Wilton


Wilton
   WILTON, a parish, in the district of Hawick, county of Roxburgh; containing, with the hamlets of Appletree-Hall and Dean, and a small portion of the town of Hawick, 1867 inhabitants. This place, of which the name in ancient records is written Walltown and Willistown, is of uncertain origin; and little worthy of historical notice occurs with respect to the parish, which may be regarded as a suburban district to the town of Hawick. The parish is situated on the river Teviot, along the banks of which it extends for nearly five miles; it is about three and a half miles in breadth, and comprises an area of seventeen and a half square miles. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Minto and Lilliesleaf, on the east by Cavers, on the south by Hawick, and on the west by the parishes of Ashkirk and Roberton. About two-thirds of the land, which is of moderate quality, are under tillage; and the remainder, with the exception of about 100 acres of woodland, is in pasture. The system of agriculture is good, and the four and five shift courses of husbandry prevail; considerable progress has recently been made in draining, and there have been some attempts in the lower lands to raise crops of spring wheat, and with very encouraging success. The principal plantations are, oak, ash, elm, and beech, with some larch, and Scotch, spruce, and silver firs. The farm-buildings are generally modern and commodious; the lands, likewise, are all inclosed, and the arable fields are fenced with thorn, which is thriving and well kept. Considerable expense has been incurred in an embankment of the Teviot, which is however not sufficient fully to protect the lands from the overflowing of that river. The chief fuel is coal, which is partly brought from Northumberland, and from Berwickshire by way of Kelso: in consequence of greater competition it has recently been procured at a more moderate price than formerly. Nearly one-half of the lands are the property of the Duke of Buccleuch, who is also owner of the teinds; and the remainder is divided among numerous minor heritors. There are several neat family residences, of which Wilton Lodge, Stirches, an ancient mansion, Burngrove, Whitehaugh, Midshiels, and Briery-Yards, are the principal.
   A considerable portion of the population are employed in the woollen manufacture, which is extensively carried on in the parish, and for which considerable facilities are afforded by the river, and by the tributary streams of Borthwick, which falls into it near the southern extremity of the parish, and Slitrig, which joins it at Hawick. There are five mills for spinning wool; two are the property of persons in this parish, and three of persons resident in Hawick. The manufactured articles are, lambs' wool yarn and hosiery, blankets, plaidings, flannels, tartan shawls, and other goods of a similar kind. The mills contain fifty teazing, scribbling, and carding engines, preparing wool sufficient for the constant working of 9578 spindles. The quantity of wool consumed weekly is nearly 12,000 pounds; there are 230 persons who have the care of the machinery and supply it with the material, 240 employed in the manufacture of stockings, seventy-five weavers, and about forty persons engaged in the scouring, dyeing, and finishing of the goods. Some of these mills employ two sets of workpeople, and are continued in operation day and night. A communication has been opened with Hawick, by the construction of a bridge of four arches over the river Teviot; and the line thus formed joins the Edinburgh road at a place called Dovemount Well. The nearest post is Hawick, and the market of that place is frequented by the inhabitants of this parish. There are two inconsiderable hamlets, in addition to what may be called the village; these are, Appletree-Hall to the north, and Dean to the south. The rateable annual value of Wilton is £9794. It is in the presbytery of Jedburgh, synod of Merse and Teviotdale, and patronage of the Duke of Buccleuch: the minister's stipend is £294. 2. 9., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £30 per annum. A considerable portion of the glebe, called the Mains of Wilton, lying contiguous to the manse, is supposed to have been originally given to the then minister by his relative, the Laird of Langland. There are also about sixteen acres of land lying at some distance from the manse, which were acquired by the minister on the division of the common in 1765; but the soil is of very inferior quality. The church, built in 1762, and to which, in 1801, a new aisle was added, by subscription, is conveniently situated nearly in the centre of the parish, and affords accommodation to 460 persons. The parochial school gives a liberal education to a large number of scholars; the master has a salary of £34. 4.4., with £45 fees. The school-house and the dwelling-house are both indifferent and incommodious, and the master receives a compensation in money for deficiency of garden-ground. The Rev. Mr. Crawfurd, incumbent of the parish in 1713, was eminent for his literary attainments, and was author of a work entitled Dying Thoughts; and the Rev. Dr. Charters, a subsequent minister, was distinguished as a preacher, and for his exemplary piety.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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