Nenthorn


Nenthorn
   NENTHORN, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 4 miles (N. W. by W.) from Kelso; containing 446 inhabitants. This place, of which the name, of uncertain signification, is supposed to be partly derived from some remarkable thorns once in the vicinity of the church, appears to have belonged at a remote period to the De Morvilles, constables of Scotland, and subsequently to the bishops of St. Andrew's, who transferred the lands to the abbot of Kelso, in exchange for the church of Cranston, in the county of Mid Lothian. It seems to have suffered materially during the period of the border warfare, and in 1542 the village was burned down by the English forces. The parish, which is situated on the banks of the Eden, is about four miles and a half in length, and two miles in extreme breadth, but diminishing so much towards the centre on each side as to include an area of little more than five square miles; it is bounded on the west by the river, and comprises 3400 acres, of which 2800 are arable, 300 permanent pasture and meadow, and about 300 woodland and plantations. The surface is varied by successive undulations of pleasing form and gentle height, and near the northern extremity by a moderate ridge of hilly rock; and the scenery, enriched with the agreeable windings of the stream of the Eden, is in some parts picturesque. The river, which for several miles forms the boundary, flows in a few places between banks sloping gradually from its margin on the one side, and rising abruptly on the other in precipitous rocks to the height of nearly one hundred feet. The soil in the northern part is chiefly a reddish clay retentive of moisture, alternated with tracts of light and dry land; and in the southern portion, of richer quality, consisting mainly of clayey and gravelly loam. The crops are, barley, oats, wheat, peas, beans, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is in an advanced state; the lands have been well drained, and inclosed partly with stone dykes and partly with hedges and ditches. Guano has lately been applied with success as manure in the cultivation of turnips; the chief farm houses and offices are substantial and well arranged, and the recent improvements in implements of husbandry have been carried into practise. Considerable attention is paid to the rearing of live-stock, for which the pastures are extremely well adapted: the cattle, on an average numbering about 300, are chiefly of the short-horned breed; and 2000 sheep and lambs, mostly the Leicestershire, are annually reared. About 100 horses, principally for draught, are also bred; they are in good demand, and are worth £30 each on the average. The woods consist of oak, ash, beech, lime, chesnut, elm, maple, sycamore, and poplar; and the plantations of Scotch fir and larch, intermixed with the ordinary variety of foresttrees. The principal substrata are whinstone and coarse red sandstone; the trap-rocks in one place contain beautiful specimens of columnar basalt, arranged in pentagonal and hexagonal columns nearly perpendicular. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4326.
   The chief seat in Nenthorn is Newton-Don, the property of Sir William Don, Bart., a spacious mansion, delighfully situated in an ample and richly-embellished demesne, near which the Eden, precipitated from a rocky ledge, forms a picturesque cascade; and commanding an extensive prospect over the river Tweed. In the house are preserved several memorials of the ancient and noble family of Glencairn, of which the proprietor is the representative. Nenthorn, a mansion that was formerly the residence of a branch of the Roxburghe family, is beautifully seated in a demesne enriched by the course of the Eden. The villages once existing here have altogether disappeared, and nothing deserving the name remains; the only approximation is a hamlet of two or three cottages on part of the Nenthorn property. The nearest market-town is Kelso, with which intercourse is maintained by a road in tolerable condition; a private carrier brings letters daily from the post-office of Kelso; and communication with Berwick, Dalkeith, and other places, is also afforded by good roads, and bridges which have within the last fifty years been built over the Eden. The parish is in the presbytery of Kelso and synod of Merse and Teviotdale, and patronage of the Crown: the minister's stipend is the minimum, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum. The ancient church, which was beautifully situated in a sequestered spot embosomed in trees, on the bank of the river, having become completely dilapidated, a new church was erected, but on a very contracted scale, in 1802, at a point where two roads meet, and without a churchyard. It has been since enlarged, yet possesses no claim to architectural notice: including the family galleries of Sir William Don and Mr. Roy, it is adapted for a congregation of 150 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords a useful course of instruction, and is well attended; the master has a salary of £25 per annum, with £18 fees, and a house and garden. There are no remains of the ancient chapel of Little Newton in this parish, which, together with the church and lands of Nenthorn, was given to the bishops of St. Andrew's, and by them transferred to the abbots of Kelso, to the monks of which place, also, was given a small portion of land near, to pray for the souls of the earls of Douglas. The site is still used as a burialplace for the family of the Dons, of Newton-Don.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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