GENUKI Home page
Up Roxburghshire Contents Contents

Hassendean

The following lengthy quotation about the ancient parish of Hassendean comes from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson and published in 1868. This reference was found in volume II, pp.49-50:

"HASSENDEAN, or HAZELDEAN, a suppressed parish, containing a hamlet of its own name, on the left bank of the Teviot, opposite Cavers, Roxburghshire. The surface is so gently beautiful as to have made the bosoms of tuneful poets throb, and drawn from them some of their sweetest numbers. What par excellence constitutes Hassendean, and gave name to the ancient church and the whole parish, is a winding dell, not much different in its curvatures from the letter S, narrow and varied in its bottom, gurgling and mirthful in the streamlet which threads it, rapid and high in its sides which are alternately smooth, undulating, and broken, - richly and variedly sylvan in hollow, acclivity, and summit, - and coiled so snugly amid a little expanse of forest, overlooked by neighbouring picturesque heights, that a stranger stands upon its brow, and is transfixed with the sudden revelation of its beauties, before he has a suspicion of its existence. Near its mouth some neat cottages peep out from among its thick foliage, on the margin of its stream; on the summit of its right bank are the umbrageous grounds which were famed for upwards of a century, as the nursery-gardens of Mr Dickson, the parent-nurseries of those which beautify the vicinity of Hawick, Dumfries, Perth, and Edinburgh, and either directly or remotely the feeders of nearly one-half of the existing plantations of Scotland. The dell, at its mouth, comes exultingly out on one of the finest landscapes of the Teviot. The river, on receiving its rill, is just half-way on a semicircular sweep of about 3/4 of a mile in length; on the side next the dell, it has a steep and wooded bank; and on the side which the dell confronts, a richly luxuriant haugh occupies the foreground, the rolling and many-shaped rising grounds of Cavers, profusely adorned with trees, occupy the centre, and the naked frowning form of Rubberslaw cuts a rugged sky-line in the perspective.

The monks of Melrose, to whom the ancient church belonged, formed a cell at Hassendean, which was to be a dependency on their monastery. From the date of this establishment, the old tower of Hassendean was called the Monk's Tower; and a farm in the vicinity continues to be called Monk's Crroft. After the Reformation, the church, with its pertinents, was granted to Walter, Earl of Buccleuch. Various attempts to suppress the parish seem to have been rendered abortive by the resistence of the parishioners. But in 1690, amid scenes of violence which rarely attended acts of suppression, and which evinced surpassing indignation on the part of the people, the church was unroofed, and otherwise so dilapidated as to be rendered useless. The workman who first set foot on the ladder to commence the demolition, is said to have been struck and killed with a stone; and so general and furious a turn-out was there of females to assist in the fray of resistance that an old song, still well-known in the district, says -

"They are a' away to Hassendean burn,
And left both wheel and cards," &c.

While the parties who had pulled down the church were carrying off whatever parts of it might be serviceable at Roberton, the people of Hassendean pursued them, engaged them in a sharp conflict at Hornshole, halfway to Hawick, wrenched from them the church-bell and flung it into a very deep pool of the Teviot at the place, and gave them so rough a handling that the sheriff of the county, an ancestor of Douglas of Cavers, was obliged to interfere. An old woman, it is said, uttered in true weird-style, a denunciation upon Douglas for abetting the destruction of the church, and foretold - what seems as little likely to happen in the line of his posterity as in that of any other great family - the extinction of his race by a failure of male heirs. The parishioners, though bereft of their church, continued to use the cemetery of their fathers, till some of it was swept away, and many of its remaining graves laid open in 1796, by a flood of the Teviot. The site of the old church is supposed to be now identified with a sand-bank on the opposite side of the Teviot to that on which the edifice stood - the river having swept away the whole of a low projecting point of land which it and its cemetery occupied. The parish was distributed to Minto, Roberton, and Wilton, - the major part of the territory being given to Minto, and all the vicarage or remaining teinds to Roberton.

Walter, the son of Alan, received the lands of Hassendean from David I. David Scott, who lived in the middle of the 15th century, and was the eldest son of Sir William Scott of Kirkurd who exchanged Murdiston for Branxholm, was the first of the Scotts of Hassendean. Satchell alludes to him in the lines,-

"Hassendean came without a call,
The ancientest house of them all."

Sir Alexander Scott of Hassendean fell, in 1513, at the battle of Flodden. The lands of the original barony of Hassendean are now distributed into the estates of Hassendean-bank, Hassendean-burn, and Teviot-bank, and some lands belonging to the Duke of Buccleuch. The tract of Hassendean is now intersected by the Hawick branch of the North British railway, and has a station on it, 4 1/4 miles from Hawick, and 48 3/4 from Edinburgh. The hamlet of Hassendean stands in the dell, about a mile from the Teviot. Population, 21. Houses, 4."

Find help, report problems, and contribute information.


Page created by Vivienne S Dunstan.
Last updated: 8th April 2004

Copyright © GENUKI and Contributors 1995-2014
GENUKI is a registered trade mark of the charitable trust GENUKI.