Innerleithen

   INNERLEITHEN, a parish, chiefly in the county of Peebles, but partly in the county of Selkirk, 6½ miles (E. S. E.) from Peebles; containing 931 inhabitants, of whom 463 are in the village, and 468 in the rural districts of the parish. This place, properly Inverleithen, derives its name from one of the numerous streams that flow through the lands into the river Tweed. The parish comprises about 30,000 acres, of which 2000 are arable, 500 woodland and plantations, 30 in brushwood, and the remainder, of which probably 1500 might be brought into profitable cultivation, hilly pasture. Its form is that of a triangle, of which the longest side extends along the river Tweed, and the two other sides meet in the ridge of mountains called the Moorfoot hills: the highest hills in this range are the Hartfell, Coomb, and Loch Craig, far off to the south, and having an elevation of about 2800 feet. The surface along the shore of the Tweed spreads into a rich and fertile plain, and in other parts is intersected with numerous deep glens, watered by running streams: of these glens the most spacious is that through which the Leithen flows, and which contains a considerable portion of level meadow land. There are many springs in the parish, some of which possess highly medicinal properties; the principal is that issuing from the base of a hill near the village, which from that circumstance has obtained its rapid increase. The scenery is strikingly varied, and in parts very picturesque. From the farm of Purves Hill, which has a considerable elevation, is a descent towards the river, by a continued succession of terraces, about 200 yards in length and eighteen feet broad, divided into several series by unequal intervals of level ground. These terraces, as seen from the lands below, form a singular feature in the landscape; and some timber of mature growth, and various thriving plantations on some of the lands in the parish, add much to the beauty of the scenery. The soil near the river is rich and fertile, but in the higher grounds of inferior quality, abounding with heath and moss. The crops are, wheat, barley, oats, peas, and turnips; the system of husbandry is advanced; the farm-buildings are substantial and commodious, and the lands are well inclosed. About 400 head of cattle are annually reared, and much attention has been paid to the improvement of the breed, originally the old Tweeddale, by the introduction of the Alderney and Northumberland: 16,000 sheep, also, are annually pastured, which are chiefly of the black-faced and Cheviot breeds. Few horses are reared, except for purposes of agriculture. The woods consist of oak, ash, elm, hazel, and birch; and the plantations, of larch and firs, intermixed with the usual hard-woods. The substrata are, greywacke, greywacke-slate, clay-slate, and porphyry of red and grey colour, the last of which abounds with crystals of felspar. Slate has been quarried in several parts; and a quarry at Hollylee, which had long been abandoned, has again been opened by the proprietor; and the produce used for paving the halls of his mansion. The rateable annual value of the parish is £7072, of which £818 are returned for the Selkirkshire portion.
   The chief houses are Glen-Ormiston and Hollylee, which are both spacious and handsome structures, finely situated, and embellished with thriving plantations. The village, which, as already stated, is indebted for its increase to the mineral water of Innerleithen, is neatly built; and several good houses have been erected for the accommodation of the numerous visiters who, during the summer, take up their residence here for the benefit of the water, which is found efficacious in various complaints. The water, on being analysed, is found to contain, in one imperial quart, 5.3 grains of carbonate of magnesia, 9.5 grains of muriate of lime, and 21.2 grains of muriate of soda. The spring issues from a mountain composed of greywacke, clay-slate, and red porphyry; and there is a second spring, which varies a little in the proportions of its ingredients, containing 10.12 grains of carbonate of magnesia, 19.4 of muriate of lime, and 31 of muriate of soda. A handsome building has been erected, with a viranda in front, for the use of the visiters; and the village is growing into some repute as a watering-place. A circulating library, which contained a well-assorted collection, was once supported by subscription; attached to it was a commodious reading and news room. A club has been formed for the promotion of gymnastic exercises, under the patronage of several noblemen and gentlemen of the district; and is supported with much spirit. The woollen manufacture was introduced here about fifty years since, by Mr. Brodie, of Traquair, who erected a large factory for that purpose, which, after his decease, was let to several tenants, by whom the various departments of the trade are still carried on, affording employment to fifty persons. Facility of intercourse with Peebles, the nearest market town, and with the other towns in the district, is afforded by good roads, of which the turnpike-road from Kelso to Glasgow passes for nearly ten miles along the shores of the Tweed. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Peebles and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; patron, John Booth, Esq. The stipend of the incumbent is £231; the manse is a comfortable residence, and the glebe comprises twelve acres, valued at £20 per annum. The church, built in 1786, is a neat substantial edifice, conveniently situated, and adapted for a congregation of 350 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average about £40. There is a friendly society, which is well supported, and has contributed materially to diminish the number of applications for parochial relief.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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