- GREENLAW, a burgh of barony, the county town, and a parish, in the county of Berwick, 8 miles (S. W.) from Dunse, and 36 (S. E. by E.) from Edinburgh; containing 1355 inhabitants. This place is supposed to have derived its name from the situation of the ancient village on one of those conical eminences of which there are several in the parish, which eminence, from its superior verdure, obtained the appellation of the Green Law. The manor anciently belonged to the earls of Dunbar, under whom Sir Patrick Home, ancestor of the Home family, held the lands in 1435, when the earldom became annexed to the crown. After Berwick had ceased to be part of Scotland, in 1482, the courts of justice previously held there were generally held at Dunse, and occasionally at Lauder, till towards the close of the seventeenth century, when the town of Greenlaw was declared, by act of parliament, to be the head burgh of the shire. Since that time this has continued to be the county town. The burgh, of which Sir Hugh Hume Purves Campbell, of Marchmont, Bart., is superior, is pleasantly situated on the north bank of the river Blackadder, over which are two bridges of stone; and consists principally of one street of considerable length, opening, on the south side, into a spacious quadrangular area. In the centre of this area was the market cross, a handsome Corinthian column, erected by the Earl of Marchmont, and on the site of which is the present county-hall. The houses are neatly built; and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water, conveyed into two spacious reservoirs of stone, erected at the expense of the superior of the burgh. A public library, containing a well-assorted collection of volumes, is supported by subscription; and there are several good innes in the town.No manufacture is carried on here, and only a few persons are employed in a carding and fulling mill; a considerable degree of traffic, however, arises from its situation as a public thoroughfare, and there is a post-office subordinate to that of Dunse. The weekly market has long been discontinued; but fairs are held on the 22nd of May, and the last Thursday in October, for milchcows and various kinds of cattle, and are numerously attended. Facility of communication is afforded by the great road from London to Edinburgh, by way of Coldstream, and others that pass through the place. As the county town, the sheriff's and usual courts are held, and the public business of the county transacted, here; the sheriff's and commissary courts occur every Thursday during the session, and the justice-of-peace courts for small debts, monthly. The county-hall is a handsome structure in the Grecian style of architecture, erected by the late Sir W. P. H. Campbell, and contains a hall sixty feet long, forty feet wide, and twenty-eight feet in height, ornamented with columns of the Corinthian order; also various apartments for the accommodation of the sheriffs and others attending the county meetings. The principal entrance is by an elegant vestibule, lighted by a dome, and containing a room for the preservation of the records. The new gaol, erected in 1824, is a neat building containing eighteen sleeping-cells, two day-rooms for criminals, and one for debtors; attached to the day-rooms are spacious airing-yards, to which the prisoners have access during the day, and the whole is surrounded by a lofty wall. There is a plentiful supply of water; and the prison is under excellent management.The parish is from eight to nine miles in length, and nearly three miles in average breadth, comprising an area of about 12,000 acres, of which nearly 7000 are arable, 500 woodland and plantations, 1200 undivided common affording good pasture, and the remainder moor, moss, and waste. The surface is diversified with hills of no great elevation, and, in the upper part of the parish, is intersected for almost two miles by a gravelly ridge called the Kaimes, about, sixty yards in width at the base, and forty feet high. On the south side of this ridge is the moss of Dugden, 500 acres in extent, and in some places ten feet deep, yielding peat which, when properly dried, is little inferior to coal. The only river of importance is the Blackadder, which flows through the parish, dividing it into two nearly equal parts, and, about two miles above the town, being joined by a small stream called the Faungrass; it abounds with trout, and is much frequented by anglers. The soil on the south side of the Blackadder is a deep rich loam, producing grain of excellent quality, and on the north side, moorland and heath; the crops are, wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and turnips, with the usual grasses. The system of husbandry is in an improved state; the lands have been drained and partly inclosed, and the farm-buildings are generally substantial. The pastures are well adapted for sheep and black-cattle, of which considerable numbers are reared in the parish; and horses for agricultural purposes are bred upon many of the farms. The rateable annual value of the parish is £7410. The rocks are mostly of the primitive formation, and the substrata principally red sandstone; white sandstone and a claystone porphyry are also found in some places. The mansions are Rowchester and Lambden, both of modern erection: the pleasure-grounds and house of Marchmont, also, the noble seat of Sir H. H. P. Campbell, though situated in the adjoining parish of Polwarth, add much to the beauty of the scenery of Greenlaw. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dunse and synod of Merse and Teviotdale. The minister's stipend is £254. 15., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £30 per annum; patron, Sir H. H. P. Campbell. The church, situated in the town, is a plain structure in good repair, containing 476 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the United Secession, and Original Burghers. The parochial school is attended by about 130 children; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average £50. Sir W. P. H. Campbell bequeathed £50 per annum to the poor. There are some remains of a Roman camp on the north bank of the Blackadder, about two miles from the town; and directly opposite to it, on the other side of the river, several trenches diverge towards Hume Castle, four miles distant. On the north-east of the parish, also, are still visible the remains of an intrenchment, intersecting the moor from east to west for more than a mile; it is called Herriot's Dyke.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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