- LAUDER, a royal burgh, a parish, and the seat of a presbytery, in the county of Berwick, 25 miles (S. E.) from Edinburgh, and 35 (W.by S.) from Berwick; containing 2198 inhabitants, of whom 1050 are in the town. This place, of which the name, in the Celticlanguage, is descriptive of its situation in the valley of the Leader, was granted in the early part of the 12th century, by David I., to Hugh de Moreville, constable of Scotland. De Moreville gave the lands of Thirlstane, in the parish, to one of his kinsmen, whose grand-daughter conveyed them by marriage to Sir Richard Maitland, ancestor of the present Earl of Lauderdale, now the principal proprietor of the parish. The chief historical events connected with the place are, the erection of Lauder Castle by Edward I., King of England, during his invasion in the time of Bruce; and the meeting here of the nobles of Scotland, who, when James III. encamped with his army near Lauder in 1482, assembled in the church, and, after a conference, resolved upon the death of six of that monarch's favourites, whom they hanged on a bridge over the Leader. There was formerly a royal mint here. The town, which is delightfully situated in the centre of the vale, upon gently-rising ground between the river Leader on the north and the South burn of Lauder, consists principally of one wide clean street, lighted by gas, on the road from Edinburgh to Kelso; and nearly in the middle, where the street expands into greater breadth, is a row of houses, at the western extremity of which is the town-house. The air is extremely pure. The houses are irregularly built, and of mean appearance, but well supplied with water, and inhabited chiefly by retail shop-keepers, persons employed in handicraft trades, and agricultural and other labourers. The approaches have been much improved within the last few years. A subscription library is supported by a company of shareholders, and there is also one for mechanics. Fairs are held in the early part of March, for seed-corn and the hiring of farm servants; in April and October, for the hiring of household servants; in June, for cattle, chiefly milch-cows; and in July, for the sale of lambs. The post-office has a good delivery; and facility of communication is afforded by turnpikeroads, of which one, on the east of the river Leader, to Greenlaw, Dunse, Berwick, Coldstream, and Kelso, passes for six miles, and another, on the west, to Melrose and Jedburgh, passes for eight miles, through the parish.Lauder is supposed to have been erected into a royal burgh by charter of William the Lion, in the beginning of the 13th century; and after the loss of the original documents during the border warfare, the inhabitants received a new charter from James IV. in 1502, which was confirmed in 1533. The government is vested in two bailies and fifteen councillors. The burgesses possess a common of 1695 acres, divided among them in proportion to their number, and are entitled to freedom of trading, exemption from customs, and other privileges. The magistrates exercise but little either of civil or criminal jurisdiction; of the former, there are scarcely any cases of importance on record, and the latter extends only to trifling misdemeanors. The gaol, indeed, is not adapted for permanent confinement. In front of the town-hall was an ancient cross, the site of which is marked by a radiated pavement. The burgh is associated with those of Haddington, Dunbar, North Berwick, and Jedburgh, in returning a member to the imperial parliament: the number of persons within the royalty who rent houses of £10 and upwards is fortythree, of whom twenty-five are burgesses; and of those whose rent is above £5, but below £10, twenty, of whom one only is a burgess.The parish, which is one of the most extensive in the county, is about thirteen miles in extreme length, from north to south, and from eight to nine miles in extreme breadth; but, being divided by an intervening portion of the parish of Melrose, its length is in fact only eleven and a half miles. It comprises an area of nearly fiftyeight square miles, and the number of acres is estimated at 37,500, of which 12,000 are arable, 600 woodland and plantations, and the remainder chiefly hill pasture and waste. The surface is diversified with hills, of which the Lammermoor range forms the northern boundary of Lauder; and within the limits of the parish the highest of that range is the Lammerlaw, 1500 feet above the level of the sea. The valley of the Leader, the richest portion of the lands, is from one to two miles in breadth; and on each side of the river, towards the south-east, are ranges of hills of moderate height, cultivated to their summits. The Leader has its source in the union of two streams issuing from the Lammermoors about four miles above the town, and, after a winding course of nine or ten miles through the beautiful valley to which it gives name, falls into the Tweed at Drygrange; it abounds with trout, and is much frequented by anglers. There are springs of excellent water in different parts.The soil is various; in the valley, deep, rich, and fertile; in the higher grounds, of lighter quality. The crops are, grain of all kinds, with turnips and potatoes, and the several grasses; the system of agriculture is in a very advanced state, and great improvements have taken place under the auspices of the Lauderdale Agricultural Society, of which the Earl of Lauderdale is patron. The lands have been mostly drained and inclosed, and the least productive have been much benefited by a plentiful use of lime. The farm-buildings are substantial and well arranged; several of them are of superior order, and on some of the farms are threshing-mills driven by steam. The hilly districts afford good pasturage for sheep and cattle, of which considerable numbers are reared: the sheep are mostly of the Cheviot breed; but on two or three of the higher farms the black-faced kind are pastured, and on others, in the low lands, are some of the Leicestershire. The cattle are generally of the short-horned or Teeswater breed; but such of the farmers as do not rear a sufficient number to eat off their turnips, purchase young stock of the Angus and West-Highland breeds. The plantations are, oak, ash, beech, elm, birch, poplar, willow, larch, and Scotch and spruce firs, all in a thriving condition. The substratum here is principally greywacke, of which the rocks are composed; it is of good quality, and large quantities are raised both for building purposes and for mending the roads. The rateable annual value of the parish is £12,596.Thirlstane Castle, the seat of the Earl of Lauderdale, is beautifully situated to the north of the town, on the banks of the river: the original building, Lauder Fort, erected by Edward I., was rebuilt by Chancellor Maitland, and enlarged and improved by the Duke of Lauderdale and the present earl. The mansion is a spacious and handsome structure, containing many stately apartments, and a large collection of paintings and family portraits; and is surrounded by a park tastefully laid out. Allanbank, to the west of the town, is a good residence, of modern date, with grounds of considerable extent, embellished with plantations. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Lauder and synod of Merse and Teviotdale. The minister's stipend is £272, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £18 per annum; patron, the Earl. The church, erected in 1673, on the south-west side of the town, by the Duke of Lauderdale, to replace the original church, which he removed when he enlarged Thirlstane Castle, is a plain cruciform structure, containing 773 sittings. A massive service of communion plate was, in 1677, presented to the church by the Lauderdale family. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and the United-Associate and Relief synods. The parochial school is well attended: the master has a salary of £30, with a good house and garden; he also receives £5 from the corporation for the gratuitous instruction of poor children, and the fees average £70. There are three schools dependent solely on the fees, of which two are for females; and the number of children in all is about 300. Vestiges of a Roman road running through the parish towards Channelkirk may be still traced: near it are the remains of a military station; and on an eminence about two miles to the north are vestiges of a round camp, having an entrance on the east and on the west, and fortified by a double intrenchment. A similar camp is found at Tullius' or Tollis hill, on the northern extremity of the parish. Ancient coins have been found, among which were some inscribed with the names of Julius Cæsar, Lucius Flaminius, and others. There are also numerous tumuli, near which have been discovered fragments of military weapons.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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