- GORDON, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 8½ miles (N. W.) from Kelso; containing 903 inhabitants. The name of this place is derived from the Gaelic word Goirtean, signifying "a little farm or field," probably in reference to a particular tract appropriated to the growth of corn, or under some kind of superior cultivation. The territory of Gordon, which was formerly of great extent, is said to have been granted, in the reign of Malcolm Canmore, or of David I., to an Anglo-Norman settler who assumed from it the surname of Gordon. One of his descendants, Sir Adam Gordon, who was killed at the battle of Halidon-hill in 1333, changed his residence to the shire of Aberdeen, in consequence of obtaining considerable possessions in the north; but the family derived the title of duke from this district until the year 1836, when the dignity became extinct. A small distance to the north of the village of West Gordon, an eminence still called the Castle is pointed out, as the spot on which the ancestors of the dukes had their seat; it is now entirely covered with plantations, and nothing remains but the vestiges of a moat or ditch. The parish was in remote times of much greater extent than at present. Part of it, called Durrington-Laws, has been annexed to Longformacus, twelve miles distant; and another portion, called Spottiswoode, was united, with the parish of Bassendean, to the lands of Westruther, about 1647, in order to form the modern parish of the latter name. Religious foundations were established here at a very early period: at Huntly-wood, in the parish, was a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the advowson of which came into the family of Home in the reign of James IV. There was also a chapel, called White-Chapel, at the hamlet of Spottiswoode, the ruins of which but recently disappeared; it was built by John de Spottiswoode, during the reign of David II. The parish church was formerly an appendage to that of Home; the monks of Kelso obtained the patronage about the year 1171, and held it in their possession till the time of the Reformation.The Parish, which lies in the western portion of the Merse, and is of oval figure, is about seven miles long, varying in breadth from two to four miles, and contains 8900 acres. It is bounded on the north by part of Legerwood, by Westruther, and part of Greenlaw; on the south by Hume, now joined to the parish of Stitchell, and by Earlstoun; on the east by Greenlaw; and on the west by the parish of Legerwood. The site of the parish is elevated, and the surface uneven and hilly, though there are no mountains. The small river Eden runs through the whole extent, from north to south, dividing it into two nearly equal parts; and the north-eastern boundary is washed, for about two and a half miles, by the Blackadder, which separates it from Greenlaw. The soil in general is light and sandy, but in some places it approximates to clay: there are several extensive tracts of moor and moss. About 500 acres are planted with fir, beech, oak, and elm, the first of which greatly predominates; 4296 acres are cultivated, or occasionally in tillage, and 4100 are constantly waste, or in pasture. Grain of all kinds is raised; good crops of turnips and potatoes are also produced, as well as of hay. The best system of husbandry is followed, and the rotation is the five years' change; the farm-buildings are usually substantial and convenient, and all the arable land is inclosed with stone dykes or thorn hedges. Much waste has been reclaimed and cultivated; and draining has been carried on to a considerable extent. The prevailing rock is whinstone, which lies scattered over the surface of the uncultivated moors in blocks of from a few pounds to two tons in weight: in some parts, small beds of red sandstone are seen, but it is so friable as to be almost useless. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5495.The only village is West Gordon; containing about 300 inhabitants. The road from Kelso to Edinburgh crosses the parish at the widest part, and another road, from Earlstoun to Greenlaw, runs through its whole length; these, together with the numerous parish roads, are kept in good order. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Lauder and synod of Merse and Teviotdale, and the patronage is in the Crown: the stipend of the minister is £164, with a manse, built in 1803, and a glebe of twelve acres of arable land, valued at £30 per annum. The church, built in 1736, and repaired in 1834, is conveniently placed in the centre of the parish; it contains 400 sittings. There is a parochial school, in which Latin, mathematics, and all the usual branches of education are taught; the master has the maximum salary, with a house and garden, and about £21 fees. A parochial library was established about the year 1823, and has been of great service. No important relics of antiquity remain in the parish; but there are two farms called Rumbleton and Rumbleton-Law, which names are said to be corruptions of the terms Roman-Town and Roman-Town-Law. At the latter of these places were recently appearances of extensive fortifications on a law or hill, which have been ploughed up, and inclosed; they are supposed to have been Roman works. At Huntly, also, are the remains of some walls that appear to have been part of a fortified place.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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