Peeblesshire, Scotland


PEEBLESSHIRE, or TWEEDDALE, an inland county, in the southern part of Scotland, bounded on the north by Edinburghshire, on the east by Selkirkshire and Edinburghshire, on the south by the county of Dumfries, and on the west by Lanarkshire. It lies between 55° 24' and 55° 50' (N. Lat.) and 2° 45' and 3° 23' (W. Long.), and is thirty miles in length and twenty-two miles in extreme breadth; comprising an area of about 360 square miles, or 234,400 acres; 2275 houses, of which 2118 are inhabited; and containing a population of 10,499, of whom 5118 are males and 5381 females. This county takes the name of Peebles from its principal town, and the name of Tweeddale, the more ancient and descriptive, from its chief river, the Tweed, which divides it into two nearly equal parts, flowing in a winding course along an ample vale of great fertility and beauty. It appears to have been originally inhabited by the Gadeni, a British tribe, who maintained their independence against the attempts of the Romans to reduce them under their authority; and who, after the abdication of the Roman government, associated themselves with the Britons of Strathclyde, descendants of the ancient Damnii. During the frequent aggressions of the Picts they continued to retain their distinction as a people; and, secured by their extensive forests, they maintained their power against the invasion of the Saxons of the south, long after the conquest of the Picts by the Scottish kings, till they became identified with the emigrants from the coasts of Ireland, who, settling in the peninsula of Cantyre, were soon mingled with the native inhabitants.

Afterwards, a party of Anglo-Saxons, under Eadulph, who had settled in Lothian, established themselves in the valley of Eddlestone, where they obtained a permanent settlement, and built a town to which they gave the name of their chieftain; and from these are descended many of the most ancient families in the county. During the wars consequent on the disputed succession to the Scottish throne on the death of Alexander III., the county became subject to Edward I. of England; but being rescued from the English yoke by the valour and intrepidity of Sir William Douglas, it maintained its independence till it again submitted to the English after the battle of Neville's Cross. Upon the restoration of David II., however, its independence was finally secured. For many years this part of the country suffered from incursions during the border warfare; and many of its gentry who attended James IV. to the battle of Flodden Field, fell in that disastrous conflict. Prior to the abolition of episcopacy, the county formed part of the diocese of Glasgow; it has since been included in the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and comprises the presbytery of Peebles, and fourteen parishes. For civil purposes the county was originally under the jurisdiction of two sheriffs, one of whom resided at Traquair, and the other at Peebles; but since the abolition of heritable jurisdictions, it has been under one sheriff only, by whom a sheriff-substitute is appointed, and who holds his several courts at Peebles, which is the shire town. Besides Peebles, the only royal burgh in the county, it contains Linton, a burgh of barony; the villages of Innerleithen, Carlops, Eddlestone, Skirling, and Broughton, and a few inconsiderable hamlets. By the act of the 2nd of William IV., it returns one member to the imperial parliament.

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