UK Genealogy Archives logo

Glencross or Glencorse, Edinburghshire

Historical Description

GLENCROSS, or Glencorse, a parish, in the county of Edinburgh, 2½ miles (N. by E.) from Penicuick; containing 708 inhabitants. This parish, which consists of portions severed from the parishes of Lasswade and Penicuick in 1616, derives its name from an ancient cross in the cemetery of the old church of St. Catherine, now covered by the water of the Compensation reservoir. The battle of the Pentland hills, between the Covenanters under Colonel Wallace and the king's troops commanded by General Dalziel, took place on Rullion Green, in this parish, on the 28th of November, 1666, and terminated in the defeat of the former, with considerable slaughter. Glencross is bounded on the north by the parish of Colinton, on the east and on the south by that of Lasswade, and on the west by Penicuick. It is three miles in length, and nearly the same in breadth, comprising an area of about 1920 acres, of which 1680 are arable, and the remainder hilly moorland. The surface is beautifully diversified with hill and dale, and abounds in scenery of strikingly picturesque character; in the northern district is a considerable portion of the Pentlaud hills, and throughout the parish the land is irregularly undulated. The Glencross or Logan water has its source in the Pentlands, and winding in an eastern direction through the parish, flows into the river Esk near Auchinderry, in the parish of Glencross. In its course along a valley between the Pentland hills, it has been formed, by the Edinburgh Water Company, at an immense expense, into a reservoir for the supply of the numerous mills upon the Esk, in consideration of their having diverted from that river, for the supply of Edinburgh, the powerful spring of Crawley, which rises near the manse, and discharges sixty cubic feet of water per minute.

The SOIL varies from a fine rich loam to a gravelly and stiff clay, and is adapted for crops of every kind the principal crops are wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and turnips, with the various grasses. The system of agriculture is in a very forward state; the lands have been well drained, and inclosed in the lower parts with hedges of thorn, and in the higher with stone dykes. The farm houses and offices are greatly improved in appearance; they are substantial and commodiously arranged, and ou most of the farms are threshing-mills. Much waste land has been reclaimed and brought into cultivation, yielding fine crops of grain by the judicious use of lime formed into a compost for manure. The hills afford good pasturage for sheep, which are chiefly the black-faced, with some of the Cheviot breed, and a few of a cross between the black-faced and the Leicestershire. Plantations have been formed on an extensive scale, which are well managed, and in a thriving condition; they consist of almost every sort of trees, both of hard and soft wood. There are some remarkable specimens of Portugal laurel in the gardens of Logan Bank, and of variegated holly at Woodhouselee, some of the latter being more than thirty-five feet in height; also a silver-fir at Woodhouselee, measuring thirteen feet and a half in girth at three feet from the ground. In this parish the substrata are very various: coal was formerly wrought in Glencross muir; and a beautiful rock of porphyry in the parish was worked for some time, in the hope of finding copper or silver, but not to any great extent. The annual value of real property in Glencross is £5391. Woodhouselee, the seat of James Tytler, Esq., is an elegant mansion beautifully situated in an ample demesne tastefully laid out, and embellished with plantations: Bush, Glencross House, Logan Bank, Castlelaw, and Bellwood are also good mansions. The old house of Greenlaw was converted by government into a depôt for French prisoners of war in 1803, and in 1813 a new prison was commenced, to accommodate 7000 men, but which was never used, as the war terminated before the completion of the buildings: the prisons are wholly unoccupied, but the barracks are occupied by a small detachment of troops from the castle of Edinburgh. There is no village, except a few clusters of houses at Milton-Mill; the population of the parish is entirely agricultural. A distillery was formerly carried on; but a paper-mill, lately erected, and a meal-mill, are the only works at present: a market for sheep is held on the first and second Mondays in April, at House of Muir. Facility of communication is afforded by good roads, kept in excellent repair, and by bridges over the Glencross water and the river Esk: the turnpike-road from Edinburgh to Dumfries intersects the parish.

For ECCLESIASTICAL purposes Glencross is within the bounds of the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale and the presbytery of Dalkeith. The minister's stipend is £156. 17., of which £88 are paid by government; patron, Mr. Tytler. The manse, about a mile from the church, was built in 1816; the glebe comprises nine acres, including garden, and is valued at £19. 15. per annum. Glencross church, situated on the summit of an isolated hill, in the centre of the parish, was erected in 1665, and partly rebuilt after sustaining damage from fire, and enlarged by the erection of transepts, in 1699; it was repaired in 1811, and contains 180 sittings, a number very inadequate to the population of the parish. The parochial schoolmaster has a salary of £34, with a good house and garden, and the fees average about £20 annually. There are vestiges of an ancient camp at Castlelaw, from which that estate most probably took its name; and on the high grounds of House of Muir are vestiges of another camp. Upon an eminence near Marchwell, till within the last few years, were some very perfect remains of a Druidical circle; but they have been removed for the sake of the materials, which have been used in the erection of a wall. William Tytler, Esq., author of an inquiry into the evidence against Mary Queen of Scots; his son. Lord Woodhouselee, author of the Life of Lord Kames; and Patrick Eraser Tytler, Esq., youngest son of Lord Woodhouselee, and author of the History of Scotland, all resided on the estate of Woodhouselee. The Rev. Dr. Liglis, author of a vindication of ecclesiastical establishments, likewise lived for many years in the parish.

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