*Peebles *Contents

Peebles (parish)

The following lengthy account of the county was printed in the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson and published by A. Fullarton & Co. in 1868.


PEEBLES, a parish, containing the post-town of Peebles, and lying principally in Peebles-shire, but having a small part in Selkirkshire.  It is bounded by Eddlestone, Innerleithen, Traquair, Yarrow, Manor, Stobo, and Lyne.  Its length southward is 10 miles; and its greatest breadth is 6 miles.  The Tweed, running eastward, but making several detours, moves majestically across the centre of the parish, over a distance geographically of 4 1/2, and along its channel of 6 miles.  A great contraction of the southern half-length of the parish, occasions the stream to form the boundary-line 1 1/4 mile after the Tweed is here 500 feet above sea-level; and though it has now run only one-third of its course to the sea, it has fallen 1,000 feet from its source.  Its banks, for some distance after it becomes connected with the parish, are confined and simply pleasing; but at the bridge and onwards, they expand into a vale of considerable breadth, possessing almost every element of scenic beauty.  The Lyne, immediately above its confluence with the Tweed, flows 1/2 a mile along the south-west boundary.  Meldon-burn, a streamlet of 4 1/2 miles in length, traces the western boundary of the northern division 2 1/2 miles southward to the Lyne.  Manor-water runs 1 1/2 mile northward along the western boundary of the southern division to the Tweed, 1 1/2 mile below the mouth of the Lyne.  Eddlestone-water bisects the northern half of the parish southward, and enters the Tweed at the town of Peebles.  Three other considerable streamlets, and several minor ones, run either to the Tweed or to the Eddlestone,--one of them tracing for 2 miles southward the eastern boundary.  All the streams abound in trout, and are much frequented by anglers.  Floods are frequent, and occasionally large.  The fine vale of the Tweed sends, on the one hand, a detachment strictly akin to itself up the Eddlestone beyond the parochial limits; and is continued, on the other, by a short but beautiful vale up the Glensax and Cruxton burns, which unite a mile before falling into the Tweed.  Hills occupy the rest of the parochial area, sectioned into ridges, clusters, or isolated eminences, by the glens or gorges which give water-way to the streams.  The hills, in general, are much lower than those of most other parishes in Peebles-shire; they are soft and finely curved; and except in a heathy game district, in the extreme south, they are luxuriantly green.  Upwards of 3,000 acres are in tillage; and about 1,800 are under wood.  The soil, in the bottom of the vales in clay mixed with sand; on the interior edge of the vales, is generally loam on a gravelly subsoil; and, on the skirts and sides of the hills, is a kindly and rich earth.  The pastoral grounds produce a fine herbage, and sustain, besides black cattle, about 8,000 sheep.  The predominant rock is greywacke, of so fine a texture as to form an excellant building material.  Sandstone is unknown.  Transition limestone exists, but cannot be profitably worked.  The climate is healthy and comparatively dry, the aggregate fall of rain being only about 25 or 26 inches in the year.  The estimated yearly value of raw produce in 1834 was 22, £540 .  Assessed property in 1860, was £16,009 .  Real rental in 1855, of the burgh of Peebles, £3,851  18s.; of the landward part of the Peebles-shire district of the parish, £7,219 13s.; of the district in Selkirkshire, £80.

About 3/4 of a mile west of the old town of Peebles, on a rock overhanging the north side of the Tweed, stands the conspicuous antiquity noticed in our article NEIDPATH-CASTLE.  About 2 1/2 miles below the town, and contributing a feature to the landscape of the vale, but situated a few yards beyond the parochial boundary, stands Horsburgh-castle.  See INNERLEITHEN.  About 1 1/2 mile south-south-east of Peebles, upwards of a mile from the Tweed, and on the right bank of Glensax-burn, stands Hayston, "a pleasant dwelling," says Dr. Pennecuick, "with a long and rising avenue of trees from the river and bridge," and the mansion whence the family of Hay, Bart., take their designation.  Three-fourths of a mile below Peebles, on the right bank of the Tweed, is Kingsmeadows, the present seat of the Hay family, richly embellished with encincturing woods.  The seats in the vale of the Eddlestone are Winkstone, Swinton-bank, Venlaw-house, and Rosetta.  At the head of Soonhope-burn, east of Winkstone, is the old castle of Shieldgreen, a lofty ruin, and once a seat of opulence.  On the hill of Cademuir--Cashmore, 'the great fight'--a broad-backed upland in the south-east, are remains of camps and nearly 200 monumental stones, the transmuted vestiges of military possession first by the Britons and next by the Romans, and of a great and sanguinary local conflict.  On several other hills are vestiges of camps, entrenchments, and other works, the monuments of war in early times, and of predatory invasion in the feudal ages.  The parish is traversed northward, up Eddlestone water, by the Peebles railway toward Edinburgh.  It is also well provided with roads, no fewer than eight diverging from the burgh or its immediate vicinity, and one of these sending off two ramifications before arriving at the boundary.  Population of the Selkirkshire district in 1851, 6. Population of the entire parish in 1831, 2,750; in 1861, 2,850.  Houses, 479.

This parish is the seat of a presbytery, in the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale.  Patron, the Earl of Wemyss.  Stipend, £327 12s. 9d.; glebe, £24.  The teinds are very nearly exhausted.  The parish church was built in 1784, and contains 1,000 sittings.  There is a Free church, containing 610 sittings; and the amount of its receipts in 1865 was £179 2s.  There are two United Presbyterian churches, the East and the West, with jointly 1,104 sittings.  There are also an Episcopalin chapel, with 126 sittings, and a Roman Catholic chapel, with 100 sittings.  The principal schools are a burgh school, with a salary of £38, a grammar school, with a salary of £10, a Free church school, a boys' boarding-school, a ladies' school, and two girls' schools.  On Eddlestone-water, about 1 1/2 mile above the town, anciently stood a chapel, in the vicinity of the site of the house to which it has bequeathed the name of Chapel-hill; and in the extreme east of the parish, at a place which is now known as Chapel-yards, stood an hospitium dedicated to St. Leonard, designed for the relief of the indigent and the infirm, and given in 1427 by James I. to his confessor, David Rat, a preaching friar.  Other ecclesiastical antiquarian notices belong properly to the town.


Annette Peebles
Last updated-Monday, 17-Jul-2000 22:14:02 MDT