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Eddlestone, Peeblesshire

Historical Description

EDDLESTONE, a parish, in the county of Peebles; containing 742 inhabitants, of whom 139 are in the village, 4 miles (N.) from Peebles. This parish is undistinguished by any events of historical importance. It is about ten miles in length from north to south, and seven miles in breadth, and comprises 21,250 acres, of which 4370 are arable, 1050 woodland and plantations, and 15,830 permanent pasture and meadow. The surface is diversified by hills covered with verdure to their summits. Dundroich, or Druid's hill, the highest eminence, has an elevation of 2100 feet above the level of the sea, and commands an extensive and finely-varied prospect, embracing the Cheviot hills, part of the pleasing vales of Teviot, Annan, and Clyde, with portions of the counties of Perth and Fife, the river Forth, and the city of Edinburgh. The chief river is the South Esk, which issues from a lake about two miles in circumference, at the base of Dundroich, and flows into the sea at Musselburgh; the lake abounds with pike, eels, and perch, and forms an interesting feature in the sceuery, which is also enriched with extensive plantations of modern growth. The soil is various, and on some of the farms might be rendered much more fertile than it is, by the adoption of a more extensive system of draining: the crops are oats, barley, wheat, peas, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is in an improved state, and the farm buildings are generally substantial and commodious; the lands in many parts are well inclosed, and the fences mostly kept in good order. About 5500 sheep are fed on the hills, nearly one-half of them being of the Cheviot, and the rest of the black-faced breed; on the dairy-farms about 280 milch-cows are pastured, chiefly of the Ayrshire and Teeswater breeds, and there are 500 head of young cattle in the parish. The woods and plantations are well managed, and for the most part in a thriving condition. The annual value of real property in the parish, as returned for the Income tax, is £6694. The village is pleasantly situated, neatly built, and well inhabited; a post-office has been established, and has a daily delivery from Edinburgh and Peebles, with which and other places there is facility of communication. A fair used to be held in the village on the 25th of September; it was formerly a considerable mart for cattle, and the hiring of farm servants, but of late has fallen into desuetude.

Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Peebles, synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and in the patronage of Lord Elibank; the minister's stipend is about £250, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £24 per annum. Eddlestone church, rebuilt in 1839, is a neat and substantial edifice adapted for a congregation of 420 persons. The parochial school affords education to about 120 children: the master's salary is £34, with £42 fees, a good house, and an allowance of two bolls of meal in lieu of a garden; he has also the privilege of taking boarders. There are remains of three circular camps, evidently Danish: one of these, on the lands of Norshield, has been preserved nearly in its original state of perfection, and surrounded with a plantation; the others are almost obliterated. On the lands of Kingside, a vessel has been dug up containing a large number of gold and silver coins, the former in good preservation, but the latter much defaced: upon some was legible the inscription Jacubus S. Scotorum Rex: Near the northern extremity of this farm was a tumulus, inclosed with three circular walls, and which, being opened by the tenant, was found to contain a rudely-formed stone coffin, in which were human bones in a partly calcined state, and close to it a variety of brazen weapons, in form resembling a.xes: two of the weapons were sent to the museum of the Antiquarian Society of Edinburgh. Ringside farm was a hunting-seat belonging to James VI. The Rev. Patrick Robertson, the present incumbent, is the great-grandson of the Rev. James Robertson, who was ordained to the parish in 1697, and, after a ministration of fifty years, was succeeded by his son Alexander, who in 1772 was followed by his son Dr. Patrick Robertson, who held the living for fifty years, and died in 1822.

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