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Drummelzier, Peeblesshire

Historical Description

DRUMMELZIER, a parish, in the county of Peebles; containing 228 inhabitants, of whom 63 are in the village, 2 miles (E.) from Rachan-Mill. This parish, in ancient documents Drumellar and Drumeler, anciently formed part of the parish of Tweedsmuir, from which it was separated in 1643; and in 1742 it was augmented by the annexation of part of the parish of Dawick, the remainder of which was added to Stobo. It appears to have been from a very remote period the property of the family of Tweedie, of whom Sir James Tweedie, to whose memory there is an inscription, dated 1617, over the entrance of a cemetery attached to the church, was the last member. The parish is about fourteen miles in length, and from three to four in average breadth, and is bounded on the north for about eight miles by the river Tweed, which, also, in the upper portion divides it into two parts. It comprises 17,386 acres, of which 1030 acres are arable, 189 meadow and low pasture, 520 woodland and plantations, and 16,647 acres hilly moor, affording tolerable pasture for sheep and cattle. The surface is generally mountainous, but between the hills and the river are some fine tracts of level pasture; the hills are clothed with grass and heath, and the scenery is enlivened by some stately timber, and thriving plantations of modern growth.

The soil is sharp, and the crops are oats and barley, with a few acres of wheat, also peas, potatoes, and turnips: the system of agriculture is in an improved state; the lands are well drained, and inclosed chiefly with fences of stone. Considerable attention is paid to the management of the dairy-farms, and to the rearing and pasture of sheep and cattle; about 200 milch-cows are kept, and 7000 sheep, chiefly of the black-faced breed, are fed in the pastures. The annual value of real property in the parish is £2993. The woods are oak, chesnut, sycamore, and larch, and on the older lands are many trees of luxuriant growth; the plantations are Scotch fir and larch, intermixed with various forest-trees. In this parish the substrata are mostly whinstone (with veins of quartz), white and very compact limestone, and slate; but no quarries have yet been opened. Dawick, a seat lately rebuilt, is a handsome mansion in the antique style of architecture, situated in a well-planted demesne, containing a fine collection of pine-trees from the Himalaya mountains and California. The village, which is irregularly built, is pleasant, and chiefly inhabited by persons employed in agriculture. The river Tweed and its tributaries abound with trout, and salmon are also found in the former from September till March.

The parish is ecclesiastically in the presbytery of Peebles, synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and in the patronage of the family of Trotter; the minister's stipend is £192, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10 per annum. Drummelzier church, situated nearly in the centre of the parish, and at an elevation of 800 feet above the sea, is an ancient structure in good repair, adapted for a congregation of 200 persons. The parochial school affords instruction to about thirty children; the master has a salary of £32, with £10 fees, and a house and garden. At Kingledoors, in the upper part of the parish, was an ancient chapel dedicated to St. Cuthbert, the early evangelist of Tweeddale. There are remains of two castles: that called Tinnes or Thanes Castle, of which there is no authentic record, was of quadrilateral form, with circular towers at the angles, and walls six feet in thickness; the other, called Drummelzier Place, is supposed to have been the baronial seat of the Tweedie family. On the summit of one of the mountains, are vestiges of a road thought to have been part of the Roman road communicating with the line from Falkirk to Carlisle. Near the junction of the Powsail rivulet with the Tweed, is a spot said to have been the grave of Merlin.

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