Channelkirk


Channelkirk
   CHANNELKIRK, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 6 miles (N. N. W.) from Lauder, on the road between Edinburgh and Kelso; containing 780 inhabitants. The name of this place is said to have been originally Childer-kirk, signifying "the children's kirk," some supposing it to have been so called from the dedication of its church to the Innocents; it has also been written Childin-kirk, meaning, according to others, "the church at the fort," on account of the church and village standing within the area of a Roman camp. The numerous Pictish encampments, traces of which yet remain in the parish, show it to have been, in ancient times, the scene of military commotion, of the particulars of which no information is recorded. The monks of Melrose Abbey were accustomed to pass along a road running through this district, in their way to and from Edinburgh, and rested and refreshed themselves at a house a few miles west from the church, called the "Resh Law," or "Restlaw Haw," which was about half way between Melrose and Edinburgh, and the ruins of which still remain. The parish is of circular figure, measuring about six miles in diameter, and contains upwards of 17,000 acres. The surface is marked by hills and valleys, having but a small portion of level ground. Towards the north and west, the lofty hills, which form a part of the Lammermoor range, separate the counties of East and Mid Lothian from the shire of Berwick, and are for the most part bleak, and covered with heath. The highest hill, in that direction, is Soutra, which attains an elevation of 1000 feet above the sea. The vale of the Leader commences here, stretching out to the east, and having the Lammermoor hills for its northern boundary; on the south, is a moory ridge which separates it from the valley of Gala. There are numerous springs of good water, running from all the hills; but the only river is the Leader, which, after receiving, in the principal valley through which it glides, several mountain streamlets, flows onwards for about seventeen miles, and falls into the Tweed below Melrose.
   The soil, near the banks of the river, is a light dry earth, resting upon a deep subsoil of sandy gravel; a deep layer of peat is found on the hills wherever the surface is level to any extent, and frequently there are, under this, considerable quantities of fine sand and gravel. About one-half is under a regular rotation of crops; the other half is permanent hill pasture. There is no natural wood; but about 100 acres are in plantations, consisting principally of larch and Scotch fir, with some elm and ash, which are, for the most part, in a thriving condition. A very small quantity only of wheat is produced, the soil and climate being uncongenial to its growth; the system of husbandry is the five years' rotation of crops, which is usually applied to light soils suited to the growth of turnips. The sheep on the hills are generally of the old Scotch black-faced breed, but in the lower grounds, the Cheviots, and sometimes the Leicesters, are preferred. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6053. The rocks on the hills are all of the trap formation, and in the bottom of the river Leader are beds of red sandstone, which is used for building: some whinstone quarries in the parish supply materials of the best quality, and in great abundance, for road-making and building. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Lauder and synod of Merse and Teviotdale; patron, Sir Hugh Campbell, Bart. The minister's stipend is £190, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £15 per annum. The church is situated in the hamlet of Channelkirk, nearly in the middle of the parish, but somewhat inconveniently, being too distant for the bulk of the population, and seated on a hill about 800 feet above the level of the sea; it was built in 1817, in the Elizabethan style, and accommodates 300 persons. There is a parochial school, the master of which has a salary of £30, about £40 fees, and a house and garden; there is also a good parochial library, established about fifty years since.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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