Bunkle and Preston


Bunkle and Preston
   BUNKLE and PRESTON, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 5 miles (N. N. E.) from Dunse; containing 648 inhabitants. The name of this place is derived from the Celtic word bon, signifying the foot or base, and kill, a cell or chapel; the word Preston, if of Saxon origin, would signify Priest-town, or the town of the priests, but some derive it from the Gaelic term Preas, a thicket, and tun, a town or farm. The manor was formerly possessed by Sir Alexander de Bunkle or Bonkle, by whom it was transferred, in 1288, to Sir John Stewart, on his marriage with the only child of Sir Alexander. The property passed from Sir John Stewart, by an heiress, to a different branch of the Stewarts, one of whom was created Earl of Angus and Lord de Bonkle, and a grand-daughter of this earl, by her marriage with William, Earl of Douglas, carried the property to the family of Douglas. The ancient castle of Bunkle, of which a ruin only now remains, was the residence of the Stewarts. The parish contains 9300 acres; the surface, in the southern division, is tolerably level, sloping gently towards the south-east; the northern part is traversed by the Lammermoor hills, the southern ridge of which, called Bunkle Edge, is 700 feet above the sea, but not more than half that altitude above its own base, showing the site of the parish to be of considerable elevation. The river Whiteadder runs along the southern and western boundary of the parish, and, by its width, its beautiful meanderings, and picturesque valleys, forms an interesting object; it abounds with salmon and trout, and is frequently visited by the lovers of angling.
   The Soil, on the hills, is thin and poor, but, in the lower parts, especially in the vicinity of the Whiteadder, a rich fertile loam. The cultivated land comprehends 7280 acres, one-half of which is usually in tillage, and the other half in pasture, and of the former, about two-thirds produce white crops, and the rest potatoes and turnips. Little wheat is raised, and only a sufficient quantity of hay for domestic use; about 1600 acres are moorland or heath, and about 420 planted, chiefly with Scotch fir, of recent growth. The rotation system of husbandry here adopted, consists of two or three years of pasture, followed by three years of tillage, but the farmers give their chief attention to the rearing of sheep, there being, on some farms, no less than 1500 or 1600, principally of the Leicester breed. Considerable improvements have been made, within the last half century, and nearly all the waste land capable of cultivation has been reclaimed. The rateable annual value of the parish is £8833. There are three distinct classes of rocks, the transition series, the old red sandstone, and the new red sandstone: on the Hoardwell estate, close by the river, is a copper-mine, the property of Lord Douglas, worked about sixty years since by an English company, but abandoned as unprofitable in a few years afterwards; in 1825, it was again wrought, and again relinquished on the same account. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Dunse and synod of Merse and Teviotdale; patron, Lord Douglas; the stipend of the minister is about £250, with a manse, and a glebe of the annual value of £46. When the ancient parishes of Bunkle and Preston were united, about the year 1714, public worship was performed in each alternately, till, at length, both churches needing repair, that of Bunkle was chosen, as most suitable for the joint population; it is a neat edifice, rebuilt in 1820, on the old site, and capable of accommodating 400 persons. There is a parochial school, where the usual branches of education are taught, the master receiving the maximum salary, with £26 fees, a house, and garden. Dr. James Hutton, born at Edinburgh in 1726, and author of a Theory of the Earth, resided in the parish, and greatly promoted agricultural improvements in this part of the country; and Dr. John Browne, the celebrated medical theorist, and author of the system called from him the Brunonian, was born here in 1735.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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