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Crailing, Roxburghshire

Historical Description

CRAILING, a parish, in the district of JEDBURGH, county of ROXBURGH; including the village of East and West Nisbet, and containing 667 inhabitants, of whom 74 are in the village of Crailing, 4 miles (N. N. E.) from Jedburgh. This place, the name of which is of uncertain derivation, comprehends the ancient parish of Nisbet, annexed to it by act of the presbytery prior to the year 1713. The whole parish comprises 6000 acres, of which about 300 are woodland and plantations, and the remainder arable land in good cultivation. Its surface is varied, in some parts rising to a considerable elevation, the highest point, called Piniel Heugh, is a hill covered with verdure, presenting a pleasing object in the landscape, and rendered more conspicuous and interesting by the erection on its summit of a monument to commemorate the victory at Waterloo. This monument is a circular column of whinstone, 150 feet in height, rising from a massive pedestal, on the face of which is the inscription, "To the Duke of Wellington and the British Army, William Ker, VIth Marquess of Lothian, and his tenantry, dedicate this monument, 30th of June, 1815." It has within the shaft a spiral staircase, leading to the summit, which commands an extensive and richly-varied prospect, embracing the windings of the Teviot to the west, the range of the Cheviot hills to the south, Tweeddale to the north, and the whole of the Merse to the sea on the east. The Teviot flows through the parish, and, a little below the village, receives the Oxnam water.

The SOIL is dry and fertile, and extremely favourable to the growth of all kinds of grain. About the year 1800, very profitable crops of tobacco were raised on some of the lands, by way of experiment. The present crops are oats, wheat, barley, potatoes, turnips, and peas; the system of agriculture is highly improved. The plantations are well managed, and in a flourishing state; and on the road passing through the village are some stately rows of beech, ash, and elm. The principal substrata are whinstone and sandstone: the latter is found near the river, of a light colour, and of excellent quality for building; two quarries have been opened, and blocks of twelve feet in length have been raised. The annual value of real property in the parish is £7379. Monteviot House, the seat of the Marquess of Lothian, is situated at the western extremity of the Nisbet district: the ancient mansion is small, and uninteresting in its architectural details; a new mansion was projected and commenced, but after the erection of a small part, consisting merely of the servants' apartments, &c., the work was suspended many years before the late marquess's death. Crailing House is a handsome mansion, on rising ground overlooking the winding stream of the Oxnam; the demesne is laid out with great taste, and embellished with rich plantations. The village of Crailing was formerly more extensive than at present; it has facility of intercourse with Jedburgh and Kelso by the great road from Carlisle to Berwick.

Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Jedburgh, synod of Merse and Teviotdale: the minister's stipend is £251. 10., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £32. 10. per annum; patrons, the Crown and the Marquess of Lothian. The church, situated in the Crailing district of the parish, is a neat plain edifice, adapted for a congregation of 300 persons. Of the ancient church of Nisbet scarcely any remains exist, but the churchyard is still used. There is a place of worship for members of the Free Church. The parochial school at Crailing is well conducted; the master has a salary of £30, with £22 fees, a house and garden, and £3. 15., the interest of a bequest by one of the Lords Cranstoun. A school at Nisbet is supported by the marquess, who gives the master a salary of £20, with a house and garden rent-free, in addition to the fees. The old mansion-house at Monteviot is said to be part of an ancient hospital dependent on the abbey of Ancrum. Near the site of the mansion are traces of the cemetery belonging to the establishment; a considerable number of tombstones have from time to time been dug up, and the inscriptions on some of them were tolerably legible, but none appear to have been of any importance.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis