles of the narrow valley of the Gala before its junction with the Tweed. In 1559 it was made a burgh of barony, having then only 400 inhabitants. Towards the end of the eighteenth century Galashiels according to Dorothy Wordsworth was a large irregularly built village, just beginning to assume a "townish bustle." It was at this time, during the Napoleonic Wars, that Galashiels got and took its opportunity to develop its trade. It is now the chief seat in Scotland of the Tweed manufacture. The rapid rise of the trade is marked by the fact that the annual value of its woollen manufactures rose from £1000 in 1790 to £1,250,000 in 1890, when the population was 17,367. The trade depression that followed reduced the population in 1901 to 13,615, after which a revival began. The increased prosperity of the town has been shown not only by the growth of the population but also by the introduction of a costly drainage scheme, the erection of a Technical College, a handsome building of red sandstone in classic style, the opening of a new Secondary School, and the laying out of a new town square. The square includes a fountain with a shaft, surmounting the capital and frieze of which is a reproduction of the town’s coat-of-arms—a fox in the attempt to reach some pendent plums, with the legend, "Soor Plums." This is associated with a song the tone of which alone remains. The song, Sour Plums in Galashiels, commemorated a defeat inflicted by the natives on the English, who were regaling themselves with the wild plums which grew near the village. Another song connected with the town is Gala Water, on which Burns built his beautiful lyric with the refrain "Braw, Braw Lads." These words are appropriately inscribed on the base of the bronze bust of Burns at the foot of Lawyers Brae.

Besides Tweed manufactures, Galashiels has dyeworks, iron foundries, engineering works, and boot factories.

Kirkhope (pa. 384) consists of a manse, a farm steading, and the old tower of Kirkhope.

Selkirk (5886) is a royal burgh and the county town. Notable features are the Old Town Hall with its clock and spire, the statues of Sir Walter Scott and Mungo Park, the New Town Hall, the "Mercat" Cross, the Flodden Memorial. Selkirk Abbey, unfinished, and Selkirk Castle, the frequent abode of Scottish kings, date back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In 1418 the town was burned by the English. At Flodden Selkirk lost a large proportion of its burghers. Only one of the Selkirk contingent returned. He is figured in the town’s memorial of the battle, holding aloft in his hand an English pennon which the Selkirk men won from their foes. A flag still preserved is, according to tradition, this very trophy. In 1640 Provost Muthag was slain while defending the burghlands from the aggressions of Ker of Brigheuch, a neighbouring laird. The town’s war—song is

"Up wi’ the Souters o’ Selkirk
And down wi the Earl o’ Hume,"

the tune of which is peculiar in ending on the dominant seventh.

The coat-of-arms of the Burgh is a female figure holding a child in her arms, supposed to be the Virgin and the Child, and most likely adopted from the seal of St Mary’s Church of Selkirk. The shield with the lion rampant was added probably in the time of James V. The motto is: Et spreta incolumem vita defendere famam.

Yarrow (pa. 510) consists of a church, a school, a police-station, and a group of houses by the roadside.

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