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BORTHWICK - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"BORTHWICK, a parish in the county of Edinburgh, Scotland, 11 miles to the S.E. of Edinburgh. The Edinburgh and Hawick section of the North British railway runs through it. The parish lies at the foot of the Lammermuir hills, and is watered by the river Gore, which joins the South Esk at the western extremity of the parish. The surface is hilly, and partly moorland; but the greater part is well cultivated. There are several villages scattered over the parish, among which are Dewarton, Newlandrig, Castleton, Middleton, Stobbs, &c. Limestone and freestone are abundant, and coal is largely wrought at Vogrie. There is a powder manufactory at Stobbs.

Borthwick is chiefly interesting as the site of a fine old castle, still in good preservation. It is situated on an eminence above the Gore, on the site of the more ancient fortress of Locherwart, and was founded in 1430 by Sir William Borthwick, under a license obtained for the purpose from James I. The castle consists of a single donjon, or tower, of immense strength, surrounded by a wall. It is built of hewn stone, and is about 110 feet high. Its sides measure 74 by 68 feet, and the walls are 13 feet thick at the base, gradually diminishing to 6 feet at the summit. It consisted of three stories, the lower hall being remarkable for its loftiness and elegance. One small room is called the Queen's Room, and is said to have been occupied by Mary, Queen of Scots, in June, 1567, during the brief interval between her marriage with Bothwell and the battle of Carberry Hill.

After the day of Dunbar, Cromwell summoned the governor of this castle to surrender it, which, not being done, he had to "bend his cannon against it", and so took it. The wall still shows the effect of the cannonade, and the autograph letter of Cromwell, summoning Lord Booth to surrender, is in the possession of the Borthwicks of Crookston, the proprietors of the castle and farm upon which it stands. It was from this family, a branch of the ancient family, that the parish took its present name, having been called before they had possession of it, Locherwart.

The living, of the value of £200, with a glebe of the value of £30, is in the presbytery of Dalkeith, in the patronage of Dundas of Arniston, one of the proprietors of the parish, whose seat is the noble mansion called Arniston House. The foundation-stone of a new church was laid on the 13th June, 1862. It occupies the site of the old one, which was destroyed by fire eighty years ago. It is a handsome Gothic edifice, and incorporates what remained of the old walls. It is beautifully situated, and forms the crowning object of the sweet valley as it is seen from the railway. It is the noble gift of David Kidd, Esq., merchant in London, a native of the parish, and has been erected as a token of his affectionate regard for the spot where the remains of his fathers repose.

The parish was a possession of the collegiate kirk of Crichton until 1596, when James VI. made it a separate charge. The manse of Borthwick was the birthplace (1721) of Principal Robertson, the historian, whose father was at that time minister of the parish. A new manse was built about eleven years ago upon the site of the old one.

Travellers in the coaching days will remember Fushie Inn, in this parish, the first stage upon the London road from Edinburgh. Sir Walter Scott found his "Meg Dods" in the quaint old woman who sat upon a stool at the door, and ordered her gude man to take care of the horses while she conducted her guests within.

At Arniston is the family seat of the Dundas family, of whom was the Right Honourable Henry Dundas, afterwards Lord Melville, President of the Court of Session. James Small, the mechanician, was also a native of Borthwick. The parish extends about 6 miles in length from N. to S., and about 4 in breadth from E. to W."

"CLAYHOUSE, a village in the parish of Borthwick, in the county of Edinburgh, Scotland."

"DEWARTON, a village in the parish of Borthwick, in the county of Edinburgh, Scotland."

"FORD, a post village in the parishes of Borthwick, Crichton, and Cranston, county Edinburgh, Scotland, 11 miles S.E. of Edinburgh, on the road from thence to Lauder. It stands on the banks of the Tyne, near the viaduct which crosses the valley of the Tyne. It contains a United Presbyterian church. Ford House is the neighbouring seat. Fairs are held on the first Thursdays in August and September."

"MIDDLETON and NORTH MIDDLETON, villages in the parish of Borthwick, county Edinburgh, Scotland, 7 miles S. of Dalkeith, and 13 S.E. of Edinburgh. They are situated on the old road from Edinburgh to Galashiels, and are entirely agricultural.

"MOORFOOT HILLS, a double range of moorish hills, mostly in the parishes of Borthwick, Heriot, Temple, and Stow, county Edinburgh, Scotland. They rise from 1,320 feet to 1,860 in height, and are of a slaty nature with lydian stone."

"NEWLANDRIG, a village in the parish of Borthwick, county Edinburgh, Scotland, 4 miles S.E. of Dalkeith. It is much decayed."

"STOBBS, a village in the parishes of Borthwick and Temple, county Edinburgh, Scotland, 6 miles S. of Dalkeith. It is a station on the North British railway. It is situated on the river South Esk. The chief part of the inhabitants are employed in the gunpowder mills, erected in 1794."

"VOGRIE, a hamlet in the parish of Borthwick, county Edinburgh, Scotland, 4 miles S.E. of Dalkeith."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]


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